DARK PHOENIX Was Being Rewritten On A Daily Basis While The Cast Was On Set

DARK PHOENIX Was Being Rewritten On A Daily Basis While The Cast Was On Set

If you're looking for a reason why Dark Phoenix is being branded the worst X-Men movie of all-time, then this might just explain it! According to key cast members, it was constantly being rewritten...

By JoshWilding - Jun 07, 2019 02:06 AM EST
Filed Under: Dark Phoenix
Source: Screen Rant
Fox delayed the release of Dark Phoenix on multiple occasions, and a combination of that and extensive reshoots made it clear early on that there were some serious problems with Simon Kinberg's movie. 

Well, while we're bound to hear more about those issues in the coming weeks, cast members Sophie Turner and Jessica Chastain have now revealed that the writer and director was constantly rewriting the screenplay, something which doesn't exactly bode well for any big budget blockbuster. 

"Simon and I would sit down for two hours every day and just comb through each page of the script," Turner revealed, adding that "there was rewriting being done all the time." Why an actress with no history of writing movies would be involved in altering the script is hard to say, and Chastain added that Kinberg would even go home and continue to make changes. 

"You could have a conversation and something comes from that and then the next morning, Simon would show up to work and say, 'hey, I wrote some pages that I think could be interesting for this direction we’re going.'" 

None of that sounds like a particularly healthy approach to filmmaking. 

Ultimately, it also explains why Dark Phoenix is such a disaster, and may point to Kinberg not having much faith in the screenplay he originally wrote and likely got approved by the studio. While he is attached to a number of upcoming projects, any major studio allowing him to sit back in the director's chair is hard to imagine at this stage (see: Alex Kurtzman and The Mummy). 

What do you guys think?

Hit the "View List" button below for a look at
what did and didn't work in Dark Phoenix!


Didn't Work: Jessica Chastain's "Alien"


Jessica Chastain is a fantastic actress, but perhaps she's just reached a point in her career where she's desperate to pick up a Razzie? While I'm sure her unnamed alien was supposed to come across as emotionless, that doesn't really explain her wooden performance and the fact that this villain has no personality makes her the least interesting part of an already uninteresting movie. 

Her motivations are poorly explained, she's in no way frightening or intimidating, and some of the dialogue she delivers borders on being laughable at points. This was a complete disaster, and the decision to seemingly make her part of the little-known D'Bari race is just random.

Didn't Work: The 1990s Setting


X-Men: Apocalypse failed to make use of the 1980s setting. but at least it took us to a mall and featured some recognisable tunes and styles. Dark Phoenix is supposed to be set in 1992 but could be taking place literally at any time in history, as there are no references to current events of the time and the cast are decked out in generic, movie-style clothing. 

Whereas Captain Marvel took us to Blockbuster Video and made use of some great 90s music, Dark Phoenix winds up being incredibly generic and the time jump is, yet again, nonsensical. 

Did Work: Hans Zimmer's Score


These days, it seems Hans Zimmer will sign up to score pretty much everything (The Amazing Spider-Man 2? Really?!), but he's still an excellent composer and his work definitely elevates this film.

The big scenes, in particular, benefit from his presence and help make this movie better than it otherwise would have been. Ultimately, though, it's sadly far from his most memorable music. 

Didn't Work: Mystique And Quicksilver's Speedy Exit


Man, Jennifer Lawrence really couldn't get out of there fast enough. After a wooden performance in the first twenty minutes or so, she's promptly killed off by Jean Grey and finally free of that makeup. Why she pushed for Simon Kinberg to direct is hard to say, but perhaps it was just for that "X-Women" line that comes off as a sickeningly forced attempt to make people think this is a feminist film.

It's not. In fact, its female characters aren't done any real justice at all (more on that later).

As for Quicksilver, he doesn't get a memorable sequence set to any music this time around. He just gets taken out by Jean and sits the rest of the movie out with no one too bothered about him. 

Didn't Work: No Costumes


I'm not sure why those awesome costumes at the end of X-Men: Apocalypse were scrapped for more generic team outfits, but they look...fine. However, they're only around for the first act and by the time the team heads to New York to battle Magneto and company, they're all just in civvies. 

Why Simon Kinberg is afraid to embrace the superhero elements of these characters in terms of their appearance is hard to say, especially in a world with movies like Justice League and Avengers: Endgame. Either way, none of them suiting up for yet another finale is simply beyond disappointing.

Did Work: The Action Scenes


Dark Phoenix's credits say that the movie's impressive train sequence was directed by the stunt co-ordinator, but I'm sure Kinberg must have had some input. Either way, the action throughout is definitely good and arguably quite a bit better than past instalments.

It finally feels less static and fake, and instead embraces what comic book fans want to see from these characters in action. It goes without saying that a more accomplished filmmaker would make the heroes and villains in the X-Men's world look even better, but I do think there's a lot that fans will appreciate here, and that train sequence, in particular, is full of memorable moments and great teamwork. 

Didn't Work: Welcome To Genosha


So, you know how in the comics Genosha is a utopia for mutants and a city built by Magneto for them to find refuge from the humans who would persecute them? Pretty epic idea, right? 

Well, in Dark Phoenix, it's a tiny island where a handful of mutants live with Erik in a field in some poorly built, makeshift houses. It's a camp site. What a way to respect the source material.

Did Work: X-Men: First Class Throwbacks


Surprisingly, Dark Phoenix is heavy on throwbacks to X-Men: First Class, a movie Simon Kinberg wasn't that involved in beyond being a producer. We get mentions of the one-time rivalry between Magneto and Beast, revisit the kitchen where Charles first met Mystique, and even see a touching moment in which Hank and Raven refer to themselves as the "last of the First Class."

It's just odd that it doesn't reference X-Men: Days of Future Past or X-Men: Apocalypse, especially when those movies arguably had a much larger bearing on what happens here than First Class.

Didn't Work: Storm


Were you hoping that this movie would finally deliver the badass version of Storm you've been waiting years to see on the big screen? Well, I hope that vision included her making ice cubes for Scott and Jean's punch! While the final battle sees her take flight and deliver some lightning bolts, it's not overly impressive or memorable, and not that different to what we've already seen. 

Just the fact that Kinberg has her make ice cubes comes across as a massive disservice to the hero. 

Didn't Work: A Lack Of Continuity


Eight years after Dark Phoenix takes place, Michael Fassbender ends up looking like Ian McKellen. Let that sink in for a second. Still, that's not the worst example of a lack of continuity.

While these prequels stopped building to the original movies after X-Men: Days of Future Past, Kinberg doesn't really bother to try and respect what's come before or after. It's a shame he makes no effort to tie the two franchises together, and he doesn't even bother to address that long-standing mystery about Magneto being Quicksilver's father and Mystique being Nightcrawler's mom. 

Didn't Work: The Same Old Story


Kinberg doesn't exactly retell the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, but he sure as hell tries to put a new spin on moments in that film, something which comes across as a self-indulgent, ridiculous ego trip on the filmmaker's part. As a result, Dark Phoenix ends up feeling extremely familiar. 

From Jean's childhood to her apparent death (but not really!), we've already seen this story. It's just a shame that Marvel Studios will probably leave "The Dark Phoenix Saga" well alone moving forward.

Did Work: Cyclops (Mostly) Gets The Chance To Shine


Scott Summers has never been treated particularly well in the X-Men franchise, but he does sort of get the chance to shine here. His leadership skills are more apparent than they have been in the past, while he gets to show off his powers in a far more impressive manner than before. 

There's not enough here to make Cyclops fans truly happy, but it's still a mostly satisfying journey for him - even if he once again spends the vast majority of the movie chasing after his girlfriend. 

Didn't Work: Nightcrawler


I'm not sure what Kodi Smit-McPhee was going for here but, man, he does some terrible work in this movie. Between the dodgy accent and amature level performance, he does not do the role of Nightcrawler justice and the character has none of his trademark wit or personality from the comics. 

In fact, he comes across as a goofy coward, and only really comes into his own during the final battle when he teleports one of the aliens in front of the moving train with a grin on his face. 

Didn't Work: The Phoenix Force


Remember how at the end of X-Men: Apocalypse we got to see Jean unleash her powers and seemingly reveal the Phoenix Force? Well, that's all forgotten about here and it becomes a cloud of energy that simply moves through the cosmos, destroying planets. 

It's never called "The Phoenix Force" (instead, the kids in the school randomly start calling Jean "Phoenix") and has no real personality or connections to the comic books. As a result, it's totally underwhelming and the fact that it takes the shape of a Phoenix at the end of the movie is actually quite comical, especially when it's just random cosmic energy with no link to that mythical bird. 

Did Work: A Satisfying Enough Ending


As the end of Fox's X-Men saga, Dark Phoenix is not a satisfying or worthy conclusion to a near twenty year series of movies. However, no one involved knew that's what it would be when the film was being made in all fairness, so blasting it for that definitely doesn't seem fair.

As endings go, though, this is satisfying enough as there are no real cliffhangers beyond Jean's silly return, and it's easy to imagine what happens next to the characters without being desperate to actually see it play out. Like it or not, this is Fox's final X-Men movie, and it's a finale we can live with!
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Simon Kinberg Reflects On How To Properly Tell The DARK PHOENIX Saga For Film Or Television

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BritishMonkey - 6/7/2019, 2:08 AM
I mean in some cases you fo rewrite as you film sometimes. Iron Man did the same thing, it had no script and indies do it.
But if it was that frequent and that self-consciously...
BritishMonkey - 6/7/2019, 2:08 AM
@BritishMonkey - Do*
Jeight8 - 6/7/2019, 2:26 AM
@BritishMonkey - iron man also had favreau as a director with serious improv skills and rdj who is know for improv for years.

Also it had feige overseeing the project. Dp had none of those things.
IronMandarin - 6/7/2019, 2:48 AM
Saw the film today.

It peevs me to no end that we now have two Dark Phoenix movies and neither of them have Jean Grey devouring a sun.

Also Cyclops is still a big bitch. 20 years of X-men movies and they've never gotten him right, but this film he reaches maximum edgelord status since he drops the F bomb. Even in a movie without Wolverine he's still a try hard.
HeavyMetal4Life - 6/7/2019, 2:48 AM
As I've been saying for like 2 years now on here, this movie was a disaster. It had 3 early screenings, each with a different cut, all of which were considered disasters. There were a handful of users in here (you know who you are) that kept their fingers in their ears going "la la la) but for the rest of us, we could see this coming far, far in advance.
blitzburgh - 6/7/2019, 3:58 AM
@HeavyMetal4Life - the funny part is if Marvel didn't get the rights back I would probably be pissed off but I'll still go see this movie just don't have any anticipation for it
NinnesMBC - 6/7/2019, 2:49 AM
Interesting, adds more light to the flaws critics found in the film. 🤔
BigPhilbowski - 6/7/2019, 3:02 AM
Saw it last night. I had no expectations going in and somehow still ended up disappointed. BTW Magneto looks great for a man in his 60s
TheUnworthyThor - 6/7/2019, 3:13 AM
Wait... you’re telling me someone actually wrote this thing? Like on purpose?
Thanoswasright - 6/7/2019, 7:28 AM
@TheUnworthyThor - Yeah, the original agenda was for "rights grabbing". So no real effort was required.
Typobutcorrect - 6/7/2019, 3:30 AM
Now it makes sense...smh
Tcb97 - 6/7/2019, 3:40 AM
I didn't completely hate the movie, but it was still bad. I like these actors and the end action scene on the train had some cool ass moments, but still it was a lazily produced half assed attempt at the Phoenix Saga. Its better than Origins Wolverine, but next to that, it is the worst one in the franchise. Still, not god-awful in my opinion. I would give it a 5/10, some enjoyment is here, but overall, I was just happy that it ended, because I know this was the final one. Let this franchise rest for a while and then reboot them under Disney/Feige!
Spock0Clock - 6/7/2019, 4:06 AM
I know it sounds bad at first blush, but the description isn't fundamentally different than the way the Russos and Feige would have lunch at RDJ's house the Sunday before the week's filming. (Except that you're potentially wasting the crew's time and slowing up filming if you're doing it between takes.)

But the real problem with Kinberg's writing isn't necessarily the process, it's the result. Dark Phoenix's characters are wasted, the dialogue is painfully generic, the and the story has no focus. While a film like Civil War can have something like fifteen supporting heroes vying for screen time still manage to give each one his/her own little arc and several moments that make them stand out, Dark Phoenix can't handle a team of seven X-Men without four of them feeling completely pointless. It's embarrassing.
Ryguy88 - 6/7/2019, 4:59 AM
@Spock0Clock - wait, you actually saw this already? I'm not even planning to see this anytime soon.
Mankzin2 - 6/7/2019, 4:11 AM
Saw it and really enjoyed it. The aliens are Skrulls though they are not mentioned by name, because hey shape shifters.
Thanoswasright - 6/7/2019, 7:29 AM
@Mankzin2 - So how is Crystal Meth then?
Skrull - 6/7/2019, 4:12 AM
Correction: J. Chastain's character had a name.

It was Vuk. Rhymes with [F]uk.

Forthas - 6/7/2019, 4:30 AM
Shape shifting aliens whose planet was destroyed. Hmmm? The movie they were trying not to imitate must have been Captain Marvel!
Ryguy88 - 6/7/2019, 4:58 AM
@Forthas - Dark Phoenix was written and filmed before before Captain Marvel started shooting. Then they had to change everything likely because of the pending Disney/Fox deal and this disaster is now in a theatre near you.
Thanoswasright - 6/7/2019, 9:05 AM
@Ryguy88 - So what! The aliens shouldn't have been Skrulls in the first place. Skrulls aren't even a part of X-men lore but I'm glad that they didn't think of screwing up the Shi'ar instead anyway.
Ryguy88 - 6/7/2019, 4:55 AM
In hindsight, this never should have been made
Thanoswasright - 6/7/2019, 9:07 AM
@Ryguy88 - Fox obtaining X-men's movie rights in the first place can fit in there to.
Ryguy88 - 6/7/2019, 10:13 AM
@Thanoswasright - fox made plenty of good Xmen movies, but they were done after the Logan and Deadpool movies
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