She’s one of the most powerful mutants in Marvel Comics. However, there’s more to Jean Grey than her mutant abilities. Jean is a beloved fan favorite with probably just as many media appears as Wolverine.
Jean Grey is one of the most beloved X-Men characters in Marvel Comics history. She has undergone some drastic changes over the years. She’s had multiple alter ego name changes, she’s been on several missions where she’s died and come back. The list goes on forever.
Importantly, since her introduction in 1963, Jean has appeared in countless comics, animated adaptations and live-action adaptations.
In this week’s Super of the Week, let’s examine the one and only Jean Grey of X-Men fame. Please remember this article will not feature Jean’s appearances in video games.
FULL NAME: Jean Elaine Grey (later Grey-Summers)
White Phoenix of the Crown
COMIC BOOK FRANCHISE: Marvel Comics
CREATOR(S): Stan Lee (writer), Jack Kirby (artist)
FIRST APPEARANCE: The X-Men #1 (September 1963)
Muir Island X-Men
Seven Brides of Set
Note: Jean’s power magnify when she’s an avatar for The Phoenix Force
John Grey (father)
Elaine Grey (mother)
Sara Grey (older sister)
Scott Summers (husband)
Alex Summers (brother-in-law)
Rachel Grey (daughter)
Nate Grey (son)
Nathan Summers (stepson)
Storm (best friend)
Wolverine (love interest)
Charles Xavier (father figure and mentor)
Muir Island X-Men
Born as Jean Elaine Grey to John and Elaine Grey as their youngest daughter, Jean grew up in a loving, stable home with her family.
Jean’s powers started manifesting after her best friend got hit and killed by a car. She nearly dies herself as her mind linked to her dying friend. Jean is left comatose and her parents recruit the help of Charles Xavier.
Xavier blocks Jean’s telepathy until she could handle her powers on her own. Charles left her with only access to her telekinetic abilities and asks her once she’s a teenager to join the X-Men team. She joins under the name Marvel Girl and became the group’s only female member.
Later, Xavier lowered the blocks on Jean allowing her access to all of her powers once he felt she’d gained control of her powers. She formed a close relationship with Cyclops, which became romantic with them becoming engaged as adults. She also had an attraction to her teammate, Wolverine.
PAST MEDIA APPEARANCES
Jean has appeared in screen media beginning in The Marvel Super Heroes show in 1966. Here, she uses her original codename, Marvel Girl.
In the mid-90s, Jean appeared in the X-Men television series under her married named of Jean Grey-Summers. Like her comic persona, Grey-Summers became a target for the affection of Wolverine. Her characterisation was warm and friendly while adding that she played Peace Keeper between her husband, Cyclops and Wolverine. The series depicts the Summers marriage as happy.
Jean served as a main character in the animated series of X-Men: Evolution. This version of the Phoenix is a soccer player and she teaches and trains mutants at the Xavier Institute.
In Wolverine and the X-Men, Jean is a supporting character. She was lost in an explosion until it was discovered she was unconscious in a hospital. When she awoke, she couldn’t remember who she was. Her past revealed she joined the X-Men after a confrontation with Professor X and Magneto.
The character also appeared in The Super Hero Squad Show as the only cheerleader at X-Men Academy with her role only being small.
Importantly, Jean also appears in other animated media including X-Men Anime and Iron Man: Armored Adventures.
PAST MEDIA APPEARANCES – Live Action
In the films, Famke Janssen plays Jean as an adult while Haley Ramm played young Jean in flashbacks in X-Men: The Last Stand. Jannsen reprises the role in The Wolverine as a figment of Logan’s imagination because of the role he played in her death.
In the film Logan, the X-Men were killed when Xavier had a telepathic seizure and while not mentioned, Jean was one of those killed. In a deleted scene from the film, Logan is asked if he was ever married and he responds no. Xavier claims Logan had been married to Jean. Logan laughs it off, saying the old man is crazy. However, Wolverine is seen to be visibly shaken still by what his role in Jean’s demise.
Game of Thrones star, Sophie Turner takes on the role as the young adult version of the character from X-Men: Apocalypse onwards.
RECENT MEDIA APPEARANCES
Jean will reappear in X-Men: Dark Phoenix where Sophie Turner will reprise the role. This is the first role Turner has played where she’s the lead role and doesn’t have co-leads. Dark Phoenix will be released in June 2019 and will be directed by first-time director, Simon Kinberg.
Deadpool 2 has a Jean Easter egg where there’s a moving truck that’s called Phoenix Moving.
Jean’s popularity has gained her a place on the Comics Buyer’s Guide’s 100 Sexiest Women in Comics list.
IGN placed Jean in 6th place on their top 25 X-Men characters in 2006. The publication then placed her 13th in their 2011 list, Top 100 Comic Book Heroes. Her Dark Phoenix personality came 9th in their Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time list, making this the highest placement on the list for any female character.
PORTRAYALS – Live Action
Jean has portrayed been played by three actresses in live-action films.
Famke Janssen played Jean in the X-Men trilogy, The Wolverine and X-Men: Days of Future Past with Haley Ramm playing young Jean in the flashback scene with Xavier and Magneto.
In X-Men: Apocalypse, Jean is played by Game of Thrones alum Sophie Turner. Grey is in her mid-teens in this film and is a student at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Turner will reprise the role in the Dark Phoenix film where Jean will learn about her Dark Phoenix persona. This will be the first time Turner has played the solo lead role in any film or television production.
What are your thoughts on Jean as a character? Let us know below!