Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the end of Dark Phoenix.
By the end of the new X-Men film Dark Phoenix, so many of our favorite X-Men characters find themselves in new situations. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) resigns as headmaster of the school for mutants (now renamed Jean Grey’s School For Gifted Youngsters) and Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) takes over. Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) is dead, but mourned by her friends. Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan), Quicksilver (Evan Peters), and Storm (Alexandra Shipp) are now teachers at the school. Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender) has a safe haven colony for mutants. Everything feels like one chapter of the X-Men saga is closed and a new one is beginning. But our heroine's fate seems less clear. Does what happens to Jean Grey in the Dark Phoenix comics tell us, well, anything about what Sophie Turner's screen version just went through (the whole, explosion-in-the-sky-in-the-shape-of-an-everlasting-phoenix-made-of-fire business)?
The phoenix-shaped explosion in the sky is actually a direct nod to the comic book source material that spans back all the way to 1963, when the Phoenix Force first appeared in X-Men #101. In the comics, Jean has a near death experience in space (like what plays out in the beginning of the movie) that results in the universe sending her the Phoenix Force, the manifestation of the power of creation and life itself. This energy lived inside Jean and eventually took her over, turning her dark.
Eventually she left Earth, just as she does at the end of the movie, and she ended up causing a lot of destruction across the universe with the Phoenix Force. At one point she even destroyed an entire alien civilization. But most importantly: Jean is still alive. She’s changed, and there are a ton of different variations on how much she’s been affected by the Phoenix Force, but she still exists to cause trouble and drama all across the galaxy. Jean paired with the Phoenix Force is widely regarded as one of the best X-Men villains of all time. Her comic book outcome is dark, but her story certainly isn't over the second she goes up into space.
So while Jean’s friends mourn her at the end of Dark Phoenix (even going so far as to rename the school in her honor), it’s more likely that she’s still alive much in the way that she in the comics. And when the camera panned up to the sky above Paris where a flaming being passed overhead in the shape of a phoenix, Jean’s voice-over stated that she had “evolved beyond this world,” further supporting this theory.
There is a long and storied history of the Phoenix Force and Dark Phoenix in the comics that this movie only just scratched the surface of. If Marvel does reboot the X-Men franchise in the future, hopefully the Phoenix Force will be revisited. Despite the way the film represented this turn of events, the comics hold so much more story to be explored.