Throughout the X-Men's cinematic run, Magneto has always been the villain one way or another. We last saw Apocalypse take on Xavier's team, and it looks like Dark Phoenix is on her way (and a hint that Mr. Sinister may not be far behind). However, the X-Men's source material also features fallen heroes as the lead antagonist - something that is often to the story's benefit and could be utilized on the big screen.
As a team, X-Men have always had issues from within their ranks. Examples of controversies among their team are Cyclops and Wolverine fighting each other for Jean Grey's affection or the suspicious surrounding Emma Frost. It's normal for teams to have issues within their ranks, but there have also been X-Men who have turn their back on the X-Men and joined the ranks of the villains in one way or another. Some of these moments could offer a new start for a 17-year-old franchise, taking the team in different directions.
Looking back the the X-Men's source material, here are a few characters that have become fantastic villains and could do the same in Fox's X-Men Universe.
Wolverine is known across the Marvel Comics as one of the deadliest beings in the universe. His unbreakable claws, the mastery of multiple martial arts and his stealth make him a handful regardless of who he's fighting. Now imagine what happens when a person with all of these skills gets turned into a villain.
During the series Enemy of the State, Logan was killed and resurrected by a ninja death cult called The Hand (the same cult that resurrected Elektra in Defenders). Wolverine then went on to terrorize the world. He stole plans from the Baxter Building (home of the Fantastic Four) and threatened to kill the President of the United States -murdering hundreds of people along the way.
An Enemy of the State movie would be amazing, especially if it follows Fox's current R-rating trend. Seeing a Wolverine with no filter would be worth the price of admission as we've never really seen Wolverine go as dark as in the comics.
Bishop is from a future where mutants are put into concentration camps and kept away from humans. After traveling to the past to prevent his future from ever happening, Bishop helped the X-Men to save countless lives.
Unbeknownst to the X-Men, he was just waiting for the moment where he could end all of the suffering from his future. All he'd have to do is kill the first mutant birth since M-Day. In Bishop's chase to kill Hope (the new mutant birth), he accidentally killed Professor Xavier and destroyed the future in order to trap Hope and Cable. He caused fires that burned for centuries in South America, started civil war in China, poisoned the water supply and caused a plague in Europe.
In Bishop's warped sense of reality, he was destroying one future to prevent another that was infinitely worse. During this time, Bishop was possibly responsible for more deaths than any villain in comic history.
Bishop has been a popular character since the '90s, and seeing him go from a hero with the X-Men into a crazed villain could be a nice shock to viewers. No matter what the reason, seeing someone trying to kill an infant is awful, so Bishop could become one of the most hated movie villains of all time with what he's done during this story.
In the movies and in the cartoons, Hank McCoy is the ever-bouncing Beast. Despite his name and his physique, Beast would rather use words than fight. However, Marvel has, over the years, turned Beast into a very unlikable character. He's selfishly damaged the timeline to the point that it can't be repaired and has almost caused the destruction of the universe in the Black Vortex series. As Maria Hill puts it,
"Hank McCoy does whatever he wants."
Even the Watcher has issues with him, stating that Hank's actions disgusted him. Vilifying Hank McCoy by making him selfish would be a cool spin on an X-Men antagonist. Making Beast look like he's doing the wrong thing for the right reasons could ask interesting questions as to whether his actions justified his means.
It's also a good way to change the character that could result in the introduction of Dark Beast.
Dark Beast is what you get when Hank McCoy loses his morality. As Dark Beast, Hank McCoy became someone who is more than happy to experiment on humans, no matter what the consequences are. He's a genius, he's a sadist, and a very willing fighter.
I was hoping to see Dark Beast in X-Men: Apocalypse and while it's unfortunate that he didn't appear, there's still a chance he could. With Nathaniel Essex in play, there is still a chance as the two worked closely during Age of Apocalypse.
Everyone loves Remy Labeau. He's a lover, a smooth talker, a fighter, and he has cool powers. Everything Gambit has done as an X-Man has made him one of the most recognized characters in Marvel comics. He was (and is) a hero that has saved the X-Men multiple times - but Gambit also has a dark past.
He wasn't bad per se, just selfish. Gambit is a thief. He may have morals, but he is still a thief. Although this is a forgivable crime, what can never be forgotten is his time as a Marauder. Without Gambit directing the Marauders, the mutant massacre never would have taken place and Angel wouldn't have become Archangel. Gambit's one mistake caused a ripple effect that plagued the X-Men for years to come.
We've already seen Taylor Kitsch as Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Channing Tatum has been cast to play Gambit in an upcoming solo film. Using the Mutant Massacre could be a way for Gambit to go from teammate of an evil team during the start of the movie to X-Man in the end.
Logan may be the coolest mutant, but for decades, Cyclops was the heart of the X-Men. He brought them into a new era after Xavier's ways no longer worked, and even Magneto dropped to his knees and praised Cyclops for all that he had done.
Cyclops may be known as a goody two shoes because of the way he's a stickler for the rules. But after Cyclops was possessed by the Phoenix Force, Cyclops became a completely different person.
This may be a longshot when it comes to possible antagonists in X-Men movies, but the story of Cyclops as the Phoenix would be amazing to see. It would be great to watch him rise as the Phoenix and usher in so much change to the X-Men ensemble.
His time as the Phoenix also led to what might be the saddest moment in X-Men history when Cyclops kills his mentor and father figure Professor Xavier. That is an image that would surely stun moviegoers, and would give James McAvoy a memorable exit.
One of the best things about all of these stories is that they all give different ideas of what a villain is. Whether it's Beast having an internal conflict, Bishop committing genocide or Wolverine being turned into a weapon, each story offers something to a different audience. But, most importantly, these are amazing stories that also take heroes we love and turns them into something we don't normally see, which would avoid any sense of genre fatigue.
Which X-Men villain are you aching to see? Let me know in the comments below.