dark phoenix original ending

Reshoots aren’t always a death knell for a blockbuster movie, but in the case of Dark Phoenix, they certainly made for a rebirth of sorts. The newly-released X-Men film notoriously underwent lengthy reshoots that drastically changed the movie’s climax. But more than changing the setting of a big battle, Dark Phoenix tweaked its ending to something that would appeal more to fans who had just flocked to Marvel Studios’ other cosmically powered female superhero. But according to director Simon Kinberg, the Dark Phoenix original ending actually resembled a different Marvel movie.

In an interview with io9, writer and director Simon Kinberg was surprisingly candid about the comparisons to Marvel Studios films that would inevitably be drawn to his directorial feature debut. The similarities between Dark Phoenix and this year’s box office smash Captain Marvel are there from the beginning: a female protagonist is imbued with incredible cosmic powers that she can’t control and in the process, learns locked-away secrets about her own identity. The shades of Captain Marvel pop up throughout the film, especially in the film’s revamped ending.

But Kinberg said that going into the film that would wrap up the two-decade-old X-Men franchise, he had another Marvel movie in mind. The original ending to Dark Phoenix more closely resembled Captain America: Civil War, the Marvel film which saw the Avengers splinter following an irreversible clash between Iron Man and Captain America. Kinberg said:

My original ending didn’t have the entire X-Family together the way they are in the film now. More than Captain Marvel, you could see a lot of Civil War in that ending. Usually, these big, huge action movies have the climactic moment in the third act. I loved the way that Civil War had its big action action set piece where everyone’s facing off more towards the end of the second act rather than in the third, so that after that huge battle, you’re left with Winter Soldier, Captain America, and Iron Man.

It’s this telescoped down view of their raw emotions, and I loved how intimate that was. That’s what I was going for with Dark Phoenix’s ending even though it then might have looked like Captain Marvel for about two minutes.

Kinberg elaborated to io9 that his original film would have torn the X-Men apart on an “ideological level” akin to how Civil War did for the Avengers. That certainly would have been a bleak way to end the X-Men franchise, unlike the semi-hopeful ending we currently get with Dark Phoenix. But would it have saved the movie from its feeble mediocrity? That’s a question you can find out the answer for yourself. Dark Phoenix is in theaters now.

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