First portrayed by Rebecca Romijn, and more recently by Jennifer Lawrence, Mystique has become one of the central characters in the X-Men films. Trailers and posters for [X-Men: Apocalypse](tag:1194267) have consistently put her center stage, so that's not likely to change any time soon! But what secrets does everybody's favorite mutant shapeshifter hold?
1. Mystique's shapeshifting appears to limit aging!
It's a famous clip introducing Mystique and Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class. But the scene is very different than in the comics, where we saw an adult Mystique at the dawn of the twentieth century! It seems that Mystique's shapeshifting means that she cannot age, or at least, that her aging is slowed to a barely noticeable rate.
2. Mystique's shapeshifting powers have been enhanced several times!
When Mystique was first introduced, her powers had very specific limits: She couldn't change her own mass. In other words, the form she took had to be roughly equivalent in mass to her own; that changed as a result of the X-Men Forever miniseries. Exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, Mystique's powers were amplified and she became even more formidable.
Nowadays, Mystique can grow wings and fly, or can simply morph into the form of a bird. She can compress herself down to a two-dimensional sheet of paper and glide on air currents (she used this trick to survive an explosion), or move her vital organs in order to survive what would otherwise be fatal gunshot wounds! As you can see above, in the X-Men: Evolution animated series her powers started off at that level anyway!
When Wolverine finally killed Mystique, the Hand resurrected her, and in doing so further enhanced her powers. Now she can even change her scent, literally making her impossible to trace!
3. Mystique is bisexual, and the greatest love of her life was a woman!
Writer Chris Claremont created the Brotherhood of Evil Mutations, including one crucial member — Destiny. Destiny was an elderly precog with tremendous abilities to chart the future, and Claremont had some intense plans for her. He intended Destiny to be Mystique’s lover, and the two were meant to be Nightcrawler’s parents — Mystique was to have made Destiny pregnant while in the form of a man! There was absolutely no way that the Comics Code Authority would have approved such a story, and ultimately — over a decade after the main Claremont era of X-Men comics ended — Nightcrawler’s father was revealed to be the demon Azazel.
That said, Claremont did manage to give a subtle nod to the relationship between Mystique and Destiny. Years later, he returned to the X-Men comics — and with the CCA now disbanded and the presence of more liberal attitudes towards sexuality, Claremont was able to revisit this plot. A series of flashbacks explored the relationship between Mystique and Destiny, showing they'd been lovers all along.
4. Mystique has mysterious ties to Charles Xavier's family history
Welcome to Alamogordo, site of one of the greatest X-Men mysteries. The Alamogordo nuclear power plant was site of an early tragedy in Charles Xavier's life — his father Brian Xavier mysteriously dying while working there. Only years later did comic book writers realize that having a geneticist working at a nuclear power plant looked slightly odd.
As the years have passed, we've learned (most of) the truth: The power plant was actually a site researching genetic mutation run by the villainous Mister Sinister. Mystique actually infiltrated the site and played a key role in shutting it down.
The events of Brian Xavier's death have never been fully explained nor has the mysterious connection between Alamogordo and the Weapon X Project — responsible for creating Wolverine!
5. Mystique has a long-running feud with Captain Marvel!
Surprisingly enough for such an iconic X-Men villain, Mystique made her debut as an enemy of Captain Marvel (then going by the codename "Ms Marvel"). The series showed a deep hatred between the two women that was never really explained. Writer Chris Claremont had intended Destiny's visions to have warned Mystique that Captain Marvel would harm her foster daughter Rogue. Unfortunately the series was cancelled before that was revealed!
Mystique has crossed swords with Captain Marvel many times over the years, and her bitter feud led to Rogue absorbing the powers (and personality) of the good Captain. Ironically enough, this cost Mystique everything: her foster daughter fled to the X-Men and became a believer in Xavier's dream!
6. Mystique once led a government superhero team!
In perhaps one of the most fascinating twists, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants actually became a US-sanctioned superhero team known as Freedom Force. Freedom Force, still led by Mystique, typically found themselves in conflict with other superhero teams — from the Avengers to the X-Men, they took them all on! Their most high-profile achievement, though, was successfully arresting Magneto for his crimes.
Freedom Force ended in chaos when a mission to Muir Isle led them into conflict with the Shadow King. Destiny was killed and Mystique's life would never be the same again.
7. Mystique was once obsessed with Iceman!
Mystique has had many lovers (more on that later), but perhaps the most unlikely was Iceman. The two shared a one-night stand that was revealed to be a trick: Mystique's lipstick was traced with a toxin that inhibited Iceman's powers, helping her and some allies take down the X-Men.
Weirdly enough, though, Mystique's emotions for Iceman proved to be a lot more conflicted than they seemed at first. Wolverine almost killed her and taunted that she would "die alone." Psychologically scarred by that fear, Mystique sought out Iceman and her developing obsession put the poor guy through a grueling few days.
8. In one timeline, Mystique married Charles Xavier!
The near-romance between Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique and James McAvoy's Charles Xavier seemed to inspire writer Brian Bendis to make a change to the status quo. In a bizarre twist, his Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier had Xavier's will reveal a secret marriage — to Mystique!
The time-traveller Tempus ultimately changed the course of history when she averted the birth of powerful mutant Matthew Malloy, and somehow the ripples from this also averted the marriage of Mystique and Xavier.
9. Mystique has had four children (that we know of) — and you'll never guess who the parents were
You'll have gathered by now that Mystique has had a lot of lovers in her century-plus-long life. As a result, she has four children that we know of:
- Nightcrawler, born after she slept with the demonic Azazel.
- Graydon Creed, a normal human, son of Mystique and Sabretooth! Graydon Creed became leader of the mutant-hating Friends of Humanity, and even campaigned for President on an anti-mutant ticket. Ultimately, Mystique herself assassinated him.
- Kid Xavier, a child who inherited all the powers of his father Charles Xavier. A future version of Kid Xavier led his time's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and caused chaos in the Battle of the Atom event. It's uncertain if that timeline still exists, as the marriage between Mystique and Charles Xavier was erased from the timeline.
- Raze, son of Mystique and Wolverine, a brutal shapeshifter with Wolverine's savagery! Again, we've only seen a future version of this character.
Mystique also took on Rogue as a foster daughter. Strangely enough, Rogue seems to be the one she cares the most about — she once tried to seduce Gambit in order to prove how much he didn't deserve Rogue's love!
10. The makeup process for the character sounds pretty intense
Have pity for the actresses who play the part of Mystique. Back when Rebecca Romijn played the part, it literally took ten hours for makeup to get her ready. By X-Men: First Class, Jennifer Lawrence was sitting through eight hours of makeup. More recently, the makeup team of X-Men: Days of Future Past got it down to three.
Apparently Jennifer Lawrence's makeup is applied by having her sit near-naked on a bicycle seat. Little wonder she's kind of fed up with certain aspects of the role, and looks likely to be out-of-makeup for most of X-Men: Apocalypse!