Warning: spoilers for Dark Phoenix are in play. If you haven't seen the film yet, bookmark this story and come back once you've caught up.
Like major theme parks, motion pictures tend to have a fair amount of issues they need to work out before they’re running smoothly. And one of the ways a big film like Dark Phoenix tends to deal with such hurdles is through the time honored tradition of reshoots!
Surely we’ve all heard about the extensive reshoots that director Simon Kinberg went through to make this final chapter in the X-Men franchise particularly special, but we had no real idea what had changed in the process. That was, until a recent discussion between our ReelBlend podcast and Dark Phoenix star Tye Sheridan provided some pretty keen insight into what exactly happened.
With a final battle that originally took place at the U.N., and saw Jean Grey taking on a bunch of Skrulls that were hiding out on Earth, Sheridan painted a pretty intense picture as to what we would have seen in that original ending. And with some handy sleuthing, we’ve actually found images from that discarded Dark Phoenix finale, sitting right there in the original teaser trailer for the film that was released last September!
Here now are five shots that we saw in that first look at the X-Men finale that are NOT in the \finished movie, and what they look to contain:
The first shot from the Dark Phoenix trailer that looks to have been canned is this image of Tye Sheridan’s Cyclops wandering through a cloud of dust. You can find it at the 01:26 mark, and this moment looks like it’s part of the aftermath of the U.N. attack, or at least a portion of said attack.
Some suited figures are also in the gloomy looking scene, leaving us to believe these may or may not be humans spared by the huge Skrull throwdown.
Between 01:35 and 01:37, you’ll find both the shot above and below this paragraph in the aforementioned teaser for Dark Phoenix. What’s most interesting about these two images are they’re directly referenced by Sheridan in his description of the original finale.
Scott and Jean look to be in a fountain, with Scott already wet post-Skrull toss, and Jean looks to have made her decision to say her goodbyes and take off into space.
The second shot, shown in consecutive order, sees the tearful Jean in the fountain outside of the United Nations with Scott. He cups her face in his hand, and it looks like we would have gotten one hell of a heartbreaker in this original shot.
But of course, Scott’s not the only one whose heart was broken in Dark Phoenix, as we see in an image with everyone’s favorite electromagnetic heartthrob, Michael Fassbender’s Magneto.
Bracing himself against a structure at about 01:38 in the teaser trailer, we see Fassbender in a moment of true upset, shedding a tear presumably after learning about the death of Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique. Or maybe the departure of Jean Grey from this Earth? We're not sure.
With the news being brought to him by Nicholas Hoult’s Beast, Dark Phoenix sees this moment happening on a sunnier day at Magneto’s compound, but it looks like there was an alternate take on that scene with the two possibly meeting under more overcast circumstances.
Our last missing shot from Dark Phoenix doesn’t show any of the X-Men, however it does show what looks like Brian D’Arcy James’ President of the United States being escorted through the U.N. Or, at least, what parts of it are still standing as the battle between Jean Grey and the Skrulls rages on.
With Dark Phoenix switching its ending to the action sequence involving the X-Men fighting the D’bari on the Mutant Containment Unit train, there is a missed opportunity for the X-Men franchise to have tied into the Marvel Cinematic Universe proper. While they may have thought their ending was too similar to that of Captain Marvel, the original finale would have left hope for the current run of X-Men films to mean something outside of historical value.
But with the film’s lackluster opening, and the franchise hitting some patches of troubled history starting with X-Men: Apocalypse, it’s pretty clear that Dark Phoenix is the end of the X-Men as we know it. And Disney feels fine with that, as there’s obviously a chance for them to return to this property with a third fresh reboot.
Much like World War Z and Suicide Squad in the past, Dark Phoenix fought its battles valiantly and publicly. And while we found a radically changed product making its way to the big screen, it’s always intriguing to see what might have been through those scraps that made it into the marketing campaigns of such blockbusters.