Famke Janssen will always be Jean Grey to me. That’s what happens when an actress comes on the scene in a series of films, taking us through a powerful arc (for a powerful character) and completely delivers for a franchise. That’s just what Janssen did for the first three X-Men movies when they came out more than 20 years ago. And with the group of characters officially entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe Janssen opened up in an interview with Looper about how she’d feel about returning to the character.
In the interview, Famke Janssen was pretty honest about where she stands with playing Jean Grey. Here’s what she said regarding what it was like to play the character, how she felt about seeing someone else take up the mantle in subsequent films, and whether she’d jump back in if asked.
“(Jean) was such a wonderful character to play. Sophie (Turner) is doing such an amazing job, so I can’t imagine anybody (like me) coming back. But we’ve seen it obviously … with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, that we’ve seen in both incarnations the younger and older or more mature, or whatever the politically correct term for that is. But yeah, so it’d be great (to come back), but let’s just see how life goes. In the meanwhile, I’m very busy filming, thankfully.”
It’s clear from these quotes that Famke Janssen has no immediate plans to return to the character of Jean Grey or at least no one appears to have called about it. But, of course, she’d be open to getting back into the role if the timing was right. There doesn’t appear to be any ill will that the franchise moved on in a different direction, getting younger across the board with the alternate timeline films.
The reason the X-Men franchise is coming back up in relation to Famke Janssen is that now Marvel owns the entirety of their catalog and there’s going to be a reintroduction to the group within this current universe. Up until now, the group of characters had existed outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe purview, but that’s set to change. We already saw one character, Quicksilver, hit the screen in WandaVision with Evan Peters coming in a cameo. It’s unclear who will be next, but it’s all but certain nearly everyone gets on screen in some way. In some shape or form the X-Men are going to be in a lot of different projects moving forward.
Famke Janssen appeared as Jean Grey in three movies, X-Men, X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand. It’s in the third movie when her character begins to go off the rails, leaning into the Dark Phoenix-type version we saw in the comic books. Essentially, Jean Grey becomes too powerful for her own good and becomes something of the antagonist. While the final flick was a bit of a mess, it wasn’t on Janssen who was always excellent in the part. She never reprised the role after the franchise turned a bit younger but will also be synonymous with the part.
Whether the future holds an X-Men return for Famke Janssen remains to be seen. It’s likely that Marvel either fully recasts the group, or sticks a little more with the younger versions of the characters. But in this new comic book movie landscape, really anything is possible it’s always on the table that we see some of the older versions as well. As for Janssen, she just finished up a limited run on How to Get Away with Murder as Eve Rothlo. And next, she’ll star in alongside Abigail Cowen in The Duchess.