Follow TV Tropes


Trivia / Dark Phoenix

Go To

  • Acting for Two: Jessica Chastain plays both the D'Bari alien Vuk and Margaret Smith, the woman Vuk shapeshifts into the likeness of for disguise.
  • Approval of God: Chris Claremont has praised the film.
    "Thanks to [Simon Kinberg and Sophie Turner] for bringing Jean's story so wonderfully to life! Essentially true to the original comics story, it turned the focus of the X-film from Charley & Eric (& Hank & Raven) to the students, to Scott (& Ororo & Kurt) & most of all, to Jean and did so brilliantly."
  • Advertisement:
  • B-Team Sequel: Bryan Singer didn't return as director, though he did serve as producer during development and pre-production. His name was then removed from production and credits amidst the sexual assault allegations.
  • Billing Displacement:
    • Jennifer Lawrence gets third billing here. She dies at the midpoint of the movie.
    • Sophie Turner, who plays the movie's titular character, is given fifth billing.
  • Box Office Bomb:
  • Channel Hop: Because Disney completed its purchase of 20th Century Fox prior to the film's release, they inherited the film's distribution rights.
  • Contractual Obligation Project: Since the movie was already filmed when Disney acquired Fox, the larger company had to honor their new subsidiary's release schedule, even with Marvel beginning to internally discuss plans to reboot the X-Men franchise into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Creator Backlash: Alexandra Shipp, who portrays Storm, had some choice words about feeling that Storm is underused in this movie and X-Men: Apocalypse. She also gave Marvel Studios a rather backhanded compliment in the same exchange, noting that her version of Storm would likely end up being a background character in an big team-up movie:
    Shipp: I would and I wouldn’t [be a fan of joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe], because Storm barely has anything to say as it is. I don’t know about you all (other actors), but, like, we never talk. So it would be really nice if we weren’t piled into yet another jam-packed cast, in which you only see me in the back of the shot like fucking Sasquatch.
  • Deleted Role: Daniel Cudmore's role was cut in the final version of the film.
  • Dyeing for Your Art:
  • Executive Meddling:
    • Director Simon Kinberg wanted to refilm the original climactic sequence to add more X-Men to a scene that otherwise would have just had Professor X, Cyclops, and Phoenix in it, but Fox deemed it too expensive to rebuild the absolutely massive sets that they made for the sequence — thus resulting in the train sequence.
    • While Disney's acquisition of Fox did not affect the content within the film, it did adversely affect the movie's marketing campaign, as a number of positions were vacated and were replaced by temporary workers. Disney did attempt to give the movie a last-minute marketing push after the merger had been completed, but they did not spend as aggressively to promote the release. One insider says that the film's lone premiere in Los Angeles was done with an eye to controlling cost — a bit of economizing that annoyed the film's creative team.
  • Flip-Flop of God:
    • After Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Hans Zimmer said he was done scoring superhero films. Then he came back in the genre to score Dark Phoenix, and shortly afterward, signed on to co-compose Wonder Woman 1984.
    • It was always stated that Dark Phoenix was to be the beginning of many films to come, but after Disney's buyout of Fox was officially completed, Simon Kinberg changed his tune to the movie having always intended to be the swan song of the series. Some speculate the backtracking or PR speak might be at play.
  • Follow the Leader: An odd example of this happening in the same franchise — Dark Phoenix eschewing X-Men from the title was inspired by Logan doing the same thing. Then again, many international releases and the home video ones brought the franchise name back.
  • Franchise Killer: Dark Phoenix effectively crushed any argument that could've been made about letting the X-Men continue in a direction separate from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Beforehand, Disney and Marvel actually made it clear they intended to start fresh with the IP by making a reboot in the MCU following the acquisition of 20th Century Fox, and Fox sold the film as a finale; after the movie released, this proved to be the right call to make.
  • God Never Said That: Jessica Chastain was assumed by virtually everyone, from media outlets to fans, to be playing Lilandra after it was announced she was playing the Big Bad of the film, but it was never explicitly stated to be the case by Fox, which led to Chastain herself revealing that she wasn't the character over social media. The truth ended up being a little more complicated, as Chastain was initially hired to play Lilandra before the intended two-part film was condensed into one movie.
  • In Memoriam: The end credits includes the message "In memory of Stan Lee".
  • Invisible Advertising: One of the stated reasons for the film's poor box office performance was a lack of awareness on the film. One tracking service never had an X-Men movie have a "definite awareness" score below a 90 out of 100 points; Dark Phoenix, conversely, never got higher than a 75. One anonymous executive noted how surreal it was for Rocketman to have a higher level of awareness with general audiences.
  • Jossed:
    • There was a lot of speculation about the identity of Jessica Chastain's "Smith," with popular guesses including Lilandra, Cassandra Nova, or a gender-flipped Mastermind. As it turns out, she's none of those guesses, because her character is an alien named "Vuk", who kills and impersonates a human named Margaret Smith.
    • Any speculation that the film would be adjusted to set up a multiverse crossover with the MCU down the road was also rendered moot when Fox started marketing the movie as the end to the franchise, and word of Marvel Studios taking over with a full reboot became more prominent.
  • Market-Based Title: While the film was released in the US as just Dark Phoenix, internationally it was released as X-Men: Dark Phoenix. This is presumably to more clearly market the film as a sequel similar to Logan which was released in some international markets as Logan: The Wolverine and to X2: X-Men United which was released internationally as just X-Men 2. Upon release to home video in the United States, the X-Men part of the title was reinstated.
  • Playing Against Type: Jessica Chastain is rarely the villain, aside from Crimson Peak. It also marks the first blockbuster role for her since The Huntsman: Winter's War.
  • Posthumous Credit: The film gives an executive producer credit to Stan Lee, who passed away seven months before the movie was released.
  • Reality Subtext: The Mutant Containment Unit end up taking the Mutants away. It's no surprise that the scenes involving this organization were reshoots added after Disney's acquisition of Fox was formally announced.
  • Release Date Change: The film was initially set for release on November 2, 2018, but got moved back to February 14, 2019 to accommodate reshoots and Bohemian Rhapsody (coincidentally directed by Bryan Singer) took its slot. And then it was moved back again, to June 6, 2019, just a day after its first trailer and poster (with the February 14th date on it) were released. Alita: Battle Angel took its place. note 
  • Troubled Production: If this article is anything to go by, Dark Phoenix had lots of behind-the-scenes turmoil.
    • The trouble began when Fox executives looked at the poor critical and commercial reception for X-Men: Apocalypse and felt that the film was an anomaly of what was otherwise a consistently well-performing franchise, rather than evidence that audiences were growing frustrated with its creative direction. In a desperate attempt to win back the fans' trust, Fox decided to reboot The Dark Phoenix Saga, which they previously tackled with the aforementioned The Last Stand to disastrous results. Recurring series producer Simon Kinberg was chosen to direct in his feature film debut due to his aforementioned work as a fill-in director on Apocalypse. Although Kinberg had the backing of the stars (including Jennifer Lawrence, who reportedly refused to do the film unless Kinberg directed it), fans were more skeptical given how Kinberg co-wrote The Last Stand, never directed a prior feature film from start to finish, and lost some credibility for his role in the infamous Fantastic Four (2015) reboot.
    • Filming went smoothly, but once Fox executives got to see a rough cut, both them and Kinberg agreed that the film needed extensive reshoots. Unfortunately, the reshoots didn't occur for over a year since Fox had to renegotiate many of the actors' contracts. It was during this time that Rupert Murdoch, having grown disillusioned with the trend of media consolidation, decided to sell Fox and its entertainment assets to Disney, which owned Marvel Comics and would almost certainly move to put the characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since the deal wouldn't be finalized for nearly a year-and-a-half, Fox was forced to continue on with the film. The reshoots ended up resulting in the film moving up its release date by several months. All this was happening as the marketing campaign was rolling out.
    • Then things went to hell. James Cameron, who was writing and producing Alita: Battle Angel for Fox, complained that his film was scheduled to open against Mary Poppins Returns, Aquaman and Bumblebee, fearing a box office slaughter from all three. Consequently, Fox moved up Dark Phoenix's release date by four months, making it a summer blockbuster, while giving Alita the February slot originally reserved for Dark Phoenix. Several Fox executives, including current studio head Emma Watts, rebelled against the move, but were overruled. As the merger with Disney closed, many of the film's marketing staff were forced out in the post-merger shakeup, resulting in the film's campaign lacking any sort of message or direction. Not helping matters was that the film, instead of hype building, faced either apathy or merciless mocking on the Internet before its release, seeing it as a Contractual Obligation Project in a franchise that was doomed to end in the merger's aftermath.
    • The end result was a disaster both critically and commercially. The final film was a critically-panned mess that received a lower Rotten Tomatoes percentage score than both The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Fan concerns about Kinberg's lack of experience were validated as even the most generous critics singled out Kinberg's weak direction as a major flaw. Financially, the film was a massive bomb that opened with a whopping $33 million on its opening weekend in America, the lowest opening ever for an X-Men film. Things got worse when bad word-of-mouth lead to the film experiencing a second weekend drop of 71.5%, the worst for the genre since Batman v Superman three years prior. The lack of legs was further exacerbated by the film being pulled from over 1,600 theaters in its third weekend. The film effectively ensured any thought of the X-Men film franchise continuing in its current capacity would be dashed.
    • The last nail on the coffin came when Disney disclosed a $170 million loss in its studio division for the company's third financial quarter, specifically calling out Dark Phoenix's poor performance as the main reason for the quarter's weaker-than-expected results. Consequently, Disney moved to gut whatever autonomy Fox had left post-merger, taking a direct role in green-lighting films for the brand and shelving almost every film from the studio in the early stages of development indefinitely. The only films that escaped the purge were those connected to valuable IP (i.e. Avatar, Planet of the Apes, etc.), Fox Searchlight fare and those that Disney chose to move to other brands in their portfolio.
  • What Could Have Been: Has its own section on the film series page.
  • Word of God: Simon Kinberg confirmed that Jean survived in the final battle against Vuk, thus confirming her fate is indeed a Foregone Conclusion, given that she's alive in the epilogue of X-Men: Days of Future Past.
  • Working Title: Phoenix, X-Men: Supernova, X-Men: Teen Spirit, and X-Men: Pulsar were all listed as codenames for the film.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: