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X-Men Dark Phoenix’s NYCC footage reveals Jean Grey’s cosmic Phoenix origin

The X-Men take on space

Poster for Dark Phoenix 20th Century Fox
Petrana Radulovic is an entertainment reporter specializing in animation, fandom culture, theme parks, Disney, and young adult fantasy franchises.

Dark Phoenix, the sequel to 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, will offer an intimate look at Jean Grey and her struggles with the Phoenix Force. After the first trailer premiered earlier this month, the release date was pushed from February to June, delaying the already-delayed blockbuster even more. But visitors to New York Comic Con got an early glimpse and were treated with 14 minutes of the film.

Director and screenwriter Simon Kinberg was on hand for the event, saying that the movie would combine the intimate and character-driven aspects of Logan with the grand stakes and scope of Apocalypse. After Jean comes in contact with the Phoenix Force, which augments her already impressive powers, she starts to lose control of her abilities and manifests an alter personality. The X-Men are torn between saving Jean and saving the world from her.

The footage revealed at New York Comic Con shows early scenes of the finished movie, where Jean first comes in contact with the mysterious entity. Can’t wait till June? Since Fox isn’t putting the footage online just yet, we’ll unpack it for you.

[Ed. Note: Spoilers for early moments in Dark Phoenix]

The film opens with the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour (remember, it’s 1992). Someone in mission control notices an anomaly on the screen, about to collide with the shuttle, and they promptly lose contact with the astronauts.

Pan to Beast and Professor X who are watching in the mansion. Beast says he knows what Charles is thinking (ha) and Charles asks if the newly renovated X-Jet could make the flight into space. Beast tries to dissuade him, but the phone rings and Charles goes to answer. It’s the President calling. They decide to attempt a rescue.

Nightcrawler, Cyclops, Storm, Beast, Quicksilver and Jean meet Mystique by the X-Jet. Jean can tell — without her telepathy — that Mystique is hesitant about this mission. Mystique assures her that she’ll prioritize her team and turn them around if anything goes wrong.

At this point in the X-timeline, the X-Men are regular heroes who go on missions, so as the X-Jet takes to the skies, the whole world gathers around their television screens to watch (with X-Men action figures in hand). When the jet reaches space, the team discovers the shuttle spinning closer and closer to a giant golden cloud. Nightcrawler can’t get a clear shot with the shuttle spinning so fast, so Mystique instructs Cyclops to shoot at the engines.

Cyclops goes below deck to fire a beam with some fancy gadget, disabling one of the shuttle’s engines to slow its spin. Nightcrawler teleports Quicksilver to the shuttle and the two collect the astronauts, while Storm seals the breaking ship. They BAMF! back to the X-Jet, but the astronauts reveal that they’re missing their commander, who was in the airlock when they were rescued.

Mystique wants to turn around, but Charles orders them to retrieve the commander. He says that Jean is strong enough to hold the breaking shuttle together. But she tells them she can only do it from the inside. Quicksilver constructs a space suit for Nightcrawler, who teleports Jean inside of the shuttle. Nightcrawler finds the commander, but cannot reach Jean in time and has no choice but to teleport back to the X-Jet.

Jean is able to absorb part of the force before it hits the X-Jet, but it overwhelms her. The X-Men watch helplessly as the golden cloud encompasses the shuttle — and Jean inside of it.

After the cloud vanishes, the X-Men retrieve Jean’s floating body. Cyclops clutches her close. At first, it looks like she’s dead. But her eyelids flutter. She’s alive! She asks if everyone’s okay.

The team lands to cheering applause and returns to the mansion, where Charles welcomes them back and praises them, before sending Jean off to medical. Mystique follows Charles back to his office, confronting him about the decision to potentially sacrifice Jean for the sake of the commander. They get into an argument, with Mystique claiming that they can’t keep risking their lives for humans while dressed in costumes, while Charles says it’s a small price to pay for keeping in good favor.

The rift between Mystique and Charles sets the stage for “family drama,” as producer Hutch Parker called it at the event: the schism between the X-Men as they deal with Jean Grey and her fractured powers.

Dark Phoenix is scheduled for June 7, 2019.

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