X-Men: Dark Phoenix: Every Easter Egg and Reference
By Meg Downey on
Did you spot them all?
X-Men: Dark Phoenix has finally arrived to close out the Fox arm of the X-franchise--or, well, that is until New Mutants happens. If New Mutants ever happens. But for now, we'll proceed with the understanding that Dark Phoenix is a finale--and as such, it has its fair share of callbacks, Easter eggs, and references to send the series off. Maybe not as many as you'd expect from a mainline MCU movie, of course, but they're still there.
We've compiled a list of every major nod to either the other X-films or the X-Men comics themselves for your convenience and we encourage you to start brushing up on them. After all, this era of X-Men might be drawing to a close, but that doesn't mean there won't be another one--and, given the current state of the Disney/Fox merger, it's pretty likely that the next time we see Marvel's favorite mutants, they'll be members of the MCU proper and the references game will be kicked up a difficulty level or two.
Better safe than sorry, right?
Obviously, there are Dark Phoenix spoilers to follow--so please proceed with caution!
The most surprising--and long-awaited--mutant cameo in Dark Phoenix was blink-and-you'll-miss-it, but that didn't make it any less welcome. When the X-Men and the students at Xavier's school were having their bonfire party, entertainment was provided by the one and only Dazzler, a mutant pop star.
Jean's car crash
The movie plays a little fast and loose with Jean's origin story, but it's clearly inspired by some of the comic book source material. In the books, one version of Jean's origin happens when she witnesses a horrifying car crash in which she telepathically links to one of the victims, causing her to have a near mental break. This isn't exactly what happens on screen, but the car crash part remains.
Xavier's mental blocks
Another major part of Jean's origin story made the jump to live action--sort of. In the comics, Charles put mental blocks in Jean's brain to prevent her from accessing her telepathic powers for years, fearing she didn't have the control over them to be safe. In the movie, his mental blocks prevent her from accessing memories of her past.
Don't worry if you missed the name of the alien invaders who pursued Jean to Earth for the Phoenix Force--it's only mentioned once, which is once more than the words "Phoenix Force.". But if you did catch it, you'll remember they call themselves the D'Bari, who, believe it or not, actually are from Marvel Comics. Also known as the "asparagus aliens" the D'Bari empire was introduced back in the 60s, in the first issues of Avengers, where they disguised themselves as humans Scooby Doo-style with rubber masks and costumes.
During the Dark Phoenix Saga, the D'Bari's entire planet was destroyed by Jean after she left Earth--so, not exactly the story the movie went with, but near to it at the very least.
The space shuttle
The space shuttle the X-Men save is actually Endeavor, a real-life space shuttle that went on its first mission in May of 1992. Fortunately, the actual Endeavor never encountered the Phoenix Force upon leaving the atmosphere and went on to complete a successful mission (and several more after 1992.) It completed flights through 2011 before it was decommissioned.
Jean Grey School
After Jean's heroic sacrifice, Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters has been renamed the Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters--a reference to a renaming of the school that's taken place in the comics several times over. More recently, the name Jean Grey School for Higher Learning has been used (thanks to Wolverine).
Magneto's island nation for mutants is an indirect reference to not one but two major parts of X-Men history. The first is considerably more vintage than the other. The aptly named "Magneto's Island," an uncharted island that served as the original base for the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants was introduced as far back as X-Men #4 back in the early 60s.
The second is the island of Genosha, an island nation with a fraught history of turmoil and mutant separatism that Magneto took control of and crafted into a self-sustaining mutant nation in the late 90s.
Last of the First Class
Beast tells Mystique that the two of them are the "last of the first class," a reference to--you guessed it--X-Men: First Class, which introduced the two of them as well as Banshee, Angel Salvadore, Darwin, and Havok--none of whom are active in the franchise, either because they died or simply retired from the superhero lifestyle.
The final scene of Xavier and Erik in Paris features the two of them edging ever closer to their old man incarnations by setting up a game of chess in a cafe. Chess has been an important symbolic meeting-of-the-minds for Professor X and Magneto for decades at this point, dating all the way back to the original 2000s X-Men movie where the two friends/mortal enemies would often face off against one another in the game while simultaneously waging their mutant war.
The Phoenix Force's Power
For all Dark Phoenix refused to call the Phoenix Force by its name, it did to a pretty decent job representing its destructive power on screen. In Marvel comics, the Phoenix Force is the semi-sentient (or, sometimes, completely sentient depending on what era the books you're reading are from) manifestation of all life and creation in the universe, meaning it certainly does have the power to just vaporize people and consume entire planets if it wants.
Professor Xavier Is A Jerk
Professor X's transformation from mostly well-meaning (but naive) optimist and altruist to ego-centric jerk may have felt like a bit of a hard pivot from James McAvoy's other appearances in the role, but ultimately Dark Phoenix's portrayal of Charles was much more in line with his comic book self. Never forget: Professor Xavier is a jerk!
Scott and Jean
Ah, young love. Scott and Jean's romance is one of the most consistent elements across the X-Men movie franchise, and Dark Phoenix is no exception. Ironically in the comics, their romance has mostly fizzled out over the decades, leaving Scott more frequently seen with Jean's rival Emma Frost--but because Emma doesn't regularly appear in the live action movies, that avenue is left unexplored on the big screen.