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Vuk: The X-Men fear you. And what they don’t understand, they fear. And what they fear. Jean Grey: They seek to destroy.
~ Vuk influencing Jean Grey against the X-Men.
Are you scared, little girl, who answers to a man in a chair? Or are you the most powerful creature on the planet?
~ Vuk to Jean Grey about Charles Xavier, and her most famous quote.
Vuk, under the identity of Margaret Smith, is the main antagonist of the 2019 superhero film X-Men: Dark Phoenix, the twelfth installment of the X-Men film series.
She is the leader of the D'Bari, a race of extraterrestrials who were near-extincted when the Phoenix Force absorbs their sun, who comes to possess Jean Grey and works to manipulate her to transform the Earth in a new world for the D'Bari race.
Vuk started out as a member of the D'Bari, before rising herself up as a supreme leader of their home planet. However, it was not until an unimaginable destructive cosmic entity (known as the Phoenix) wandered across the universe, and later used its powers to destroy the D'Bari's planet, leaving only Vuk and many few D'Bari as survivors. Because of this event, Vuk vowed to get revenge on the Phoenix and find a new home planet for her race.
Meeting and Manipulating Jean
In 1992, Vuk and her posse traveled to Earth, where they used their shape-shifting abilities to take on human disguises; even Vuk takes the form of a young tall and white-haired woman named Margaret Smith that she briefly killed along with her dog Luna and her party guests; she even killed Margaret's husband by making his heart stop beating. She soon learns that the young mutant Jean Grey absorbed the Phoenix into herself after the X-Men's previous mission to save several astronauts and it also caused her to accidentally killed the mutant Mystique and several police officers.
Deciding that Jean might be a perfect tool to create a new world for the D'Bari race, Vuk tracks down and confronts Jean's father John of Jean's whereabouts, but when he refused to cooperate, Vuk kills him. Around the same time, Jean heads over to the island of Genosha for safety (inhabited by the Brotherhood of Mutants led by Magneto), but is turn down by Magneto after she tried to kill several arriving soldiers tasked for her arrest. Seeing that Jean has no one left to turn to, Vuk meets her in person and tells her about the history of the Phoenix, convincing her to use her powers for her own use and abandon whatever beliefs of morality to achieve it.
When Magneto and the Brotherhood conspired to kill Jean in New York City for what she did, Professor Xavier and the X-Men arrive to stop them. Magneto was able to make his way to confront Jean, but thanks to Vuk's guidance, Jean was able to overpower him. However, Xavier uses his mind-reading abilities to let Jean read his thoughts about why he repressed her memories, which drove her into asking Vuk in taking away the powers. Vuk eagerly does so, but not before she tells Jean that doing so will also deprive Jean of her life, as Vuk intends to use the Phoenix power to destroy all life on Earth so that she can create a new haven for the D'Bari race there. Fortunately, Xavier and Scott manage to stop Vuk from draining most the Phoenix power, but several soldiers (sent by the U.S. government) arrive to arrest both the X-Men and the Brotherhood (including Xavier, Magneto and Jean).
Final Battle and Death
With all the captive mutants boarding on a train to a mutant containment facility, Vuk (being on the end of her wits) leads Jones and their D-Bari soldiers to attack the train, killing many of the human soldiers. This forced the surviving soldiers to release the mutants and let them battle against Jones and the D-Bari soldiers. Though Jones and most of the D'Bari soldiers are finished off to their deaths, Vuk manages to use her powers (fueled by some of the Phoenix power that she absorbed) to defeat all the mutants (including Xavier and Magneto). However, Xavier helps Jean in gaining control of her Phoenix power, allowing herself to finish off the remaining D'Bari soldiers. Jean then takes Vuk into outer space, where she uses the Phoenix power to disintegrate Vuk to her death for good and making her race extinct.
Vuk was shown to be stoic, calm, and unsettlingly sociopathic. Having no problem with killing any in her way or who's death would be of use to her as shown when she murdered a woman simply just to take her form and when killing Jean Grey's father after interrogating him. Vuk was also shown to be very manipulative as she is able to convince Jean to side with her against the X-Men by claiming that they were afraid of her due to her power.
Powers and Abilities
D'Bari Physiology: Vuk is a D'Bari, an extraterrestrial race of humanoids with shape-shifting abilities along with numerous other attributes.
Superhuman Strength: Like all the D'Bari, Vuk had immense physical strength.
Shapeshifting: Vuk had the power to change her appearance at will. D'Bari can even use their shape shifting to heal themselves to a certain extent.
Accelerated Healing Factor: When Magneto tried to use machine guns in order to kill her, Vuk's skin layer began to fall apart, but she was shown to be able to heal it back.
Telekinesis: Vuk had the power to levitate, move, immobilize and manipulate objects with her mind. It made her able to manipulate people’s bodies and internal organs, having twisted the lower torso of John Grey to kill him.
Illusion Casting: Vuk possesses the power to create strong and believable illusions, presumably telepathically. She used that power to show Jean Grey the origin of the Phoenix Force, causing the room they were in to seemingly melt away into a projected simulation of outer space.
Telepathic Immunity: Vuk's mind cannot be read by telepaths, possibly due to her extraterrestrial physiology. Allowing to see through telepathic illusions such as Jean disguising herself as an old man.
Phoenix Force: By briefly absorbing some cosmic energy of the Phoenix Force within Jean Grey, Vuk gained a number of advanced abilities.
Energy Manipulation: Vuk could easily manipulate lightning projected towards her by Storm and even redirect Cyclops' optic blasts against him.
Poster of Vuk.
Vuk with Jean Grey.
Vuk explaining the Phoenix's nature to Jean.
Vuk scoping Jean.
Vuk confronting Magneto.
Dark Pheonix was James Mcavoy's and Jessica Chastain's third acting role together, with their fourth, IT: Chapter 2, on the same year that came three months after this movie.
Vuk has earned the distinction of being the first (and only) main villain of the X-Men film series to be female.
In the comics, Vuk was male and goes by the name "Starhammer". Plus, he is shown to have a suit of armor that he wears for combat. He is shown to have a personal vendetta towards Jean Grey for the destruction of his homeworld, though he decides to abandon his vendetta after being convinced by the X-Men about the illusion of choices. Here in the film, Vuk was portrayed as female and has more villainous motives than her comics counterpart.
Before her name was revealed, it was originally speculated that Cassandra Nova would be the film's main antagonist, though they do share common character traits.