What X-Men 3 Could Have Been

Published 5 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:26 pm,

x men 4 3 phoenix What X Men 3 Could Have Been

Mike Dougherty, director of the long-delayed and mistreated Trick ‘r Treat and co-writer of X-Men 2 joined the /Filmcast over the weekend and in their special “After Dark” segment, where they talk about whatever’s on their mind, their conversation hit on the interesting subject of X-Men 3, for which Dougherty and Singer were not a part of, but would have been had Singer not swung over to DC to make Superman Returns (for which Dougherty helped write).

In the audio clip, Dave Chen, Adam Quigley and Devindra Hardawar bring up the subject the X3 and quiz Dougherty on his thoughts of the movie, for which he answered reservedly and professionally. The interesting parts however, came afterward, when Dougherty moved on to explain some of the ideas he pitched to Bryan Singer for what of been their version of the third installment of the X-Men film franchise.

To start, we’ll go through some parts of the conversation, transcribed by Alex Billington of First Showing.

When questioned about what his and Singer’s ideas were for X-Men 3, Dougherty revealed some parts (that he was allowed to – he doesn’t want any angry calls from Bryan and these ideas could still be used down the road…) that he could remember from what he pitched as story elements.

“The idea – you open up with Alkali Lake but it’s completely barren and dried up and there are these odd reports of strange phenomena going on around the world accompanied by bright lights in the sky.”

“The idea would be that both the X-Men and the Brotherhood realize that essentially a very god-like force had entered their reality and that it was causing disruptions around the world – mutant prisons being decimated. I had pitched an idea about a fleet of cargo ships getting torn apart in the Atlantic and you found out that they were shuttling mutants as slave labor.”

“So basically you found out was that Phoenix was going round the world taking things into her own hands and that she had basically returned as a god, which they did touch upon in X3. She had viewed herself as above the conflict, that she was here to end things on her terms, she was basically sick of the fighting and she was going to take things into her own hands and she didn’t give a shit what the X-Men or the Brotherhood had to say about it.”

These few simple sentences are already a step up from how the ever-important Phoenix Saga was treated on screen in Brett Ratner’s adaptation. In X3: The Last Stand, The Phoenix character was resigned to standing and staring blankly in a red dress… that’s it. Every scene, she stands, stares and sometimes destruction surrounds her when she’s angry (and staring). There was no character, no purpose, just the under-utilized idea that she was all-powerful which never showed through and really didn’t have a plot.

Was X3 about Phoenix or about a cure to the mutation? It didn’t do either well, and neither storyline served its purpose fully.

In Dougherty’s version, he goes on to explain that in the end of his version Phoneix/Jean doesn’t get stabbed and die again but instead, chooses to leave. It gets better though as he continues to share his idea of the Cyclops we all know and love, the leader that should have been.

Click to continue reading ‘What X-Men 3 Could Have Been’

« 1 2»

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. can they just scrap part 3 and redo it like they did with the hulk i wouldnt mind throwing my copy away in exchange for a much better movie im sure the fans would appreciate it the rest of the public might need convincing maybe

    • I agree with Thomas. just redo the Last Stand and disregard the original.

  2. Hey Sonic Assassin

    Love your idea. Hopefully X-Men First Class will feature the original five X-Men and given the proper Marvel treatment without the Hollywood executives pandering simply for the teen market.

    Had to dig deep into my collection to find issues with Mimic. He never really had much of a profile. Would need a major upgrade and introduced into current comic book story lines for people to familiarize themselves with the character.


    “I do not know a single person who can tolerate cyc, let alone “love” him”

    Maybe in your circle of influence but in mine it’s completely the opposite.

  3. the concept sounds great, but it’s still not enough info to make an entire movie – where’s the conflict? How does the brotherhood fit in? All we have so far is whta the Pheonix is (compared to Rattner’s version) and an epilogue. I wonder how far the plot concept was actually developed or is this all they had decided to do.

    Again, good start


  4. X-men 3 wasn’t that bad. Much better than Abram’s Star Trek.

    I do wonder how much better ‘Giligan’s Island’ could have been if Giligan’s hat was light blue.

  5. bring on the x-men 4 and x-men 5 back to back.

  6. I really liked where Bryan Singer & Mike Dougherty were taking Jean/Phoenix’s story in X2 & 3. I think this concept would have went over much better with the fans. But As for X3 I liked that Scott needed to take some time for himself to recover from Jeans death. It was realistic, while also giving room to bring out the potential leadership abilities of Storm. However They let the ball drop, they went way went over board on Cyclops and then killed him off, at least as far as we know. While also having Xavier tell Storm that she was to take Xavier’s and Cyclop’s place as leader but then mis handling that idea by giving most the leading commanding moments to Wolverine.
    Storm led the X-men team for over over two decades either with Cyclops as coleader or as THE leader. I hope they bring back Cyclops in X-Men 4. I would really like to see both Storm and Cyclops be the strong leader we have all come to love in X4.
    Both Cyclops and Storm need good roles in this next movie, and Wolverine needs to take more of a back seat.
    I would also love to see Rogue get super strength and flight.
    We also have to have more of Gambit! This where I would like to see the next coupe of movie go.

  7. I boycotted X3 and I still haven’t seen it yet. It was precisely the kind of waste of storyline and character development that I thought it was, upon reading. I was so disappointed that the real power of Phoenix and Dark Phoenix weren’t adapted in a way that made sense and had any emotional heft.

    At the end of X2, seeing Jean flaring and the Phoenix Effect in the water brought a tear to my eyes, there was so much promise for something epic and thrilling with Dark Phoenix.

    In the meanwhile, we have to wait and see what they do to make lemonade out of the huge lemon that X3 created.

  8. I have to admit, I didn’t realy like Superman Returns either. I thought that movie was bland and dull. I mean the real enemy (and more dangerous one) was in fact the kryptonite; a 6in by 6in rock that just sat there and did nothing, but shone green. Then to make the movie even more “thrilling” and “exciting” Supes had to “battle/confront” an even bigger krytonite rock, this time the size of an island. Oh yeah, that’s some fun watching. YEEEEE HAAAAAW!

  9. AT Have You Considered… says

    The problem of X3 can easily be remedied. If they actually make X4, they can start out with Cyclops or Wolverine having dreamt the whole thing (X3). Dougherty’s version can then be easily implemented from there. However, I think I would want a casting change (just my opinion about the casting change).

  10. OMG! I thought (while I was watching this in the movies) “Who endorsed this pile of crap?” So in agreement am I that the concept Singer had would have absolutely been better. X3 sucked soooo bad. You would HAVE to be a die-hard X-Men fan to understand this also. To new or occasional viewers, this MAY have sufficed but for us who truly knew the total power of the Phoenix, this was bologna…garbage…a waste of time and energy. I am also in agreement that Wolverine was center-staged way too much in X3. Cyclops is a major figure in the XMen world and his presence was just side stepped and put in the dirt. How could they kill him? What? In what XMen sequence did this EVER occur? Garbage I tell ya! I was so disgusted with X3. Cannot tell you how much (but I'm definately trying to give you an idea)! LOL! Please either make 4 a beautiful apology for this massacre of a classic or just re-do 3. Dammit! We need justice.

  11. I wouldn’t mind them simply dropping X-3 out of continuity myself, sort of like the second or third Nightmare on Elm Street where he tries to take over some kid’s body. Why? Not much of that movie worked either, just like Last Stand.

    One thing is for certain, the next X-Men movie, if there is one and I do hope there is, needs to be true to the actual history and depiction of the characters. So much potential has been wasted thus far.

  12. I agree with some of the things the write posted but there are others that I think arent so hot. I think Cyclops not getting killed and wandering the woods is a great idea.

    I think Professor X I think coming back from another dimension would be a better idea. Maybe he didnt get KILLLED but instead his mass was sucked into another dimension, and the Phoenix when she dies undoes what she did.. So the people she killed get dropped back in various places in the world.. the X men have to go find Prof X.

    Wolverine and Storm need to take a backseat to Cyclops I agree. He needs to be the kick ass Leader of the Xmen we all know he is. It’s time for him to show it!!

  13. I would not mind Fox to forget all about X3…just forget it was ever made.

    What really sucks is how they handled the Phoenix Saga. Famke Janssen was good in X3, so she could’ve been incredible in this version of X-Men 3. It pisses me off that, even if they do make an X-Men 4, Jean Grey can’t come back!

  14. It makes my stomach hurt to think about what xmen 3 could have been! maybe that makes me the biggest nerd but i was so excited for the dark phoenix saga and the result was awful. But i blame Brian Singer more than anyone else, abandoning a trilogy two thirds of the way just because you get a shot at superman isn’t fair to the fans. I think xmen 3 lead the way to these horrible super big budget soulless superhero movies hollywood is pumping out.

  15. where o’ where was Nightcrawler in X3?!? no reason. no explanation.

    the best scene from X1, X2 & X3 was Nightcrawler in the Oval Office!!

    the 3 films were good, not great.. they could done so much more with these films i was majorly disappointed! need to lose the pg 13, big time!!

  16. In X-Men 3 professor X talked to a class of students about transfering the consciousness of one mans mind into another mans body ?

    I believe when phoenix/Jean Grey killed him….that he did what he hinted to his students at the start of the movie…..he transfered himself into a new body ?

    But who’s and where ? Food for thought 😉

    • During the credits there is a scene where there is a comatose-like body and Moira McTaggert is watching over it and I think we are supposed to assume that the body in the scene is the body that Xavier transfers his soul/conscience/whatever you want to call it into. After all I am 80% sure that the Prof. did the same kind of thing in the comics as well.

      My problem with the movie was that they tried to combine the classic 80s dark phoenix saga which they didn’t even do right as they skipped over the whole, Jean as just “Phoenix” and not the evil DARK Phoenix, with a story that Joss Whedon had written like 1-2 years prior to the making of X-3

  17. On the first page, I think some of that would have been cool to see, but as far as making Phoenix a “God”, I do not agree on. And as for the second page, where she ‘leaves’ is a cop-out and lame. What would have made X-Men 3 better was more Rogue and Angel (who should have been called like Bird-man or something like that…no Angel wears jeans!) air time and maybe even a romance between them…

    As far as this whole “Scott” thing making a ‘danger room’ L-A-M-E-O-! This is how it should be in the beginning of X-Men 4: Scott was left for dead by Phoenix, who Jean Grey secretly put in an energy charged bubble or something and therefore is kept alive by her – unbeknownst to her Phoenix side. We see Scott use this ‘bubble’ to absorb some new powers and thus making him able to control his ‘laser beam eyes’ and no longer needs ‘glasses’. I agree he would have been a great leader but I wouldn’t want to see him moping around cause he ‘killed her’ and I like that Storm is taking the initiative and needs Wolverine around to be the muscle and therefore validating why he is there cause if Scott was there to lead – Wolverine would have left never to be seen again. I would like to see a seperate story line where Scott gathers himself realizes she’s alive and she killed him or tried to and then saved him…this leaves him confused and wanders the world helping when he can – and then eventually he finds himself back at the school only to find out she’s dead.

    In X-Men 4, Phoenix can come back as a God(ess) because she was after all in her human form when she died – that could ‘free’ her of her human side so she can transcend into a God(ess) and therefore can return when she wants to but will be harder to kill than a regular human/mutant. And has no ties to the humans now and so therefore could care less of their existence and only Scott and Wolverine can tame her. And being a God(ess) she has the power to come back in a human form as Jean Grey.

    In X-Men 4 we see Rogue gain back her power and something unexpected: Every power she ever absorbed before she now has control over – at
    will – and anyone she absorbs power from in the future becomes hers.

  18. I can’t get over how negative everyone is being about X-Men 3. It was 5 years ago. The X-Men movies are set in a “real world” type scenario. Gods, aliens and people with no technological ability building a danger room. Yeah that’s legit. Brett Ratner did a good job. Storm actually did something. Kitty Pryde actually had a real role in it. It did away with the Jean/Wolverine/Cyclops love triangle. Iceman iced up. Phoenix was creepy in how simple her design was, yet how scary she managed to be.

  19. Am I the only one who actually thinks this treatment sound terrible?

    Besides, if you distill X3 to an equal description, you are looking at the

    1. X-men being faced with the choice of a cure,which really allows for exploration of some of the central themes of x-men

    2. and Jean Grey coming back as an extremely powerful and out of control mutant, who is confused after she is essentially “reborn” and is fought over by Xavier who wants to help her regain control and Magneto who wants to unleash her power and use her as a weapon.

    On paper, i think the x3 we got was much more compelling! It’s just the specifics of how it was done that caused it to fall short of its potential. What are your thoughts on this?

  20. I love these ideas. It would be cool to see there vision of x3 played out. Itd be sweet if they could get the cast back together to do some filming and produce a x3 brian singer cut…similar to superman 2 richard donner cut. They could even release it. I’d see it in theaters

  21. it would be better if its the rise of apocalypse…that would be interesting…

  22. They should get Emma Frost played by Blake Lively or something. Apocalypse would be epic!

  23. X4

  24. X4 could be about the cure being temporary, Jean, Scott, and Professor coming back, and the Dark Phoenix’s destruction. It will be about Jean never coming back in the Last Stand, but it was a copy of her that included her memories and portion of her powers which meant a portion of the Phoenix. Scott was revived when Jean’s copy died and Professor X has been living with Moira MacTaggert for months, feeling that he is at peace now. But, soon enough, he feels that something terrible is coming. The cure is temporary and many mutants begin getting their powers back, causing riots to erupt around the world. Scott and Jean would return, but he doesn’t have any memories of being an X-Man. We will finally see the real power of the Dark Phoenix as she is tired of all the fighting between the humans and mutants and decides that she will takes matters into her own hands. Humans and mutants start getting decimated and the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants must find out how to defeat the Dark Phoenix and save the world. Hmm…sounds like it could be a great movie and fanfiction.

  25. Well, this idea is far from perfect, but it’s better than the way X-Men 3 went. Here is the deal: Cyclops is THE field commander second only to professor X himself. Cyclops should have the central role. Not Wolverine. And this should not be the Magneto Show either (good though he was in the first 2 or 3 movies). I want Cyclops back as the central tall-standing grim hero, and I want Sentinels. We can work from there.

  26. Goldilocks, that would be great. Cyclops having a central role has been almost everyone’s dream. It would also plug into what I think would be a great X4. JEAN, CYCLOPS, and STORM could have the central roles. Just like how wolverine, iceman, and rouge had them. Jean and Dark Phoenix’s personalities would be shown more detailed. It would actually clearly show Jean’s struggle with the great power within her. Cyclops could deal with how lost he is and no memories of being a X-Man. All he remembers is having a wife and starting a family. Storm could have to deal with how Professor X and Scott being back could mean that she will step back down from her leadership of the X-Men and assume her role as a side-kick. How she really feels about being an X-Man would be shown.

  27. honestly, after what x3 turned out to be, i think what was originally intended was far better.

    i dont think we can say safely assume scott died as we never saw it happen. i think he could have survived and lost his memory.
    the phoenix is something that cant be killed so if wolverine stabbed her with his claw i honestly think she could rise again.

    i cant wait for the days of future past storyline to see how they rectify these mistakes.

  28. As much as I dislike Bryan Singer’s work, that sounds like a plot MILES better than what we got. X3 was CRAP

  29. This article made me really sad and frustrated.

    I always knew Singer and his writers would have done a really memorable X3, with Phoenix being a real Phoenix, not that poor adaptation of the final movie.

    And they even had plans to shoot X3/X4 back to back, damm.

    But the good side of things, is that Bryan is finally back on the franchise and with another iconic storyline, so lets hope the movie is epic and he stays on the franshise for next movies. This impressive cast is too good to let them go. Fox could easily do another movie with all of then, so…. fingers crossed!