After that, we finally got the Deadpool spinoff movie that Fox was so reluctant to do, yet not only made them huge bank, but made them realize they could branch out. We got another main X-Men movie, a super-violent Wolverine finale, a Deadpool sequel, and production of two more movies that were muddily mixed with Disney’s purchase of Fox.
Throughout all of that, the movies weren’t totally coherent as a single narrative. Even if you ignore the general meta-ness of the Deadpool movies, the X-Men Cinematic Universe kept trying to apply Band-Aids when their continuity could never even hope for an open-casket funeral.
Dark Phoenix and New Mutants were filmed around the same time. The intent was for New Mutants to come out first, but it’s long become infamous for being the Duke Nukem Forever of mutant movies, getting pushed back repeatedly for a variety of reasons. That left Dark Phoenix as the “finale” for the X-Men Cinematic Universe.
But Dark Phoenix brought the franchise out with a whimper. Much of it had to do with Simon Kinberg trying to tell the same story that he did in X-Men: The Last Stand and not doing much better, if at all. Despite featuring big Hollywood names, almost everyone involved seemed to have checked out and Mystique’s death was telegraphed from the very first trailer.
The movie did scrap its downer ending of Xavier surveying the empty wreckage of his school for something more optimistic and fitting for a finale. Fitting enough, at least. Xavier left the school in Beast’s hands (or was kicked out) and went on to have a peaceful chess game with Magneto. All the while, we could see the Phoenix in the day sky with Jean doing a monologue.