Dark Phoenix concept art features Sophie Turner's Jean Grey looking like Brie Larson's Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel. The final film in the main X-Men saga came out earlier this month, marking the directorial debut of long-time franchise writer and producer Simon Kinberg. It's the culmination of all films in the primary series, but it was poorly received by both critics and fans - scoring the lowest opening day sales of any X-Men film.
It's no secret that Dark Phoenix had a tumultuous production. Its release date was pushed back twice and it underwent extensive reshoots, including fully reworking its final act. According to James McAvoy (Professor X), it was because the ending was too similar with another recent superhero movie. Providing more context on this, Kinberg revealed that his original narrative wrapped up the same way Captain America: Civil War did, with the team split in the middle. However, this new concept art makes Dark Phoenix's ending look more like Captain Marvel, especially with the way Jean Grey was designed.
Shared on Instagram by concept artist Houston Sharp is an illustration he created for Dark Phoenix visualizing the film's end. In it, a glowing Jean Grey blasts off to outer space, which is reminiscent of Carol Danvers in her Binary Form. In the caption, the creator explained, "this shot for the final sequence was changed a bit in the released film." As fans know, the film ended with Jean fully unleashing the power of the Dark Phoenix after killing Vuk (Jessica Chastain). She then disappears and the burst of energy she releases takes the form of a phoenix. Check out the image below:
The public initially assumed that McAvoy was referencing Captain Marvel when he talked about Dark Phoenix's original ending having similarities with another comic book film. Both movies were supposed to include the Skrulls, after all. However, the Kinberg-directed flick used an entirely different shape-shifting extraterrestrial in their movie with the D'Bari. According to Tye Sheridan (Cyclops), the final action set piece of Dark Phoenix was supposed to take place in New York and was set to feature Jean Grey battling herds of Skrulls. Considering the timeline of both films, it seems unlikely that Kinberg and his team had intel on what was going on with the Marvel Studios film, but given the recent reveals, it sounds like their movie had more similarities to Captain Marvel than Civil War.
Based on the concept art, it does seem like Dark Phoenix was supposed to keep Jean Grey alive, perhaps only going off world, which would've directly paralleled how Captain Marvel ended with Carol going with the Skrulls. This fits in with reports that the project was originally going to be two films until Fox changed its mind and mandated Kinberg do a rewrite. It's unclear what prompted the studio's decision, but it may have something to do with Disney's acquisition of Fox's TV and movie assets. While Dark Phoenix began development way before the sale was made public, it's plausible that the executives knew what was coming, hence, only accommodating one final film from the X-Men franchise.
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