Her career ends just as it finally begins.
Warning: Full spoilers follow for Dark Phoenix.
Fox’s mutant movie universe may be coming to a close as Marvel Studios takes control of the X-Men characters, but not before debuting one last fan-favorite character. Dazzler finally makes her big screen debut in Dark Phoenix, albeit only in cameo form and apparently played by Halston Sage (The Orville). She has no dialogue but is seen singing — and using her mutant powers to generate a light show while wearing her trademark white outfit — during the X-Men’s party on the grounds of the mansion.
We’ll never see this version of Dazzler become a full-fledged member of the X-Men since the Fox series is coming to an end, but her appearance is still a fun nod to fans of the comics. And if you’re not up on all things Dazzler, here’s a brief primer on the character.
Who Is Dark Phoenix’s Dazzler?
It’s fitting that Dazzler makes her movie debut in an adaptation of The Dark Phoenix Saga, because that’s where the character first appeared in the comics. Dazzler debuted in 1980’s Uncanny X-Men #130, lending a hand to the X-Men during their conflict with the Hellfire Club. Dazzler (real name Alison Blaire) didn’t immediately take up the X-Men’s offer to join the team, preferring to focus on her solo career. That eventually led to a long-running solo series and a critically acclaimed graphic novel called Dazzler: The Movie.
Dazzler eventually did join the X-Men in the late ’80s, finding solace in the team after the revelation of her mutant status destroyed her recording career. There she forged many key relationships, falling in love with Longshot and butting heads with the recently reformed Rogue.
These days, Dazzler tends to drift wherever the wind carries her. She’s served on several incarnations of the X-Men, as well as ancillary teams like Excalibur. She even had a brief stint as an agent of SHIELD. But whether on her own or as a member of the X-Men, she’s played a big part in defending her fellow mutants and the Marvel Universe as a whole.
Dazzler’s Mutant Powers
Dazzler’s mutant powers are often confused with those of fellow X-Man Jubilee. Where Jubilee’s body is able to generate its own firework-like bursts of energy, Dazzler has the ability to channel soundwaves into beams of light. She can manipulate just about any form of sound energy in her surrounding environment, but she prefers to use music as her personal canvas. The rhythmic, predictable patterns of music give Dazzler a greater degree of control over the sound. She can even use her body to store sound energy like ammunition for future battles.
Dazzler’s light beams can be used for a variety of purposes. She prefers to use her power to help put on a good show at her concerts, creating psychedelic light effects to accompany her songs. However, her power can also be used offensively. Dazzler can blind and disorient her enemies, and she can even shape her light beams into thin, destructive laser blasts.
Dazzler isn’t generally considered to be one of the more powerful X-Men members, but her power grows along with the strength of the soundwaves she manipulates. For example, she was once given a huge power boost by Galactus, who fueled Dazzler with the sound of an exploding galaxy.
Dazzler: Beyond the Comics
Dazzler first appeared outside the comics in 1989’s Pryde of the X-Men, an animated TV movie once intended to serve as the pilot for an ongoing series. Dazzler also appears as a playable character in X-Men: The Arcade Game, which is based on that canceled animated series.
Instead of Pryde of the X-Men, we got the wildly popular X-Men: The Animated Series in 1992, and Dazzler eventually put in an appearance there. Appropriately enough, she played a big part in the first episode of that show’s adaptation of The Dark Phoenix Saga. Dazzler has also had small roles in the animated series Wolverine and the X-Men and video games like X-Men Legends II and Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
Dazzler was once poised to be among the very first Marvel characters to get a theatrical movie. Bo Derek was slated to star in a Dazzler movie in the ’80s, but that project eventually fell apart. Her X-Men movie debut was first teased in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, in a deleted scene where Cyclops and Jean Grey purchase one of Dazzler’s albums in a record store, but now Dazzler has finally appeared in the followup movie Dark Phoenix (played by Halston Sage). A quick glimpse of Sage as Dazzler first emerged last month in Emeli Sandé’s “Extraordinary Being” music video tie-in with Dark Phoenix.
While Dazzler will never get her chance to play a prominent role in Fox’s X-Men franchise, she is due for a big return to the animated realm. An animated Dazzler series is one of four new Marvel shows being developed on Hulu, written and produced by Erica Rivinoja and Chelsea Handler. That series (where Dazzler will team up with fellow hero Tigra) will cross over with the other three in a Netflix-spoofing special called The Offenders.
For even more on the latest X-Men movie, find out if Dark Phoenix has an after credits scene. Or learn all about Jessica Chastain’s Vuk and the D’Bari, Dark Phoenix’s alien villains!