"I'm a strong woman," said Janssen in an interview with Backstage. "I come from a background of very strong women. And it's what I try to bring, what I truly believe is important in the world…I hope that's the least I can do and bring to the characters."
The actress has been very outspoken over the years about sexism within the entertainment industry, especially when it comes to her career-defining role as Jean Grey in the X-Men franchise. In both X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse, we see younger versions of both Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Professor X (James McAvoy) interacting with their older counterparts (Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, respectively). And other familiar mutants make cameos including franchise stalwarts Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine and Kelsey Grammer as Hank McCoy/Beast. X-Men: Apocalypse, the third film of the popular prequel trilogy, is set in the 1980s and prominently features a 20-year-old Jean Grey played by Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner. Fans wondered whether they'd get a peek at Janssen's older Jean, but no such luck.
When asked about her absence from the prequels, Janssen told Entertainment Weekly, "Women, it's interesting because they're replaced, and the older versions—or more mature, whatever the politically correct version of that is—are never to be seen again. Whereas the men are allowed to be both ages. Sexism. I think that I should be back along with my younger version … the way that we've seen it with Magneto and Professor X." Janssen even reached out to producers, but said she received "total radio silence." Given that in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Logan helped reset the past, bringing both Jean and Cyclops (James Marsden) back from the dead, why couldn't Janssen have made an appearance alongside Turner?
"Each and every one of us can never give up," Janssen told the New York Times. "We have to continue to fight for our rights as women in the film business."