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Dark Phoenix: Many Rewrites Took Place On Set

Between multiple release date delays and several rounds of reshoots, the production of the latest X-Men movie Dark Phoenix wasn't easy. According to stars Sophie Turner and Jessica Chastain, it also wasn't well-planned, either. 

Turner, the star behind the mutant Jean Grey who undergoes a terrifying transformation into her sinister alter-ego the Dark Phoenix, and Chastain, who plays the alien who manipulates Jean's dark side, recently got to talking with Screen Rant about the numerous rewrites of Dark Phoenix. As it turns out, director Simon Kinberg was constantly making changes to the script on set. 

Turner explained that she and Kinberg, who makes his feature film directorial debut with Dark Phoenix, would "sit down for two hours every day and just comb through each page of the script." She added, "There was rewriting being done all the time." 

Chastain highlighted just how sporadic the rewrite sessions were when she revealed, "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.'"

Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Some writers are "plotters" (they know every single beat a movie will hit and how the story will arrive at each point before they write a single line of the script) and others are "pantsers" (they fly by the seat of their pants, making up the story as they go along). Neither approach is wrong, and there's nothing shameful about writers going back to the drawing board to fix certain aspects of a film's narrative. 

The problem with Dark Phoenix, however, is that the apparently endless rewriting and retooling negatively impacted the film — at least in the eyes of critics. When 20th Century Fox popped the lid off the review embargo for Dark Phoenix on Wednesday, June 5, the studio simultaneously opened the floodgates for a wave of negative reactions to come crashing over the X-movie. Many argued in their write-ups that while other movies benefited from rewrites, with the finished result coming out so flawlessly that viewers wouldn't be able to tell the story was ever changed in the first place, Dark Phoenix wound up feeling disjointed. 

"Mired by endless delays, rewrites, and reshoots, the lacklustre finale was plagued by production woes. So, it's no surprise that much of DARK PHOENIX feels like several films stitched together," wrote Richard Gray of The Reel Bits.

Writing for GameSpot, Meg Downey called Dark Phoenix the worse X-Men movie in history, partially due to its confused story: "It's hard to really pinpoint just where everything started going wrong. You could blame it on the cast being too large, or the script trying to juggle too many things, or the narrative not really knowing what it wanted to say or how it wanted to say it, but the reality is it doesn't really matter. The sum of Dark Phoenix's parts is a mess."

Sadly, those two reviews are just a sampling of the harsh reactions to Dark Phoenix. Try as Kinberg so clearly did to make something great with Dark Phoenix, the fruits of his labor evidently came out pretty sour. 

Form your own opinion on Dark Phoenix when the film hits theaters on June 7.