'X-Men: Dark Phoenix' trailer leaks online ahead of tonight's debut — causing further trouble for the superhero sequel

Tye Sheridan as Cyclops and Sophie Turner as Jean Grey in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse. (Photo: 20th Century Fox Film Corp./Courtesy Everett Collection)

The X-Men have been exceedingly lucrative for Fox over the past two decades: Including the two Deadpool adventures, the franchise’s 11 films have grossed a cumulative $2.36 billion at the domestic box office alone. And yet the latest series entry, next year’s Dark Phoenix, has so far endured a bumpy road to the big screen. The latest drama to befall the project, which is currently undergoing reshoots: a leaked trailer for the superhero sequel, which stars Game of Thrones’s Sophie Turner as the psychic mutant Jean Grey.

As first reported by CBR, the promo for Simon Kinberg’s installment — which will recount Jean Grey’s transformation into the combustible title character, a story that was first dramatized in 2006’s much-derided X-Men: The Last Stand — appears to have been shot with a cellphone camera from between two movie theater seats. The fact that the clip is in Russian means the footage presumably came from a recent Fox production presentation held in St. Petersburg, where the movie was dubbed “epic.”

The news comes as Turner revealed on Instagram that the official trailer, minus shaky cam and theater seats, will debut tonight on The Late Late Show With James Corden.

Although Fox declined to comment to Yahoo Entertainment on the legitimacy of the leaked trailer — which we won’t link to here but can be found in various online places — the clip appears to be legitimate. Partially narrated by Michael Fassbender’s Magneto, the preview features plentiful shots of the entire mutant team — including Professor X (James McAvoy), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), and Storm (Alexandra Shipp) — while also delivering glimpses of Jean Grey losing her parents in an auto accident, arriving at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, and eventually harnessing her unbridled fiery powers. There’s also, notably, a quick shot of new franchise participant Jessica Chastain in what remains an undisclosed role.

From left: Michael Fassbender, Caleb Landry Jones, James McAvoy, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, and Lucas Till in 2011’s X-Men: First Class. (Photo: Murray Close/20th Century Fox Film Corp./Courtesy Everett Collection)

The fact that Dark Phoenix’s trailer has debuted without Fox’s permission is merely another strange twist for the film. In March, the film’s release date was pushed back from Nov. 2 to Feb. 14, 2019 — suggesting that trouble was afoot. That notion was only exacerbated by a July rumor that the film had been altogether dropped from the studio’s release schedule, thanks to an erroneous report (quickly debunked) stating that it was missing from Fox’s “featured titles” website, as well as speculation that Disney, which has plans to integrate the X-Men into the Marvel Cinematic Universe following its acquisition of Fox, was ready to clear the mutant slate. 

All of this noise, coupled with the simultaneous delay of another X-Men project — The New Mutants, which is currently set for August 2019 — has cast something of a pall over the entire endeavor. And though Fox quickly shot down chatter that ongoing reshoots were going to stretch over three months — instead, the studio says it’ll take only two and a half weeks — it’s done little to quell online noise that the wannabe blockbuster may be on shaky ground.

While Fox has yet to publicly comment on the leak, fans on Reddit and Twitter seem generally positive about the trailer — despite its being only partially visible in the amateur video:

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Dark Phoenix is slated to arrive in theaters on Feb. 19, 2019.

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