It turns out that X-Men: Dark Phoenix's original third act climax was reshot. After nearly twenty years and several movies (including, spinoffs centered on Deadpool and Wolverine), Fox's solo run on the X-Men films is coming to an end. The property is expected to be largely rebooted for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a few years, now that Disney has finalized its purchase of Fox's assets. This will be the second time the X-Men have been rebooted on the big screen, after 2011's X-Men: First Class introduced (much) younger iterations of the characters from the 2000s X-Men trilogy.
Initially, it appeared that Fox and Dark Phoenix writer-director Simon Kinberg were planning to use the movie to kick-off another trilogy, this time focusing on the X-Men trainees introduced in 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse (like Sophie Turner's Jean Grey). That's no longer the case though, as Dark Phoenix is now being marketed as the culmination of the last eight years of storytelling in the X-Men films. For their part, the movie's producers have played down the impact of the Disney-Fox deal on the series' ending.
Nevertheless, when Dark Phoenix went into reshoots last year, there was a lot of speculation that they were changing the film to serve as an ending to the First Class movies, rather than a continuation. Whether that's true or not, it's come to light that the movie's original third act - specifically, the climax - was, in fact, heavily revised. According to EW, Dark Phoenix's original third act climax was re-filmed, changing the setting from outer space to a battle aboard a military train (a sequence that's already been teased in the Dark Phoenix trailers).
It's worth mentioning that Kinberg has alluded to this in the past, having previously said that Dark Phoenix's reshoots were mostly focused on the third act's "physical scale and the action", as well as the scenes that led up to the original confrontation in outer space. That's to say, it sounds like the third act reshoots here were far less substantial than those carried out on 2018's The Predator, in which Shane Black re-filmed the third act entirely. The Predator's theatrical cut was widely criticized for being a messy patchwork of reshoot footage and material leftover from earlier versions, so hopefully that won't end up being the case with Dark Phoenix too.
Whichever way things shake out, Dark Phoenix is clearly aiming to provide a sense of closure to the First Class storyline and its characters, including the younger mutants introduced in Apocalypse. The film doesn't even include a post-credits scene setting up the next chapter, which is a change from both Apocalypse and its immediate predecessor, Days of Future Past. Disney and Marvel Studios are going to reboot the X-Men series either way (well, except for Deadpool), but it would still be nice if Dark Phoenix ended Fox's run with a bang, rather than a fizzle.
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019