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Dark Phoenix Was Apparently Too Similar to Another Superhero Movie’s Ending and Had to Change

Not The Last Stand, though. Another movie.

Sophie Turner as Dark Phoenix

X-Men: Dark Phoenix is hitting theaters soon, which means we’ll see if it’s just a straight ripoff of The Last Stand—the franchise’s last crack at this story—or if they manage to do anything new with the story. A new comment from one of the stars makes it seem as though the film was originally uncomfortably similar to another entry in the superhero canon prior to some speedy reshoots of the film’s ending.

“The end [of Dark Phoenix] changed a hell of a lot. The finale had to change,” star James McAvoy told Yahoo! Movies. “There was a lot of overlap and parallels with another superhero movie that came out… a while ago. And we had no idea that we were… We were basically trawling through the source material it seems.”

While the obvious ripoff (which wouldn’t really be a ripoff, since they’re basically the same film) material would be X-Men: The Last Stand, Uproxx theorizes that the film in question is Captain Marvel based on early reports that the shape-shifting aliens the Skrulls would appear in the film. However, another quote about the film’s original ending sheds light on a more likely reason for the reshoots.

Producer Hutch Parker says that the change came about based on the setting:

“There was more of a cosmic story… the story ended in space in a much more significant way. We actually shifted that to be back on Earth, most notably, so that we can involve our main characters and see them come together. We wanted the family to be the thing that motivated Jean to finally embrace her identity, and finally, to allow love to be what allows her to transcend and evolve. But in the first iteration, they weren’t present when she’s going through a lot of the third act stuff. So we rejigged it so that we could dramatize the degree to which this divided family had come back together for her… that she could witness that, and, and bring [Jessica] Chastain into that sequence.”

Fortunately, this ending sounds different than “Jean gets killed because women always go mad with power,” so there’s that, at least. Other than that, the change from cosmic to more Earthly sounds a bit like they saw or heard about the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s general cosmic plot and got nervous. Captain Marvel’s finale also does take place in space and centers on a heroine finding her identity, so some parallels could be drawn.

If the Skrulls were originally slated to appear, it would have been interesting to see another take on the aliens in the same year. Captain Marvel took a very sympathetic look at the Skrulls, but would Dark Phoenix have done the same? Probably not, and it’s also just very unlikely that the Skrulls were in the film, as this is only based on an unconfirmed report of the project. Things change over time.

I’m not counting on any part of Dark Phoenix to be particularly brave or revolutionary, but it’s nice to know that they changed the plot so that it wouldn’t be a retread of another hero project. We’ll know soon enough how the Fox X-Men saga concludes. May whatever the MCU brings next actually do justice to the X-Men.

(via Uproxx, image: Disney/Fox)

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Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.