Jessica Chastain to Play “X-Men” Villain Empress Lilandra in “Dark Phoenix” as Core Mutants Return for Sequel


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After making a failed play for Angelina Jolie, 20th Century Fox is in advanced negotiations with two-time Oscar nominee to play the villain in the forthcoming X-Men movie DARK PHOENIX, the Tracking Board has confirmed. Our editor in chief Jeff Sneider first linked Chastain to the role last week on Twitter, as seen below.

Chastain is nearing a deal to play Lilandra, the empress of an alien empire called the Shi’ar, who leads the quest to imprison and execute Dark Phoenix. This pits her against a team of gifted mutants, including Professor X (James McAvoy), Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). All four of those actors have renegotiated their return following the expiration of their initial three-picture deals.

That quartet will be joined by younger mutants Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), the latter of whom will obviously play a key role given her character’s role in the Dark Phoenix saga.

After months of speculation, Fox has confirmed that veteran screenwriter will make his directorial debut with Dark Phoenix, which he’ll also produce with Brian Singer, Hutch Parker, and Lauren Schuler Donner.

Based on the storyline from the ’80s comic book, the film will focus on Jean Grey’s transformation into the all-powerful title character after being overcome by a cosmic energy known as the Phoenix Force that ultimately makes her evil.

The classic Phoenix storyline from Chris Claremont and John Byrne made its way to the big screen for the first time in Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand, which fans and critics dragged through the mud. Hopefully, Kinberg’s adaptation will serve as redemption to the mess released in 2006.

Dark Phoenix is set to shoot in Montreal and is slated for a November 2, 2018 release date.

Chastain is no stranger to the world of dark fantasy, as she recently starred in The Huntsman: Winter’s and as well as Crimson Peak. Chastain was last seen in The Zookeeper’s Wife, and she next stars in Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut Molly’s Game. She’s represented by and .

 | Staff Writer