After Dark Phoenix, 20th Century Fox’s X-Men universe will never be the same, and that’s not just because the Disney-Fox merger brought said universe to an abrupt end. Dark Phoenix changes many of these mutants in radical ways — some of them even die.
Here’s what to remember from the Dark Phoenix ending, including who dies and what happens to everyone in the aftermath of the final battle.
Huge spoilers follow for Dark Phoenix.
Even the first Dark Phoenix trailer hinted that Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique, aka Raven, might die. Sure enough, the film’s first act ends with Jean Grey losing control; she accidentally sends Mystique flying with a telekinetic blast, and the shapeshifter is killed after getting impaled by a broken piece of wood.
The middle section of the movie fractures the X-Men and drags Magneto into the mix. Beast wants to kill Jean out of revenge, and Magneto is totally down to help with his new mutant henchmen. Xavier tries to stop them with a team that includes Cyclops, Storm, and Nightcrawler.
After they’re all captured by the government and Jessica Chastain’s Vuk is outed as the real villain trying to steal the Phoenix Force’s powers, everyone reunites for a final battle against the aliens.
Once Jean realizes how to control her powers, she easily kills all of the random D’Bari, but she has to succumb to the Phoenix Force to beat Vuk. Jean’s physical body transforms into pure energy as she becomes part of the Phoenix Force.
We’re led to believe she’s dead, but any Marvel, general mythology, or Harry Potter fans out there will know that the phoenix is an immortal creature of rebirth, rising anew out of the ashes after every death. One of the last scenes in the movie is of a flaming bird streaking across the sky, implying that even if Jean Grey doesn’t live at the X-Mansion anymore, she still exists in some capacity. Were this franchise to continue, Sophie Turner could easily reprise the role in a new story a few years from now.
Back at Xavier’s School, we see the academy get rebranded as “Jean Grey’s School for Gifted Youngsters” to honor her memory. X-Men members like Storm get promoted to teacher, and Beast — the sole survivor of the “First Class” — assumes the role of headmaster. This also happened in the comics, albeit under different circumstances. (When Xavier’s School was destroyed, Wolverine rebuilt it and renamed it the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning and briefly served as its headmaster.)
Charles Xavier enjoys retirement in France, sipping a cappucino outside. In the final scene of the X-Men franchise, Magneto shows up and challenges him to a chess match. Professor X plays white. Magneto plays black. This quaint callback references their game in X-Men and X2: X-Men United, bringing the franchise full circle to a quiet moment where it ends — but Xavier’s legacy lives on.
Dark Phoenix is now in theaters.