Few franchises have become more beloved or lucrative as the X-Men franchise has. And while the movies are entertaining and exciting, the X-Men canon goes way deeper than these films can explore. We’ve seen super-speedy fighters, regenerating wolf-men, sticky-tongued frogmen, shape-shifters, and fireball-throwing angels. And while Storm, Mystique, Magneto, and the other mutant staples are all exciting characters on screen, there are many other deadly mutants lurking throughout the comic books that could make a big (and perhaps bloody) splash on the big screen.
This list isn’t designed to be exhaustive, as mutant powers within the comic books are constantly changing through deaths and resurrections and new developments. Additionally, there are tons of more powerful characters that deserve to make some noise in the movies, too. But at one time or another throughout their superhuman careers, the mutants in this list would have been insane carriers of pain on screen.
We’ll start off with a WTF mutation, as well as a potentially deadly one. While Marrow isn’t the most famous X-Men, or quite honestly the most powerful, her mutation still has us, well, chilled to the bone. Marrow can morph her skeleton how she likes. Her skill makes Wolverine’s bone claws look like dinner forks, as she isn’t limited to a certain part of her body, but can create bone spears and bone shields and bone shin guards wherever she needs them. Early on, she lacked the control to make her mutation the weapon it would become, but through training and assistance she became quite lethal in battle.
Marrow’s storyline is a compelling one, too, though not a happy one. She hated humans with a passion after the Mutant Massacre, which decimated the Morlocks, a group of under-dwelling mutants she lived with. This hatred was combined with a strong desire to join humans and live normally, a common trope in the mutant universe. Later, Marrow lost her powers through Weapon X, but later (rather inexplicably) gained them back.
14. Boom Boom
So if we were in charge of creating a new, dangerous member of the X-Men when we were in, say second grade, Boom Boom’s power might have been what we thought up. What does she do? She throws bombs. Like, lots of bombs. Sometimes little bombs to mess with her friends under the dinner table, sometimes big bombs to rip her enemies’ faces off their skulls. You know, bombs.
Technically they’re plasma blasts that Boom Boom learned to control throughout the X-Men series, and she’s also become a master thief. So basically, she’ll blow the crap out of you, and then take whatever she wants. Boom Boom also earned a reputation as a blonde babe in the comics and on the animated television show, which makes her a perfect candidate for a Hollywood appearance.
Another dangerous female mutant with a painful backstory, Spiral was captured, experimented on, and tortured by Mojo. Her modifications and artificially evolved mind made her into a terrifying killing machine. Her six arms (two of which were robotic) gave her an insane advantage in hand-to-hand combat, as did her superhuman strength. On top of that, Spiral is immune to possession, a gift in the X-Men universe where psychics seem to be tapping their temples around every corner, and she also has an impressive array of magical abilities. She can teleport, remove other mutants’ superpowers, become invisible, and send out blasts of energy.
So next time you’re watching X-Men and are impressed by Nightcrawler (and who isn’t, right?), just imagine him as a six-armed, invisible, fighting machine and you might have a good idea of what Spiral’s capable of. Marvel, this is movie magic, guys.
Okay, remember those insanely cool training facilities in the X-Men movies, where sometimes you can’t tell if they’re actually fighting the bad guys or it’s all a simulation? Now imagine that those facilities are a person. Got it? Yeah, didn’t think so. Basically, what happened was this: the training center had to get better and better to more adequately equip the X-Men for their latest adventures. So the room was updated enough that it eventually became sentient, and hated the X-Men for its enslavement to them.
Weird enough? Keep reading. Eventually Wolverine had to destroy the central machines that ran the room, which allowed a sentient being to emerge from the wreckage – Danger, a womanlike manifestation of the room that had already spent years learning how to fight the X-Men. She creates force fields, has insane coordination, and can lift thousands upon thousands of tons (yes, you read that right). Scared yet? We love the idea of making a place become a character, and while Danger has some major programming to overcome before she can be truly lethal to the X-Men, this would make for an awesome film.
Dust’s lethal power first comes fully to light when she is captured by slavers in Afghanistan. The sandstorm that erupts from her body, or more accurately, that her body becomes, is deadly to all those around her. When transforming into sand, she causes an eruption that can rip metal and flesh apart alike. While in sand form, Dust moves about as sand, becoming effectively invisible, a fantastic tool for spying or sneak attacks.
Though Dust has some serious vulnerabilities, such as reduced effectiveness in watery or windy environments, the sand form also helps her avoid mental manipulation and increases resistances. While also representing some diversity within the X-Men pantheon, Dust’s power would translate well to screen. Remember that cool scene in X-Men: Apocalypse when the titular villain kills his would-be attackers with sand from the walls? Dust would have the same cinematic thrill, and would, without doubt, be a lethal asset to the team.
Imagine if a volcano, an earthquake, and the Human Torch all had a baby somehow (you know, science). What you’d find is something pretty close to Magma. This fire-wielding babe not only can shoot flames around, but controls the tectonic plates around her, creating natural disasters to cause havoc on her enemies. Whenever Magma uses these powers, she turns into this fiery hot demon woman, firing magma projectiles at anyone stupid enough to get near her.
She gained control of her powers when a crazy witch threw her into a pit of lava as a human sacrifice. We would not have wanted to be that witch when Magma emerged and unleashed her volcanic powers on her. The story of her rise is almost worthy of its own film. Take note, directors.
Polaris is the daughter of Magneto, one of the movie franchise’s most beloved characters. She inherited similar control of metals as well, though is not quite as powerful as her father. What she can do was at full display when riding a plane with her parents (or at least her mom and the guy who thought he was her dad). While they were arguing, she went a bit nuts and ripped the entire plane apart, killing them both accidentally. She seemed to be displaying the same potential as Magneto, and uses her magnetic fields to move and manipulate metal objects, fly, and absorb outside energy. A strong connection to the earth’s electromagnetic field grants Polaris additional abilities.
We’ve seen the damage Magneto can do on the big screen, from launching cars as bombs to murdering a prison guard with iron pulled from his own blood. We’ve also seen Magneto’s son Quicksilver, emerge as a fan favorite. Polaris, while not totally unique in abilities from her father, has an interesting backstory and could easily wreak some major havoc in the cinematic X-Men world. Oh, and did we say she’s got green hair? Because she’s got green hair.
8. Mister Sinister
It seems hardly necessary to convince you that a villain with a name like Mister Sinister is anything but lethal. While some villains might not earn their titles simply with their genetics, Mister Sinister sure does. He has the ability to control all of the cells in his body, meaning he can take any form or take on characteristics of other things. His other powers are many and varied, but similarly deadly – superhuman strength and stamina, the ability to paralyze or control someone through telepathic energy, and the power to create force fields. Oh, and he can blast you with his eyes and hands.
Mister Sinister gained his station through an encounter with Apocalypse (yes, the one from the movie, the one that made everyone around him absolutely insanely powerful). He worked as the mastermind behind a bunch of important mutant-y events, like cloning Jean Grey to eventually create Cable, or an attempted assassination attempt on Professor X. So while his record doesn’t make him likable per se, it does make him pretty darn lethal.
Magik, or Illyana Rasputina, pulls up at number 7 on our list. Her powers are a little harder to define, as they involve Limbo, an uninvestigated portion of the X-Men universe in the movies. Limbo is another dimension which Magik pulled a lot of her power from, including her ability to teleport across dimensions using what she called stepping stones. Unlike teleporters such as Nightcrawler, however Magik could teleport across time as well, into the future or past. This alone could be pretty good reasoning for keeping her high on this list, but there’s more.
Within the dimension of Limbo, Magik is all-powerful. On Earth, her power is more limited, although she still has quite an arsenal of spells to toss her enemies way, including projections, the summoning of her magnificent Soul Sword, and the summoning of a demon from Limbo. Magik also gains a mystical armor based on how much magic she is using at a certain time, making her even more frightening in battle.
Once again, the name kind of gives it away. Cannonball basically becomes a cannonball, releasing energy from his skin that powers his body through the air, with control over his speed and direction. Throughout the comic books, Cannonball’s powers seem to fluctuate a bit in their devastating effects, but at his most lethal, Cannonball simply plummets down to eradicate his enemies in a big explosion. Seems simple enough. And dangerous enough.
Cannonball’s powers were unearthed (literally) when he propelled himself out of a coal mine after it had caved in. Since that time, he joined Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and became an essential part of the X-Men canon.
5. Nate Grey
Nate Grey’s superhero name was X-Man, which is a refreshing change of pace from the others, who tend to have names that reflect their powers exactly. Nate Grey was created from Jean Grey and Cyclops’ genetic material by none other than our #8 pick, Mister Sinister. With a genius behind the scenes wielding of Jean’s unworldly genes, you know Nate is going to be powerful.
Nate Grey was most known for his psionic power, and actually in some part resided on the Astral Plane, allowing him to operate in the physical world at an advanced level. He could explode then reconstitute his body, absorb other psychic energies and use them himself, create Astral weapons, shields, armor, and projections. On top of all that, he was perhaps the best telepath in the world. So all that stuff that Professor X can do in the movies? Yeah, Nate Grey did it better, plus all that Astral stuff. The only reason X-Man didn’t make it higher up this list was because his powers were recently burnt out and basically destroyed in the comic books.
On the topic of the powerful children of powerful mutants, #4 on our list, Legion, is the son of Professor X. Upon enduring a terrorist attack as a child, Legion’s personality split into several parts in order to deal with the trauma. Each of these personalities controlled a different portion of his extensive mutant powers. One personality, called Jemail Karami, controlled Legion’s psychic powers, which mirrored many of his father’s. Karami’s consciousness within Legion could also summon psychic blades, which he would stab into the brains of his enemies. Sound lethal yet? We’re just getting started.
Legion’s second personality, Jack Wayne, controlled his telekinetic powers. He could lift objects weighing thousands of pounds, create protective shields around himself, and blast objects with energy beams. The last leg of Legion’s personality tripod is Cyndi, who could manipulate and project flames, teleport, and travel through time. On top of all that, Legion was also recently killed and then resurrected, and has since gained thousands more personalities and superpowers. We don’t know about you, but this is not one mutant we’d like to cross.
M, or Monet St. Croix, is the definition of lethal. She’s kind of like Black Widow from the Avengers – agile, highly trained in combat, intelligent beyond compare – only add to that some superhuman strength, superhuman speed, and the ability to fly as fast as a plane. Oh right, and she basically can’t be hurt, as she’s emerged unwounded from a variety of impossible scenarios. Also helping this out is her healing regeneration, meaning that this is one tough cookie to kill.
M is joining the weird backstory club, too. Hers includes vampiric brothers, sisters that merged bodies to imitate Monet so their father wouldn’t be upset when Monet left, and being trapped inside the body of Hollow, a red-haired mutant. So for a while, the real Monet was inside a different mutant, and the visible Monet was actually her sisters’ impersonation of her.
Remember when Jean Grey’s genes were used to create a super mutant? Yeah. It happens more than once. This time it’s Cable, who has his bionic hand in tons of the X-Men storylines throughout the years. And it’s more than just Jean’s genes, it’s also Scott Summers. Cable was created in an effort by Mister Sinister to take down Apocalypse.
Cable’s powers begin with telepathy and psionic powers, including the odd ability to trap someone else’s mind inside his own, and psionic blasts that can kill or knock out his enemy. Cable also has control over the elements within his own body, which allowed him to handle the techno virus and eventually become bionic, with a mechanical arm and bionic eye that he has complete control over, both in use and in reparation. He has superhuman strength, enhanced vision, and can create force fields. Basically a cyborg mutant killing machine, Cable solidifies his place on our list.
1. Hope Summers
Rounding out our list is Hope Summers, who, from her birth, brought messianic hope as well as fervent terror. Would she save the world or destroy it? These kind of questions are only asked about someone holding a ton of power. She has a power to mimic others, without touching them, meaning her overall abilities are pretty much limitless, from telekinesis to shooting lasers out of her eyes to having claws come out of her hands like Wolverine. She also has channeled the Phoenix entity, much like Jean Grey did and other mutants before, and as a result it’s unclear what powers are hers and what are mimicry and what are coming from the Phoenix. Wherever they come from, they’re terrifying, unpredictable and certainly lethal.
Maybe Hope has been kept out of the movies in an effort to keep powers more one-dimensional, as Jean Grey’s ambiguous powers might have been a turn-off for moviegoers. Whatever the reason, if she ever were to join the on-screen X-Men, she would be sure to do some damage.