As the 20-year-long X-Men film franchise wraps up (for now) with the arrival of Dark Phoenix in less than two weeks, fans, filmmakers, and comicbook creators are reflecting on this universally beloved world of mutants and the impact they’ve had over the years.
In a featurette about the origins of the Dark Phoenix Saga comicbook arc on which the film is based, the writer of the series, Chris Claremont, and Marvel Comics editor and writer Louise Simonson look back on how Jean Grey went from a student at Charles Xavier’s school to the most powerful mutant in existence.
Claremont has been a writer with Marvel since 1969, when Stan Lee was still Editor-in-Chief. During his time at Marvel, Claremont created several iconic X-Men characters and storylines, including the Dark Phoenix Saga. In the featurette, Claremont reflects on how he began working for Marvel, and how Stan’s work created a foundation that changed comicbooks forever. “That was one of the things I learned from Stan, you know? Actions have consequences,” Claremont says in the video.
Claremont and Simonson elaborated on how Stan transformed the comicbook industry. As we all know, Stan wrote characters that were relatable and put them into situations that would resonate with readers everywhere. It didn’t matter that these mutants and superpowered heroes and villains were fictional, their problems felt real to the audience.
It was up to Claremont to give Jean Grey the hardest fight of her life after the audience became so invested in her happiness and survival. The Dark Phoenix Saga challenged Grey, as well as all the X-Men around her, like never before. This arc first appeared in 1980, and the rest is Marvel history!
The interview also includes stories about how Stan was such a unique boss when he ran Marvel Comics, among other interesting details. You can check out the full conversation with Claremont and Simonson below:
To see how Claremont’s storyline has been translated to the big screen (for the second time), catch Dark Phoenix in theaters on June 7, 2019.