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Hellfire Club

Film Appearances: X-Men: First Class


A group of mutants that was active at the height of the Cold War in the 1960s and led by Sebastian Shaw. Their objective is to secretly incite a war amidst the world's nuclear powers and then claim the ashes in the name of mutantkind. Chronologically, the group serves as the very first antagonistic group in the film series. Indirectly, the group also serves as predecessor for Magneto's Brotherhood because of its similar goal: mutant supremacy.

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    In General 
  • Predecessor Villains: To Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants. They share similar goals of Mutant supremacy over normal humans, and the first members to join Erik in the Brotherhood aside from some of the first X-Men happen to be members of the defunct Hellfire Club after Shaw's death.

    Dr. Klaus Schmidt / Sebastian Shaw 

Dr. Klaus Schmidt / Sebastian Shaw
"You and me... we're going to have a lot of fun together."

Played By: Kevin Bacon

Voiced By: Sergio Gutiérrez (Latin-American Spanish)

Film Appearances: X-Men: First Class

"We are the children of the atom. Radiation gave birth to mutants. What will kill the humans, will only make us stronger."

A former Nazi scientist and the leader of the Hellfire Club, a secret society bent on taking over the world. He has the power of absorbing and redirecting kinetic and radiated energy.

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Although he's never ugly in a conventional sense, the comic book version of Sebastian Shaw noticeably lacks the stylized physique and poise of Kevin Bacon's potrayal. This extends to his powers, as in the comics they give him large muscles and a monstruous look when powering up, while in the film they manifest more artistically in the form of shining energy coming out of his body.
  • Adaptational Badass: Canon Shaw is no slouch, but he was mostly restricted to absorbing kinetic energy and turning it into super strength. This version has far greater scope in what he can absorb and what he can do with the power that he has absorbed, including energy attacks, physical invulnerability and suppressed aging.
  • Age Lift: Even without getting into this version being a Nazi, this Shaw is older than the comics version, by virtue of First Class ignoring Comic-Book Time.
  • The Ageless: He can use the energy he absorbes to keep young, possibly eternally.
  • Alliterative Name: Sebastian Shaw.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: He lightly scolds Emma, after she punts Erik off their yacht, that, "We don't hurt our own kind." Later, however, he kills Darwin, and his team later go all-out to hurt/kill the X-Men; and of course, he beats up Erik on the sub, while trying to convince him to change sides.
  • Asshole Victim: Considering how much of an irredeemable bastard he is, seeing the coin go through his brain is a satisfying sight to behold.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In a roundabout way. His plans to start World War III are foiled, but he managed to mold Magneto into the human-hating mutant supremacist he wanted him to be, which ultimately causes the events of the trilogy and the events of Days of Future Past. In other words, he is directly responsible for every bad thing that happened in the series.
  • Been There, Shaped History: The Cuban Missile Crisis was actually a plot by him to start World War III.
  • Big Bad: Of X-Men: First Class.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Magneto kills him (essentially)
  • Composite Character:
    • He mixes character traits associated with the comics version of Sebastian Shaw (a wealthy Diabolical Mastermind with Energy Absorption powers) with those associated with fellow X-villain Mr. Sinister (a seemingly-immortal Evilutionary Biologist who experimented on Magneto in a Nazi concentration camp and believes that mutants are the key to world conquest). Similarly, his plot to manipulate the United States and the Soviet Union into nuclear war may have been taken from the Mutant Master, an obscure villain from the Silver Age.
    • While the outline of his powers fits loosely Sebastian Shaw's, its expanded variety of effects, techniques and manifestations are more reminiscent of Bishop, another known mutant with Energy Absorption powers. In the comics, Shaw could absorb only kinetic energy and use it to physically hulk out, but Bishop could absorb much more kinds of energy (kinetic was originally an exception, but he later mastered it a bit too) and do more things with it, like gaining Super Strength, sustaining his body and throwing energy blasts, just like the film version of Shaw. Also, Bishop manifested it as glowing energy going through his body, not as enlarged muscles, which makes film!Shaw resemble Bishop more than his own comic counterpart.
  • The Corrupter: He is responsible more than any other figure in the movie-verse for Magneto's Start of Darkness.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: (Mutant powers aside) he wouldn't be terribly out of place as a James Bond villain.
  • Energy Absorption: Any energy, even the kinetic force propelling bullets, is something he can fully absorb into his body, and it is stated that this is how he was able to retain a youthful body. However, retaining his youth is literally the least he can do with it, as he is capable of sending the energy right at someone or something. His absorption skills are potent enough to also absorb the entire explosive output equivalent to that of a nuclear bomb.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Ultimately subverted. At first it seems like he genuinely cares for Emma, but he has no problem abandoning her to the authorities when she gets captured by Erik and Xavier. He even replaces her with Angel when she joins him.
  • Evil Mentor: Towards Erik, who eventually took up Shaw's mutant supremacy ideology. A truly evil one at that, as Shaw killed his new student's mother in front of him to unleash the boy's powers and performed horrifying medical experiments on Erik.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Believes that mutants are further along the evolutionary chain than ordinary humans, therefore they should inherit the earth.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He is impeccably polite even when he's going to kill your mom. When he murders people who have slighted him, it's based more on principle than any outright anger.
  • Foil: He serves as one to Xavier. Both are doctors of genetics who are interested in maximizing Lehnsherr's potential, but whereas Shaw uses torture to uncover his raw power, Charles utilizes emotional intimacy to give Erik greater control. Erik grows to love Charles as a brother, but vehemently opposes the latter's peaceful approach to human-mutant relations. Magneto wholly embraces Shaw's mutant supremacist views, but loathes the man for murdering his mother.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Of the entire X-Men film franchise. His actions cause Magneto's Start of Darkness and his Hellfire Club is salvaged by Magneto as the original Brotherhood of Mutants. Furthermore, his actions in the Cuban Missile Crisis first exposed humanity to the idea that mutants are real and not just theory, which would spur the actions of individuals like William Stryker and Bolivar Trask that made them villains as well. In short, everything that happens in the franchise happened because of Shaw.
  • Hero Killer: Shaw kills off Darwin with an extremely powerful ball of energy inserted into his mouth.
  • Hypocrite: Chastises Emma when she throws Erik off his ship, saying mutants shouldn't hurt other mutants. Yet later in the film, he kills Darwin when he attempts to recruit the kids to his cause.
  • Implacable Man: Most notably in the scene where he invades a CIA base to try to recruit the mutants being housed there. Getting repeatedly hit by volleys of machine gun fire doesn't even muss up his suit. He No Sells an energy blast that's later shown slicing through the walls of a nuclear fallout shelter like butter. The only thing they can hit him with that even slows him down is a bazooka, and then only because it takes him a couple of seconds to absorb the blast.
  • Karmic Death: Magneto kills him by telemagnetically pushing a coin through his brain. It was the very same coin that Erik was commanded to move as a child to prevent Schmidt from killing his mother; Erik failed and Shaw shot his mother. Magneto even gives an Ironic Echo of what Schmidt said to taunt his victim.
  • Lack of Empathy: While he professes to act on behalf of other mutants, he has little (if any) regard for his "colleagues" in the Hellfire Club whom he views as expendable assets for his plot to trigger a nuclear holocaust and seize power over what remains for himself. Likewise, he shows no regret whatsoever for his crimes against other mutants such as Erik (aka Magneto) and Darwin.
  • The Law of Diminishing Defensive Effort: When Magneto sends a storm of metal at him, he doesn't even seem to notice it as all the metal harmlessly bounces off him.
    • Which makes sense since his mutant power (in the comics at least) explicitly is to absorb kinetic energy, so simply hitting him tends to leave him both unhurt and stronger than before. He's still vulnerable to less straightforward attacks (even he still needs to breathe, for one) and knows it, though.
  • Leitmotif: "La Vie en Rose."
  • Living Battery: Capable of storing the energy equivalent to a nuclear detonation.
  • Logical Weakness: The kinetic energy he encounters needs to be of at least a certain intensity to be absorbed. This allows Magneto to kill him by slowly forcing a coin through his brain.
  • Mad Scientist: As Klaus Schmidt.
  • Manipulative Bastard: In addition to being an extremely powerful, he is very adept at seducing other mutants to his cause with promises of liberation and the opportunity to tap into powers beyond their wildest dreams. However, he's not quite as good at it with normal humans; while he manipulates U.S. and Soviet military officers into helping him, simple persuasion on his part fails miserably, so Shaw falls back on old fashioned threats and intimidation.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: He is Faux Affably Evil and always wears stylish clothes (with the exception of his anti-telepathy helmet), camouflages his submarine under a luxury yacht, and serves excellent champagne to the officials he's trying to manipulate into causing World War III.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: He (who really was a Nazi during the second World War, going under the name "Klaus Schmidt") envisions his mutant-dominated society much as if it were he ruling over 1940s Germany. Ironically, his most scarred victim as a Nazi scientist, Erik "Magneto" Lehnsherr, finds Shaw's mutant supremacy views to be compatible with his own, despite the fact he spends the entire movie chasing the man in an effort to get revenge for killing his mother.
  • Nazi Grandpa: Although his mutant powers ensure he doesn't look like anybody's grandpa.
  • Nerves of Steel: He knows how to keep his cool and respond logically to every new threat he faces.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: He can absorb pretty much everything that is thrown at him, especially explosions. It takes Charles Xavier's mental freezing and a coin thrusted through his head by Magneto to kill him.
  • Older Than They Look: He looks to be in his late forties or early fifties when Erik first meets him in 1944. He looks more or less the same, or perhaps slightly younger, when they meet again in 1962, a fact that he credits to his Energy Absorption powers.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Explicitly emphasized as his primary power—he can absorb energy... all kinds of energy. This makes him effectively bullet-proof, rocket and grenade-proof, and can even absorb the energy of your punches, no matter how strong you are. In return, he can use his absorbed energy to cause a person to explode on the spot, launch people into the air with a single tap, or fire extremely powerful energy blasts that blows up a whole room of people. He also states that he is effectively immortal. Finally, he can absorb enough energy to simulate a nuclear bomb blast... and presumably come out the other side unharmed.
  • Playing Both Sides: He cunningly manipulates both the USA and the USSR, exploiting the vices and vanity of their military elite to provoke World War III.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Given that in the comics his power is depicted by having Shaw growing and the film's producers though it was too Hulk-like, the VFX artists instead did it in a rather unique way: when Shaw absorbs energy, his bodyparts starts bifurcating into multiple swirling copies, before merging back together when Shaw finishes absorbing the energy. For instance, when Shaw absorbs a grenade explosion with his two arms, his arms apparently explode into six arms (looking something like a static version of Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs) holding a single fireball, before the arms merge back into two and the fireball disappears.
  • Predecessor Villain: To Erik/Magneto.
  • So Proud of You: Towards Erik in the climax, whom he congratulates for finally becoming a superpowerful mutant. It's pretty goddamn creepy, considering Shaw is an ex-Nazi Mad Scientist who destroyed most of Erik's life to motivate him to become what Shaw always dreamed Erik would be.
  • Superpower Lottery: Rivals Jean Grey and En Sabur Nur as one of the most powerful mutants in the films. His base ability of Energy Absorption is set so high and is so versatile that he's a One-Man Army even among mutants. He can shrug off gunfire, explosions, punches, and even energy blasts with not a scratch on him afterward, and do all of it at point-blank range if it comes to it. Then on the offense he can release the stored energy in the form of controlled explosive blasts, orbs of explosive energy, Super Strength, or just tap things to make them explode. The same energy absorption renders him effectively immortal. Furthermore, his Soviet-made helmet blocks out telepaths like Charles.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: "Klaus Schmidt" is a mixture of cultured and mad doctor; he tells young Erik that he is not like the Nazis, and mocks their obsession with genetics—or at least, blue eyes and blonde hair. Bring mutants into the equation and it's a whole different ball game.
  • Wealthy Yacht Owner: He has a yacht (and a submarine) that he keeps in Miami harbor.
  • We Can Rule Together:
    • In the climax of X-Men: First Class, he offers Magneto a chance to join him so that together they can ensure mutant supremacy, a goal that Magneto actually agrees with. Unfortunately, Shaw was the one who killed Magneto's mother in the concentration camp, so Magneto kills him and takes up his "mutant vs. human" crusade himself.
    • When he introduces himself to the kids this is his main pitch.
  • Wicked Cultured: In the opening of X-Men: First Class. He assures a terrified boy (who would grow up to be Magneto) that he doesn't share the ridiculous Nazi prejudice against Jews. For some reason, the boy doesn't seem to be reassured. Later in the scene, the camera shifts, and we see that Shaw's office includes a torture chamber...
  • With Us or Against Us: He expresses this sentiment:
    If you're not with us, then you are, by definition, against us.
  • Worthy Opponent: Downplayed with regards to how he views Xavier. They never have a face-to-face confrontation, but Sebastian recognizes that Charles is a formidable foe, hence Shaw's commission of the telepathy-blocking helmet and his hope to recruit Xavier when he infiltrates the CIA facility. Moreover, after Charles mind-controls a Soviet officer to fire upon the Aral Sea to avert World War III, Sebastian utters in admiration, "That telepath is powerful."
  • Would Hit a Girl: He heartlessly shoots Erik's mother dead in front of the boy's eyes.

    Emma Frost 

Emma Frost
"You can stop trying to read my mind, sugar."

Played By: January Jones

Voiced By: Rosalba Sotelo (Latin-American Spanish)

Film Appearances: X-Men: First Class

A telepath who can also change her body into diamond form, and is a member of the Hellfire Club.

  • Adaptational Villainy: This Emma never pulls a Heel–Face Turn and joins the X-Men. Instead, she joins Magneto's new Brotherhood.
  • Adaptational Wimp: In the film, her telepathic powers are clearly less powerful or sophisticated than Xavier's, apparently as a tradeoff for her additional ability to turn into diamond. This contrasts with the comic books, where she is explicitly stated to be just as powerful as Xavier in the psychic field, if not actually more.
  • Age Lift: By virtue of First Class avoiding Comic-Book Time, she's older than many characters, like Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm, whereas her comics counterpart is the same age as them.
  • Almighty Janitor: She plays Shaw's second-in-command despite the fact that her psychic powers alone make her superior in their natural state. However, up to the moment in which Shaw gains his anti-telepath helmet, she is never shown to have any intention to hijack his role as Hellfire Club's leader.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Emma Frost's diamond form has no visible nipples.
  • Bare Your Midriff: A large portion of her belly shows in her outfit.



Played By: Jason Flemyng

Voiced By: Ricardo Tejedo (Latin-American Spanish)

Film Appearances: X-Men: First Class

A mutant who has the ability to teleport, and is also a member of the Hellfire Club.

    Janos Quested / Riptide 

Janos Quested / Riptide

Played By: Alex Gonzalez

Film Appearances: X-Men: First Class

Shaw's former muscle in the Hellfire Club. A mutant with the ability to create powerful whirlwinds from his hands and body.

  • Age Lift: By virtue of First Class avoiding Comic-Book Time, he's older than many characters, like Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm, whereas his comics counterpart is closer in age to them.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: As per the custom of the Hellfire Club, he's always immaculately well dressed - and proud of it at that!
  • Blow You Away: Can create strong winds.
  • The Brute: Though not as physical as Azazel, he acts as Shaw's primary muscle and intimidation tactic. Considering he can make tornadoes, he's like a Storm Lite.
  • No Name Given: His real name and mutant name are never mentioned in X-Men: First Class.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: As with every other male member of the Hellfire Club.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: With Azazel.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Magneto doesn't mention his death alongside the other deceased Brotherhood members in X-Men: Days of Future Past, although Mystique does find a autopsy file on him in Trask's office, indicating that he was killed in-between films as well.
  • The Voiceless: Other than a few grunts and yells, he never spoke through out the film.

    Angel Salvadore / Angel 

Angel Salvadore / Angel
"My stage name is Angel... and it kind of fits."

Played By: Zoë Kravitz

Voiced By: Analiz Sánchez (Latin-American Spanish)

Film Appearances: X-Men: First Class

A mutant with dragonfly wings and acidic saliva.

  • Breath Weapon: Not quite breath, but she can spit Hollywood Acid.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Sharp-eyed viewers might notice her in the first strip club scene as the only non-white stripper there.
  • Dark Feminine Light Feminine: In the first movie she is the Dark to Raven/Mystique's Light.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Sort of. When she defected and witnessed Shaw's brutal murder of Darwin, she was briefly shown to be shocked and somewhat disturbed at what he did.
  • Face–Heel Turn: She joins the Hellfire Club when Shaw kills every human in the CIA building.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Subverted. She's friendly with the rest of the group, but is the first to join Shaw (albeit for morally ambiguous reasons).
  • Killed Offscreen: The Viral Marketing for X-Men: Days of Future Past reveals she and Azazel were shot by the CIA between X-Men: First Class and the JFK assassination. In the actual movie, Magneto lists her among some mutants who died. Later her wings are seen stored in a government vault.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: She was sick and tired of the CIA grunts mocking her and her teammates for her being a mutant (enough to say that even men gawking at her in her former job at a strip club was better than this), so she figured that she might as well defect to the Hellfire Club since at least they had some respect for her mutant abilities.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Justified, as she used to work as a stripper prior to joining the X-Men and she needs her back open to use her wings.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted, as she shares her name with one of the original X-Men from the comics, a completely different character who eventually appeared in the movies as a supporting character in X-Men: The Last Stand.
  • Reluctant Fanservice Girl: Although she says that she's used to men staring at her without clothes on and not so used to them staring at her with clothes on.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: A necessity due to the wings on her back.
  • Winged Humanoid: Her most obvious mutation is insectoid wings, though she's able to disguise them as tattoos.


Example of: