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Dark Phoenix director Simon Kinberg weighs in on the X-Men joining the MCU

By Todd Gilchrist
Dark Phoenix

After 12 films and almost 20 years, the X-Men franchise as we know it is coming to an end with Dark Phoenix, Fox Studios' final installment of the industry-changing superhero series before Disney, which bought Fox earlier this year, takes creative control. The storytelling possibilities, with crossovers between the titular mutants and the heroes of Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe, has had some comics fans absolutely bonkers excited since word of what would become a $71 billion purchase hit the news, but those involved in the franchise have kept their feelings mostly close tot eh vest.

Simon Kinberg has shepherded X-Men stories to the screen since 2006, working on eight films — including Fox's first stab at The Dark Phoenix Saga with The Last Stand — so he has more investment in their representation than just about anybody. But in an interview Wednesday with SYFY WIRE, Kinberg admitted he'd be thrilled to see Marvel tackle the characters he's cared for since the earliest days of his career.

"Honestly, there's nobody in the world better at these superhero movies than Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios," Kinberg told SYFY WIRE when asked how he'd like to see the company move the franchise forward. "I don't know what the answer is. But I would've probably said Spider-Man should remain his own discrete universe, and yet they integrated him and so brilliantly into the MCU, into the Avengers movie and with the relationship with Tony Stark, and I wouldn't have been able to anticipate that.

"I can't anticipate with the best version is," he continued. "I certainly feel like the X-Men universe is a rich and full enough universe to stand on its own, but I also would certainly be excited to see some of the X-Men characters interacting with some of those MCU characters."

Over the course of its almost two decades, the X-Men franchise has gone through multiple shake-ups and narrative timelines, finding different actors to play the iconic superheroes and villains that audiences have grown to love. In fact, Kinberg said that it's precisely the enduring appeal of the characters themselves that would make it possible for Marvel to start over from scratch, providing they found the right actors for each role.

"We did it with X-Men: First Class, and we were replacing Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart who were pretty indelible as those characters and arguably among, if not the best, actors of their generation," Kinberg observed.

"We managed to do it with two other actors who are among the best actors of their generation, he said, referring to Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy. "It's where we're not sure who is the more iconic Xavier and Magneto at this point. But going back before that, it's been proven with Batman, it's been proven with James Bond that there are characters that are so iconic that they are bigger than the actors that play them. So I think you just never know."

Dark Phoenix opens on June 7.