We are still waiting for Marvel Cinematic Universe to introduce the notable mutant superhero group X-Men, and the news of future appearances has made many fans happy. However, before Disney acquired the rights to X-Men movies, in the 2000s, 20th Century Fox produced a trilogy that many older fans look back at fondly, especially because the cast of the X-Men movies was top-notch. Grumpy but feisty Wolverine was played by Hugh Jackman, who will reprise his character in the upcoming Deadpool 3 movie. However, Logan was an important character in the X-Men trilogy in the 2000s, and in the third movie, he had to do the unthinkable and kill Jean Grey. But why?
Wolverine killed Jean Grey because of her Dark Phoenix personality, which almost destroyed the whole world. Phoenix is an alternate personality of Jean Grey after she sacrifices herself to save everyone in the previous movie. The powerful personality killed Cyclops, Jean Grey’s lover, and Professor Xavier, her mentor and leader of the X-Men. When the Phoenix awakened and proceeded to destroy everyone on Alcatraz Island, Jean Grey shortly gained control over her body and begged Logan to kill her. In the end, Wolverine dealt the final blow to the love of his life.
We will discuss this topic more by explaining the Phoenix entity in the X-Men movies, Jean Grey’s and Wolverine’s characters in the movie, and why Logan had to kill the woman he loved.
What is Phoenix in ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’?
Before the wave of the Marvel Cinematic Universe projects, we had X-Men movies developed by 20th Century Fox. The trilogy had good and bad moments, but the fans still look back on it fondly – the cast of those movies was really good.
Hugh Jackman portrayed James Howlett, known as Wolverine, and became the fan favorite and arguably one of the best cast actors for a comic book character. The same goes for Sir Patrick Stewart and his portrayal of Charles Xavier, who also became a fan favorite. The trilogy mostly adapted the source material of the comics, but the first installment of the trilogy was an original story.
The first movie, titled X-Men, revolves around the efforts of Senator Robert Kelly to pass a “Mutant Registration Act,” which would force mutants to reveal themselves and be registered. Erik Lehnsherr, known as Magneto, heavily opposed the Act and decided to create a group of rebel mutants that would be called the Brotherhood of Mutants. It also follows Rogue and Wolverine and their induction into X-Men.
Nevertheless, the movie is a solid start to the franchise despite not following the comic books. The second movie is called X2: X-Men United, where Wolverine discovers his origins while new mutants of Professor School for the Gifted are in the middle of the mutant/human conflict. X2 movie is the first movie where Phoenix appears as a partial manifestation of Jean Grey’s personality. This is all happening unbeknownst to Jean herself, but as she tries to protect her teammates.
At the movie’s end, Jean Grey dies using Phoenix’s powers to protect Cyclops and Wolverine and sacrifices herself to protect her loved ones. In the comics, in the revised storyline of X-Men movies, Phoenix Force was a cosmic entity that arrived in proximity to Earth and attached itself to the young mutant Jean Grey, specifically in 1992.
Magneto and Xavier visit young Jean and realize that the young girl is a Class 5 telepathic-telekinetic, making her one of the strongest mutants ever lived. She eventually attends Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, learning how to control her powers and joining X-Men.
However, throughout three X-Men movies, Jean Grey discovers that Xavier put power-limiters inside of her mind to limit her powers, of course, because he knew from the moment he met her that the power she had would overcome her.
Moreover, Xavier realizes that Jean’s power is sitting in her subconscious, not conscious mind, which makes Jean even more unstable – the moment she loses her mind, the power (Phoenix Force) will overwhelm her and take control of her body and mind.
X-Men 2: X-Men United movie, the first in the X-Men trilogy, sees Jean showcase her inner power for the first time. Her skin glows fiery red, her eyes change color, and the vicious but powerful aura surrounds her. When Cyclops is mind-controlled by Stryker’s Cerebro, Jean uses her full power to protect herself from Cyclops’ powerful red beam that could “destroy mountains.” At that moment, we see Jean unleash Phoenix’s power, which we never saw before.
She fixes everything without sacrificing her life for her teammates and friends.
Finally, X-Men: The Last Stand movie sees Jean Grey dead, and her teammates, including Wolverine, mourn her death. Scott Summers is especially devastated and haunted by visions of Jean Grey calling for help. Cyclops decides to go to Alkali Lake, where Jean sacrificed herself.
However, despite resurrected Jean coming out of the water and confronting her lover, Phoenix’s persona takes over and kills Scott Summers. Wolverine and Storm come to look for Scott but just find an unconscious Jean Grey, and ruby quartz glasses, indicating that Phoenix killed Cyclops.
That moment sees Phoenix fully revealed to the audience, which takes us to the next section of the article.
Why Wolverine had to kill Jean Grey in the ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’?
After Jean’s found unconscious, X-Men return her to the Mansion, and she doesn’t remember anything that transpired. X-Men are happy seeing Jean alive, but Xavier knows what she is capable of – ultimate power and destruction. He also reveals what he had to do to keep Phoenix “asleep,” but the biggest issue is that Jean Grey is no more and that Phoenix is the “main” persona.
Phoenix is fueled by desire, lust, and rage, which makes her extremely dangerous. Of course, Wolverine’s desire for Jean resurfaces with Phoenix, who wants him immediately, and the duo gets involved with each other.
In their desire, Phoenix hurts Wolverine and scratches his skin, but when Logan mentions Scott, the real Jean appears and tearfully admits she killed Cyclops.
Logan is mortified, and Jean escapes, this time to her childhood home, where Magneto and Xavier are the only ones allowed to enter. This moment parallels the beginning of the movie when young Jean Grey first meets two men and when she finds out that she has special but dangerous powers.
Scott Summers is again a trigger for Jean, and Phoenix completely overpowers the woman. After a tense telepathic fight, Phoenix kills Xavier and is later taken by Magneto to his Brotherhood headquarters. Magneto recruits Phoenix, and Logan realizes that Jean is still inside somewhere.
Brotherhood decides to attack the Worthington Labs, where the anti-mutant cure is being developed. Jean resurfaces and nearly joins X-Men once again, but when the army arrives and shoots Phoenix, she goes insane and starts killing everyone around her.
Everyone realizes that Phoenix must die.
This moment is monumental for the movie’s peak because we get to the main point of the article – Logan needs to be the one to kill her because he is the only one who can survive her onslaught.
In other words, Wolverine has exceptional healing ability and moves closer to the unhinged shell of the woman he loved. Wolverine died multiple times during his efforts to get closer to Phoenix, but healing kept him alive enough to deal a final blow to Jean, who awakens in the last second. She tells him, “Save me,” and Logan stabs and kills her. If Wolverine didn’t kill Phoenix, she would continue to destroy everyone in her way.
Logan was the only one capable of getting close to her, hence why he killed her – it was also poetic for him to kill Jean since he loved her.