'X-Men' producer hints at 'cosmic' direction for 'Dark Phoenix'

The next installment in the X-Men saga could see the team's current big-screen incarnation embracing the far-out side of its comics source material.

For years, it was commonly held wisdom that in order for comic book adaptations to succeed in theaters, they had to stay grounded—either by sticking with more street-level heroes like Spider-Man, or by embracing the darker, grittier aspects of characters like Batman. But as the Marvel Cinematic Universe has repeatedly proven—and the X-Men franchise recently demonstrated with Deadpool and Logan—film fans are ready for all sorts of variations on the same old superhero themes, and it's left X-Men producer Hutch Parker feeling fairly emboldened.

Parker admitted as much in a recent interview with IGN, saying he doesn't believe "there's any territory that's out of bounds" when it comes to comics movies—a perspective that could have a major impact on the way the next installment in his series' saga, 2018's X-Men: Dark Phoenix, addresses its story. As longtime readers are aware, the Phoenix Force is a destructive entity in the Marvel Universe that periodically inhabits host bodies, inevitably corrupting them in the process. X-Men member Jean Grey has repeatedly proven a powerful lure for the Phoenix, and at one point in the comics, it killed her—a story we previously saw unfold in the much-maligned X3: The Last Stand.

Speaking with ScreenRant, Parker laughed that it was "certainly a possibility" that Dark Phoenix could send the series in what the site referred to as a "cosmic" direction, and while he refrained from offering specifics, he doubled down on the idea that the future is wide open, thematically speaking, for all comics-derived franchises.

"We're very aware of the challenge that those movies pose and what it sort of demands of us as storytellers mining … one of the great comic runs in the Dark Phoenix Saga," added Parker. "Our hope and expectation is to try and do something that feels different, that takes the audience into a different tone and a different sense of cinematic style that is appropriately suited to the story we're telling."

X-Men: Dark Phoenix arrives Nov. 2 next year, and is already on our list of movies that are going to blow everyone away in 2018.