X-Men: Dark Phoenix — With the absence of Wolverine, is it possible to avert Jean Grey's unhinged powers?
As The Phoenix, Jean Grey is one of the most powerful mutants ever created in the pages of Marvel comics and only Hugh Jackman's Wolverine has the strength to beat her down
X-Men: Dark Phoenix will serve as a new spin on the classic storyline of the Dark Phoenix Saga, that was also explored in X-Men: The Last Stand. But the 'X-factor' of that film, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), will remain absent in this one. He was the only one who managed to trump Jean Grey once she could not control her powers.
Jean and Logan have shared an interesting past across the X-Men franchise.
When Wolverine and Rogue are attacked by the Brotherhood of Mutants and saved by Cyclops and Storm in X-Men, Jean Grey is the one who cures them once in the X-Mansion. While regaining his health, Logan develops a soft corner for Jean. However, with Jean engaged to Cyclops, their love always remains forbidden and unrequited. Throughout the films, we see Logan and Cyclops compete for Jean’s attention.
Though, Wolverine has had many romantic connections both in the X-Men series and in the comics, one can argue that the red-haired mutant is Wolverine’s greatest love. Not only did Logan have to witness the object of his deepest affections in the arms of another, he also had to watch Jean struggle with her dark demons and eventually put them to rest.
During this time, it is also revealed that Charles Xavier had placed a series of psychic blocks on Jean's mind while she was training to limit her powers. However, by locking parts of her subconscious away, it is later discovered that he has created within Jean a split personality — the Dark Phoenix, formed by her powers unrestricted by her consciousness.
Things escalate in X2 during the battle of Alkali Lake where the X-Men team up to rescue the incarcerated mutant children taken from the school. It is when Jean unleashes her full power to the extent that the sheer force engulfs her in the powerful psychic red flames.
Subsequently, in X-Men: The Last Stand, possessed by the dark force, with access to both telepathic and telekinetic abilities, Jean becomes one of the most formidable mutants.
Back at X-Mansion, Charles reveals that Jean is the only Class 5 mutant alive, overpowered with rage and desire, violently struggling to break free. When Wolverine assumes a lone vigil over Jean, she wakes up from her coma and speaks to Wolverine, who has immediate misgivings as she continues to act completely different from the woman he knew and loved before. His suspicion is further deepened when Jean tries to seduce him. Attempting to reason with her, Wolverine witnesses her unthinking anger and dark side for the very first time.
When Charles tries to block her powers again, the Phoenix gets enraged and unleashes all her might, making everyone fly away, destroying her home and killing Professor X.
Confused and saddened by her mentor’s death, she starts a massive attack on everything and everyone, killing human and mutants on her way. While everyone is forced to escape, only Wolverine manages to go near her, since his healing factor prevents her from pulverising him.
As he finally reaches her, Phoenix attempts to kill him, asking Logan, "You would die for them?"
But when Logan tells her "Not for them — for you," a small portion of Jean's consciousness struggles to the surface, fighting back tears as her uncontrollable powers continue to destroy the world around them. She begs Logan, "Save me!" Confessing his love for her, Logan grants Jean's last wish and impales her through the heart with his claws, putting an end to the destruction.
Jean and Wolverine have been destined to remain doomed lovers.
While the 2017 Logan release offered an emotional, powerful and fitting finale to Jackman's noble mutant, the film was set in an alternate future timeline. Dark Phoenix is set in 1993 (as confirmed by the director). Hence, it essentially means the Wolverine is somewhere lost in the world.
Conceivably, there could still be a cameo appearance or an Easter egg involving Logan somewhere in Dark Phoenix as past X-Men movies have certainly gone out of their way to jam Wolverine in (read: Apocalypse. However, with Jackman repeatedly saying he is done with the role, that seems unlikely.
As the Dark Phoenix, Jean is one of the most powerful mutants ever created in the pages of Marvel comics. A Wolverine-devoid scenario will be an interesting test to see if the surviving X-Men can control the unhinged powers of Jean Grey.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix, directed by Simon Kinberg and produced by 20th Century Fox, stars Sophie Turner (as Jean), Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain among others. It is slated to release in Hindi, English, Tamil and Telugu this Wednesday on 5 June.
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