WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Dark Phoenix, in theaters now.
It's typical for most films to use scenes in its marketing that ultimately don't appear in the theatrical release. However, the final installment in Fox's X-Men franchise, Dark Phoenix, underwent rewrites and reshoots, resulting in a final act that was completely changed. Similarly, writer/director Simon Kinberg stated that a sizable portion of the comic book storyline was cut in order to focus more on Jean Grey.
Dark Phoenix was initially envisioned as the beginning of a new X-Men trilogy. However, with Disney's impending acquisition of Fox, the film's marketing rebranded it as the conclusion of the X-Men saga.
With those drastic alterations in mind, let's comb through Dark Phoenix's trailers and TV spots to discover not only how the film was rebranded, but which shots or plot points didn't make the final cut.
FLAMES OF THE PHOENIX
The Phoenix Force was itself altered. The cosmic entity originally possessed a sort of "fiery" motif, reflecting Phoenix's comic book counterpart, as well as her psychokinetic abilities and the scene in 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse in which Jean had a nightmare and melted some painting. Phoenix's flaming look can be seen in early promotional material, like in the December 2017 cover of Entertainment Weekly.
However, Phoenix's destructive aura was revamped in post-production into more of a "cosmic" look, not unlike that of Captain Marvel. The teaser trailer depicted Jean absorbing the Phoenix Force, represented as a burst of flames, while the film shows a purple-hued cloud of cosmic energy. While there are certainly fire-filled moments in Dark Phoenix, especially the bird-shaped supernova, Phoenix remains purplish throughout.
WHY DID YOU MAKE ME DO THAT?
In the first trailer for Dark Phoenix, a distressed Jean Grey squats in the rain as she asks herself, "Why did you make me do that? She was my friend!" The trailers then cut to Jean's confrontation with Mystique, giving away the first big twist.
In the theatrical release, this scene begins in medias res, with Jean Grey asking why the bloodstain won't come out of her top as she frantically paws at the stain. Jean never asks herself why she hurt Mystique, removing the quasi-schizophrenic tone of the Phoenix Force interacting with Jean.
THE SLIGHTEST TAP
The teaser trailer for features a voiceover in which Charles Xavier says, "The mind is a fragile thing. Takes only the slightest tap to take it the wrong direction." That's juxtaposed with a shot of a young Jean Grey riding in the backseat in her parents' car, looking down at her feet before tapping her white shoes together. Just as it only takes a tap to change a mind, Jean tapping her shoes diverts the car into an oncoming vehicle. In the actual film loses both Charles' line and the shot of Jean tapping her feet together.
While this seems like an insignificant edit, the removal of Jean tapping her feet actually changes her origin. Throughout the film, Charles and Cyclops reassure Jean the car crash that took her parents was an accident. But when Jean discovers her father is still alive, he claims Jean was a monster. If Jean had tapped her feet to cause the car crash, then that technically makes her partly culpable in her mother's death.
WAVE OF DESTRUCTION
It's super-quick, but in the teaser trailer (at the 1:46 mark) there's a quick shot of high-ranking military personnel and men in suits attempting to flee, right before a wall behind them explodes. If we had to guess, this wave of destruction stems from Dark Phoenix attacking a federal building, most likely NASA, given the film's original space-based finale. Honestly, this shot of civilians fleeing disastrous mutant powers seems typical for the climax of any X-Men film, so we can see why it was left on the cutting-room floor.
Finally, at 1:26 in the teaser trailer, a stunned Cyclops is seen standing among rubble and ash. Judging by the suits and ties of the civilians moving through the rubble in the background, this shot of Cyclops takes places after the aforementioned third-act wave of destruction.
Cyclops seems shocked, perhaps at the disaster caused by her (possibly dead) psychokinetic girlfriend. Although this shot doesn't appear in the final cut, it remains a powerful nonetheless, with a strong composition, vaguely reminiscent of Bruce Wayne running into the rubble in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Directed and written by Simon Kinberg, Dark Phoenix stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters and Jessica Chastain.