While it sounds like Jean Grey was always going to take Vuk into outer space in order to destroy her, Tye Sheridan (Cyclops) has talked in detail about how an earlier version got to that point and it would have involved a battle at the UN which would have included the Skrulls and not the D’Bari.
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.”
It’s hard to say whether that’s a better ending or not. It certainly would have been smaller in scale but we’ve heard that test audiences weren’t keen on it as they wanted to see the entire team in action, not just Professor X and Cyclops.
The fact the D’Bari were once Skrulls also makes sense and had Dark Phoenix been released last November as planned (and the Disney/Fox merger hadn’t happened), they more than likely would have remained that way as Fox would have beaten Marvel Studios and Captain Marvel to using them.
What do you guys think?
Hit the “View List” button for a look at what went wrong with
Dark Phoenix and the scenes in the trailers missing from the movie!
X-Men: Apocalypse Fallout
X-Men: Apocalypse was something of a black eye for the franchise as it was mauled by critics and underperformed at the box office. It had its moments, but a weak story and a repeat of the same old mistakes was what hurt it and not the increased action (which was actually a welcome addition to the series).
Well, confused Fox execs didn’t agree, as one insider reveals that they believed the movie’s failure boiled down to too many explosions and a larger scale, not franchise fatigue. “There was a misguided feeling that [Apocalypse] was an anomaly, that we just got it wrong,” they reveal. “We were wrong.”
As a result, the decision was made to greatly scale things back on Dark Phoenix…
Why Simon Kinberg Ended Up In The Director’s Chair
You may be wondering why Simon Kinberg was chosen to take the helm of Dark Phoenix when he had no prior directorial experience. Well, it turns out that he actually won the cast over while being forced to fill in for an M.I.A. Bryan Singer on both X-Men: Days of Future Past and Apocalypse.
Despite their contracts being up with that latter movie, the cast had enough faith in Kinberg that they agreed to come back for at least one more outing. Unfortunately, that backfired.
Those Reshoots May Not Be A Big Deal
Dark Phoenix actually started shooting at the end of June 2017 and wrapped in October. However, due to the busy schedules of the A-List cast, reshoots couldn’t take place until a year later, hence why it suffered that first delay. Additional photography lasted for less than a month, with two weeks of principal shooting and three weeks of second unit, happening concurrently.
X-Men: First Class reportedly had even more reshoots than Dark Phoenix because shooting finished with a third act that was only half finished. That ended up being a hit, but it seems word of this movie’s reshoots leaking online and a story that it may have been beyond saving (more on that later) were the real cause of a) the negative buzz and b) why the end result was so disappointing.
James Cameron Forces A Release Date Change
Just two days after a new trailer was released touting Dark Phoenix‘s February 14th release date, Fox announced that it had been pushed back to June. This led to widespread ridicule and was another blow to a movie that had little to no positive buzz surrounding it at this point in time.
Well, it’s now been revealed that the move came as a result of James Cameron (a valuable asset to Fox) pushing for Alita: Battle Angel to be moved from a crowded December to that February slot in order to give it a better chance of success. Despite pleas from Kinberg, producer Hutch Parker, and Fox’s Emma Watts not to do it, Stacey Snider gave in to the filmmaker’s demands.
Why was it important to them that this not happen? Well, Dark Phoenix was not meant to be a summer movie and “designed to be an anti-Apocalypse, to have less spectacle and scale. Big for off-season, too small for summer.”
A Dismal Marketing Campaign
With the Disney/Fox merger in full swing, marketing and publicity and distribution execs at Fox were either being let go or worried about losing their jobs. As a result, no one was quite sure how to market Dark Phoenix, hence why the campaign ended up being such an underwhelming mess.
“The campaign was muddled,” says a former Fox executive. “Was this the final X-Men movie? Was it about a character going back? This movie just got lost.” Another adds that, “If the merger didn’t happen, some of these people would be worried about their jobs. If the merger didn’t happen, people would be clamoring for Fox to do what Sony did with Spider-Man and ask for Marvel’s help.”
A Lack Of Interest From Fans
Dark Phoenix has made headlines for flopping at the box office, earning a paltry $33 million during its opening weekend (and becoming the first X-Men movie not to debut at #1).
While those negative reviews won’t have helped, an NRG tracking pill in May reportedly revealed that Avengers: Endgame was rated as a higher choie for moviegoers…after it had been playing in theaters for five weeks. “Definite awareness never got a score over 75 on tracking,” says one insider. “An X-Men movie had never been below 90.”
“When definite awareness of Rocketman is higher than an X-Men movie,” another adds, “you know you’re in strange territory.”
Lauren Shuler Donner’s Tweet
Over the weekend, longtime X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner sent out a Tweet in which she disowned Dark Phoenix and made it clear that she had nothing to do with Apocalypse or The New Mutants, either. That’s all true, but there’s still a little more to this story than meets the eye.
After “creative differences” on Days of Future Past, she actually left the franchise altogether and has had nothing to do with the likes of Deadpool, Logan, or Deadpool 2 either. The only reason she received a producer credit on those is down to some pretty generous contract terms, so it’s no wonder that her big plans for Gambit never ended up coming to fruition in recent years.
The Future Of The X-Men
On the plus side, the future of the X-Men is still looking bright and the belief in Hollywood now is that Marvel Studios can do no wrong, as they will be credited with “saving” the franchise whatever happens next. However, one producer notes that “There is no rush to bring the X-Men to the marketplace after this,” and it does seem as if they’re going to sit on the property for a while.
After all, while the characters will return, there needs to be some space between Dark Phoenix and whatever comes next to ensure that moviegoers aren’t left with too bad of a taste in their mouths.
A Massive Loss
Just how dire are things for Dark Phoenix?
Well, while the movie may have debuted at #1 at the worldwide box office with $140 million, that’s still quite a drop from past instalments like Days of Future Past ($262.9 million) and even Apocalypse ($166.6 million). Now, finance experts believe that the movie will ultimately lose upwards of $100 million – $120 million after the budget ballooned to upwards of $350 million!
Ultimately, it’s expected to make $300 million – $325 million by the end of its run, with one analyst noting that “If it drops like a stone, $285M. Don’t forget it was a holiday in China, and even that was pretty low ($45.7M).”
A Scrapped Two-Parter
Confirming recent reports that Dark Phoenix was originally meant to be two movies, it’s said that Fox changed its mind late in the pre-production stage and Kinberg accommodated them by scaling it down to a single film and rewriting the screenplay. Unfortunately, the testing process was a problem from the start and that is what led to those reshoots and the entire third act being changed.
Apparently, one version of the movie that wasn’t well-received saw Jean Grey die, and what was supposed to be an intimate ending with Jean Grey, Scott Summers, and Professor X in a battle with Vuk was scrapped because the feeling from audiences in testing was that they wanted to see the X-Men in action. So, yes, scaling things back obviously proved to be a major mistake on Fox’s part.
An Inexperienced Filmmaker
Kinberg obviously got to take a shot at directing by filling in for Singer, but he’s still far from a seasoned filmmaker. While he reportedly did get to make the movie he wanted before reshoots completely reshaped it, Fox seemingly didn’t keep a very close eye on him and by the time they decided to, it was too late (they can’t have been happy about him doing rewrites on a daily basis).
It is, however, said that reports of Dark Phoenix‘s conclusion being too similar to Captain Marvel are incorrect because no one at Fox knew what was coming beyond what they saw in the trailers.
This is crazy.
Apparently, some marketing execs weren’t even aware that Dark Phoenix‘s release date was changed and had no idea that it was debuting opposite The Secret Life of Pets 2. “They never brought it up in meetings that we were on the same date,” one baffled insider reveals.
Another bashed the marketing materials used: “Sophie Turner is a beautiful actress, and they never showed that in any of the marketing materials. Instead, they made her look like a zombie.”
Continue reading below to check out 10 scenes
from Dark Phoenix missing from the trailers!
A Covert Meeting
Well, it seems as if the meeting between these two was originally going to take place in a location a little more exciting than a car park! Bear in mind that the Phoenix is viewed as a God-like being, and with reports claiming that Chastain was named Lilandra in an earlier cut, it looks like Kinberg originally planned to lean into those religious undertones a little more heavily.
There’s no way of knowing why this was cut, but if this was indeed their first meeting or even just a random rendezvous, it clearly couldn’t be salvaged for the final version of Dark Phoenix.
There’s a shot in the teaser trailer of Hank McCoy walking up a hill, and it seems pretty obvious that he’s visiting Mystique’s grave. This must have played into why he ultimately chooses to team up with Magneto and it would have benefited the movie to focus more on the fallout from her demise.
While it obviously sets up the entire third act, an argument could be made that Raven is mostly forgotten about until that awkward moment Hank looks at a promotional photo of her on his desk.
“You didn’t come here looking for answers…you came here looking for permission.”
That’s what Magneto says to Jean in the trailer, and she looks positively evil during this moody sequence. While these two do have a conversation on Genosha, it mostly revolves around him trying to find out where the blood on her shirt has come from and not whatever is going on in this earlier version.
It seems as if Jean originally went there looking for Erik’s “permission” to unleash her powers and presumably battle the X-Men, attack the humans, or something equally as sinister.
Carnage At The United Nations
We’ve heard from a number of reliable outlets that Dark Phoenix‘s final act would have taken place as the United Nations came under attack from the D’Bari (originally meant to be the Skrulls). We would have then had a much smaller final act involving Jean, Cyclops, Professor X, and Vuk.
Well, there are a number of action shots in the teaser trailer that were quite clearly from this battle, and it’s crazy to think that all of this is sitting on the cutting room floor and that Fox spent a considerable amount of money on that train sequence. Somehow, a “Kinberg Cut” seems unlikley.
An Emotional Farewell?
Scott Summers spends the vast majority of Dark Phoenix trying to track Jean down, but we never get to see them have any sort of emotional reunion. He protects her on the train and watches on as she battles Vuk, but her final act is to give Professor X a nod and she doesn’t even look Cyclops’ way!
That wasn’t always going to be the case, though, and here we get to see Scott seemingly trying to talk his girlfriend down or simply tell her how much he loves her before she powers up as Phoenix.
A Split Personality
After inadvertently killing Mystique, Jean does sit in the rain crying and talking to herself, but one trailer featured her seemingly talking to the Phoenix as she asks, “Why did you make me do that?”
This appears to be a pretty strong indication that an earlier version of Dark Phoenix would have treated this power as a separate entity that Jean was battling with for control of her body. Perhaps that was just too similar to X-Men: The Last Stand, as it’s basically just a superpower in this movie rather than a living force which uses its host to unleash its devastating abilities.
Cyclops Vs. Professor X
There’s a lot of dialogue in all the movie’s trailers that’s absent from Dark Phoenix, but this was arguably the most noteworthy. In a scene hard to place in the version we got, Cyclops argues with Charles Xavier in Cerebro before the team’s leader admits that he simply doesn’t know what to do.
Professor X is surely referring to Jean here and this may be an indication that she was really set to go off the deep end and do some terrible things (there are also hints in the trailers that Vuk would have manipulated her into destroying the team). Reports about the final act focusing on Charles, Scott, and Jean must be accurate, and this tension could explain why Scott renames the school.
X-Mansion In Ruins
There are a few different shots of Professor X wearing this white shirt and looking worse for wear, but him wheeling himself around what appears to be an abandoned X-Mansion is very interesting indeed. Could it be that an earlier version of the movie would have ended with the team disbanding and him left alone? His chair was destroyed by Jean in the final act and that looks like a regular one.
With that in mind, this probably was from near the original version’s conclusion, and while it would have been a somewhat dark ending for Charles, it would also be pretty fitting after his actions and could have even set him up as a villain in a sequel we’ll now never get to see (thankfully).
The New Brotherhood?
This is actually an official still rather than a shot from the trailers, but it’s still worth discussing. Magneto looks badly beaten up here so this must be after Jean crushed his helmet while he was still wearing it. It seems as if he’s wheelchair bound and flanked not only by his Brotherhood, but X-Men members Nightcrawler, Storm, and Beast.
Were they going to leave the X-Men and join up with the Master of Magnetism, or was this simply from the final act as Storm and Nightcrawler also decided to take a stand against Jean at the UN? We’ll now never know, but there’s clearly a considerably different version of the film out there despite what some recent reports have said.
Jean Grey Powers Up
As you’ll no doubt recall, this was the first official image released by Fox via Entertainment Weekly. No matter how fans felt about the movie at the time, there was no denying how impressive this looked, and the first time Dark Phoenix was delayed, it was put down to these effects needing to be finished.
Well, this must have been too expensive or too close to Captain Marvel ,because the version of Jean we got looked nothing like this. Instead, there were just some cracks on her face and some cloud-like energy around her when she powered up. Perhaps Fox just misled us with these photos, but something tells us that this take on the titular character was scrapped due to those reshoots.
Did you guys notice any scenes missing from the trailers we haven’t covered here? How different do you think the original cut might have been? Let us know in the comments section below.