In the original ending to the “Dark Phoenix”, Jean lived. But then-Marvel Editor-in-chief Jim Shooter wasn’t satisfied with it. The Dark Phoenix had killed a star and millions of its inhabitants. And you just can’t let her off the hook that easily. Chris Claremont remarked that “Jim said there had to be some form of responsibility taken”.
Before the ending of Uncanny X-Men #137 was re-written to have Jean commit suicide, she had instead been surrendered to the Shi’ar by the X-Men, who had lost the battle on the blue side of the moon. Jean would not be killed. Majestrix Lilandra stated that “the relationship between Jean’s life-force and the primal forces her used to bind the Neutron Galaxy. Killing her might set it [the phoenix entity] free -- and thereby destroy the universe”. Instead, a psychic lobotomy was performed to “excise” parts of Jean’s brain which relate to her telepathic and telekinetic powers. Which meant Jean would lose her mutant abilities, and become human.
As the X-Men watched the psychic surgery being performed on Jean, Scott felt Jean’s power dissolving through the rapport he shared with her.
Scott: “It’s like watching someone die...While, at the same time, dying yourself.”
When Jean’s hand reached out to him, Scott took it. By the end of the procedure, nothing of the telepathic rapport was left.
Scott: “I feel so empty inside...if things feel this awful for me, how much worse are they for Jean?”
Scott left quickly after, still bitter over the whole fiasco. Jean barely survived it. But how did she cope? In What If... #32, Chris Claremont addressed this possibility. Was it happily ever after for Scott and Jean?
Next: What If... #32