[SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN DARK PHOENIX!]
Given that Dark Phoenix marks the end of the X-Men franchise, a lot of dramatic stuff goes down in this film as well as some major surprises (hello Dazzler!). EW talked to writer-director Simon Kinberg about some of the film’s biggest surprises.
Is that Dazzler performing at the party in the woods? Yessssssssss. Kinberg is a fan of the character and cast Halston Sage as the pop-singing mutant. “I had a list of things that we had never done in X-men movies before that I wanted to do—some of them I got to do and some of them I didn’t get to do,” says Kinberg.” So, Dazzler, as a favorite character of mine and yours, was on that list. Genosha was on that list. Then some things that we didn’t get to do, like the Danger Room, a proper Danger Room.” The song Dazzler sings is also an original tune penned for the movie by the band Odessa.
Are we supposed to believe Jean (Sophie Turner) is dead at the end? No. In order to defeat Vuk (Jessica Chastain), Jean seems to kill herself. But the final shot is of a Phoenix-esque shape in the sky. “The final voiceover that she gives is the answer to that which is she’s evolved to a different form,” explains Kinberg. “In a franchise that is obviously about the next step, stage, and evolution she has taken a huge leap in evolution. Beyond the corporal, beyond human, beyond mutant into something else. That, for me, felt in many ways true to the essence of the comic. After all of the drama, trauma, and intensity of the film I also wanted the audience to feel like, even though this is the culmination and the sort of climax end of this cycle of storytelling of this saga, there is hope in a future for pretty much all the characters.”
Why does Beast (Nicholas Hoult) end up becoming the new leader of the X-Men? It felt like the right arc for the character to replace Charles (James McAvoy) after the professor leaves the school. “He has always been Charles’ right-hand man, and so it’s all natural for him to be the leader of the school,” explains the director. “I think the other part of it is that in some ways he is the final survivor of the X-Men: First Class cast.”
Did they really reshoot the end of Dark Phoenix because it was too similar to another Marvel film? Not exactly. The massive train battle that climaxes Phoenix was something that was added during additional shooting for Phoenix. “The reason we re-shot it really was, you know, in a movie that was about this family being torn apart, because that’s really what the movie is about. And the franchise itself has been about family and, strangers come together to form a family. My original ending didn’t have the family coming back together as one. I loved the ending of Captain America: Civil War. I loved the way the Civil War kind of telescopes down, with only a few characters at the very end and the big mass of ensemble set piece near the end of the second act in the airport. So initially my big action set piece was gonna be New York City. The finale would be just a few characters, but then when I shot it I felt this franchise is really about these family members. If the movie has been about ripping them apart, I had to bring them back together to give a sense of full closure.”