10 X-Men The Animated Series Villains The MCU Should Use In Its Live-Action Movie

Summary

  • Many powerful X-Men villains from
    X-Men: The Animated Series
    and
    X-Men ’97
    deserve to be adapted into the live-action MCU.
  • Marvel Studios can improve adaptations of X-Men villains in the MCU by taking inspiration from
    The Animated Series
    .
  • Iconic X-Men villains such as Apocalypse, Magneto, Mister Sinister and Mystique would benefit from being reinvented in the MCU.



Many powerful villains who have been featured in X-Men: The Animated Series and its X-Men ’97 revival would be great to see adapted into the live-action MCU. X-Men: The Animated Series originally ran for five seasons between 1992 and 1997, before being canceled amid Marvel Entertainment’s financial troubles. Now that those issues are well and truly over, Marvel Studios Animation has premiered a revival of the popular animated series, X-Men ’97, which began roughly a year after X-Men: The Animated Series’ finale, featuring the same cast of heroes, and bringing back some of the X-Men’s most exciting and formidable villains.


While X-Men ’97 continues the storyline of X-Men: The Animated Series on Disney+, Marvel Studios is also developing a live-action X-Men reboot for the MCU’s main continuity. This highly-anticipated project will completely reinvent the X-Men, and help to mend some of the mistakes that 20th Century Fox made in their two-decade-long X-Men franchise. One of the biggest things that Fox never really got right was faithfully adapting Marvel Comics’ X-Men villains for the big screen, but Marvel Studios could borrow from X-Men: The Animated Series and X-Men ’97 to bring some of the team’s most powerful adversaries into the MCU.

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10 En Sabah Nur, A.K.A. Apocalypse

Apocalypse Deserves Redemption After X-Men: Apocalypse

Apocalypse is an extremely powerful and ancient mutant who posed a long-running threat to the X-Men ever since his debut in X-Men: The Animated Series season 1, episode 9, “The Cure.” Apocalypse’s depiction in The Animated Series was much more celebrated than Oscar Isaac’s villain in Fox’s X-Men: Apocalypse, so Marvel Studios could take elements of The Animated Series’ Apocalypse for the villain’s MCU debut. Apocalypse was believed to be the first ever mutant, and his quest for world domination makes him incredibly dangerous.


How Does Apocalypse Fit In The MCU?

Apocalypse is one of Marvel Comics’ most notable X-Men villains, with connections to other heroes such as the Eternals, Thor and Moon Knight. As the focus of some of Marvel’s most expansive events, Apocalypse’s return is all but inevitable, but his next live-action depiction can be done right in the MCU. Marvel Studios’ version of Apocalypse can be much more comic-accurate, delivering the terrifying villain properly.

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9 Arkady Gregorivich Rossovich, A.K.A. Omega Red

Omega Red Can Connect To Black Widow’s MCU Origin


Omega Red debuted in X-Men: The Animated Series season 1, episode 4, “Deadly Reunions,” introduced as the Soviet Union super soldier counterpart to the United States’ Captain America. Omega Red battled the likes of Wolverine, Colossus and Storm in The Animated Series, and his connections to Russian history mean he’d fit in perfectly with one new corner of the MCU. His superhuman strength and carbonadium tentacles make his incredibly powerful, particularly as the antithesis of Captain America and Wolverine.

How Does Omega Red Fit In The MCU?

Omega Red’s origins in the MCU may have already been teased in 2021’s Black Widow. The Phase 4 project revealed more about Natasha Romanoff’s origin story as a child of the Red Room, and introduced her Russian surrogate family, Melina Vostokoff, Alexei Shostakov’s Red Guardian and Yelena Belova. Alexei’s Red Guardian has a similar backstory to Omega Red, so the Red Guardian’s next appearance in Thunderbolts could tease Omega Red’s debut.


8 Graydon Creed

Graydon Creed’s Friends Of Humanity Could Be Crucial To The MCU’s X-Men

Despite being the son of two mutants, Sabretooth and Mystique, Graydon Creed is a regular human with no superhuman abilities, but this forges him into one of the X-Men’s most threatening enemies. Creed debuted in X-Men: The Animated Series season 2, episode 1, “Till Death Do Us Part,” as the founder of the Friends of Humanity, the anti-mutant hate group that poses a significant and persistent threat to the X-Men. The Friends of Humanity continue to pose a danger in X-Men ’97, and may be crucial to the MCU’s X-Men stories.


How Does Graydon Creed Fit In The MCU?

Themes of discrimination and hatred are essential to X-Men-centric stories, as mutants are hated by humans just because of their differences. These themes will be hugely important to adapt for the MCU. Introducing Graydon Creed and the Friends of Humanity would be an excellent way to deliver this, as they can pose a persistent, small-scale danger to the X-Men.

7 Kevin MacTaggert, A.K.A. Proteus

Proteus’ Heartbreaking Backstory Would Translate Perfectly Into The MCU

X-Men: The Animated Series season 4, episodes 11 and 12, “Proteus,” introduced Kevin MacTaggert’s Proteus, the mutant son of X-Men supporting character Moira MacTaggert. Proteus’ reality warping and possession abilities make him incredibly dangerous, despite being one of the X-Men’s lesser-known antagonists. Proteus is one of the most complex villains in X-Men: The Animated Series, as his villainy stems from his years in captivity and search for his father, rather than having evil intentions.


How Does Proteus Fit In The MCU?

This kind of complicated backstory would fit perfectly into the MCU, making Kevin MacTaggert’s Proteus a villain easy to empathize with. Marvel Studios has often tried to find positive qualities in the MCU’s villains, hoping to make them seem redeemable in an effort to keep audiences invested. Proteus would be perfect at filling this void for the MCU’s X-Men team, particularly if Moira MacTaggert debuts early-on, and becomes a key character in the MCU’s X-Men stories.

Moira MacTaggert was revealed to be a mutant in Marvel Comics’
House of X
and
Powers of
X
series, and her ability to remember her past lives as alternate timelines would fit perfectly in the Multiverse Saga.

6 Fabian Cortez

Fabian Cortez Is Strong Enough To Manipulate Magneto


Fabian Cortez debuted in X-Men: The Animated Series season 4, episode 3, “Sanctuary,” as the leader of the Acolytes, a mutant supervillain group dedicated to following Magneto. Cortez used his ability to boost Magneto’s magnetic powers, but eventually betrayed the iconic X-Men villain, and was in fact strong enough to trick and capture Magneto. Magneto is considered one of the X-Men’s most powerful villains, so the fact that Cortez was able to manipulate him means he’d be an impressive fixture in the MCU.

How Does Fabian Cortez Fit In The MCU?

Magneto’s debut in the MCU is practically inevitable, and Fabian Cortez and the Acolytes could follow suit. Cortez’s appearance could also set up the introduction of another X-Men villain, Apocalypse, as Cortez eventually became the vessel to the ancient mutant in X-Men: The Animated Series. Fabian Cortez is a villain with a tendency to create schemes and machinations, akin to Zemo, which makes him even more sinister.


5 Mystique

Mystique Should Be More Of A Villain In The MCU

Shape-shifting mutant Mystique has been a prominent threat to the X-Men in both Marvel Comics and X-Men: The Animated Series, as she is the leader of the Brotherhood of Mutants. As the mother of Graydon Creed and the adoptive mother of X-Men member Rogue, Mystique has major connections that make her reinvention in the MCU inevitable. Rebecca Romijn and Jennifer Lawrence portrayed Mystique in Fox’s X-Men franchise, but Marvel Studios can make the shape-shifter a much more overt threat.

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How Does Mystique Fit In The MCU?

Fox’s X-Men franchise saw Mystique become a member of the X-Men team many times, particularly in the revised timeline, and often ignored her more villainous tendencies. For most of her Marvel Comics history, Mystique has been a villain, so Marvel Studios shouldn’t shy away from showing her darker side. Of course, Mystique could evolve into a hero over the years, but she would make a great initial villain for the X-Men.

4 Jean Grey, A.K.A. Dark Phoenix

The Dark Phoenix Needs To Be Done Justice In The MCU


After several attempts have been made at adapting Marvel Comics’ Dark Phoenix Saga into animation and live-action, Marvel Studios may avoid bringing this iconic Jean Grey-focused event into the MCU. However, the MCU can steal elements of X-Men: The Animated Series’ Dark Phoenix to do this storyline justice. Jean Grey’s evolution into the powerful and villainous Dark Phoenix put a brilliant spin on one of the X-Men’s most notable heroes, and this transformation would be great to see in the MCU.

How Does The Dark Phoenix Fit In The MCU?

Jean Grey was a founding member of Marvel Comics’ X-Men, so she could be featured in the first team in the MCU. Marvel Studios’ focus on the cosmic side of the MCU means that the Dark Phoenix Saga can be much more comic-accurate in the MCU. Jean Grey bonding with the Phoenix Force is very likely, even after Fox’s several attempts at bringing this massive X-Men event to life.

3 Max Eisenhardt/Erik Lehnsherr, A.K.A. Magneto

Magneto Is One Of The X-Men Team’s Most Persistent Foes


It will be difficult to bring the X-Men into the MCU without also debuting Magneto. Magneto is perhaps the most persistent villain in X-Men: The Animated Series, having appeared in 22 episodes of The Animated Series and has become leader of the X-Men in X-Men ’97’s revival. Magneto is one of Marvel Comics’ most complex characters, having both been an enemy and ally to the X-Men team, and his contrasting philosophy to Professor X’s makes for an interesting dynamic.

How Does Magneto Fit In The MCU?

While Professor X wants humans and mutants to live side-by-side, Magneto wants mutants to assume control of the world. However, their joint fight for mutant civil rights has created some brilliant moments in Marvel Comics, The Animated Series and Fox’s X-Men franchise, in which he was played by Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender. Magneto is an important character in X-Men stories, so will be essential to challenging them in the MCU.


Magneto’s Live-Action Appearances

Portrayed By

X-Men (2000)

Ian McKellen and Brett Morris (as a child)

X2 (2003)

Ian McKellen

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

Ian McKellen

X-Men: First Class (2011)

Michael Fassbender and Bill Milner (as a child)

The Wolverine (2013)

Ian McKellen

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

Michael Fassbender

Dark Phoenix (2019)

Michael Fassbender

2 Nathaniel Essex, A.K.A. Mister Sinister

Mister Sinister Has Proven His Salt Time And Again


Mister Sinister’s obsession with experimenting on mutants and evolving humanity makes him a remarkably dangerous villain, and this has forged him into one of the X-Men’s most notable and legendary enemies. Mister Sinister has had a major villain role in both X-Men: The Animated Series and X-Men ’97, and Marvel Studios can borrow elements of this iteration to bring him into the MCU, particularly since 20th Century Fox neglected him. Sinister was teased relentlessly in Fox’s X-Men franchise, but never debuted in live-action.

How Does Mister Sinister Fit In The MCU?

Nathaniel Essex’s Mister Sinister is one of the longest-running X-Men villains, given his agelessness, which makes him the perfect villain to introduce for the MCU’s X-Men. Mister Sinister may have already been scheming in the background for decades, and so could be connected to many past storylines. Fox never brought Mister Sinister into its X-Men franchise, so Marvel Studios needs to give the villain justice in live-action.


1 Sentinels

Sentinels Must Be Adapted Properly For The MCU

While any number of powerful villains could be introduced into the MCU, some of the most important X-Men enemies are the Sentinels. Created by Bolivar Trask, and Henry Peter Gyrich in X-Men: The Animated Series and X-Men ’97, the Sentinels are huge robots programmed to hunt down, capture, and kill mutants. Other villains come and go, but Sentinels pose a major threat to mutantkind and the X-Men throughout their entire history, so are a necessity in the MCU.


How Does The Sentinels Fit In The MCU?

The MCU’s version of Sentinels may have already been teased, as theories suggest the Department of Damage Control could retrofit Stark drones into Sentinels. With Marvel Studios’ introduction of mutants right around the corner, there’s no doubt that the Sentinels and the Mutant Registration Agency will also be included. After being wasted in Fox’s X-Men franchise, it will be great to see these threatening robots pose a real danger in the MCU.

X-Men 97 Disney Plus TV Series Poster

X-Men ’97

X-Men ’97 is the direct continuation of the popular 1990s animated series X-Men: The Animated Series. Taking up where the third season left off, Marvel’s revival brings back famous mutants such as Wolverine, Storm, Rogue, Gambit, Cyclops, Beast, Magneto, and Nightcrawler, who fight villains like Mr. Sinister, the Sentinels, and the Hellfire Club.

Release Date
March 20, 2024

Streaming Service(s)
Disney+

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