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Dark Phoenix: Why director Simon Kinberg wanted a Last Stand do-over

When you get a chance for a do-over, you take it. Just ask Simon Kinberg. 

The filmmaker recently sat down for a chat with ScreenRant ahead of the June 7 launch of Dark Phoenix, the final installment of the X-Men movie franchise at the now-Disney-owned 20th Century Fox that chronicles Jean Grey's (Sophie Turner) metamorphosis from mutant to powerful entity of mass destruction. It's a story fans have already seen play out on the silver screen, having witnessed Jean transform into the Dark Phoenix in X-Men: The Last Stand from 2006. When Fox announced the premise of Dark Phoenix and fans got their first looks at the film, many wondered why Kinberg and co. were re-telling the Dark Phoenix Saga storyline and effectively re-doing part of The Last Stand.

Kinberg has revealed the answer to ScreenRant: he had a huge regret about how The Last Stand was written. (And that's saying something, considering Kinberg was part of that film's writing team.) He explained that he feels as though Jean's story was "sidelined" in favor of the Mutant Cure plot in The Last Stand. With Dark Phoenix, Kinberg wanted to clear the slate and tell the Dark Phoenix story over again — this time focusing solely on Jean. 

"I really felt with X-Men: The Last Stand — and I say that as one of the writers of that movie — that what I regretted about it was that a story that is the most epic, the most beloved storyline in all of X-Men comics, potentially all of comics, was sidelined, being the B-story or the background story of a film instead of being this central story of the movie. In that movie, the Cure plot obviously became the main plot of the story, and I think Jean speaks only a few times in the second half of the film," explained Kinberg. "I really just wanted to wipe that away and create a movie where you were fully focused and invested in Jean from start to finish, quite literally."

He added that it was "so clear" that the tale of Jean's Dark Phoenix transformation "needed to be retold" — and in a movie that could expand her character even further. 

Obviously, Kinberg's whole heart is in Dark Phoenix. But was the trouble of re-doing the Dark Phoenix plot already told in film through The Last Stand for a completely separate film worth it? Is Dark Phoenix impactful enough to bookend Fox's X-Men movie franchise in a wonderful way, or will it be the off-key note that sours the whole series? It could honestly go either way. Many are wary of a disappointing outcome — particularly since Dark Phoenix reportedly bombed at several test screenings, was delayed multiple times, and underwent several rounds of reshoots to change the ending — but others are more optimistic about it all. Only time will tell whether the do-over does any good. 

Dark Phoenix hits theaters on June 7.