Many people may be wondering who Dazzler is, after a brief but memorable cameo in the movie Dark Phoenix. While Alison Blaire has remained popular among comics readers since her introduction, the mutant heroine had yet to make an appearance in any of the live-action X-Men movies until now.
It seems fitting that the singer turned superhero should make her first cinematic appearance in Dark Phoenix, given that the character first appeared in the original Dark Phoenix Saga comics. Alison Blaire was a disco performer who found herself drawn into the X-Men's world when their supercomputer Cerebro detected her mutant powers and several members of the team attended one of her shows, not knowing they were being stalked by the minions of the Hellfire Club. Though Blaire handled herself well in the subsequent battle, she had no interest in becoming a superhero and turned down the X-Men's offer of membership on their team.
Like most artists, Dazzler has reinvented herself several times over the years and not just in terms of ditching her disco threads in exchange for more modern costumes. In addition to her work as a professional singer, she's also attempted to break into acting and modeling. Yet despite Dazzler's best efforts to live the life of a performer, the role she most frequently found herself cast in was that of a hero. Here's everything you need to know about Dazzler's history, powers, and journey to the silver screen in Dark Phoenix.
Dazzler's Comic History Explained
The story behind Dazzler's creation as a fictional character is far stranger than her origins in the comic books. Originally billed as the Disco Queen, the concept for Dazzler was pitched to Marvel Comics by Casablanca Records. Inspired by the multimedia success of the rock band KISS, who had developed their own comic book and movie to go along with their stage personas, Casablanca Records proposed that Marvel create a disco-themed superheroine. Casablanca would then find a singer to be this heroine and produce an album of her music. The two companies would then work together on a tie-in film through Casabanca's production company Filmworks.
The project was torn apart by creative differences from the very beginning. Artist John Romita Jr. had been tasked with designing Disco Queen's costume and took inspiration from popular disco performer Grace Jones. Unfortunately, Filmworks was dead set on having the part played by Bo Derek, who was quite prominent at the time after the release of the movie 10, and Romita Jr. was forced to change his designs to look like her. Negotiations to bring Derek in for the part fell through and the entire film project was cancelled after Filmworks refused to entertain the idea of Bo's husband John Derek directing the movie. The album deal also fell through, presumably after someone had thought to ask if Bo Derek could sing.
The disco craze was long dead by the time Dazzler finally made her first appearance in Uncanny X-Men #130. She headlined her own solo-book, which ran for 42 issues, from 1981-1986 and focused on her run-ins with various supervillains and costumed crime-fighters as she tried in vain to build her brand and avoid becoming a superhero. Eventually she did join the X-Men, but only after her efforts to use her celebrity to boost the public perception of mutants backfired and ended her career. It was during this time that she entered into a romance with the X-Man Longshot and began a decades-long cycle of leaving the X-Men to stage a comeback, only to return when her career faltered again.
Dazzler's Powers Explained
Dazzler possesses the mutant power to change sound into light, converting the sound waves around her into photons. She has an easier time doing this with music, but can use any ambient sound across the full audible spectrum, even absorbing sonic energies that ordinary humans cannot hear. She can also expel the sound as various forms of light, including microwaves and ultraviolet radiation. Dazzler is immune to the effects of her own powers, having naturally polarized eyes as well as enhanced hearing and vision. She's also learned how to generate photons in a manner that allows her to fly.
While Dazzler most often uses her powers to generate various light effects during her performances, she can apply her powers in a number of creative ways, such as generating realistic holograms. She can change the intensity of her light blasts, creating blinding flares, strobe effects that can trigger seizures and focused lasers as needed. She can also create a small zone of silence around her body by drawing all the ambient sound waves into her and expel all the sonic energy she's absorbed as a devastating wave.
Dazzler Was Almost Teased In X-Men: Apocalypse (& Taylor Swift Was Rumored)
Despite being created as a disco diva, Dazzler is very much a child of the '80s. It was for this reason that writer Simon Kinberg had originally written Dazzler into the script for X-Men: Apocalypse, which was set in 1983. Unfortunately, the part was cut in subsequent rewrites. Despite this, rumors persisted that Taylor Swift had been cast in the role after it was reported that she had been seen on the set. Even after it was confirmed that there was no Dazzler in X-Men: Apocalypse, some insisted that Swift would be playing the role in the next X-Men movie.
Even though the character was written out of the movie, Dazzler did still get a cameo of sorts in X-Men: Apocalypse. One scene featured Scott Summers and Jean Grey stumbling across her latest album while browsing at a music store. Unfortunately, this scene was left out of the theatrical cut of the movie and exists only as a deleted scene on the DVD and Blu-Ray releases of the film.
Dazzler's Dark Phoenix Cameo
Dazzler finally made her long-awaited live-action appearance in Dark Phoenix. After the X-Men return to Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters after saving a team of astronauts and being hailed as heroes internationally, Professor X cancels classes for the remainder of the day. Dazzler can be seen in the background in a later scene, as several of the younger mutants are holding a celebratory rave in the woods near the school. Despite the informal setting, Dazzler is all glammed up and providing her own light show as she sings.
Halston Sage Plays Dazzler In Dark Phoenix
Dazzler is played in Dark Phoenix by actress Halston Sage. Perhaps best known for her role as Lt. Alara Kitan in the sci-fi comedy The Orville, Sage is also fondly remembered for playing Lacey in the 2015 film adaptation of John Green's novel Paper Towns. She can currently be seen as Zoe Martlin in Late Night and as Erin the Netflix romantic comedy The Last Summer.
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