X-Men: Dark Phoenix almost pulled a Captain Marvel and had its mutant heroes battle the Skrulls.
While a guest on the ReelBlend Podcast, Cyclops/Scott Summers himself, Tye Sheridan, pitched the original ending’s broad strokes, which involved the X-Men fighting the Skrulls outside the United Nations in New York City.
“Originally, it was scripted that Charles [Xavier] and Scott [Summers] go to the U.N. because — man, I’m totally going to mess this up — they go to the U.N. because they’re going to try to tell the President that, ‘Hey, we’re under attack by aliens and, they’ve now captured Jean Grey.’ Or, you know, whatever it is that we’re going to tell him. And then Jean comes down in the front of the U.N., and causes — there is this huge battle between the guards at the U.N. and Jean Grey, and all the guards turn out to be Skrulls. Then […] Scott is fighting Skrulls in the fountain. He gets thrown into the fountain in front of the U.N. And then Jean comes down and basically fights all of the Skrulls off, and then blasts back off into space. [She] basically says goodbye to Scott and Charles. And then it’s all over, I guess.”
Dark Phoenix, before disappointing audiences at the box office on its opening weekend, infamously endured lengthy third-act reshoots to change this ending of the film as the original version was, according to writer-director Simon Kinberg, reportedly too similar to Marvel Studios’ Captain America: Civil War. Now it seems Dark Phoenix veered too close to Captain Marvel, as that was the first Marvel movie to bring the Skrulls to the big screen.
The D’Bari aliens in Dark Phoenix were clearly intended to be the comics’ most iconic shape-shifters, and it totally would have made sense for them to be the big bads lead by Jessica Chastain in the final film. But Kinberg’s use of them pre-dated the Fox-Marvel merger, which all but certainly lead to the reshaping of the movie’s final moments — especially with March’s Captain Marvel opening a few months before Dark Phoenix‘s June release date.
The more contained conclusion to Dark Phoenix, set inside a speeding train at night, gives our mutants some fun and inventive uses of their powers during the climactic set pieces. While it is smaller in scale than the original ending outlined above, the ending fans got better services the story Kinberg was forced to reshape.
But, given that Phoenix sidelines its titular character for much of that finale, we would have loved to see Jean Grey go out with a blaze of glory.
Dark Phoenix is in theaters now.