Cameras haven’t officially begun rolling yet on X-Men: Dark Phoenix, the follow-up to 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, but franchise star James McAvoy is already posting some footage of his own that hints at what’s to come.
The franchise actor posted a brief video on Instagram featuring a buzzing electric razor with his reflection in the handle, captioned “He approaches.” Just in case the point of the video was missed — that he’ll be returning to a bald existence when he reprises his role as the telepathic leader of the X-Men — McAvoy hashtagged the video “#charlesxavier #xmen #darkpheonix (sic).”
Production is expected to begin on Dark Phoenix this summer, with a November 2018 premiere scheduled for the film.
Longtime X-Men movie producer and writer Simon Kinberg will make his directorial debut on the film, which will bring back many of the franchise regulars. Along with McAvoy, the film’s cast is expected to include the return of Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, Alexandra Shipp as Storm, Tye Sheridan as Cyclops, and Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler. A recent report indicated that two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain is currently in talks to play the villain of the film, Lilandra, a leader of the alien Shi’ar Empire.
Much like the Marvel Comics storyline that inspired the film’s title, the movie is expected to chronicle the destructive evolution of Jean Grey’s powers after she becomes the host of the powerful entity known as the Phoenix Force. When the X-Men find themselves at odds with the Shi’ar Empire regarding how to handle the power corrupting Jean from within, they end up at the center of a cosmic conflict.
Dark Phoenix is expected to be set 10 years after the events of X-Men: Apocalypse.
Currently scheduled to premiere in theaters November 2, 2018, X-Men: Dark Phoenix will be one of three X-Men films arriving in theaters that year. It will be preceded by director Josh Boone’s New Mutants on April 13 and the Deadpool sequel on June 1.