Will Marvel gender-swap an X-Men villain when the mutants join the MCU? X-Men Legacy #214 could be the foundation to a likely scenario.
Nathaniel Essex, aka Mister Sinister, remains the most likely choice for the X-Men’s first MCU villain. However, it may not be the same character from the comics. In fact, it could be the Black Queen herself and Essex’s female clone, Miss Sinister.
THE SINS OF SINISTER
Whenever Marvel Comics suddenly thrusts a name into the spotlight, it should have your attention. When that character is tied into a forthcoming MCU franchise, you should start making preparations.
There’s no question that Disney/Marvel Studios uses the comics as the marketing wing for its blockbuster movies and series. It’s a common occurrence to see old concepts get dusted off for the comics just in time for that character or event to be featured in the MCU. Last year, the Darkhold was the centerpiece for a lackluster crossover. Then came Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which just so happened to feature the evil spell book as a major plot point. Lately, Marvel is putting more attention on Mister Sinister, who will star in next year’s crossover event, The Sins of Sinister, and that should raise eyebrows.
THE PATH TO THE MCU?
There have been ample rumors of him joining the MCU as the X-Men’s first antagonist under the Marvel Studios banner. Casting gossip has abounded on social media, and actor Jon Hamm confirmed that he was in talks to play Sinister for Fox before the Disney buyout. That has put Nathaniel Essex on the MCU theory radar for years.
Another piece to the puzzle is 2019’s House of X. In the hands of writer Jonathan Hickman, Sinister was elevated to a prominent role on the island nation of Krakoa. He also was given more personality and humor, which made him one of the most popular characters of Hickman’s run. The timing of that happens to coincide with Fox’s sale to Disney, which also occurred in 2019. Granted, a comic takes several months, sometimes years, to go from concept to published product, but so do billion-dollar corporate buyouts. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Marvel requested Sinister be given a makeover for the Hickman rollout in hopes of mining House of X for the MCU.
As much as fans would enjoy seeing Hamm bring Nathaniel Essex to life, Kevin Feige and the Marvel brain trust like to defy expectations and give the audience something unique to the screen. They also have been more diverse in casting the MCU’s lead roles, and those two factors could add up to Sinister’s clone playing the part of antagonist when the X-Men arrive in the MCU.
This makes sense for two reasons. By using Sinister over, say, Magneto, Marvel Studios would have a villain who is new to mainstream audiences. Casting Miss Sinister would be an opportunity to have a woman play the major antagonist of not just one movie or series, but an entire film franchise, and that is something that we have yet to see in the MCU.
With her movie potential, it would be wise to track down her first appearance.
Modern comic adaptations are fond of gender swapping. Both Marvel and DC have done the trick several times, and Netflix’s The Sandman made headlines with a few swaps of its own. That could be on the menu for Nathaniel Essex by way of his clone, Miss Sinister.
Created in 2014, Marvel nabbed a move from the Rick and Morty playbook as Mister Sinister had a female clone ready to go in case he died. Actually, he created a virus that would, in effect, turn its host into a Sinister clone complete with his genius intellect and telepathic abilities. Not one to shy away from human experiments, Nathaniel infected one of his test subjects, Claudine Renko, with the virus. When Mister Sinister appeared to have died in Messiah Complex, the virus activated, and Miss Sinister was born.
The best part is that X-Men Legacy #214 is cheap. The last time a graded 9.8 sold online, it brought $60 in 2019. After a 9.6 sold for $85 in 2021, the most recent sale was for a modest $16. However, eBay saw a 9.4 sell for $69.99 on August 2, so prices may be on their way up.
One way or another, I see Claudine making it to the big stage. We could see the updated Mister Sinister as the primary villain, but it would be a clever plot twist for him to be killed in one movie only for his clone to arrive thereafter.
In House of X, we saw many Sinister clones for comedy effect, and that could be the case in the MCU, only with Miss Sinister getting the standout role.