Megan Fox began the 2009 summer movie season as a Hollywood untouchable, one on the verge of helping to launch "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" into an $836 million box-office juggernaut, and one whose every saucy utterance became a tabloid headline. Her future as celeb royalty seemed all but assured.

But a year later, she's undergone an unflattering transformation: Megan Fox is now a fallen actress. Her resume sports two straight box-office bombs — last fall's "Jennifer's Body" and this past weekend's "Jonah Hex" — and she's no longer the skin-exposing centerpiece of the "Transformers" franchise, thanks to a he-said-she-said brouhaha with director Michael Bay. Moreover, Fox's next project, "Passion Play," is a small film with uncertain critical and popular appeal.

So where does she go from here, in a quest to resurrect her career and solidify her A-list credentials? There's no easy answer.

"Once considered the heiress apparent to box-office beauty Angelina Jolie, she is in danger of becoming just another Hollywood starlet that shot to stardom and flamed out in spectacular fashion," Jeff Bock, box-office analyst for Exhibitor Relations, told MTV News. "This town is full of them."

What a strange turn for Fox, who is nothing if not unique in show biz for her propensity for doling out juicy quotes. Yet now, she finds herself in a position where she's most closely associated with salaciousness rather than box-office prowess, less lusted over than reviled by a growing chorus of haters.

"She's definitely a wild card like no other, but she'll need to start betting on her talent and not just rely on her goddess-like beauty from here on out if she wants to star in films," Bock continued. "I'm not saying she needs to don a British accent and get her knickers in a bunch in a Jane Austen movie, but a smaller supporting role with a well-respected director would be a solid start in transforming her career at this stage. Give audiences a little compassion — and maybe some sweetness. That will go a long way in endearing audiences to her. Right now, she needs to prove she is a more well-rounded actress if she wants to sustain her acting career."

And, fairly or not, that's the open question at this point: Is Fox truly a talented actress or one plucked from relative anonymity by Bay on the basis of her cheekbones rather than her acting chops and thrust into a superstardom she hadn't necessarily earned? How does a breakout star stay in demand — or even relevant — once her star power has dimmed and the public seems to be taking such glee in her career stumbles?

"It's a tough thing to admit, that you have room to improve your craft, especially when you've had so much early success, but she certainly can improve as an actor and that requires taking the initiative and showing the world you're willing to better yourself," said Edward Douglas of ComingSoon.net. "I think the best bet for Fox is to take a step back in terms of taking leading roles and try to get involved in things that people wouldn't expect from her, like something more dramatic or a comedy."

Yet even when she does take a smaller role, as was the case in "Jonah," the studio found a way to place her and her sexuality front and center in its marketing campaign. That's a problem. From executive suites to the local Cineplex, the public has coalesced around a certain idea of who Megan Fox is. Breaking that mold is no simple task for the actress and her reps, and it's going to take serious work by them to find the perfectly calibrated role. To let others shine and bask in their heady glow — it seems this should be Fox's goal going forward. It remains to be seen if she's sufficiently humbled by her recent troubles to take such a detour on her high-profile path through Hollywood.

"Working with better actors can help, and something more ensemble-driven where the focus isn't entirely on Fox or her sexuality will help a lot," Douglas said. "Who knows? Maybe even taking a role in that upcoming 'New Year's Eve' follow-up to 'Valentine's Day' would be something worth looking into, because she couldn't be any worse than any of the actresses in 'Valentine's Day!' "

What kind of movie role would you like to see Megan take on next? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Check out everything we've got on "Jonah Hex."

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