WARNING; The following article contains major spoilers for Dark Phoenix, in theaters now.
Since Jessica Chastain was cast in Dark Phoenix, rumors swirled about who she would play, with some suggesting Skrull princess Veranke or Empress Lilandra of the Shi'ar.
Instead, Simon Kinberg's directorial debut actually reveals her as Vuk, a member of the shapeshifting race known as the D'bari. The D'bari have deep roots in the early days of the Marvel Universe, and they're connected to the destructive Phoenix in a big way.
THE D'BARI IN MARVEL COMICS
The D'bari are known as the "Asparagus People" for their vegetable-like look, with the most popular being Vuk. He appeared in Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Art Simek's 1964 comic Avengers #4, which saw Earth's Mightiest Heroes go up against Namor after retrieving Captain America from the ice. After crash landing in the ocean, Namor used Vuk to turn the heroes to stone. Luckily, the alien was eventually convinced by Cap to turn good and rebel against the Sub-Mariner.
Vuk left Earth in his ship and headed home, only to find out later his planet died thanks to the Phoenix. It devoured their sun, killing billions of Vux's people. This genocide is what convinced the Shi'ar Empire to send the Imperial Guard after Jean and put her on trial in the "Dark Phoenix Saga," as they felt the cosmic being had to be brought to justice for her crimes.
As for the other survivors of the Phoenix massacre, there weren't that many, with notable D'bari appearing over the years being Bzztl -- an offshoot of Vuk; Gvyn -- a female D'bari whose memories Jean experienced as Death wanted her to see what the aliens went through as the Phoenix razed their home; and lastly, Tas'wtza -- a soldier who'd join the Nova Corps, only to die in the field. Out of everyone, it's only Vuk who pursued a lifelong vendetta, taking on the identity Starhammer in his quest to kill the Phoenix and Jean. In time, he realized vengeance made no sense, and so he went to another dimension where his people weren't rendered extinct, making peace with the Phoenix in the process.
THE D'BARI IN THE DARK PHOENIX MOVIE
Vuk's gender is switched in the film after the alien adopts the form of Chastain's Margaret -- an ability they don't show in the comics. Vuk seeks out the Phoenix, but rather than wanting to destroy it, she intends to harness its abilities to wipe out humanity. Knowing the Phoenix is just as much a creator as a destroyer, Vuk wants to use Jean as its avatar to restore her people on Earth afterwards.
Later on, Vuk is also able to wield the Phoenix herself, extracting it from Jean so she can personally rebuild her civilization after the X-Men convince Jean to return to the light. As for the remainder of her species, they followed the Phoenix throughout the cosmos after it consumed their homeworld. Following Dark Phoenix's opening act, which sees the cosmic entity possess Jean, the aliens land on Earth with the aim of co-opting the power.
Some shapeshift into FBI agents, others into cops while the rest take the form of the wealthy and powerful. They're a covert society, but as the finale reveals, they're also very capable soldiers, as they go head-to-head with the X-Men and Magneto's Brotherhood. Just like in the comics, they boast super-speed, super-strength and are quite durable in battle. What's interesting is their cabal, as they plot to kidnap Jean, plays a similar role to the Hellfire Club. Still, the D'bari don't leave a lasting impression like the Skrulls in Captain Marvel, who too sought newer pastures. Instead, they come off as generic extraterrestrials for the X-Men to tussle with.
Directed and written by Simon Kinberg, Dark Phoenix stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters and Jessica Chastain.