The Conjuring 3 Has Hired A New Director

For some time it has been suspected that director James Wan would not be returning to helm The Conjuring 3. James Wan directed the first two films in the series and is the architect of the growing and successful Conjuring Universe, but his name is increasingly in demand for bigger and bigger projects like the upcoming DCEU flick Aquaman. Even without James Wan behind the camera, the main series in this universe will continue. We heard a few weeks back that The Conjuring 3 had a script, and now it also has a director. Michael Chaves is coming aboard and taking the baton from James Wan to helm The Conjuring 3.

You probably haven’t heard Michael Chaves’ name before and that’s okay; his first film isn’t even out yet. Michael Chaves recently made his feature directorial debut with The Curse of La Llorona, which doesn’t release in theaters until April 19, 2019. That horror film stars Linda Cardellini in a film about a social worker who ignores the warning of a troubled mother and finds her family soon drawn into a supernatural realm. Although he is stepping away from directing duties, James Wan remains the architect of this universe and according to Deadline, he will produce Michael Chaves’ The Conjuring 3 under his Atomic Monster label. We still don’t know what case paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren will be taking on The Conjuring 3, but David Leslie Johnson, who co-wrote The Conjuring 2, will handle the script.

It is hard to evaluate Michael Chaves as a replacement for James Wan on The Conjuring 3 given that we have yet to see his feature directorial debut, but his horror short The Maiden did win Best Super Short Film at Shriekfest in 2016. It will also be exciting to see what a new director can bring to this franchise. Like The Conjuring films, Michael Chaves’ The Curse of La Llorona is a New Line production. So clearly the studio already knows what they are getting with the director, and likes what it sees from that debut — enough to give Michael Chaves the keys to The Conjuring 3, the third film in the mainline series in a billion-dollar franchise. That bodes quite well for The Curse of La Lloronoa and horror fans should probably have that movie on their radar next year.

The Conjuring 3 is aiming to begin production in 2019, which means we could see it arrive in theaters in 2020. Before that though the next film in The Conjuring universe is Annabelle 3, which is scheduled to hit theaters on July 3, 2019. For all of the biggest movies to look forward to in a positively jam packed 2019, check out next year’s release schedule.

How Venom’s Director Made Sure His Symbiote Stood Apart From Spider-Man 3

Superhero movies are everywhere, and now Sony is trying a new strategy by crafting a cinematic universe around the supporting characters of Spider-Man lore. With the web crawler being apart of the behemoth MCU, the first of these movies is finally hitting theaters with Venom. Ruben Fleischer’s blockbuster will be an origin story for Eddie Brock, played by Tom Hardy. Hardy is also voicing the antihero title character– sharing scenes with himself in the process. Venom was previously adapted into live-action with Sam Raimi’s less than stellar Spider-Man 3, although he’s looking decidedly different in the new movie. CinemaBlend’s Sean O’Connell recently spoke with director Venom Ruben Fleischer, where he explained the effort to make the character look as different from Topher Grace’s version as possible.

It looks like Venom’s fundamental appearance change is mostly a sign of the times. The capabilities of CGI and visual affects have improved greatly since Spider-Man 3 arrived in 2007. The Raimi movies relied heavily on practical affects, resulting in a Venom that was far more human in appearance. But the big guy is a hulking monster in Venom, which should make comic book fans very happy.

Ruben Fleischer spoke with CinemaBlend editor Sean O’Connell at the recent Venom press junket. The character’s appearance and physical presence is being praised from early critics, and has already been shown off in the brief scenes released ahead of time. When fully transformed, Venom is a giant creature, with a bulky physique ripped directly from the beloved comic book pages. His symbiote abilities can also be far more creative and unpredictable, as modern visual affects create the impossible onscreen.

Ruben Fleischer’s comments also show how methodically he tried to separate Venom from previous web swinging movies. Tom Hardy’s dual Venom characters seem nothing like that of Topher Grace’s in Spider-Man 3, with audiences able to accept a new onscreen version of the iconic character, possibly crafting a new shared universe in the process.

You can catch Venom in theaters October 5th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

First Look At Dwayne Johnson And Jason Statham In Hobbs And Shaw

The Fast and the Furious franchise has had an absolutely fascinating tenure in theaters. Starting off as a basic racing flick with some mediocre sequels, the property eventually turned into a beloved action franchise that is considered a new classic. Each installment has made a ton of money at the box office, including the recent blockbuster The Fate of the Furious. While the franchise shows no signs of slowing down (see what I did there?), it’s also expanding to spinoff films– the first of which being Hobbs & Shaw. Starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham as the title characters, the film will follow as the two badasses team up on an adventure separate from the rest of The Family. The first image from Hobbs & Shaw has just arrived, showing the dynamic duo in action.

Uh oh. While Shaw and Hobbs seem to finally come to an agreement by the end of The Fate and The Furious, it’s unclear how well they’ll function as a team throughout the course of their own spinoff movie. It wouldn’t be fun to see the two fan favorites being all buddy buddy, and the first image certainly teases a rocky road for them to walk together.

This first Shaw & Hobbs image comes to us from The Rock himself, Dwayne Johnson. Johnson is one of the busiest men in show business, and is constantly filming, producing, acting in, or promoting one of his movies. Shaw & Hobbs seems like a passion project for Johnson, so it should be interesting to see if his support of the project is more enthusiastic than others. If that’s even possible.

While Dwayne Luke Hobbs made his franchise debut in Fast Five, Jason Statham’s character Shaw is more of a newcomer. After having a brief cameo in Fast & Furious 6, Deckard Shaw was an antagonist who eventually switches side and joins Dom’s crew in The Fate of the Furious. But before a new movie is filmed for the main story, he’ll team up with The Rock for Shaw & Hobbs.

As a reminder, check out the duo’s iconic prison scene in The Fate of the Furious.

I mean, how can you not give those two their own movie? There’s just too much badassery to pass up.

While fans of the Fast and the Furious franchise are psyched for Hobbs and Shaw to get their own movie, there’s been some contention from other members of The Family. Specifically, actor Tyrese Gibson took umbrage with the spinoff, as it essentially delayed the next main installment. And since Gibson’s character Roman Pearce won’t have a role in Hobbs & Shaw, he felt The Rock was taking money from his family by exploring a new project. It was a celebrity feud that lasted months, although it seems to have died down as of late.

You can see Hobbs & Shaw yourself when it arrives in theaters on August 2, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

X-Men Producer Simon Kinberg Understands Gambit Worries

The X-Men franchise has had a long life in the theaters, but it hasn’t been without missteps. And while R-rated movies like Deadpool and Logan have found massive success, Fox’s next three releases have each been pushed back a few times. No blockbuster is quite as guilty of this as Channing Tatum’s Gambit, which has been delayed more times than you can shake a kinetically charged stick at. Many hardcore cinephiles and Marvel fans have all but given up on the Gambit movie at this point, and producer Simon Kinberg seems to understand that experience. In fact, he shared the cynicism– despite knowing the inner workings of the franchise. As he tells it,

While making a joke about his own insecurities and personal background, Simon Kinberg does seem to level with the fans here. Gambit has had an extremely rocky road to development, with no end in sight. So fans who don’t think the project will ever happen certainly have cause.

Simon Kinberg’s comments to Collider show how in flux the X-Men franchise as a whole is, and how the folks at 20th Century Fox are a bit more flexible than one would think. While running the X-Men franchise for nearly two decades is a massive undertaking, the studio seems to be flying by the seat of their pants in some ways. Just look at the most recent set of delays, as Dark Phoenix takes Gambit‘s release date, The New Mutants was delayed, and Channing Tatum’s movie was left in development hell.

The fans’ trepidation toward Gambit show one way that the superhero genre has changed in the past few years. Because until a blockbuster is actually shot and in the can, there’s no guarantee that previously announced projects will come to fruition. Gambit is a great example of this, as are a variety of DC’s previously announced movies that have no release date or production schedule. There’s still no guarantee the Gambit movie will ever actually make it to theaters, although Simon Kinberg makes it clear that the studio is very much keeping it in mind.

Of course, Simon Kinberg also addresses the possibility that Gambit might never make it to theaters, as he’d just as cynical as the rest of us. And with Disney and Fox’s merger looming in the background, the clock seems to be ticking.

Simon Kinberg’s directorial debut Dark Phoenix will arrive in theaters on June 7th, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

American Horror Story: Apocalypse Has Lots Of Great Crossover Moments With Coven And Hotel

Major spoilers below for anyone who hasn’t yet watched American Horror Story: Apocalypse’s latest episode.

After taking three episodes to set up its uncomfortable post-disaster narrative, American Horror Story: Apocalypse pulled the curtain down to show viewers what happened in the years before Ms. Venable poisoned the entirety of Outpost 3’s residents. Not only did the episode fully bring the bulk of Coven‘s betwitching ensemble into the fold, but “Could It Be…Satan?” also took a surprise trip back to another former American Horror Story season, with Hotel‘s haunted lodge and characters reappearing. Let’s go over the various connections seen (and unseen) in Episode 4.

Michael Is An Alpha Warlock

Looping everything together in American Horror Story: Apocalypse‘s latest episode was antichrist Michael Langdon’s backstory, which was not set next door to the Murder House under Constance’s care, but partially with an elite academy for burgeoning warlocks, similar to Miss Robichaux’s Academy. (It also happened to be the building presently known as Outpost 3, where Cheyenne Jackson made his seasonal debut.) Though Michael wasn’t necessarily always aware of the powers festering inside him, he strengthened them under the care of Kathy Bates’ Satan-worshipping guardian, whom Mrs. Mead was modeled after. Michael’s mastery caused his superiors to believe him to be the most powerful supernatural entity in existence. Even more powerful than Coven‘s Supreme, perhaps, which is how viewers arrived at the biggest surprise of the episode…

Queenie At The Hotel Cortez

Powerful as Sarah Paulson’s current Supreme Cordelia may be, she copped to the Hawthorne school’s upper echelon that she wasn’t able to rescue Queenie’s soul from eternally playing board games with Evan Peters’ Mr. March within the possessive Hotel Cortez. What a joy it was to see both Gabourey Sidibe’s Queenie and Mr. March again, and I was so hopeful for Liz Taylor or Ramona Royale would pop up, too. That didn’t happen, though Queenie did get to escape back to the land of the living, but only after Michael and his ever-growing ego showed up to whisk her away. Which meant that Mr. March didn’t have a game buddy anymore, the poor guy.

Madison’s Hell

Just as Queenie was temporarily trapped in an eternal tug-of-war with another hellacious entity, so was Emma Roberts’ Madison Montgomery. Only, she was stuck in her own personal hell, which wasn’t all THAT far off from Queenie’s stressful fast food afterlife in Coven. Madison was being forced to work as a cashier in a retail department store, which is about as spot-on a character reflection as any in this show. Alas, she didn’t actually have to spend all of eternity checking out angst-ridden demons, because she was also saved by Michael, who brought both Madison and Queenie back to Hawthorne. The sight of them made Cordelia literally pass out, which means Michael’s powers are more impressive than she thought, which possibly doesn’t bode well for her allies.

Outpost 3’s Survivors Are All Coven Witches

As we learned early on, and then later witnessed in part, Miss Robichaux’s Academy was also attended by Leslie Grossman’s Coco, Adina Porter’s Dinah, and Billie Lourd’s Mallory. Each of them had an “identity spell” put on them, though, so that they wouldn’t be aware of their true selves while cavorting with others. (Coco had to have been the “new Madison” of the Academy when she got there.) What’s more, when the episode went back in time to show us just how magical Mallory was in her early days, Apocalypse dropped another big crossover cameo in the form of Taissa Farmiga’s Zoe Benson. We’ve yet to see how Coco, Dinah and Mallory will use their powers for either good or evil, but it’s interesting to now know they have them.

But Where Are Jessica Lange And Lily Rabe?

“Could It Be…Satan?” featured a handful of moments when it seemed inevitable for Jessica Lange’s Constance Langdon (or even Fiona Goode) to bark at someone from a nearby chair, a cigarette dangling from her lips. Similarly, I would have bet some hard cash on Michael’s hell visits also incorporating a rescue for Lily Rabe’s Fleetwood Mac-obsessed witch Misty Day, whose resurrection has previously been teased. Both actresses are confirmed to be returning to the franchise this season in limited capacities, and I guess it makes sense to spread these crossover cameos out more. But if we don’t get Misty Day back by next week, we riot! Unless Michael says we shouldn’t, of course.

American Horror Story: Apocalypse airs every Wednesday night on FX at 10:00 p.m. ET, and you can bet that Ryan Murphy & Co. have a lot more weird tricks and twists up their sleeves. While waiting for more showstoppers, our fall TV premiere schedule will assist in finding all the great new and returning shows hitting primetime soon.

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How NBC’s Chicago Crossover Put Several Major Characters Through The Wringer

Warning: Spoilers ahead for the crossover episodes of Chicago Fire, Chicago Med and Chicago P.D. Please head over to one of our other lovely articles until you’ve caught up with all three shows!

The major crossover this season between Chicago Fire, Chicago Med and Chicago P.D. didn’t disappoint when it came to drama and outright tragedy. And, the three shows managed to put some major characters through the wringer in some truly unexpected ways. Let’s start with Jay and Will Halstead. We found out yesterday that one of the major plots of the crossover would involve the brothers looking for their dad, Pat, who they just so happened to have moved to the downtown high rise which became an inferno during the event. Well, the drama kicked off early for the two when the call came in for fire crews to head to Pat’s building.

Jay arrived on the scene early, and informed Boden that his dad, who just had a quadruple bypass a few weeks ago, lived in the building in apartment 23C, but neither Jay nor Will had been able to get in touch with him. While Boden relayed the information to his crew, who were searching the building to get people out, Jay called Will to say that so far there’d been no sign of Pat. It wasn’t long before Casey got the chance to search Pat’s apartment, and saw that it was empty, leaving the brothers wondering where Pat could have been.

Meanwhile, Cruz helped a young woman named Chloe and her dog, Rizzo, get out of their apartment and sent them to go with Otis and the group of people he was leading out of the building by way of a stairwell. In Otis’ group is a young mother holding her baby; she questions the slowness of leaving this way, noting that there’s also some smoke in the stairwell, and asks Otis if it would be better to take the elevator. Otis offers to carry her son for her, which she declines, and tells her that the stairs are the only safe way out of the building. But, when Otis and his group get to the lobby, he and Chloe realize that she and her son aren’t with the rest of the group, leading Otis to tell Boden they have a missing mother and child and that they need to look for them.

As Casey does his search, he realizes that fire is traveling along the wires in the building, meaning that it’s moving faster that they thought it would. This leads Boden to call for everyone inside to get out of there ASAP, and, soon after, the stuck elevator that Otis is trying to call to the lobby finally comes down. Unfortunately, when he goes over to it, it opens on a smoky, charred scene with the missing mother and her baby huddled in the corner, where they were burned alive. When Otis tells Boden about it, he’s near tears, and takes off his gear angrily to head outside.

Cruz and Severide are about to heed Boden’s warning and leave the 23rd floor when Cruz hears yelling. They realize that a kid is stuck on the 20th floor, where the fire started, and he’s yelling through the vents for help. While they head down to find him, Herrmann and Kidd get to 20 and help the crew with the hose try to tamp down the fire enough for Severide to get the boy out of the apartment he’s stuck in. The fire is getting worse, though, and Severide decides to take the boy out the window in a risky move. Just as he radios out to Herrmann and Kidd that they should leave and meet him down a few floors, Kidd runs out of oxygen and passes out.

Casey, meanwhile, is on the 25th floor and manages to find Pat in an apartment with a friend of his, and both men are still awake, but incapacitated. It turns out that Pat had gone up to try to get his friend (who uses a wheelchair) out, but the smoke overtook both of them. So, Pat and his friend are safe now, and Severide gets the boy to safety, but when they get Kidd outside, she’s not breathing and has to be intubated. At the hospital, Severide takes out his frustration over Kidd’s condition on Herrmann, who says she was just trying to save him. As April and Ethan work on her, she wakes up briefly and then passes out again, with Ethan realizing she’s begun bleeding into her airway.

Connor tells Severide that the only way to stop Kidd’s bleeding is to take one of her lungs, but Severide says she can’t be a firefighter anymore with one lung and that would destroy her. But, Connor says since they can’t get in touch with her family, the doctors have the right to do it anyway and Severide gets belligerent, with Ethan calling security (against April’s wishes) and having him escorted out.

Pat is being checked out at Med while Will and Jay give him a hard time for trying to be a hero while still recovering from bypass surgery. Pat tells Jay this was all his fault for putting him in that building and says he had no right to sell his house and he just wanted his money, which leads Jay to reply, “You don’t have any money, you thankless old prick,” and leave the room while Will stands by and doesn’t say a word. Later, Pat crashes, and with no other doctors available, Will goes to work on him. He does get his pulse back, but it takes five minutes, and when they consult with a neurosurgeon they find out that Pat is brain dead and has only a 1000 to one chance of coming back to them. This leads to Will and Jay arguing, because Will wants to let him go while Jay wants to give him a chance to wake up.

To Will’s surprise, Gwen comes to them and says the hospital is willing to use their resources to keep Pat alive as long as the brothers want. This gives Jay some hope, but when Will looks into it, he realizes that Pat had his surgery 29 days ago, and if he dies right now, the hospital will have to count it as a fatality, so Gwen is just trying to keep Pat alive long enough to keep his death out of their records. When Will tells this to Jay and says they have to let Pat go, he punches him, but later agrees, saying that he knows Pat isn’t going to get better.

If you think Otis is alright after losing that mother and son, you’d be mistaken. Dr. Charles sees him trying to get something out of a vending machine, stumbling and shaking, but Otis says it’s just because he hasn’t eaten. Later, Otis is talking to Maggie when he falls out and begins hyperventilating. When Dr. Charles checks him out, all his vitals are fine, leading him to tell Otis that, because he got shot earlier this year, and from the stress of the day, he probably has PTSD. He says he’ll keep it out of his chart if he comes in a few times a week for therapy, but Otis tells him to put whatever he wants in his chart because he can’t be a firefighter with PTSD who needs therapy, and notes that even though he can’t stop seeing the mom and her baby in his head, every firefighter has something like that and they all just cope with it and keep working.

Connor is ready to operate on Kidd, but after Severide and April galvanize the firefighters to try to talk him into trying anything else to stop the bleeding, he decides to try locating the bleed and only removing a small portion of her lung, much to Ava’s disapproval. After some trouble in the OR, though, the procedure actually works, and Connor reveals that Kidd should be back to work relatively soon.

If you are stunned at the amount of difficulty many of our favorite characters were put through during the crossover, I can bet you’re not alone. And, I won’t be surprised if repercussions from the events of the crossover continue to linger in the weeks to come. You can catch Chicago Med, Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. every Wednesday on NBC, starting at 8 p.m. EST.

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First Look At HBO’s Catherine The Great Reveals Helen Mirren As Empress

Now, Catherine the Great isn’t the kind of leader Helen Mirren has played in the past. The 18th-century ruler was strong-minded, brilliant, sexually liberated, and independent. Catherine’s court is sexually charged and teeming with political complications, and it’s not easy for her to stay in power long enough to become Russia’s longest-ruling female leader. (In an interesting historical note, the real Catherine wasn’t actually Russian, but rather born in an area of the Kingdom of Prussia that is now Poland.) Mirren is on board Catherine the Great as executive producer as well as star. The limited series is still shooting in Russia, Latvia, and Lithuania, taking advantage of palaces to create an atmosphere fitting for the series.

LEGO Tracer Is As Adorable As You Think

If you’ve been playing Blizzard’s Overwatch and thought to yourself one day “Boy, wouldn’t it be cool to have a LEGO version of Tracer?” then you haven’t been the only one thinking that, because both Blizzard Entertainment and the LEGO Group have also been thinking the exact same thing. In fact, the two companies have teamed up to tease gamers with the cross-branded collaboration, which will feature popular Overwatch characters as LEGOs. Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan gave gamers a small taste of what’s to come by showing off the new LEGO Tracer figurine, featuring the speedster zipping around the screen in a short promotional video advertising the upcoming line of LEGO toys.

The news was revealed through the official Overwatch Twitter account. The video is only 27 seconds long but it captures the spirit of the collaboration quite well. We see Kaplan at a desk after having recently put together the LEGO version of Tracer, which then promptly begins to zip around the screen.

After Tracer makes her debut as a LEGO piece and then flies out of the screen, we then see the crossover logo between LEGO and Overwatch.

We don’t know exactly when this crossover will make its way onto a retail shelf near you, but it’s obviously coming soon. This news comes shortly after fans noticed the crossover logo that popped up recently, which featured a quote from the character Winston, saying “Imagination is the essence of discovery.” The image featured several bananas in a pile under the quote. Most people were hoping to see Winston as a LEGO character but so far we’ve only seen Tracer in LEGO format.

The character has detachable hair, head, body, and legs. So, I imagine that when the rest of the characters are made you’ll be able to mix and match their parts to create a real Frankenstein of the characters, which might go well with Overwatch’s Halloween event.

Some gamers were excited about this crossover because they assumed that it meant that maybe we could end up getting a LEGO Overwatch game at some point in the near future. Given that we’ve had LEGO Harry Potter and LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Batman, I honestly don’t see why we couldn’t see Blizzard’s game turned into a separate LEGO game. I don’t know how well Activision would like that idea, given that if a game was made based on Blizzard’s IP then Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment would likely pick up the publishing rights, but that’s neither here nor there.

For now, gamers can rest assured knowing that some new LEGO toys are on the way and some of their favorite Overwatch characters will be getting the physical toy treatment… soon. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for an official release date of when the LEGO figurines become available.

Why Mystique Is Likely To Die In Dark Phoenix

Whether or not Dark Phoenix does indeed end up being the last of the main, Fox-era X-Men movies before the mutant property is absorbed into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one thing is certain: there will be a lot of devastation. That’s hardly surprising, as typically whenever Jean Grey starts glowing with orange energy, whether on the printed page or on screen, it inevitably results in a massacre. 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, the first go at adapting the Dark Phoenix Saga resulted in several main characters being killed off, and Dark Phoenix aims to do the same. Nearly a year ago, it was rumored that one of the “First Class” era characters, i.e. someone who’s been around since 2011’s X-Men: First Class, will die, and a few months later, one of the first official Dark Phoenix photos showed Professor X, Cyclops, Storm and Nightcrawler together at a funeral. Now that the first Dark Phoenix trailer has been released and the footage has been studied, I suspect that Mystique is the likes candidate to bite the dust.

In sharp contrast with Rebecca Romijn’s Mystique in the original X-Men trilogy, who existed primarily just carried out Magneto’s bidding, Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique in the “First Class” era has been a much more developed character. Granted, that’s come at the expense of her not having much in common with her comic book counterpart, but at least it’s still been interesting to follow along with her evolution. While Romijn’s Mystique remained in villain territory until she was hit with that pesky mutant cure, Lawrence’s iteration of the shapeshifter has been on a more complicated journey that’s ultimately steered her to becoming a heroic figure, and the end of X-Men: Apocalypse saw her officially returning to the X-Men to be the new team’s field commander. That’s where we’ll find her when we pick up with these characters nearly a decade later in Dark Phoenix, and by no means does it look like she won’t have that much screen time. That being said, given her familial connection to Professor X (remember, they’re foster siblings) and her complicated history with Magneto, her being killed by Jean Grey during her Phoenix freakout would certainly serve as the catalyst that drives a bigger wedge between the two men. And then there’s the Beast of it all.

Unlike Mystique, who embarked on her own journey after X-Men: First Class, Beast, a.k.a. Hank McCoy, has been by Professor X’s side the whole time since they first met. He’s arguably been the biggest supporter for Charles Xavier’s dream of mutants and humans coexisting peacefully. But as we saw in the Dark Phoenix trailer, Hank blames Charles for something goes down, and judging by the two of them wearing black suits and the shots of that funeral, I suspect this takes place after the X-Men have said goodbye to whoever it was that died. It’s bad enough that we later see Beast joining up with Magneto and his allies. Let’s also not forget that Mystique and Beast were once romantically involved, and while that was a long time ago (unless they picked things up again between X-Men: Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix), Beast still cares deeply about Mystique, which makes the below shot even more interesting.

Are Beast and Mystique simply having a tender moment, or is he holding her lifeless head close to his head in anguish after she’s perished? I’m leaning towards the latter.

Working off all this, I’m guessing that sometime during the first half of the movie, Mystique will meet a grim end when the X-Men attempt to neutralize Jean Grey in her Phoenix form. She fits the “First Class” criteria of that rumor, and after watching her grow across four movies, her death would qualify as an emotional gut-punch. Once Mystique is dead, that kicks off the second half of Dark Phoenix, which sees Beast allying himself with Magneto to take a more aggressive approach with subduing Jean, whereas Professor X, Cyclops and their allies believe there’s still the possibility they can reason with her. Which faction will be successful? That remains to be seen.

Following X-Men: Apocalypse‘s release, it was unclear if Jennifer Lawrence would reprise Mystique again. After all, in the years since X-Men: First Class, she’s become one of Hollywood’s A-list actors and won one Academy Award and three Golden Globes. It’s not like she needs the X-Men franchise to further her career, and once her contract was up after Apocalypse, she could have just bid adieu. But last year, Lawrence stated that she returned for Dark Phoenix because she felt she “owed it to the fans to follow [Mystique’s] journey,” but I wonder if once she read the Dark Phoenix script and saw that Mystique would be killed off, that was what really pushed her to return. Dark Phoenix would give her character a proper conclusion, so if it meant putting on the blue makeup again, so be it.

Let me be clear, I don’t know with 100% certainty that Mystique will die in Dark Phoenix, and even if she does meet her maker, that doesn’t mean any of the other main characters won’t be killed off as well later. But with Dark Phoenix looking to be more emotional than its predecessors and possibly having to wrap up this corner of the franchise, the movie needs to do a lot to stand out. Killing Mystique would certainly be shocking, but if handled correctly, it would also be meaningful and becomes one of the most memorable moments in the franchise’s history. In the aftermath of X-Men: Days of Future Past, these characters were put on new life courses, so while Rebecca Romijn’s Mystique made it to the 21st century, there’s a good chance that Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique won’t be so lucky.

Dark Phoenix opens in theaters on June 7, 2019, so keep checking back with CinemaBlend for continuing coverage. Don’t forget to also browse through our X-Men movies guide to find out what other mutant-centric projects are in development.

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Why The Eternals Movie Could Be Important For Marvel After Avengers 4

Fans and critics spent years discussing the Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s “villain problem,” and when the situation was broken down it was pretty logical. After all, we’re talking about a franchise built on the backs of its heroes, and, with some exceptions, it left the one-shot adversaries feeling temporary, disposable, and sometimes straight-up uninteresting. Fortunately, that is an issue that has fell by the wayside recently thanks to strong, compelling, and dynamic baddies, and it was this past summer that we saw the brand’s best antagonist yet, Josh Brolin’s Thanos, get his moment in the sun after six years of build-up.