The X-Men film franchise is the longest running #superhero franchise of all of them. It outdates both the #dceu and #mcu by several years. The X-Men have introduced audiences to a multitude of the mutant powered superheroes in their fight for equality. This fundamental point behind the X-Men has always made it a popular title outside of the movies, due to how it would look at how society reject people simply for being born a certain way. When it started it was even Marvel's quiet protest against the racist treatment from white people at the time. This underlining message has been adapted over the decades and Marvel have never been afraid to use the X-Men to look at the ugliest parts of humanity.
#xmenapocalypse finally showed fans a long awaited entity from the X-Men comics is finally going to be done properly in the movies, the Phoenix Force. Jean Grey is set to become Phoenix, even more exciting, and her path to becoming Dark Phoenix. Chris Cleamont, the man who wrote the original Dark Phoenix Saga, has already had his iconic character destroyed in the films. But, Fox have stated that X-Men: Dark Phoenix will be a much closer recreation to the #comicbook storyline.
This means we won't be getting the poor attempt of the Dark Phoenix created for X-Men: Last Stand (thank you X-Men: Days of Futures Past for undoing that mess), but instead the true cosmic entity she is. The closer adaptation does seem to be confirmed as Jessica Chastain has been cast as the Empress Lillandra of the Shi'ar Empire who will play a pivotal role in the fate of Jean Grey and the X-Men. However, Fox may have created themselves a problem in X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Futures Past.
The Hellfire Club Hits A Problem
The Hellfire Club are instrumental in Jean Grey succumbing to the power of the Phoenix Force and triggers her transformation into the evil Dark Phoenix. The Hellfire Club member Mastermind plots to make Jean his wife and the new Black Queen of the club. Using his abilities he makes her believe she is her ancestor, Lady Grey, and he is her husband. All goes according to the Hellfire Club's plan, until the X-Men arrive. But the Hellfire Club's plan may already have a problem before the movie is even made.
I am sure you need no reminding of how the Hellfire Club, ran by Sebastian Shaw, faced the newly created team of X-Men in X-Men: First Class. By the films conclusion, Magento killed Shaw and the remaining members fled the battle with Magneto as their new leader. During X-Men: Days of Futures Past, Mystique discovers files that reveals that the remaining members Emma Frost, Azazel and Angel were all capture, experimented on and killed by Trask. This is where Fox may have an issue in creating a true adaptation of the Dark Phoenix Saga.
During the Dark Phoenix Saga Sabastian Shaw is the Black King and leader of the group, while Emma Frost is the White Queen of the Hellfire Club. With the pair already killed off in the film franchise, Fox may have to look at the large roster of Hellfire Club members that not only would work in replacing them, but would also fill the void in the plot of the story left by the pair.
What Can They Do To Fix This?
While they could just simply come back to life, much like a comic book character does, it is highly unlikely for that to happen in the films. The Hellfire Club has had numerous incarnations throughout the comics and the primary character required for the film, Mastermind, has not appeared in the film series yet. Riptide from X-Men: First Class was also not listed among the deceased mutants, meaning he could also return. A potential replacement for Emma Frost lays in the mutant Sage.
Sage served as the Black Queen for the Hellfire Club and later became a member of the X-Men. She is a perfect choice to replace Emma as she is also a telepath. While she is not on the level of Emma, let alone Xavier, it fills the gap left by the White Queen from the Dark Phoenix Saga. Also, while her mental abilities are weaker than Emma's she does have a superhuman ability for processing information, including a perfect memory and data analysis. They could even include her ability to 'jumpstart' latent mutant powers to aid them in awakening the Phoenix completely from within Jean Grey.
A potential replacement for Sebastian Shaw would be Donald Pierce. Donald is a cyborg, oh yeah I know he already sounds cool. He has been both the White Bishop and the White King of the Hellfire Club. His superhuman strength and reflexes may not be as deadly as Sebastian's absorption powers, but all they need is a character that can hold out in a fight. He also has an ability to create multiple types of energy that he can use for multiple purposes and a mechanical genius intellect. All of this makes him perfect to provide the pure power in the battle against the X-Men once the Hellfire Club's plans begin to crumble around them.
Another Option For Fox Is...
While both Sage and Donald are not Sebastian or Emma, they are both capable of filling a void left with the character's deaths in the films. However, their is another pair that could potentially replace them and not require any new casting, Magneto and Psylocke.
Magneto took control of the Hellfire Club at the end of X-Men: First Class and left after Trask had killed many of his friends and fellow mutants to experiment on. Given how Magneto always seems to find himself going down the darker path than Xavier, Magneto could find himself as the Black King once again. His mutant abilities have always been able to give the X-Men issues in battle, and it is the best way to include Magneto in the Dark Phoenix Saga, as he does not play a role in the comicbook counterpart of the story.
Psylocke could be a good choice to replace Emma, as in the comics she inherited membership to the Hellfire Club from her father. In X-Men: Apocalypse she was completely devoted to her new master, Apocalypse, and witnessed his demise at the hands of not only the X-Men but Phoenix herself. With this resentment and being in limbo as far of allegiances go, perhaps Psylocke will be the one leading the Hellfire Club to turn Jean Grey into Dark Phoenix.
Why They Need To Include The Hellfire Club
Not only does the group trigger Jean's fall into the darkness, it is also during this time the X-Men meet a long awaited mutant to appear in the film franchise, Dazzler.
Dazzler has in a way had a cameo in the franchise, all be it through an album cover, but does this mean she will be meeting the X-Men in their next adventure? During the Dark Phoenix Saga Dazzler meets the X-Men during a conflict between the X-Men and the Hellfire Club. This prompts the singer to start using her mutant ability to convert sound into light beams of various forms and intensity to fight evil. If the Hellfire Club is included in the film, it does mean we should meet Dazzler at long last and she could become a member of the team in the film to follow X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
Why Hellfire Needs To Reign In X-Men: Dark Phoenix
As you can see, the Hellfire club is essentially the catalyst that triggers Jean Grey to become the all-powerful Dark Phoenix. It is a moment from the comics that changed everything, old friends became enemies, new allies were formed and the X-Men were pulled into the outer reaches of space. For Chris Claremont's Dark Phoenix Saga to be adapted properly the Hellfire Club must appear in the film. But with two of the required members already dead, it will be a different type of Hellfire than seen in the comics.