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The Marvel is ready to launch Civil War hooker!

Let’s start with Dark Phoenix. By the time it came to make the 12th film in the series, the X-Men franchise was in a bind. The character audiences most connected with, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, had been put out to pasture with 2017’s Logan, and 2014’s Days of Future Past had already wrung most of the nostalgia from the original early-aughts trilogy. That film’s predecessor, First Class, had introduced a new generation of X-Men, but the McAvoy-Fassbender-Lawrence core never hooked viewers like their predecessors did, and by 2016’s Apocalypse, affection for the new edition was running dry.

(Judging by their visibly bored expressions, some in the cast seemed to return the sentiment.) That film had tried to get around this sense of exhaustion by introducing a third generation of mutants, headlined by Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey, that would carry the franchise into the future.

But if there was any movie that could launch a new line of heroes, it was not Apocalypse, which among its many issues gave the youngsters so little screen time that Jubilee, played by future rom-com star Lana Condor, spoke a whopping four lines. Three years later, Dark Phoenix arrived with a dual mandate — saying good-bye to a group of characters audiences scarcely cared about, while also investing them in the downfall of Turner’s Grey, a character they had not yet been given a chance to care about. It would be like if Marvel had made Captain America: Civil War before The Avengers.

Even by this late date, the X-Men retain some juice as a concept; fans can’t stop themselves from speculating how they’ll eventually be folded into the MCU. It’s possible that, had Dark Phoenix had a clearer vision, and not been plagued by as many production issues, things might have worked out differently. I’m not sure you can say the same thing about

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