If the Fox X-Men universe has done anything, it’s run ideas into the ground. After 10+ movies, it’s almost as if they are literally scared to push the envelope on several fronts. Which is idiotic in my opinion when you take into account that they are telling stories based upon comic book lore. They can’t seem to get any of the X-Men villains right outside of Magneto and he’s a good-guy half of the time.
The X-Men have been in existence since the early 60s and have subsequently built out an exceptional rogues gallery of villains with both superficial and deeply personal connections to members of the X-Men and their surrounding mythos.
Kevin Feige and Disney have demonstrated a sort of bravery when tackling their subject manner. Unlike Bryan Singer, they aren’t so concerned with staying grounded. They dive right into the craziness that is the Marvel Universe. With that said, here are my top 10 suggestions for potential villains within the MCU.
Quite possibly the most stunning idea on this list, it may not be the best simply because it’s kind of been done already in the MCU. Having heroes go to battle with the ground under their feet has been explored in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Ego the living planet/ Celestial space god, and Star Lord’s daddy was that movie’s main antagonist. Our heroes did battle on top of and within Ego himself, not dissimilar to what we might see if the X-Men may come in contact with Krakoa. On a much smaller scale mind you, but from what we saw of the Guardians, it could have easily taken place on an island and we wouldn’t have seen a difference. With that said, it doesn’t mean that it can be tweaked a bit, right?
9. The Juggernaut
We’ve seen Cain Marko in not one, but two Fox X-Men universe films. One done better than the other. The first time was in the train wreck X3, portrayed by perpetual British tough-guy actor, Vinnie Jones. The performance wasn’t lacking more than the role itself. Seeing as Professor Xavier was British himself, it’s not that much of a stretch for the change in Cain’s background (traditionally, Marko is an American meat-head). Outside of that, there wasn’t much to it. Jones didn’t exactly look the part, hell, no one looks that part. CG is a necessary evil to do the unstoppable Juggernaut correctly. Which is why the second time around in Deadpool 2 was a far more accurate rendition. The completely CG animated character was played by Ryan Reynolds himself!
Assuming Feige has plans to utilize the unstoppable magically endowed Juggernaut, I don’t see him being a main “big bad” despite how large they make him. He’s not interesting enough outside of a massive building crumbling fight scene. He’s probably better used as a lackey or x-factor for the bad guys. Pun intended. The Deadpool 2 version of him was visually perfect, and seeing as we don’t know what Disney’s plans are to absorb the X-Men are, that may very well be the version that we get in a future film.
Oh, a little tidbit of info you might not have picked up on. Juggernaut’s powers are magical, not provided by the X-Gene, so he’s not a mutant. Essentially, he’s the envoy of a particular chaos god by the name of Cyttorak. Funny enough, the god has already been referenced within the MCU! Where do you think those crimson bands Doctor Strange used to restrain Thanos in Infinity War came from?
By all means, En Saba Nur should be at the top of this list, but sadly… he’s been done and unlike the Juggernaut, there isn’t much to salvage from his last showing.
Apocalypse should be a towering mass of destruction. A remorseless instrument of death. Instead, we got a purple-ish, preachy man that barely stood 6-feet tall. He looked more like Ivan Ooze from the original Powers Rangers movie than anything resembling the immortal mutant.
Apocalypse is a threat by himself and should be able to hold the position of “big bad” all on his own, although his horsemen do play a pivotal role. At the same time, thanks to X-Men: Apocalypse, that ship has sailed. It’s going to take a while for that movie to fade from memory. It wasn’t a bad film, just supremely underwhelming for an X-Men villain of Apocalypse’s stature.
How can Disney do it better? Well, for one, they are going to have to stick closer to the comic book appearance if nothing else but to separate it from the last outing. Just as Juggernaut shouldn’t be able to be portrayed practically, Apocalypse is going to have to be a motion cap CGI character. Thanos was a great example of what can be done nowadays. Instead of blue or purple skin, I’d recommend staying towards the gray side and take advantage of his more technological roots, ESPECIALLY because they are so deeply entrenched with the Celestials- an established force within the MCU. The fact that the space gods are already in play only helps legitimize Apocalypse’s backstory. I just don’t think Disney is going to touch it any time soon. Thanks, 21st Century Fox. Rest in peace.
Non-readers more than likely have no idea who or what Selene is. The rest of us educated folk should be at least somewhat acquainted with her. Selene is a member of a very select sect of mutants called “Externals.” These mutants have freakishly long lifespans. Matter of fact, if they are not killed, they may not die at all. Selene herself is from the age. In all, there are only a handful of known immortal mutants in the comics. Apocalypse may be counted among them, but with so much Celestial-based technology woven into his being, it’s hard to tell what’s natural from what’s artificial. Outside of her abnormal lifespan, Selene does have a set of mutant powers that are terrifying all in their own right.
Selene isn’t that much different from a vampire, especially if you take into account the “not dying”-thing. Selene preys upon the lifeforce of other beings which may or may not supply power for a plethora of other abilities including; increased strength, and psionic abilities such as telekinesis, pyrokinesis, and telepathy. Due to her massive amount of life experiences, she’s knowledgeable in the use of magic and not a half-bad combatant.
One of the biggest threats to her is her connection to the Hellfire Club, in which she has the rank of ‘Black Queen.’ She has enough combined personality and strength to be a big bad, but probably not for a full-fledged X-Men team. Perhaps if we get a Generation-X or another small team film. That is unless she goes full death-god as we saw in Necrosha-X.
6. Stryfe and the Mutant Liberation Front
I think it’s safe to say Josh Brolin’s Cable was a huge hit with fans. He didn’t have a whole lot to say in the movie compared to Reynolds’ Deadpool, but he got the job done. Whether he’ll be able to reprise the role in future X-Men franchise movies is yet to be seen. His usage in the current run of MCU movies as Thanos shouldn’t be a huge problem. We saw the actor Paul Bettany featured as the Avenger Vision as well as the villainous Dreyden Vos in Solo: Star Wars Movie. Both roles obviously now under the same Disney umbrella.
If you’re not acquainted with Stryfe, here’s a quick synopsis. He’s the clone of Cable raised in the future by Apocalypse. Because he never contracted the techno-organic virus that threatens to claim Cable’s body (Cable constantly focuses his powers to keep the virus from spreading), Stryfe has full access to his vast mutant abilities. He may have also had his way with Cable’s wife before murdering her, making their rivalry all the more personal.
His ridiculous, yet awesome armor aside, Stryfe is a force to be reckoned with at all times. He’s ruthless, intelligent, and charismatic. So much so in the present timeline, he indirectly formed his own answer to the X-Men and Cable’s X-Force. A group dubbed the Mutant Liberation Front or MLF for short. They (along with the Outsiders), carry out Stryfe’s orders. The name Mutant Liberation Front disguised what they were and helped enlist sympathy as well as create new members looking to help the cause. The X-Men movies haven’t shown any other sides to the mutant argument other than their own and Magneto’s heavy-handed approach. Stryfe might not be a villain for a main tent-poll X-Men film, but if a true X-Force movie ever got off of the ground, he’d be an excellent candidate.
5. The Shi’Ar Empire
The intergalactic empire known as the Shi’Ar has been the X-Men’s frenemies since the debut of the original Phoenix Saga. Originally, they were shown as antagonists led by the maniacal Emperor D’kan, who wanted nothing more than to dominate the galaxy. After he was defeated and his sister Lilandra (also Professor-X’s longtime extraterrestrial lover) took his place, the Shi’Ar would often be looked at as allies.
The X-Men received a wide range of technology and support throughout the years and even traveled to the empire to assist them on numerous occasions. That is unless their interests clashed with the X-Men. Lilandra, despite her relationship with the X-Men’s leader, would oft find herself on the opposite side of arguments. This would intensify in frequency once she passed and new leadership took over.
The X-Men are powerful and need a sufficient source of opposition to create believable conflict in their stories. Coming into contact with an uber advanced race of super-powered beings is most likely a great avenue for that. Aside from the visual smorgasbord that would be produced by this, the Shi’Ar are antagonists that will challenge the X-Men- not based on the presence of the X-Gene but because they happen to be in their way.
It’d be refreshing to see our heroes fight against a force not out to kill them just because of what they are, but because they have a fundamental difference in the way they view a current situation. My biggest concern would be how the MCU would depict Corsair and the Starjammers seeing as they already pilfered their swagger and pasted onto the Guardians of the Galaxy. If you didn’t notice that, you’re not an X-Man fan, dangit.
4. Bastion/ Prime Sentinels
The chances of us getting a movie using full-fledged, 3-story tall Sentinels just got better with the X-Men being under the MCU. But something tells me it’s still going to be a hard sell. These movies are based in a world at least somewhat based on realistic rules. It’s seen its cities crushed, mangled and rendered to ruins. I can’t imagine a government within MCU Earth thinking giant robots stomping around their streets would be a ‘good’ idea. Hence, the notion of using Prime Sentinels. Man-made, human-sized super beings that activate as needed to combat a mutant (or any superhuman based) threat.
The idea would have to come from somewhere and the initiative headed up: enter Bastion. A mysterious man with a past which, at best, can be considered “shady.” He’s powerful enough to hold the role of the main antagonist and if you’re familiar with his origins, he can be the result of other storylines, or create new ones altogether.
His Prime Sentinels are the result of super advanced Nano-technology not readily available on current day Earth outside of closely guarded Stark-tech. Half of Bastion hails from a future timeline which could piggyback off the idea of time travel explored in Avengers: Endgame. Or heck, it could be the result of humans tampering with alien technology. Which brings us to our next selection…
3. The Phalanx
If there is ever going to be an opportunity to win an Oscar for visual effects in an X-Men film look no further than the Phalanx. On the surface, they might not be all that dissimilar from the Star Trek villains called the Borg: hive-minded alien lifeforms that forcefully assimilate their enemies to bring entire civilizations into their intergalactic collective.
What makes the Phalanx so special and worthy of live-action adaptation is their physical appearance and the speed in which they move and consume matter. Unlike the Borg that basically just nonchalantly march forward into gun-fire until their targets run out of ammo or means, the Phalanx twist and morph their bodies at will. They can even move through matter as electricity flows through a conductive material.
To be honest, the fact that the X-Men were able to defeat them without the aide of the rest of the planet’s heroes is downright ridiculous. There is a sense of inevitable doom that accompanies the Phalanx. Their numbers increase as they assimilate- something they can do quite quickly without raising an alarm. Did I mention they can also take on the form of anyone they’ve assimilated? Entire towns and cities can fall to them before anyone ever realizes what’s happening. There’s a lot you can do with antagonists like the Phalanx.
There’s also a human component. In the books, the Phalanx became a threat thanks to a group of mutant-hating humans hoping to use them as a weapon. A movie involving the Phalanx could easily be the third movie in a trilogy. The summation and result of humans indulging in hatred. The X-Men need to fight aliens and the Brood are way too similar to the Xenomorphs, which are currently now also owned by Disney.
2. Sinister… Mister Sinister
It’s an absolute travesty that Mister Sinister hasn’t been used yet. He’s only been part of the most obscure Easter Eggs and only in name. He’s rumored to play a role in the upcoming The New Mutants movie and we saw his name used on a building in Deadpool 2. There have probably been one or more instances throughout the FoX-Men movies, but he’s been nothing but a bone for the hardest of hardcore fans to play with.
By no means should he be utilized as a one-off baddie. Mister Sinister is the boogeyman of the X-Men. And even has his own motley crew of cohorts in the Nasty Boys and the Marauders. They’d probably be fodder, but that’s Mister Sinister. People are simply tools and means to ends for him.
Though he only debuted in the late 80s, he was written into the mythos in several ways. Born a human and named Nathaniel Essex in Victorian Era England, he was the planet’s premier geneticist. He routinely experimented not only on himself but proto-mutants he’d discover and kidnap.Eventually, after coming into contact with Apocalypse, he gained near immortality, thanks to being fundamentally altered by Celestial technology (a dope link to active lore within the MCU).
Mister Sinister can easily function as a precursor to the second coming of Apocalypse (which again, probably shouldn’t occur until the 2nd phase of MCU X-Men movies). Not to mention Bryan #$#%#%$^ Cranston wants the role! And I don’t think this is him wanting to latch onto to a blockbuster. The man was voicing Power Ranger villains for episodes that aired immediately in front of X-Men: The Animated Series. It’s not impossible he latched onto the villain around the same time most of the rest of us did.
Please, Feige, pull the trigger on this one!
When it all boils down, the biggest threat to Marvel’s merry band of mutants has always been humanity itself, yet, with nearly a dozen films in, they’ve yet to scratch the surface. They got close in X2 with the utilization of William Striker, but they never once intimated the existence of organized hate groups, much less any run by him.
Giant robots and renegade mutants are definitely problems but don’t hold a candle to a mob of people. You can see a threat like Magneto or a Sentinel from a mile away, but the fear of being attacked just by stepping out on your porch is something else entirely. Fear and hatred can be as deadly as any weapon. This becomes a larger problem when it’s focused and organized. Within the X-Men’s rogues gallery are two groups notorious for radicalizing everyday people.
The Friends of Humanity (FoH) are nothing short of terrorists. Often under the direction of charismatic politicians, they operate in cells and execute carefully planned rallies that from the outside appear to be random. More often than not they result in violence, but that’s their goal. They use violence to encourage violence, capture it on film and use it to create new members of the FoH.
The Purifiers are a bit more militant and normally much more violent. In the books, they are spurned by religious rhetoric, more than anything else. They believe it is their divine mission to rid the world of mutants.
The Fox TV series “The Gifted” featured them heavily in its 2nd season, however, they behaved and operated more akin to the FoH. There’s also the concept of Genosha that is worthy of exploring through the X-Tinction Agenda story.
So which X-Villain do you want to see the MCU tackle first? Let us know below!