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Famke Janssen as Jean Grey in X-Men: The Last Stand

This weekend marks the release of Dark Phoenix, the second time the iconic X-Men comics storyline The Dark Phoenix Saga has been adapted for film. The first time was in 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, which was not well received among fans.

Although critical reception towards Dark Phoenix hasn’t been kind either, this time around at least the story is more centered on Jean Grey’s turn to darkness, which is something that Famke Janssen, who originally brought Jean to life on the big screen, appreciates. In her words:

I’m just happy that Dark Phoenix got her own movie because she deserves it. And it’s a really powerful and very important story in the comics, that in The Last Stand we just touched upon the tiniest part of. It was something that needed to be told as a full-blown film and now that’s happening. And it’s wonderful.

X2: X-Men United set up Jean’s eventual transformation into the Phoenix at the end, but when X-Men: The Last Stand came around, that first adaptation of The Dark Phoenix Saga had to share screen time with the mutant cure storyline. Had those been the plots of two separate movies, perhaps both would have been exceptional products, but because they were combined, The Last Stand felt cluttered and convoluted.

This is the main criticism that Famke Janssen has given about X-Men: The Last Stand, saying in the past that The Dark Phoenix Saga wasn’t given enough screen time in the movie. This is a problem Simon Kinberg, who co-wrote The Last Stand, aimed to fix with Dark Phoenix, which he wrote and directed.

Famke Janssen also mentioned in her interview with Variety that Sophie Turner, who debuted as Jean Grey in X-Men: Apocalypse, contacted Janssen before officially taking on the telekinetic mantle. As Janssen put it:

She did [reach out before initially taking the role] and she reached out again and she’s lovely. I’m so excited to see the film.

One thing that both film versions of The Dark Phoenix Saga share in common is that they both heavily differ from the source material. At least where Dark Phoenix is concerned, there’s an extraterrestrial element through Jessica Chastain’s shapeshifting character, but it definitely feels more grounded compared to the insanely cosmic tale that writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne delivered on the printed page in 1980.

With the Fox era of the X-Men film franchise coming to an end, Dark Phoenix will be the final time we see Sophie Turner and the rest of the ‘First Class’-era actors play their respective mutant characters. As for Famke Janssen, she returned to cameo as Jean Grey in The Wolverine and X-Men: Days of Future Past, but nowadays she’s keeping busy with movies like The Poison Rose and TV series like When They See Us.

You can judge Dark Phoenix for yourself once it starts hitting theaters tonight, and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more coverage. Don’t forget to also browse through our 2019 release schedule to learn what movies are coming out later this year.

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