Sure, Eleven from Stranger Things might be the psychic on everyone's mind right now, but put her in a cage fight with Jean Grey and the pint-sized hero wouldn't last 11 seconds.
Gone are the days when Jean Grey could barely lift a pencil in Bryan Singer's first X-Men movie. This summer's X-Men: Apocalypse positioned Phoenix rightfully where she belongs: Leading the pack as the strongest mutant on the planet, taking down even the likes of Apocalypse with ease once her true power is unleashed.
While the final cut of X-Men: Apocalypse effectively built up to that climatic moment by frequently hinting at Jean's true power — think shaking beds and night terrors — one deleted scene that's just been unveiled went considerably bleaker, suggesting that Dark Phoenix may be coming sooner than we initially thought.
The deleted scene in question starts out much like it does in the theatrical cut of X-Men: Apocalypse, where Scott Summers is first introduced to Professor Xavier by his brother Alex. However, things take an interesting turn when the clip introduces us to Katniss Everjean earlier than expected, following her as she indulges in some archery practice outside.
So far, the scene's played out innocently enough, but then something strange happens. After initially aiming her bow and arrow at a target across the lake, Jean suddenly turns to the right, making her fellow students the target. It's all very Columbine in a disturbing way that doesn't fit with the rest of the scene or the film at large, making viewers feel somewhat uncomfortable about Jean's intentions.
Of course, Jean ultimately takes control of the arrow with her mind, veering it away from her fellow students to hit a perfect bullseye on the target. However, this deleted scene still raises a very important point.
Why Did Jean Aim Her Arrow At The Students In The First Place?
You could argue that this deleted scene was devised as a way to introduce the audience to Jean's powers before they settled on her bumping into Scott and catching the falling textbooks with her mind. It's an intriguing idea, and one that certainly looks great visually, but this approach doesn't make much sense, unless of course Singer originally wanted to hint at darker urges in Jean's mind. It's telling that this disturbing scene is immediately followed by Professor X telling Scott that the key to controlling his power is 'learning the extent of it'.
Character-wise, the Jean Grey portrayed in the movie would never even consider harming a fellow student and in the comics too, Jean only becomes evil after the Phoenix force possesses her and she becomes insane with power. However, in the film's continuity, the 'Phoenix' appears to be a manifestation of Jean's own psyche instead, implying that her future transformation into the Dark Phoenix will happen because of something that's always been inside of her, lying dormant.
As Jean's true power only manifested itself at the end of X-Men: Apocalypse, we still have a while before Singer will have a shot at finally bringing the Dark Phoenix Saga to cinemas, over a decade after Brett Ratner infamously ruined the iconic story in X-Men: Last Stand.
Why Does Dark Phoenix Even Matter?
Long before Zack Snyder portrayed the likes of Superman and Batman in a grim, dour light, the usually lovely Jean Grey lost her mind in the comics after becoming consumed by the power of the Dark Phoenix.
In arguably the greatest X-Men story ever told, the Dark Phoenix Saga pitted the X-Men against one of their own in a hopeless battle to stop Jean's newfound cosmic power from destroying the galaxy. Despite their best efforts to halt her rampage, Dark Phoenix eventually devours the energy of an entire star, causing it to turn supernova and wipe out a nearby planet populated by millions.
An alien race called The Shi'ar then found a way to hold the Dark Phoenix prisoner while holding her accountable for genocide. Torn between justice and saving Jean, the X-Men fight the Shi'ar Imperial Guard on the moon in order to decide her fate. However, as the X-Men are defeated one by one, Jean briefly regains control, giving her true love Scott a tearful goodbye before killing herself in order to prevent further deaths.
This, this is how you adapt the Dark Phoenix Saga:
It's an ambitious story to adapt, for sure, but one that X-Men fans have longed to finally see depicted in the way that it deserves. Hints were already threaded throughout X-Men: Apocalypse that suggested the Phoenix story line may be played out in its entirety, but this deleted scene is the closest we've got so far to seeing Jean's darker impulses appear in this new X-Men film continuity and we couldn't be more excited.
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While the next X-Men sequel hasn't even received an official release date yet, the home release of Apocalypse on 4 October will give fans plenty more insights into the franchise to tide us over in the coming weeks, including the deleted mall scene and behind the scenes videos just like this one.
Why do you think Jean aimed her arrow at fellow students in this deleted scene? Will Fox ever tackle the Dark Phoenix Saga again after fans were burned by X-Men: Last Stand? And most importantly of all, will Jean ever bang Wolverine in the movies?