There’s plenty we know about the latest X-Men film, Dark Phoenix, but the one loose end we’re still keen to tie up is the question of what comic book character Jessica Chastain is portraying. Unlike other cast members in Dark Phoenix, the name of Chastain’s character has yet to be revealed. We’ve gotten a good look at her in the photos and trailers released ahead of the film’s June 7 premiere date, but we’re really no closer to knowing who the heck Chastain is playing. What gives?
In the Dark Phoenix trailers, Chastain’s character looks like the lovechild of Daenerys Targaryen and Johnny Cash: a white-haired, pale-skinned being, all dressed in black and appearing shortly after Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) has her powers amplified when she encounters the Phoenix Force during a rescue mission in space. Chastain’s character becomes a mentor to Jean, encouraging her to turn on her mutant friends and embrace her newly augmented powers which threaten the safety of everyone around her.
Since the first images of Chastain’s character were released back in December 2017, there’s been plenty of speculation about the identity of Chastain’s character. Knowing Dark Phoenix would bring a fresh perspective to arguably the most famous X-Men story ever written, fans tried to puzzle out the options, first suggesting Chastain would play [Lilandra of Shi’Ar](https://marvel.fandom.com/wiki/LilandraNeramani(Earth-616), a character from the comics who interacts with the Phoenix Force as embodied by Jean Grey in a bid to save her planet from civil war at the hands of her brother, D’Ken.
Other theories about Chastain’s character included a gender-swapped take on [Mastermind](https://marvel.fandom.com/wiki/JasonWyngarde(Earth-616), a supervillain with ties to Magneto and who accidentally ends up transforming Jean into the Dark Phoenix while attempting to turn her into the Hellfire Club Inner Circle’s new Black Queen. But Director Simon Kinberg shot that down, along with the Lilandra theory, further stumping fans about who Chastain is playing.
Arguably the best working theory comes from CBR.com. In a post exploring Chastain’s possible identity, it’s suggested that rather than being a specific villain from the comics, her character is an avatar of the Phoenix Force, a physical embodiment of the cosmic energy that Jean is consumed by. The trailers don’t show Chastain interacting with the other X-Men, adding some weight to this theory and implying only Jean can see her as she is mentored on the abilities the Phoenix Force gives her.
As a final bit of food for thought, consider Kinberg’s comments to Collider in 2018 when he suggested Chastain may play an alien and/or an amalgam of a few different characters.
“I can tease that she is not of this world, that she is an extraterrestrial character. I can tease that she does some pretty wonderful things with it. Beyond that, in terms of where she comes from specifically in our universe and what she’s based on in the comics, I guess I will say she’s sort of an amalgam of a couple different characters and iterations of those characters over the span of the different tellings of the Dark Phoenix story that have taken place.”
With only a few weeks left until the premiere, truly your guess is as good as ours when it comes to figuring out Chastain’s Dark Phoenix character. Let’s just hope all of this mysterious build-up was worth it when we finally find out.
Dark Phoenix arrives in theaters on June 7.