It’s been a while since Jean Grey appeared in a major capacity in the X-Men movies, but we'll reunite with her this May…well, sort of. Instead of Famke Janssen reprising the role, Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner plays a teenage Jean in the 1980s-set X-Men: Apocalypse. Since this movie takes place nearly 20 years before we met Jean in 2000’s X-Men, she won’t be the same character as we remember, and the key difference compared to her older self will be in how she’s adjusting to her abilities.
In an interview with EW, Sophie Turner explained that, in X-Men: Apocalypse, Jean Grey’s powers will make her feel especially vulnerable and alone, despite the fact that she lives among other mutants at Professor Xavier’s mansion. She elaborated:
The difference between this and Famke’s Jean Grey is she’s young and isolated and so insecure and very alienated – even from the other mutants – because she’s so powerful. So there’s a real vulnerability to her and it’s great to see how her and Scott [Tye Sheridan] find each other through that alienation. She’s a great role to play, she’s so much fun, and her arc in the movie is amazing.
Many mutants have trouble adjusting to their unique powers, but Jean Grey has always had added difficulty in both the comics and other media given what she’s capable of with her telekinesis and telepathy. Unlike Famke Janssen’s Jean, who had spent years learning how to control her abilities, Sophie Turner’s Jean is still getting used to being a mutant. Ideally being around others like her, including her future boyfriend Scott Summers, a.k.a. Cyclops, and Professor X’s tutorage will help her cope with this new life.
That said, fans will also remember in X-Men: The Last Stand that Xavier mentally repressed part of her mind so as not to unleash The Phoenix, her darker self. There was a hint of Jean’s destructive potential in the X-Men: Apocalypse teaser, so depending on how the battle against Apocalypse and the Four Horsemen goes, we may see her reach full power levels in order to combat them, i.e. become the Dark Phoenix.
After dying in 2003’s X2: X-Men United, Jean Grey returned in X-Men: The Last Stand as the Phoenix, who killed Cyclops and allied with Magneto’s Brotherhood. She was only stopped when Wolverine killed her in the climax. Logan continued to hallucinate her in The Wolverine, but after he changed the timeline in X-Men: Days of Future Past, both Jean and Cyclops’ deaths were averted, so she’s now still part of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Assuming Apocalypse doesn’t have any temporal powers to alter this new timeline, we can at least take comfort knowing that Jean will make it out of the next movie alive.
X-Men: Apocalypse hits theaters on May 27.