Long before the MCU cemented the idea of a shared cinematic universe in the minds of global audiences, there were the X-Men films. 20th Century Fox, with the help of Bryan Singer, helped to bring the massive comic book series to the screen, throwing as many of the classic characters on the screen as they could get. This has led to spin-off films for Wolverine and Deadpool, two television series and a trilogy (soon to be quadrilogy) of prequels/sequels/no one really knows that show the early days of the X-Men (and if we’re being totally honest, really mess with the continuity of the earlier films). So many mutants have appeared throughout the series that it’s hard to remember all of them. Since the X-Men universe spans so many decades and storylines, there are hundreds of mutants that have appeared on-screen, but not all of them have made the kind of impact that someone like Wolverine or Professor X has.
That being said, some of the most powerful mutants throughout X-Men history have made appearances in the films and TV shows. Sometimes their roles are small, mostly relegated to the background of the films, giving a short demonstration of their mutant powers but not much else. Sometimes, though, they play pivotal roles in the direction of the stories, and provide powerful obstacles for the other mutants to overcome. That’s what’s so great about the X-Men universe: the villains and heroes are the same, but believe in different things. Both sides have their weak and strong members as well, which leads to some great, well-balanced and tense battles. These are the 25 strongest mutants to ever appear on screen.
“Luck is not a superpower!”, so says Wade Wilson in Deadpool 2. However, Domino (played with pitch perfect confidence by Zazie Beetz) demonstrates that luck is in fact very much a superpower when it comes to saving the world.
On top of her reality warping powers, Domino possesses almost superhuman fighting and acrobatic skills. These are put to good use throughout her first appearance in the X-Men universe. Hopefully there will be more of Domino in upcoming films, whether they be part of the Deadpool series or beyond.
Mystique (played by both Rebecca Romijn and Jennifer Lawrence) is one of the characters that has been a constant throughout the X-Men series. She was there in X-Men and she’ll be there in Dark Phoenix.
Mystique has proven that she is a formidable foe and also a valuable ally, straddling the line of hero and villain perfectly. Her fighting skills are not to be trifled with, but it’s her ability to perfectly disguise herself that would make anyone want her on their side.
Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, aka “The Merc with a Mouth”, (ably played by Ryan Reynolds) possess a healing factor like Wolverine, however at a much slower rate. This has made for some great comedic material in his films, but also serves as a limitation on his power.
Luckily, Deadpool is also incredibly handy with a sword and a gun, laying out his enemies left and right with little to no effort. You could also argue that his awareness that he is in a superhero film could also be a superpower, though it hasn’t proven entirely useful yet (besides for comedic effect).
Blink made her on-screen debut in X-Men: Days of Future Past (played by Fan Bingbing). Now she appears as a character on Fox’s The Gifted (played by Jamie Chung). Though she is still learning how to utilize her powers to full effect, Blink possesses a fair amount of power.
Not only are her portals useful for opening passage to other places for a quick escape, but they can also be used offensively to rip things apart or cut them off. Overall, Blink is good to have on your side.
Shatter (played by Jermaine Rivers) is shown in The Gifted to be a powerful mutant, defensively speaking. His crystalline skin lends him a major advantage in combat as it acts as a protective barrier. He can also crystallize objects making them more breakable.
Halle Berry brought Storm onto the big screen all the way back in X-Men. Even back then, it was obvious that Storm was not a mutant you wanted to mess with. Her control of weather patterns makes her a formidable foe, as she is able to whip up not only high speed winds, but also lethal lightning bolts.
Alexandra Shipp took over the role in X-Men: Apocalypse, and her power was immediately noticed by the ancient mutant. Even though she was recruited for evil, Storm eventually (and thankfully) put her powers toward helping the world.
19. THE FROST SISTERS
The Frost sisters (also known in the comics as the Stepford Cuckoos) appear in The Gifted played by Skyler Samuels, and they are building up to be a real threat for the remaining members of the Mutant Underground. As clones of Emma Frost, they possess significant psychic abilities.
Sharing a telepathic hivemind, the Frost sisters are at their strongest when they are in close proximity to each other. When they are close, their powers escalate to include telepathy, mind control, and the ability to inflict pain in the minds of their enemies.
Hank McCoy is a scholar, a gentleman, and also a total beast in a fight (hence the name). Played by both Kelsey Grammer and Nicholas Hoult on the big screen, Beast has shown that his strength is valuable in a fight, and his intelligence is equally useful in strategy.
Beast’s story in the films closely follows his history in the comics. He started out looking like a normal human (except for his abnormally large and agile feet) and eventually further mutated into the blue, hairy, fanged hero audiences know and love.
From his first appearance in Deadpool 2 it’s clear that Cable (as played by Josh Brolin) is a man on a mission, and he is not willing to let anything (least of all a motormouthed Canadian mercenary) get in his way.
Despite the fact that Cable possesses telepathic and telekinetic abilities in the comics, he appears to have no powers in the film except for enhanced strength and fighting abilities (most likely due to his metal arm). Still, this version of Cable is powerful in his own way.
Colossus has been doing his thing (turning into metal and punching things really hard) in one form or another since X2: X-Men United. Colossus posses considerable strength and is practically indestructible when he is in his metal form.
He may have only been a bit player in the early films, but Colossus has since become a mainstay in the Deadpool films. His commitment to doing the right thing and being a hero is admirable, although it does tend to get on Deadpool’s nerves. Even still, he is always willing to use his strength to help do good.
15. NEGASONIC TEENAGE WARHEAD
Upon her introduction in Deadpool, Wade Wilson claims that she has the coolest name ever, and its hard to argue with that. It may be a mouthful, but Negasonic Teenage Warheads powers warrant her having such an explosive moniker.
In X-Men comics, Negasonic Teenage Warhead has telepathic powers. However, in the Deadpool films, NTW is shown to have the ability to charge herself up with energy and then release it, just like setting off a bomb. Her powers are juxtaposed by her snarky attitude and unwillingness to say much.
14. LADY DEATHSTRIKE
Lady Deathstrike is what you get when you take away all of Wolverine’s humanity and replace it with evil intent. Portrayed by Kelly Hu in X2, Lady Deathstrike is a formidable foe for the X-Men team, particularly Wolverine.
Like Wolverine, Lady Deathstrike has a healing factor and a skeleton coated in adamantium. However, her claws retract from all of her fingers, giving her a definite weapon advantage. Wolverine is eventually able to defeat her though, in a fairly unsettling way involving the injection of additional adamantium.
There’s no escaping Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Despite the fact that Jackman finally hung up the claws after Logan, he’s been a staple of the X-Men film series since the very beginning. He’s appeared in every single X-Men film to varying degrees, and he has shown that he is an excellent fighter with strength to spare.
Wolverine claims to be a guy who is better on his own, but throughout the film series, he has been more than willing to fight alongside the X-Men and help save the world. He was crucial to protecting the future in Days of Future Past, and his final film, Logan stands as one of the best superhero films ever made.
12. LAUREN STRUCKER
Lauren Strucker began The Gifted as a girl who was hiding her powers from the world. Eventually, she had to reveal her abilities after her brother, Andy, lost control of his.
Portrayed by Natalie Alyn Lind, Lauren is able to manipulate molecules into forming shields around anything she can see. She can also use her powers to create temporary structures, which has come in handy during rescue missions. When she holds hands with her brother, they are able to generate a forceful blast that is incredibly powerful.
Bishop appears very briefly in Days of Future Past, but his powers are still intact. Played by Omar Sy, Bishop is shown using his ability to absorb and release kinetic energy in battle against the super advanced sentinels of the future.
It would have been great to see more of Bishop throughout the series. Like Cable, Bishop has an interesting story involving travelling to the past from the future, and hearing tales of the X-Men as legends. This might have been an interesting textual layer to add to the film, as Bishop would have been almost like an audience surrogate.
10. SEBASTIAN SHAW
Sebastian Shaw, played with villainous charm by Kevin Bacon, is the main antagonist in X-Men: First Class. Like Bishop, Shaw has the ability to absorb kinetic energy and release it in devastating blasts. However, he is also able to store the energy and use it to sustain himself.
This particular ability has allowed Shaw to prevent the aging process. Erik Lehnsherr notes that he still looks the same as he did when Erik encountered him in a concentration camp. Shaw is also the founder and leader of the Hellfire Club, a group of mutants fighting for world domination.
Polaris (played by Emma Dumont on The Gifted) is an incredibly talented and powerful mutant. She comes by it honestly, however, since her father is the famous Magneto. Her powers are just like his, in that she has the ability to manipulate metal objects as well as electromagnetic fields.
In The Gifted, Polaris is also like her father in that she follows the path of mutant domination by joining the Hellfire Club. The danger of her powers are amplified by the fact that she suffers from bipolar disorder and is prone to mood swings.
Magneto is one of the most highly regarded and powerful villains not just in X-Men, but possibly in all of comic history. Sir Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender have both played him on-screen, and he remains a fixture of the film series.
Magneto has the ability to manipulate metal and electromagnetic fields (like the previously mentioned Polaris). He can utilize these powers to make himself levitate, control electricity, and even lift a nuclear submarine out of the ocean. He is a formidable foe, and it’s a shame that he never got his own spin-off like Wolverine did.
7. ANDY STRUCKER
Andy Strucker (played by Percy Hynes white on The Gifted) has the potential to be an incredibly dangerous mutant. His powers are the exact opposite of his sister, Lauren’s. He is able to push particles apart from each other, therefore ripping physical objects to shreds.
Andy went the opposite route of his sister and joined the Hellfire Club, which could spell trouble in the future, as his powers have been shown to be highly destructive. They can however, be cancelled out by Lauren.
6. SHADOW KING
Throughout the first season of Legion, there was the lingering question of who was inside David Haller’s head. It was revealed to be none other than the Shadow King (played in the second season by Navid Negahban).
Although shadow King’s body had perished, his mental projection had found a way to survive by feeding off of David’s power, like a parasite. The Shadow King has been shown to have intense psychic powers, which were on full display in his psychedelic fight with David in the season two finale.
Though shown only briefly in newspaper clippings and flashbacks, the mutant team of Fenris is very much a part of The Gifted‘s story. The brother-sister team of Andrea and Andreas Strucker were famously powerful when they joined hands.
Like their descendants Andy and Lauren, Fenris were able to create powerful and destructive energy blasts when they joined hands with each other. They became members of the evil Hellfire Club and carried out several attacks on the world. Otto Strucker warns Reed that his children inherited their powers, and that it may be trouble later on.
4. PROFESSOR X
Charles Xavier (or Professor X) is the wise, powerful, and benevolent leader of the X-Men. Sir Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy portrayed the character throughout the X-Men films. He has been shown to have telepathic abilities far beyond most other mutants.
Professor X is able to read minds, and communicate telepathically, but he is also shown to have the ability to temporarily paralyze people using his significant mental abilities. This power becomes problematic when he is unable to control it later in his life, as shown in Logan.
3. DAVID HALLER (LEGION)
The son of Professor X, David Haller (played by Dan Stevens in Legion) possesses immense mental strength, telepathic ability, and other powers that he only seems to be discovering on his journey (such as the ability to project himself into the future).
David was limited in his power in the beginning due to the presence of the Shadow King in his mind. David mistakenly believed that he had mental illness because he was constantly hearing voices and he did not realize these were people’s thoughts. As the series continued, David also showed that his powers could be incredibly destructive.
The oldest living mutant in the world, Apocalypse is aptly named. Not only does he possess immeasurable strength, but he also has the ability to augment the powers of other mutants.
In X-Men: Apocalypse, Oscar Isaac plays the titular villain, and in the final battle with the X-Men, Apocalypse shows why he is such a force to be reckoned with. Along with creating stronger versions of other mutants (including Storm) to fight alongside him, Apocalypse is shown to be able to manipulate the environment, heal himself, and transfer his being into other mutant bodies.
1. JEAN GREY
As powerful as Apocalypse was, though, he was still no match for the ultimate strength of Jean Grey (played by Famke Janssen and Sophie Turner). Jean Grey is a powerful mutant with telekinetic and telepathic abilities.
Jean is able to push these abilities to their absolute limits and awaken a force inside her known as the phoenix. However, this power comes at a cost, as its overwhelming nature eventually drives Jean Grey to become the evil Dark Phoenix. Her full powers will be shown in the upcoming film X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
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