Preternaturally prolific X-Men writer Chris Claremont, who made us all rethink superheroes with his Dark Phoenix arc, wanted Jean Grey to stay dead after Dark Phoenix blew herself up on the moon and Jean’s comatose human body rejected the Phoenix force -- but he had his reasons.
“I would have been much happier if she’d stayed dead,” Claremont admitted, “because ... the other X-Men suddenly realized we are mortal. We are not protected by the fact that we’re all copyrighted and trademarked.”
SYFY WIRE recently caught up with Claremont to get his reasoning behind this controversial opinion. As you can hear in the video above, Claremont doesn’t believe that being inked in comics should necessarily make a character immortal, or that all the mutants absolutely need to live forever to be in “movies and what have you.” He also teased that after doing it to Jean, he could have done it to any character. Who would have been next? Storm, as he suggested? Nobody is safe, no matter how they can manipulate the weather, inanimate objects, or people’s minds.
By the time Claremont found out longtime Fantastic Four and X-Men collaborator John Byrne had decided to bring Jean back from the grave, it was already too late.
Then you have to remember that resurrecting Jean also resurrects her relationship with Scott by default, except he’s married to her clone. Meaning, he’s essentially married to an alt-Jean Grey because Madelyne Pryor has that exact DNA. They have a newborn son, who may be a genetic mashup between him and Madelyne, except that being the spawn of Jean Grey’s clone also technically makes him Jean’s offspring. Scott was only ever attracted to Maddie because of her uncanny resemblance to Jean. Would Cyclops really be cheating if he was just bringing home the original specimen?
It’s complicated. “So you’re talking about taking a character, having him walk out on his wife and newborn son to go back to his old girlfriend,” Claremont said. “What kind of hero would do that?”
Apparently, the kind of hero that... oh, just read the comics!
Elizabeth Rain contributed to this article.