James McAvoy says X-Men: Dark Phoenix's original ending was reshot because it was too similar to another recent superhero movie. The final entry in Fox's mainline X-Men films, Dark Phoenix will bring the X-Men prequel series to a close when it arrives next week. Directed by Simon Kinberg (the franchise's longtime writer-producer), Dark Phoenix also marks the second live-action adaptation of The Dark Phoenix Saga comics after 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand. In both cases, the story revolves around X-Men Jean Grey and her transformation into the ultra-powerful, but often destructive Phoenix.
Dark Phoenix was initially scheduled to arrive in November 2018, but was later delayed to 2019 (first February, then to June) to make room for the film's reshoots last year. Kinberg and his crew have already explained some of the changes they made during the pickup shoots, like shifting the finale's setting from outer space to a military train in order to give the climactic battle a more grounded feel. However, according to Charles Xavier himself, that wasn't the only reason the original ending got a drastic overhaul during post-production.
During an interview with Yahoo! Movies to promote the X-Men film, McAvoy said Dark Phoenix's initial ending changed "a hell of a lot" during reshoots, adding that it had to evolve because "there was a lot of overlap and parallels with another superhero movie that came out... a while ago". However, in the actual video, McAvoy seemingly starts to say "recently" before changing to "a while ago", leading some to speculate that he's talking about a film that only came out a few months back.
The obvious suspect here is Captain Marvel, and for a few reasons. It's confirmed that Dark Phoenix originally ended with a showdown in space, which is also where Captain Marvel's climatic battle takes place. More than that, the film was already well into production by the time Dark Phoenix's reshoots were being plotted. Disney had also begun its acquisition of Fox's movie and TV assets by that point, so it's possible they (and, by extension, Marvel Studios) gave Dark Phoenix's creatives a heads-up about the film's similarities to Captain Marvel, to avoid creating too much overlap between them. And as Yahoo! Movies noted in their write-up, Kinberg's even claimed the visuals effects for Jean's Phoenix transformation were altered in post-production to look more "cosmic" than "flamy"... which, arguably, sounds like another way of saying "less like Carol Danvers' super-powered state".
Whatever the case may be, Dark Phoenix's third act looks and sounds far more grounded now than the cosmic finale that was planned earlier on. It's possible that's for the better (as McAvoy told Yahoo! Movies), seeing as Kinberg's described the rest of the movie as being comparatively down to earth and "not too intergalactic" since well before the Disney-Fox deal and/or the subsequent reshoots. If so, a flashier and more souped-up conclusion might have felt out of place, compared to everything that transpired up to the third act. Here's hoping that's the case, anyway, and Dark Phoenix fares well on its own (all comparisons to other superhero blockbusters aside).
Source: Yahoo! Movies
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020