Over the past 19 years, one of Stan Lee’s greatest comicbook franchises has been brought to life in the form of various X-Men films. This was a group of characters that Stan always held dear, so it was an honor for #TeamStan to be able to attend the Los Angeles premiere of X-Men: Dark Phoenix and help celebrate the movie.
The final film in the concurrent X-Men timeline had its world premiere last week, and it’s safe to say that Dark Phoenix and the rest of the mutants took over Hollywood for the affair. Instead of the traditional red carpet, press and fans gathered on a giant X in the courtyard of the historic TCL Chinese Theatre to meet the cast of Dark Phoenix as well as some of the veteran X-Men cast members and writers. The entrance to the theater was transformed into a giant Cerebro, complete with circular metal doors and an elevated walkway which the stars posed on.
In addition to the cast of Dark Phoenix, consisting of Sophie Turner, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ty Sheridan, and Jessica Chastain, some other familiar faces walked down the grey carpet as well. The original Jean Grey herself, Famke Janssen, came to show her support for the new class of mutants, as well as Shawn Ashmore, who played Bobby Drake, aka Iceman, in several of the previous films.
Before the cast filed into the theater to watch the movie, legendary Marvel writer Chris Claremont, co-creator of the original Dark Phoenix comicbook arc, said a few words, starting with a tribute to the team that started it all: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
“I want to give a special thanks to Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. And I bet they’re watching and… I hope they like it,” Claremont said over thunderous applause.
Director Simon Kinberg then introduced the star-studded cast as he announced that June 5, the day of the premiere, had been officially declared “Dark Phoenix Day” by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. The cast cheered as they posed for one last group shot before everyone went inside to watch their final film together.
Kinberg was quick to acknowledge how greatly Stan influenced him over the years, saying: “He had such an impact on my life and career. Even before I met him, he meant so much to me, and I am so grateful to have worked with him. Such a positive, creative force.”
Michael Fassbender also spoke about Stan’s visits to the X-Men sets over the past nine years. “It was always such a treat when he came to the set,” Fassbender said. “He was such a sweet man; we all loved seeing him so much.”
Inside the theater, as the film ended and the credits rolled, one of the first names to appear was Stan’s Executive Producer credit, and cheers were heard throughout the Chinese Theater when his name flashed upon the screen.
The Dark Phoenix after party continued the celebration of the entire X-Men franchise, complete with costumes and props from the last three films, including various helmets worn by Magneto, Charles Xavier’s wheelchair, Mystique’s X-Men suit, and more. The doors to the Roosevelt Hotel were transformed into giant, circular Cerebro doors as well, so everyone could be a class four psychic mutant for the night like Charles Xavier. Not to mention, a custom gif-photobooth allowed guests to practice their mutant fighting poses after seeing the movie.
It’s a new era in the Marvel film universe without Stan, but it is a testament to his legacy and impact on pop culture as millions of fans continue to devote themselves to these characters that were created so long ago. Things may be changing for the X-Men film franchise going forward with Disney/Marvel Studios taking these “merry mutants” under their wing, but the resonance the characters have for their audience will always remain strong, as it did during the world premiere of Dark Phoenix.