It has been well reported that Simon Kinberg’s Dark Phoenix underwent some reshoots that drastically changed the movie’s ending. The director himself told us during the London press junket that he made these changes to aim for a more grounded and team-focused conclusion. Other outlets have reported that the change was to make sure that Dark Phoenix wasn’t too similar to Captain Marvel and other comic-book movies that reached theaters before it.
But what, exactly, happened in this original ending, before the reshoots moved the combustible conclusion to the inside of a moving train? Tye Sheridan, who plays Cyclops in the new X-Men movie, was a guest on the ReelBlend podcast. He opened up about the filming of the X-Men sequel, and shared some very specific details about the original ending, which they shot before having to re-do the action.
According to Sheridan, the final battle was going to take place at the United Nations in New York City. We’d assume that the team would go there after confronting Jean on the streets of New York where she was with Jessica Chastain’s character, Vuk. That sequence remains in the final cut, but from there, the X-Men are detained and transported on a train to a larger holding facility. Only, that was the reshoot. According to Sheridan:
It's really hard for me to remember what the ending of this movie is. [laughs] Originally, it was scripted that Charles and Scott go to the U.N. because -- man, I'm totally going to mess this up -- they go to the U.N. because they're going to try to tell the President that, ‘Hey, we're under attack by aliens and, they’ve now captured Jean Grey.’ Or, you know, whatever it is that we're going to tell him.
And then Jean comes down in the front of the U.N., and causes… there is this huge battle between the guards at the U.N. and Jean Grey, and all the guards turn out to be Skrulls. And then Jean and Scott are -- Scott is fighting Skrulls in the fountain. He gets thrown into the fountain in front of the U.N. And then Jean comes down and basically fights all of the Skrulls off, and then blasts back off into space. [She] basically says goodbye to Scott and Charles. And then it's all over, I guess.
Skrulls? Yeah, that makes a hell of a lot more sense now. Jessica Chastain’s alien life forms in Dark Phoenix were mysterious, identified as the D’Bari in a subtitle shown early in the film. In the Dark Phoenix comics, the D’Bari had their home planet destroyed by the Phoenix force, but they didn’t play a larger part in the story beyond that.
The Skrulls, meanwhile, often clashed with the X-Men in the pages of the Marvel Comics, and it would make sense why Simon Kinberg would want to introduce the shape-shifting aliens in Dark Phoenix. And yet, Captain Marvel made significant use of the Skrulls, so I could also see Marvel President Kevin Feige telling Kinberg to change his aliens from Skrulls to D’Bari to avoid confusion.
Now the question becomes, will we ever see this original ending as part of maybe a director’s cut home video release? Tye Sheridan isn’t sure, but from what he told the ReelBlend hosts, they for sure shot an official version of the sequence, so it’s finished somewhere.
Oh man, good question. We shot that [sequence] like two or three times, actually. … But I mean, it's part of the process, man. You never know. Something could read so great on the page, and then the second you put it on a screen in front of someone, it becomes something else. It's really hard to figure out, you know, what the best version of a movie is. And also, specifically, the ending of a film. The ending of a film is really hard to nail. And obviously these films set up a formula where you kind of want to see, you know, there's always a big battle at the end. For the X-Men, you kind of want to see them united together at the end. So that was, I think that was what led to the reshoots, and I could be totally wrong. … But yeah, that's my 2 cents there.
Release the Kinberg cut! I'm kidding. Dark Phoenix ended up in a difficult spot. It started production long before Disney officially took over Fox. And the way that it concluded, it appeared that they wanted to creatively leave a door open to tell more X-Men stories with these actors. But because of the behind the scenes dealings, this iteration of the X-Men ended here, and fans kind of chose not to see the culmination of the 12-film saga.
Dark Phoenix opened to a lackluster $33 million over the weekend, losing out on the top spot at the box office to The Secret Life of Pets 2. An original ending wasn’t going to help Dark Phoenix. It merely feels like audiences are ready for these characters to slide over into the MCU, which likely won’t happen for a few years. But it is interesting to hear from Tye Sheridan what he remembers filming as part of his original Dark Phoenix shoot.
To listen to part of Sheridan’s interview on the ReelBlend podcast, press play on the player below. This is the non-spoiler bit of the conversation. We will have more spoiler talk from Sheridan later in the week, but we really just wanted to get this part of the conversation out, for curious X-Men and Marvel fans.
What will be next for the X-Men franchise? They’ll likely go on the shelf for a while. Marvel Studios probably has its slate of Phase Four movies mapped out. And even if one of the newly acquired Fox properties were to transition to the big screen as part of the MCU, my personal guess would be The Fantastic Four. There even have been a few rumors that the FF could be headed to theaters by 2021, though nothing has been confirmed by Marvel as of yet.
The next official MCU movie will be Sony and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, which drops in theaters on July 2. As for the X-Men, Dark Phoenix is in theaters as we speak, so check it out, if you haven’t yet already.