Of the many issues surrounding Dark Phoenix, probably the most undercooked is the film’s villains. Created by legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the D’Bari and their leader, Vuk (Jessica Chastain in Dark Phoenix), aren’t the most recognizable of Marvel antagonists, mostly known for having their homeworld blown to bits during the “Dark Phoenix Saga”. If you did want to learn more about the D’Bari, Dark Phoenix is not the place to look; the villains’ personalities and motivations were muddled as muddled can be—They want the force that destroyed their home so they can…rebuild their home?—and their shape-shifting/invincibility powers were similarly vague.
Whelp, it appears there’s a behind-the-scenes reason for all that. According to Tye Sheridan, who plays Cyclops in Dark Phoenix, an earlier version of Simon Kinberg‘s film saw the X-Men going toe-to-toe with Marvel’s nastiest bodysnatchers, the Skrull. Here’s what the actor had to say on the Reelblend podcast:
“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.”
“And then it’s all over, I guess,” is a pretty accurate way to sum up Dark Phoenix‘s conclusion to the X-Men franchise, I’d say. As for the Skrulls, it’s pretty obvious to see how the shape-shifting menaces easily overlap with Dark Phoenix‘s baddies, although what they’d want with the Dark Phoenix force is interesting. The Skrulls, of course, were painted in a much more positive light earlier this year in Captain Marvel, which might have proved a little confusing, continuity-wise. Not that the X-Men franchise, featuring an allegedly mid-60s Michael Fassbender, cares much for that.
For the record, if you want a full breakdown of the D’Bari’s history and role in Dark Phoenix, check out Dave Trumbore’s explainer right here.