After having its release date pushed back a few times, and having to reshoot the third act of the movie, Dark Phoenix finally arrived in theaters this weekend. The film had behind-the-scenes drama and a piece of the problem was in the film's original ending. The ending had to be reshot and it sounds like it was because it was too similar to two other Marvel releases, Captain America: Civil War and Captain Marvel.
The cast of Dark Phoenix has already shed some light on the film's original ending and that it had to be reshot because it was too similar to another superhero movie. Online detectives were quick to deduce that it had to be Captain Marvel, which also features a cosmically powered female lead learning to cope with massive powers. However, director Simon Kinberg has revealed that elements of Civil War were also in the equation.
My original ending didn’t have the entire X-Family together the way they are in the film now. More than Captain Marvel, you could see a lot of Civil War in that ending. Usually, these big, huge action movies have the climactic moment in the third act. I loved the way that Civil War had its big action set piece where everyone’s facing off more towards the end of the second act rather than in the third so that after that huge battle, you’re left with Winter Soldier, Captain America, and Iron Man.
As Simon Kinberg points out, the original ending of Dark Phoenix was going to be much more intimate and include only a small handful of characters. It also tore the X-Men apart over an ideological difference -- just like in Civil War with the Avengers.
That being said, the miscalculation here is that Civil War was built up over the course of several films with characters we knew and understood. Dark Phoenix is centered around Jean Grey, who was only in one other movie as a supporting character. We need to understand how these new X-Men relate to each other to have an ending as impactful as Civil War.
However, I don't think that could have been the reason the film was reshot. Civil War came out in May 2016 and Dark Phoenix didn't start filming until June 2017. Even if he did have a draft of the script complete when Civil War came out, Simon Kinberg had over a year for rewrites. On the other hand, maybe he didn't rewrite the ending, but it didn't score well with test audiences.
It’s this telescoped down view of their raw emotions, and I loved how intimate that was. That’s what I was going for with Dark Phoenix’s ending even though it then might have looked like Captain Marvel for about two minutes.
Simon Kinberg elaborates that when Jean releases her powers in one scene, it was visually similar to Captain Marvel, so they had to tone it down in reshoots. He also points out that those reshoots took place long before the public had even seen Captain Marvel.
Sometimes it's all about who does it first. You can decide for yourself if Dark Phoenix made the right changes if you see the film. Critics have not been kind, but the X-Men film earned a slightly higher Audience Score and a B- CinemaScore from polled moviegoers. The blockbuster is out in theaters right now.