Recently, due to comments made by writer-director Simon Kinberg, the internet exploded with preemptive disgust with Fox’s upcoming ‘X-Men’ swansong, “Dark Phoenix.” This fervor stemmed from the filmmaker divulging that he reshot the entire third act of the superhero film, removing the final space battle and replacing it with a fight scene on a train. Many fans saw this as an immediate downgrade, especially given the subject matter of the film. But according to the actors involved, the reshoots and new third act were not only for the best, but also very much necessary.
Speaking to YahooUK, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender explain that the reshoots happened after it was revealed that another superhero film had a very similar ending.
“The end [of ‘Dark Phoenix’] changed a hell of a lot,” said McAvoy. “The finale had to change. 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…”
“They had spies on set and [they] basically stole our ideas.” jokingly continued Fassbender.
“We were basically trawling through the source material it seems,” said McAvoy.
Unfortunately, the actors don’t reveal which superhero film required them to do the reshoots. As Yahoo points out, deductive reasoning can narrow the list down to films that were released after the film finished principal photography in October 2017. These films include “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Justice League,” “Black Panther,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Deadpool 2,” “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” “Venom,” “Aquaman,” “Captain Marvel,” “Shazam!,” and “Avengers: Endgame.”
We can further narrow it down by looking at superhero films with third acts in space — “Captain Marvel,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” and “Avengers: Infinity War.” Of those films, sleuthing even more, we can try to narrow it down to films which feature massively overpowered female characters that have energy pouring out of their bodies. Yeah, you know where we’re going with this.
So, maybe “Dark Phoenix” originally featured a third act that is reminiscent of “Captain Marvel,” which saw the titular character destroy a fleet of spaceships and scare off the massive warship being helmed by Ronan the Accuser. It would make a lot of sense that Kinberg got wind of what future bosses at Disney were doing with “Captain Marvel” and did a quick course correction.
We also know that Kinberg has said that the look of Sophie Turner’s Phoenix character changed quite a bit after reshoots, where she ditched the fiery look of her comic book counterpart and instead looks a bit more sci-fi. Though not fiery, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel character does emit lots of energy in a flame-like way. Hmmmm. [This ends the “Law & Order” section of the article.]
Whatever was changed in the reshoots seems to have been for the best according to Turner, who is seemingly the star of this latest ‘X-Men’ film.
“It was just one of those things that was where the third act… you watch the first two acts and the third act just didn’t feel cohesive. We went back and we redid all of the third act, pretty much, and it was such a good decision,” said the actress. “The third act is the best part of the movie for me.”
Another actress that had some serious changes in the reshoots is Jessica Chastain’s mysterious villain. The actress said that her character, who isn’t pulled from the comic book lore, “changed a lot” in the reshoots.
We’ve said it a million times before, but we’ll say it again. Reshoots, even those that are deemed as “massive,” are a normal part of filmmaking and aren’t much of a barometer for the quality of the film. For every film that was destroyed due to reshoots (Josh Trank’s “Fantastic Four” comes to mind), there’s a film like “World War Z,” which benefitted quite a bit from a drastic overhaul.
So, we’ll just have to wait and see if Kinberg’s decision to change the third act of “Dark Phoenix” was for the better when the film hits theaters on June 7.