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Jennifer Lawrence will die in X-Men Dark Phoenix. Here’s why that isn’t a spoiler

It’s no secret that Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique will be killed off in the upcoming X-Men film, Dark Phoenix. Here’s why the makers came to that decision.

hollywood Updated: Mar 01, 2019 15:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Jennifer Lawrence,Jennifer Lawrence Dark Phoenix,Dark Phoenix
Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique in a still from Dark Phoenix.

Since she took on the role of Mystique in the X-Men franchise, actor Jennifer Lawrence has become one of the biggest and highest-paid stars on the planet. Her contract will expire after her fourth film in the series, the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix. But instead of keeping her fate a secret, like Marvel is doing with Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the makers of Dark Phoenix have already revealed that Mystique will die in the film.

The second trailer for Dark Phoenix, released on Thursday, and featured a scene in which it is implied that Mystique is killed in an altercation with Sophie Turner’s character, Jean Grey. Now, director Simon Kinberg has admitted that the decision was a calculated one.

“Well, the thought process behind that was to primarily show that this is a movie that is unlike other X-Men movies,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “It’s a movie where shocking things happen, where intense, dramatic things happen. People don’t just fall off buildings and dust themselves off and walk away. There’s a reality to this movie and a consequence to this movie. Even more than that, it was to show that Jean/Dark Phoenix is genuinely a threat to everyone, including the X-Men.”

Speaking specifically about Mystique, he continued, “I had a lot of emotions about it. I was obviously sad about it, as Jen’s friend, and also as a fan of Jen as an actress. But I felt it was the strongest, most dramatic thing for the movie, and sometimes you have to make those kinds of hard decisions to service the larger story.”

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He said that the decision to have Jean kill Mystique was to highten the film’s stakes. “The larger story really is Jean cracking up, losing control because she’s more powerful than anyone else in the world. To dramatize that properly, you have to show real loss, you have to show real pain and show real threat and menace. I didn’t want to do that by her blowing up a building with anonymous people in it. It had to feel really personal for the X-Men, and I wanted it to be something that would fracture the X-Men as well. Mystique is someone who in our universe has been part of the X-Men and has been part of Magneto’s world. Her death impacts literally everybody,” he said.

Lawrence has reportedly received massive salary hikes with new X-Men films, along with her co-stars James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. They joined the series in 2011’s X-Men: First Class, and reprised their roles in X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse. Kinberg said that Mystique wont be the only character to die in the film. “There are certainly other major casualties in this,” Kinberg said.

Dark Phoenix is a retelling of the same story that the X-Men series previously told in X-Men: The Last Stand, which was co-written by Kinberg. Speaking about the challenges of differentiating the two projects, he said, “When I was writing, I wasn’t conscious of it, to be honest with you. As I started editing it and you go from being purely creative to being a little more objective after you finish a draft, I was like, ‘Oh yeah, this is something from X3.’ But it’s certainly not meant to be a homage, and it’s very, very different sequence.”

Dark Phoenix will probably be the final X-Men film to be released by 20th Century Fox before its merger with Disney is finalised. The plan is for the characters to be introduced in the MCU. Dark Phoenix is scheduled for a June release.

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First Published: Mar 01, 2019 15:20 IST