Kevin Feige has said that it’ll be a long time before the X-Men join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, since Marvel plans its release slate years in advance and only just got the rights to those characters. But they are coming.
However long it takes, we will eventually see mutants like Professor X and Wolverine rubbing shoulders with the likes of Black Panther and Doctor Strange on the big screen, and when they do, they will be joined by some of their iconic villains from the comics. So, here are 10 Actors We’d Like To See Play X-Men Villains In The MCU.
10 Mark Strong as Mister Sinister
Mister Sinister was first introduced in the comics to give the X-Men an enemy that wasn’t Magneto. The stories had been reusing Magneto again and again, and it was getting pretty repetitive, so Mister Sinister was brought in to shake things up. This is how he should be used in the MCU’s rebooted X-Men film series.
A lot of fans have suggested Mark Strong for the role, and it’s easy to see why he’d be perfect. He’s played similarly menacing villains to fantastic effect before: Lord Blackwood in Sherlock Holmes, Frank D’Amico in Kick-Ass, even Sinestro in that terrible Green Lantern movie (Strong deserved better).
9 Charlize Theron as Mystique
So far, we’ve seen two pretty great incarnations of Mystique on the big screen. Rebecca Romijn in the original trilogy and Jennifer Lawrence in the “Beginnings” series both played a cunning, calculated Mystique who was always one step ahead of everybody else.
However, Lawrence’s version was overused by the later movies as she became the most famous member of the cast, and she wasn’t blue for enough of the runtime, because Lawrence had the clout to request less hours in the makeup chair. With any luck, the MCU can win back Mystique fans, and as shown by her intense fight scenes in Atomic Blonde, Charlize Theron would be perfect.
8 Seth Rogen as the Blob
This would mostly be a vocal performance, since anyone playing the Blob would either be CGI’d up or buried in prosthetics. Seth Rogen’s distinctive voice – deep pitch with a bellowing, unmistakable laugh – would make him stand out in this role.
He also has the comedic chops to pull off a character like the Blob, whose ridiculous powers (his high center of gravity rooting him to the ground and giving him the ability to absorb energy and deflect it back out) make him a perfect fit for the sly comic tone of the Deadpool movies. Rogen would play hilariously against Ryan Reynolds and Zazie Beetz.
7 Jason Momoa as Sabretooth
Since Jason Momoa is playing Aquaman, one of the DCEU’s most popular characters, he might not have the time or the contractual wiggle room to take on a role in the MCU. If he does, it probably won’t be a main character.
The actor has said that he’d love to play Wolverine, and he would make a fantastic Wolverine, but if that contract can’t be worked out, he can play the antagonistic version of Wolverine, Sabretooth, in a supporting capacity. He has the look and build to play the character, and his turn as Khal Drogo showed us he can sell he animalistic rage.
6 Ryan Reynolds as the Juggernaut
The Juggernaut has only really been featured as a supporting player in X-Men: The Last Stand and Deadpool 2. In The Last Stand, he was nothing more than meme fodder (“I’m the Juggernaut, b***h!”). In Deadpool 2, though, he got a more faithful incarnation, voiced by Ryan Reynolds.
His appearance felt a little out of place, and he was still a minor character. The Juggernaut needs to be a main villain, because there’s a lot of his character to explore – his brotherly relationship with Professor X, for example – that is, as of yet, untapped. Reynolds’ take on the character was fun, so he should still be allowed to do the voice.
5 Viggo Mortensen as Omega Red
Omega Red was the result of the KGB’s attempts to create a super-soldier similar to Captain America. They conducted these experiments on a Russian serial killer that Interpol turned over to them, so you can imagine that once he received his superpowers, he didn’t exactly use them for good.
Anyone who plays Omega Red would need to be able to do a convincing Russian accent, so we don’t get another Elizabeth Olsen situation where it has to be gradually fazed out to protect the audience’s ears. Viggo Mortensen, one of the greatest actors working today, has proven he can do a Russian accent in Eastern Promises.
4 Paul Dano as Toad
Having the mutant powers of a toad, like having a long, snaking, slimy tongue and sticking to walls, has made Toad, a.k.a. Mortimer Toynbee, an outcast. All mutants are outcasts in the Marvel universe, since they’re a proxy for all marginalized minority groups, but Toad feels especially like an outcast, because his powers aren’t even cool.
Paul Dano has thrived at playing this kind of angry weirdo who is shunned from society in movies like There Will Be Blood. He was really sinister in 12 Years a Slave and even came off as a creepy villain in Prisoners as a sort of behavioral red herring, so he’d make a great Toad.
3 Lucy Liu as Lady Deathstrike
Lady Deathstrike was created to have the same adamantium skeleton as Wolverine. She also has adamantium claws, but hers grow out of her nails rather than her knuckles. She’s one of the X-Men’s most iconic villains, and her main motivation is that she feels the need to prove herself by killing Wolverine, so there’s an interesting story to tell involving this character in the MCU.
Lucy Liu would be awesome in the role, bringing the same kind of burning intensity to Lady Deathstrike’s fights with Wolverine that she brought to O-Ren Ishii’s fights with the Bride in Kill Bill: Volume 1.
2 Javier Bardem as Apocalypse
We’ve already seen Apocalypse on-screen as the title character in one of the Fox movies, but that movie didn’t do the character justice. Apocalypse can grow and shrink his body at will. He can control people’s minds. He should’ve been a much more intimidating presence than he was in that movie, where his main powers were sand manipulation and watching TV.
Oscar Isaac, who played him in that movie, is too effortlessly charming to play the cold-blooded, narrow-minded evil of Apocalypse. Apocalypse should be like Thanos. Javier Bardem, who played a heartless killer in No Country for Old Men, would be an excellent choice for the role.
1 Ralph Fiennes as Magneto
Magneto is the primary enemy of the X-Men, so he’ll need a terrific actor to bring him to life. This will not be a one-time villain. He’ll recur throughout the franchise, like Loki. Ralph Fiennes played Voldemort, and anyone who can play Voldemort as well as he did can certainly play Magneto.
Fiennes has also played a ruthless killer with a sense of humor in Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges and brought gravitas to a comic book icon when he played Alfred in the charming The Lego Batman Movie. He’s even gotten involved in action set pieces as the new M in the recent James Bond movies, showing that he’s not averse to physically challenging roles.