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Dark Phoenix Theory: The Reshoots Are Making It A Proper End To The X-Men

Dark Phoenix is set to be the final Fox X-Men movie following Disney's purchase of the franchise as a part of its company buyout. Are the film's reshoots adjusting the story to send the mutants out with a fiery bang?

Officially, Dark Phoenix is the seventh film in Fox's X-Men franchise, which started in 2000 and helped to shepherd in a new age of superhero cinema (the franchise expands to ten if the Wolverine movies are included, and twelve counting Deadpool). The series has jumped through time, introduced alternate timelines, and now seems to be repeating itself as the Dark Phoenix saga gets front and center once more, following on from 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand. This time, Sophie Turner will take Jean Grey through her transformation into Phoenix after she is hit by a solar flare during a space mission.

Related: Dark Phoenix Trailer Breakdown

The film, the directorial debut of Simon Kinberg (who wrote and produced four previous X-Men movies), was originally set to premiere on November 2, 2018. However, earlier this year, Fox made the decision to delay the release until February 14, 2019. A similar reshuffle happened for another upcoming Fox X-Men title, The New Mutants, which will premiere on August 2, 2019 after having its release date changed twice.

The Dark Phoenix reshoots, which kicked off at the end of August in Montreal, reportedly necessitated the release shift due to limited availability of its stars (not least Turner, who was working on the final season of Game of Thrones) delaying changes. The reshoots allegedly lasted three weeks, although their exact nature is unclear. Now the Dark Phoenix trailer has once again started conversations, it's worth considering whether it's all part of giving the whole X-Men series a fitting end.

Dark Phoenix Can Be An Apocalyptic Story

Sophie Turner as Phoenix in flames in X-Men Dark Phoenix

Already, Dark Phoenix is something of an end. The trailer opens with a moody cover of The End by The Doors and is cut in a way to suggest this is everything the First Class vintage has been building towards. Indeed, if any storyline in the X-Men world can be an appropriate ending to Fox’s run, it’s certainly the Dark Phoenix saga, much in the same way the Old Man Logan story from the comics proved the ideal way for Hugh Jackman to bow out as Wolverine.

Even before it was set to be the final entry, the Dark Phoenix storyline was set to go out with a (literal) bang. Many consider the storyline one of the definitive narratives in X-Men canon and the version from The Last Stand proved disappointing to many fans. Doing it over is thus a redemptive act, but the grand nature of the story - and how the new version will finally question Charles Xavier's altruistic motives - gives a concluding note. It's not out of the question to be able to adjust it to have a greater sense of finality with reshoots.

This Version Of The X-Men Won't Survive The Disney Merger

The Fox X-Men franchise, as well as the fates of Deadpool and the Fantastic Four, have been living under an ever-increasing shadow for several months now. As The Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of massive parts of 20th Century Fox has been confirmed and the big date of the merger looms nearer, superhero fans have been anticipating the moment when the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes together as a complete entity. After the acquisition was announced, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that the X-Men would be integrated with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Related: Don't Expect To See the X-Men in the MCU Until At Least 2021

Ultimately, this means that the X-Men series as it currently stands will be no more. Despite Kinberg’s 2016 promise (via THR) in which he said he hoped Dark Phoenix would be the first in a new trilogy of films focusing on the younger versions of the original X-Men characters, it is all but confirmed that Disney will want to start the franchise afresh. That means new actors, reboots of the stories, and no call-backs to the Fox era (unless Deadpool breaks the fourth wall to call it out). Disney will want new actors for the X-Men roles who are willing to sign multi-film contracts, not to mention a new creative team to work them into the MCU.

The X-Men franchise will already have to deal with a few continuity concerns in terms of Marvel's tightly constructed narrative through this merger, the major question being where have the X-Men been all this time? There are ways around it but they’ll require a clean slate that the Fox franchise cannot provide. The same thing happened when Marvel Studios made a deal with Sony to bring Spider-Man into the canon.

Page 2 of 2: How Reshoots Could End Dark Phoenix

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Key Release Dates
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
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