Jean Grey
X-Men character
Famke Janssen as Jean Grey / Phoenix in X-Men: The Last Stand
First appearanceX-Men (2000)
Last appearanceDark Phoenix (2019)
Based on
Jean Grey
Adapted byBryan Singer
Tom DeSanto
Portrayed byFamke Janssen
Haley Ramm
(child, 2006)
Sophie Turner
Summer Fontana
(child, 2019)
In-universe information
OccupationScientist / physician
(original timeline)
FamilyJohn Grey
(father; deceased)
Elaine Grey
(mother; deceased)
Significant otherScott Summers
Powers and abilities
  • Telepathy
  • Telekinesis
  • Matter transmutation
  • Precognitive dreams

Jean Grey is a fictional character featured in seven films in the X-Men film series, starting with X-Men (2000) and ending with Dark Phoenix (2019), based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Jean was portrayed by Dutch actress Famke Janssen in five films, with "Jean" in The Wolverine (2013) being a posthumous hallucination in Logan's head and her appearance in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) being a brief flashforward scene. For the 2016 film X-Men: Apocalypse, Jean was recast with English actress Sophie Turner, who would reprise her role in Dark Phoenix in 2019.

Fictional character biography

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (September 2021)

Early life

X-Men: The Last Stand and Dark Phoenix each has a flashback sequence for Jean; because of the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past, these two flashbacks takes place in two different realities.[1]

In the original timeline, Jean is visited by Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Erik Lehnsherr (Ian McKellen) after her parents had been concerned about what they believed to be a type of "illness" in their daughter. The girl is shown levitating multiple cars and other objects with her telekinetic powers and the two elder mutants, still friends at the time, invite Jean to the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters. The professor later explains that while she was young, he put psychic dampers on her mind to help control a supposed "dark side" within her subconscious, preventing her powers from spiraling out of control and hurting others and herself.[P 1]

In the second timeline, Jean is in a car with her parents, causing a car crash with her out-of-control mental powers, killing her mother and leaving her father afraid of his own daughter and refusing to see her later on; Jean is led to believe that her father also died in the crash. She is approached by Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), who tries to help the troubled girl, inviting her to enroll in his school.[P 2]

Background and creation


The casting call for the first X-Men film specifies Jean Grey's character as a "Beautiful and intelligent scientist. Also an X-Man. She has telepathic and telekinetic powers. Engaged to Cyclops and yearned for by Wolverine. Late 20s".[2] Reports from pre-production in 1999 indicated that Jean being written to be a scientist - which she is not in the comics - was due to Beast/Hank McCoy, the team's resident scientist, originally being part of the script but dropped due to budget concerns.[3] Since director Bryan Singer had gone with a younger, teenage portrayal of Rogue (Anna Paquin), he felt that he wanted a more mature Jean in contrast.[4]

He also noted that Jean Grey would have committed suicide by the end, which was redundant with the ending of X2. The "Dark Phoenix" storyline was thus relegated to a secondary substory in The Last Stand. Simon Kinberg was disappointed by this outcome, calling the Dark Phoenix Saga "the ultimate X-Men story" and compared reducing it to a secondary subplot to sidelining the Book of Genesis chapter from The Bible.[5] At one point, Matthew Vaughn (the original director of The Last Stand before Brett Ratner took over) wanted Wolverine to carry Leech with him to Jean to depower her; Penn felt that this was a cop-out and Jean had to pay for her crimes, and depowering her would also not fix her broken state of mind.[6]

The 2019 Dark Phoenix film was originally meant to be a two part storyline, one film named only Phoenix and then Dark Phoenix as its sequel. However, the producers were unhappy with the outcome of X-Men: Apocalypse and cancelled the second sequel, forcing Simon Kinberg to compress his storyline into one film. His original ending had Jean dying at the end, but this ending was poorly received with test audiences for the film and was changed to a more hopeful outcome.[7]


Sophie Turner and Nicholas Hoult at a Comic-Con panel for X-Men: Apocalypse.

In 1998, it was rumoured that Julianne Moore was in the talks for the X-Men film at the time, presumably for the role of Jean Grey.[8][9] Helen Hunt was offered the role, but turned it down,[10] as did Charlize Theron.[11] Peta Wilson auditioned for the role.[12] Ashley Judd, Alicia Witt, Selma Blair, Robin Wright-Penn, Minnie Driver and Maria Bello were also all rumoured to have been auditioning for the role at the time.[13][14] Lucy Lawless was invited to audition, possibly for the role of Jean, but choose to abstain due to her real life pregnancy and her otherwise busy schedule with Xena: Warrior Princess.[15] In early August 1999, it was reported by Daily Variety that Dutch model turned actress Famke Janssen had been cast as Jean Grey.[14]

For X-Men: Apocalypse (2016), Hailee Steinfeld, Elle Fanning, Chloë Grace Moretz[16] and Saoirse Ronan[17] had been among those who auditioned for the role of the younger Jean. Grace Fulton, who would go to play Mary Bromfield in the DC Extended Universe Shazam films, also auditioned to play Jean.[18] Sophie Turner, after being cast as younger Jean, contacted Famke Janssen about advice on playing the role, but was told that there was nothing that Janssen could teach that her she didn't already know, as well as being wished good luck with the role.[19] To prepare for the role, Turner studied how schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder works in real life.[20]

Characterization and special effects

In X-Men: The Last Stand, Jean's appearance when the Phoenix takes control was created by John Bruno working with Moving Picture Company. MPC used particle systems to create the effect of Jean's hair seemingly moving when the Phoenix effect takes over. MPC made hundreds of skin and eye treatments and used a 3D model of Famke Janssen's face when compositing them into Jean's digital makeup. According to Nicolas Aithadi (MPC),

The idea was that when the Dark Phoenix is taking over, Jean's skin darkens, veining appears on her face, and her eyes go black. We went through hundreds of iterations with different degrees of darkness, with more or fewer visible veins. At the end, we went for a 'less is more' look and made the effect more sublle - but still enough to give Jean a scary look.[21]


Joe Garza of SlashFilm ranked Jean Grey from the X-Men film series 1st in their "Most Powerful X-Men Characters" list.[22] Alexandra Moroca of ranked Jean Grey 1st in their "10 Strongest X-Men In The Fox Movies" list.[23] The A.V. Club ranked Janssen's portrayal of Jean Grey 60th in their "100 best Marvel characters" list.[24]

Famke Janssen received praise from multiple critics for her portrayal of Jean Grey. Scoot Allan of ranked Janssen's performance 4th in their "10 Best Performances In The X-Men Movies" list, writing, "Janssen brought the character’s love for Scott Summers and her interest in Wolverine to the big screen. She also perfectly portrayed Jean’s struggle with her powers that ultimately led to her loss of control in X-Men: The Last Stand. Janssen’s portrayal of Jean Grey and her final moments impressed fans."[25] Christian Bone of Starburst ranked Janssen's performance 8th in their "10 Greatest Performances in the X-Men Movies" list, stating, "Though most famous to film fans at the time as the OTT Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye, Famke Janssen proved to be the best choice to bring Jean Grey to life in the original X-Men trilogy. Her Jean is a gentle, caring woman who nonetheless has an apocalyptic power within her that she can’t comprehend."[26] K.J. Stewart of WhatCulture ranked Janssen's performance 25th in their "50 Greatest Performances In Marvel Movies" list, saying, "Janssen has had to portray both the good Jean Grey and the malevolent Phoenix and each role has been performed comfortable. She has conveyed the wise and moral Jean just as well as the evil Phoenix entity."[27] The A.V. Club stated, "Janssen is the emotional anchor of those early X-Men movies, setting a high standard for psychological honesty as a method to cut through some overwhelming X-Men lore that requires a Cerebro to decode. Watching Janssen’s big Moses moment during X2's climax, it’s clear that she’s a pioneer in these massive CGI set-pieces."[24]

Hugh Armitage and Simon Reynolds of Digital Spy called Sophie Turner's portrayal of Jean Grey "hugely likable" across X-Men: Apocalypse.[28] Robin Reynolds of MovieWeb ranked Turner's portrayal as Jean Grey in X-Men: Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix 2nd in their "Sophie Turner's 5 Best Performances" list, writing, "The best part about having Turner play this character is getting to see how Jean transforms over the course of the films. Her acting is top-notch, and she brings so much depth to the character's struggles that anyone can relate."[29]


Year Award Category Nominated Work Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Supporting Actress – Science Fiction X-Men Famke Janssen Nominated [30]
2006 Teen Choice Awards Teen Choice Award for Choice Liplock (Shared with Hugh Jackman) X-Men: The Last Stand Nominated [31]
2007 Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actress Won [32]
2017 Kids Choice Awards Favorite Squad X-Men: Apocalypse James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters, Tye Sheridan, Ben Hardy, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Sophie Turner, Alexandra Shipp, Olivia Munn Nominated [33]
2019 Teen Choice Awards Choice Sci-Fi/Fantasy Movie Actress Dark Phoenix Sophie Turner Nominated [34]


The Jean Grey from the first 2000 film was released as an action figure by Toy Biz in 2000. The figure has been criticized as "a static, unflattering, and oddly posed representation of Famke Janssen."[35] The 2007 "Dark Phoenix" version of Jean Grey from X-Men: The Last Stand has been released as an action figure in Marvel Legends series.[36]



  1. ^ Brett Ratner (director); Simon Kinberg & Zak Penn (writers) (May 26, 2006). X-Men: The Last Stand. 20th Century Fox.
  2. ^ Simon Kinberg (director and writer) (June 7, 2019). Dark Phoenix. 20th Century Fox.


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  4. ^ Paul Wardle (August 2000). "X-Men: Filming Marvel superheroes". Cinefantastique. Vol. 32, no. 2. pp. 12–22.
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  12. ^ Will Murray (June 2003). "In Hot Blood". Starlog. No. 311. Pete Wilson (interviewed). Starlog Group, Inc. pp. 76–79.
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  14. ^ a b "THE UNCANNY X-MEN". Backstage Pass. October 13, 1999. Archived from the original on October 13, 1999. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  15. ^ "Lucy in the Sky". Herald Sun. Melbourne, Australia. November 16, 2003. Retrieved September 9, 2020 – via Australian Lucy Lawless Fan Site.
  16. ^ Jeff Sneider (November 18, 2014). "'X-Men: Apocalypse': Who's Being Eyed to Play Young Jean Grey, Cyclops? (Exclusive)". The Wrap. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  17. ^ Joseph Dooley (April 2, 2018). "X-Men: 8 Possible Castings Better Than What We Got (And 7 Worse)". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  18. ^ Anderson, Jenna (February 21, 2023). "Shazam! Fury of the Gods Star Auditioned for a Surprising X-Men Role". Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  19. ^ Marc Lupo (October 19, 2017). "Famke Janssen Speaks Candidly About Her Departure From 'X-Men': Producers 'Gave Up On Me'". Us Weekly. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  20. ^ Tim Stack (December 7, 2017). "X-Men: Dark Phoenix heats up EW's First Look Issue". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
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  23. ^ Moroca, Alexandra (2022-03-12). "10 Strongest X-Men In The Fox Movies, Ranked". CBR. Retrieved 2022-08-08.
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  27. ^ Stewart, K. J. (2015-03-14). "50 Greatest Performances In Marvel Movies". Retrieved 2022-08-08.
  28. ^ Reynolds, Simon (2019-06-05). "X-Men movies ranked worst to best". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2022-08-08.
  29. ^ Reynolds, Robin (2022-07-24). "Sophie Turner's 5 Best Performances, Ranked". MovieWeb. Retrieved 2022-08-08.
  30. ^ "Famke Janssen Movies & TV Shows - How many have you seen?". Retrieved 2022-08-08.
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  34. ^ Moreau, Jordan (19 June 2019). "'Avengers: Endgame,' 'Riverdale,' 'Aladdin' Top 2019 Teen Choice Award Nominations". Variety. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  35. ^ Darby Harn (May 24, 2020). "10 Worst X-Men Action Figures, Ranked". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  36. ^ "Jean Grey (X3) - Marvel Legends - Blob Series - Hasbro Action Figure". May 18, 2008. Archived from the original on October 9, 2015. Retrieved September 19, 2020.