September 24, 2020

The Original (Two-Part) Dark Phoenix Was Very Different

dark phoenix

The final Fox X-Men film Dark Phoenix is now in theaters, and most fans are well aware of it’s bumpy production. Everyone knows how the movie went through extensive reshoots, which completely changed the third act, but the movie before that had a wild ride to get to that point. Originally, the movie would’ve been very different, and may have turned out to be a pretty decent adaptation of the Dark Phoenix Saga.

Firstly, the movie was originally going to be a two-parter…and mutants who appeared in X-Men: Apocalypse were going to return in this movie. Specifically, Psylocke was originally in the movie and Olivia Munn was the one to reveal it as a two-parter when she told Collider, “It’s like a two parter, this movie. That’s more than I’ve said, in general. I don’t know why people have to be so secretive.” Apparently Psylocke would’ve filled the role that Selene did in the final movie, being the other telepath.

It sounds as if the two-part version didn’t get much past the script stage, but a lot of elements from that made it into the pre-reshoots version of the movie, which then went through multiple changes even before the new third act.

The biggest difference between the movie in theaters now and the two-parter is that the Shi’ar originally did appear in the script and Chastain’s character was supposed to be Lilandra. The Lilandra name did survive in at least one cut of the movie that people saw in early 2018, before being removed. The shape-shifting D’Bari in the final film weren’t originally the D’Bari (since they don’t shape-shift), and it’s not hard to figure out what race from the comics they were. Even the final shape-shifting effect used is almost identical to the one used in Captain Marvel

Speaking of that, the biggest changes came at the end of the movie that was completely re-done due to basically ending the same way Captain Marvel did.

Originally, the aliens attack the United Nations in New York. Shots from this sequence can be seen in the first teaser trailer for the movie:

Following the UN sequence, there was a fleet of invading alien ships approaching Earth; much like the ending of Captain Marvel. Jean went full Phoenix and destroyed the ships.
dark phoenix

The scene was almost the same as the way Carol Danvers wiped out the Kree ships at Captain Marvel, but the similarities to Captain Marvel weren’t the sole reason for the reshoots as the movie was originally longer than the current two-hour run time and people didn’t respond well to how the third act played out.

Still, there’s a lot of footage that was cut out. Perhaps one day we’ll see a “Kinberg Cut” released that restores the alternate version of this final Fox X-Men movie.