After Dark Phoenix’s less than stellar weekend at the box office, X-Fans of all varieties are left disappointed for a number of reasons. Our own Hannah Lodge says the film “doesn’t have a particularly logical story, and the nameless, faceless villains don’t have a motive or reason to exist.” Those villains, as audience and fans alike are now well aware, are not the Skrulls, the third act antagonists of the original comic. We were all shocked when news started surfacing that the film’s climax would take place on a train rather than in space — and that original shoots actually included the Skrulls. Now that Dark Phoenix is out in the wild, cast and crew are beginning to open up about what happened to that first final act and how the new Dark Phoenix ending differs.
Tye Sheridan, Dark Phoenix’s Cyclops, confirmed the aliens’ appearance in an interview, saying they were wiped out in reshoots. Though it’s not uncommon to rebuff portions of a movie like this, Sheridan says it’s difficult to remember the original Dark Phoenix ending, signaling how messy these shoots were in particular. In the original ending, the actor remembers Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) fighting off Skrulls disguised as humans at the U.N. She defeats them, says goodbye to Cyclops and Xavier and “then blasts back off into space.” Sheridan isn’t sure himself why the changes were made, but he speculates that fans wanted an ending that brought the entire cast together rather than a select few.
The Hollywood Reporter seems to agree with that sentiment. After Age of Apocalypse, the predecessor to Dark Phoenix, execs surmised that audiences wanted less explosion and scale and more character work. That original Skrulls ending, which seems to have only included three major characters, would be a major divergence from the comics, which gives every team member a moment alone to consider their friend’s transformation into the Phoenix. As we now know, though, even the adjusted ending failed to satisfy.
Of course, that doesn’t stop anyone from wanting to see the first plan. When Sheridan was asked whether we’ll ever see the story’s original ending, said he has no idea. When it comes to reshoots, he says, “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.”
Nail it they did not – but that’s alright. Like any other franchise, and like the Phoenix herself, the X-Men will undoubtedly be back under the Disney banner, swept into the Marvel cinematic universe. For more on Sheridan’s thoughts about Dark Phoenix, check out our interview with him and Turner at WonderCon ’19, below.
Josh is a writer who likes to enjoy things. While watching or reading, he mumbles “this is so good,” sometimes emphasizing the ‘so.’