A brief history of Jean Grey
Next year’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix will finally bring one of the most iconic superhero stories of all time to the big screen. But Jean Grey’s character history is long and convuluted, so EW put together a helpful guide to catch fans up on the complicated backstory of this powerful, complex character.
Meet Jean Grey (1963)
When the X-Men began, Jean was the weak link. Calling herself “Marvel Girl,” she was capable of minor telekinesis. But then Professor X helped her uncover her burgeoning might…
Becoming Phoenix (1976)
After nearly sacrificing herself to save the X-Men from a spaceship crash, Jean rose from the water more powerful than ever, sporting a new outfit and renaming herself Phoenix.
Dark Phoenix Saga (1980)
Jean’s power acted as a conduit for Phoenix Force, a cosmic entity that drove her mad and sent her on a rampage across the stars. The real Jean finally re-emerged and tragically sacrificed herself to save her friends.
Blue Jean (1992-97)
On X-Men: The Animated Series, Jean was mostly demoted to a mere blue-and-yellow-clad bystander — except for the episodes that adapted the Dark Phoenix Saga story line.
Wedding Bells (1994)
After coming back to life (death is never permanent in comic books), Jean reunited with her original teammates (now calling themselves X-Factor) and finally married longtime love Cyclops.
Hell Hath No Fury (2001-04)
When Jean’s Phoenix power started to ascend a second time, she handled it much more capably: Using it to catch Cyclops having an affair rather than to destroy solar systems. But she was ultimately killed by Magneto, and still has yet to return…
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
The first movie treatment of the Dark Phoenix storyline cast Jean (Famke Janssen) as the victim of a split personality who can’t stop disintegrating her former friends, stripping the story of its female-empowerment angle.
Young Jean (2013-present)
Just when you thought X-Men continuity couldn’t get any more convuluted, Beast traveled back in time to bring younger versions of the original X-Men into the present. Young Jean has flourished most of all, and now commands the X-Men Blue team.
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
Though still a rookie, Jean (Sophie Turner) proves herself the only X-Man capable of defeating Apocalypse — a portentous flaming phoenix shape shining behind her as she does.