Jessica Chastain is in talks to take on a villain role in the next X-Men film. Producer/screenwriter Simon Kinberg will make his directorial debut on X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and according to Deadline.com, Chastain has been tapped to tackle the character Shi’ar Empress Lilandra. Franchise stars Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, and Nicholas Hoult will all return for the next movie, as will Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, and Kodi Smit-McPhee, who joined the cast for 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse.
Kinberg is also producing the project, alongside Hutch Parker and Lauren Shuler Donner. He has long been involved with the X-Men franchise and wrote 2006’s X: Men: The Last Stand, in addition to writing and producing X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse. He also produced X-Men: First Class and Deadpool, while he is involved in its upcoming sequel, and is working on X-Men: The New Mutants, which comes out next year.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix will focus on Game of Thrones’ Turner as powerful young mutant Jean Grey, also known as Dark Phoenix. It is set for release in November, 2018. Lawrence previously ruled herself out of returning to the X-Men franchise, but admitted she would reconsider if she was allowed to play Mystique alongside Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord in a Guardians of the Galaxy film. “I won’t be Mystique in the X-Men movies, but I would love to be Mystique in Guardians Of The Galaxy,” she said. “I wonder if I could do that?” Meanwhile, one person who will not be returning to the franchise is Hugh Jackman. The actor recently completed his last run as Wolverine in spin-off film Logan.