Kinberg directing X-Men: Dark Phoenix for 2018; Lawrence, Fassbender, McAvoy to return

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Feb 4, 2019, 3:00 PM EST (Updated)

As has been rumored for a while, Simon Kinberg will make his directorial debut with X-Men: Dark Phoenix — and Fox has set a release date of November 2, 2018.

As expected, Sophie Turner is back as the titular character of Jean Grey, and she's bringing most of the gang back with her. Whatever talk or rumors you may have heard about who may or may not be interested in continuing their roles in the X-Men movies,  Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, and James McAvoy are confirmed to return. Nicholas Hoult, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp, and Tye Sheridan will also be back when the film starts production in Montreal. As far as new additions, Jessica Chastain is reportedly in talks to play the film's villain, the Shi'ar alien empress Lilandra, who is out to eradicate the Phoenix Force.

While this is technically Kinberg's first time directing, he's been a big part of the X-Men universe from a production standpoint for years, and it feels like a good time for a new vision after X-Men: Apocalypse. The big question is how he'll juggle his multiple duties as a producer for Dark PhoenixDeadpool 2, and the several X-Men television products and multiple Star Wars projects in the works.

The Dark Phoenix storyline is one of the most iconic arcs from X-Men comic lore, and was already attempted on the big screen within the critically panned X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006. Fans have been wanting to see this story done justice for decades, so the pressure is certainly on to get it right on the second go 'round.

(via Deadline)