Dark Phoenix opened in theaters this weekend. The film is expected to be the last of the X-Men movies for the foreseeable future. It had the weakest box office opening in the franchise's history and received a poor critical reception, but fans of FOX’s sci-fi series The Orville may have found something to love in the film since a fan-favorite actress from the show made a surprise appearance.
Former The Orville star Halston Sage made a showed up in Dark Phoenix playing Allison Blaire, the mutant pop star known as Dazzler in the Marvel Universe. The role was unannounced ahead of Dark Phoenix’s release, though rumors did appear online months ago.
Dazzler made her first appearance in the Marvel Universe in Uncanny X-Men #130, one chapter in “The Dark Phoenix Saga” on which Dark Phoenix is based. It’s appropriate then that she should make her big screen debut in Dark Phoenix.
Sage’s role as Dazzler was little more than a cameo. Dark Phoenix writer and director Simon Kinberg explained in an interview with CinemaBlend that he wanted to keep Dark Phoenix focused on Jean Grey, but couldn’t resist the opportunity to include Dazzler somehow.
“I didn't want to get into too many other characters,” Kinberg says. “In the original 'Dark Phoenix Saga,' you have the Hellfire Club, you have Lilandra and the Shi'ar. There are a lot of other storylines to service and I wanted to boil the movie down to the essentials emotionally and then throw in a few cameos. I'm just a huge Dazzler fan from the comics and there was an opportunity in the scene that she's in for someone to be singing at a party and it was like, why not?”
Sage played Lt. Alara Kitan The Orville. The character was written out of the series partway through the show's second season, with FOX confirming to ComicBook.com that the episode “Home” was Sage’s final episode as a series regular. However, FOX did note that the door remained open for her to return. Sage stepped through that door in The Orville’s second season finale episode “The Road Not Taken,” where she appeared as a version of Alra from another timeline. Executive producer David A. Goodman has said that Sage is still welcome to return again in the future.
“Halston is a friend of the show,” Goodman said in an interview. “We love her and would definitely want to figure out ways that she can come back. I don’t think she is coming back as a regular. But, we love that character and we love her and so if there is an opportunity to bring her back story-wise, I think she would be open to it and we would love to have her back.”