The muddy timeline of events that led to Dark Phoenix‘s ultimately confusing villain plot continues to get muddier, as young Cyclops Tye Sheridan has revealed to the Reelblend podcast (via Collider) that the last of Fox’s X-Men offerings originally ended with Marvel’s band of mutants going up against the villainous Skrulls as the movie came to its climax.
Sheridan had this to say about the original ending of X-Men: Dark Phoenix:
“It’s really hard for me to remember what the ending of this movie is. [laughs] Originally, it was scripted that Charles and Scott 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. And then Jean and Scott are — 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.”
There had previously been rumors going around that Dark Phoenix had reshaped its story to avoid comparisons to Captain Marvel, which also utilized the Skrulls to great effect, but this has been denied a few times, most recently by Deadline, who detailed what they knew about the movie’s extensive reshoots:
“We heard that in one cut, Jean Grey dies, which wasn’t received well. But overall, the major ending change-up, executed in reshoots, entailed going from an intimate ending with Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Tye Sheridan (Cyclops), and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) against Jessica Chastain’s Vuk. The feeling from the audience in testing was that they wanted to see all the X-Men heroes fighting in the end. There have been reports out there that the ending was changed-up because it was too similar to Captain Marvel. This isn’t true: No one on the Fox/Dark Phoenix production side had any intel of what Captain Marvel would be like before it was released.”
James McAvoy was the one to start the ball rolling on people wondering if Captain Marvel was standing in the way of Dark Phoenix telling its original story by vaguely referencing a clash with “another superhero movie”:
“The end [of Dark Phoenix] changed a hell of a lot. The finale HAD to change,” he told Yahoo Movies UK. “There was a lot of overlap and parallels with another superhero movie that came out… a while ago.”
Dark Phoenix director Simon Kinberg’s comments on the matter to i09 were very much in line with Deadline‘s insider knowledge, however, with Kinberg citing his smaller-in-scale, Civil War-like ending as the primary reason things were drastically changed:
“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.”
Still, it does seem more than just a bit of a coincidence that Captain Marvel blasted into theaters with a major Skrulls storyline and twist, right before Dark Phoenix. Kinberg et al may not have known what Captain Marvel was planning to do with the Skrulls, but they must have seen the promotional pictures and info out there confirming the inclusion of the Skrulls, which appeared a long while before the MCU origin story was released.