Introduced as Charles Xavier's longtime human friend (and former love interest), Moira was a geneticist who frequently aided the X-Men with her expertise on mutations, eventually founding the Muir Island research facility that she set up to study mutant genetics. After finding a cure for the Legacy Virus, however, Moira was killed by Mystique, and that was that.
...Or at least, that's how it seemed. It later turned out that she faked her death with a Shi'ar golem, but that wasn't the only revelation provided in 2019. Decades after her first appearance, it was revealed via retcon that Moira was in fact not a mere human, but a mutant herself — and a vital one at that.
Moira has the power of reincarnation, specifically born-again immortality. She starts new timelines with each rebirth, retaining all of the knowledge and experience she accrued from her past lives. That, combined with her undetectable X-gene, has allowed Moira to continuously work towards saving the mutant race from inevitable extinction while passing as an ordinary human in many timelines. Unfortunately, nearly every timeline that she lived through had one thing in common: doom for Mutantkind at her life's end.
According to Destiny, Moira's reincarnations aren't infinite, and she has ten — maybe eleven — at most, meaning she's possibly on her last life as Moira X. And since she's not sure if she's got another shot at reincarnation to fall back on, she formed a secret alliance between Professor X and Magneto about three years after their first confrontations, in an effort to take the lessons learned from each of her previous lives in order to establish a future where mutants can survive. The three have been secretly collaborating over the years — give or take a period of defection from Magneto — in order to create a world safe for mutantkind, a goal which moves forward with the creation of a new Mutant nation known as Krakoa. Moira operates on the island in secret, preferring not to draw any attention to herself.
As a major supporting character to the X-Men mythos, Moira has appeared frequently in other media. She was most notably portrayed by Rose Byrne in the X-Men Film Series, appearing in First Class and Apocalypse; this version of the character is a CIA agent rather than a geneticist. Olivia Williams previously portrayed Moira in X-Men: The Last Stand, wherein she resembled her comic book counterpart more closely. Moira also appeared in episodes of the animated series, as well as various video games including X-Men Legends. Due to the all of these adaptations preceding Jonathan Hickman's X-Men run, she is portrayed as a human in every single one.
Moira MacTaggert appears in:
Moira provides examples of:
- Alliterative Name: Moira MacTaggert.
- Asshole Victim: Per the House of X retcons, Mystique did not in fact kill Moira For the Evulz, but in fact did it to punish Moira for working "against the betterment of mutantkind." Horrifyingly, this wasn't even the first time either; Mystique and Destiny killed Moira once before.
- Badass Bookworm: A scientist who doesn't have much problem getting into a fight when she has to.
- Badass Normal: Completely willing to fight a demon with an assault rifle.
- Bad to the Last Drop: She's talented in multiple areas, but she can't make a decent cup of coffee to save her life.
- Battle Butler: Or at least posed as one, rather convincingly.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Moira has a nurturing, parental presence much like her old love Charles. And also like Charles, she can be downright deadly if you mess with the mutants under her care.
- BFG: Always managed to have one of these handy during the nineties. Then again, it was the nineties....
- Blue Blood: Her father is a Scottish nobleman.
- Born-Again Immortality: Per House of X, this is her mutant power. She gets Past-Life Memories each time she resurrects, but she has a finite number of resurrections, '10, maybe 11' according to Destiny.
- Brainwashing for the Greater Good: At one point she did this to a de-aged Magneto in hopes of helping him find a normal life. Not only did it not stick, but it arguably made Mags more villainous when he found out. And then it turned out it had never actually taken in the first place.
- Brave Scot: More intellectually-inclined that many examples, but damn if she isn't bold.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: In one of her earlier lives, Moira was apparently burned alive by Pyro as a punishment ordered by Mystique and Destiny for trying to develop a mutant cure.
- Child by Rape: It's implied that Proteus was conceived when Joseph had beaten her unconscious, then forced himself on her.
- Death by Irony: Averted cruelly. She contracted the Legacy virus, which normally infects only mutants, and at one point it looked very much like she would lose her life to that contagion, only for Mystique to kill her first. As if the irony wasn't cruel enough, she'd just discovered the cure to the human-infecting Legacy strain. House of X revealed she didn't die at all.
- Defector from Decadence: Her father is the powerful Scottish noble Lord Kinross, which explains how she was able to commandeer an entire island to be the site of her research facility.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: She survives long enough to be flown across the Atlantic and dies in Charles's arms.
- Domestic Abuse: Her first husband, a politician named Joseph, was violently abusive to her.
- Empowered Badass Normal: As of House of X, Moira was never human but actually a mutant all along.
- Faking the Dead: House of X #2 revealed that Moria never died at the hands of Mystique, that a Shi'ar golem took her place.
- Family Extermination: Comboed with Well-Intentioned Extremist, as she apparently tried to wipe out the entire Trask bloodline in one of her earlier lives to prevent the creation of Sentinels.
- Friendly Ghost: Though dead, she's helped the X-Men from the afterlife a couple of times, directing Banshee to a hidden room on Muir Island and later returning briefly during the Chaos War event.
- Funetik Aksent: It's how ye know she's Scottish, though it did get ludicrous on occasion, with one issue having her go from "yuir" to "yur" and "your" all in a few pages.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: Her mutant power. She has ten lives, and every time she dies, she's transported back into her body as a fetus, with all of her prior memories.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Her abusive first husband Joe MacTaggert convinced her to write Charles a "Dear John" Letter and marry him instead. And while Chuck is definitely preferable to that cad, time has shown us that Moira's second love isn't exactly a shining paragon of morality either.
- Hot Scientist: Professor X and Banshee definitely think so.
- In Name Only: She was adapted into the X-Men Film Series, but in a heavily reimagined role, being made an American CIA agent rather than a Scottish scientist.
- Lethal Chef: A long-running joke is Moira and her coffee. If there was a complaint desk in Excalibur's Muir Island base, probably this would be on the top. To the extent that when Kitty volunteered to take Pete Wisdom to London to check on a friend of his, Brian told him "Buy some coffee while you're there! We've run out of Rory's good stuff." And it didn't even escape Xavier's notice. He once quipped that Jubilee was using Moira's coffee to lubricate her roller skates, and also remarked on it during a video-phone call with Moira:Moira: Och, it's noon and I'm still barely up. It's the break o' dawn wi' you and ye look fresh as a daisy. Ye make me sick, Charles Xavier.Professor X: No, Moira. It's your coffee that makes you sick.
- Living a Double Life: For reasons currently unrevealed, Moira spent decades pretending to be a baseline human when she was in fact a mutant all along.
- The Maiden Name Debate: Moira MacTaggert (a.k.a Kinross) kept her late husband's name. Strange, considering the fact that he was horribly abusive and that Moira's son Proteus was implied to be the result of marital rape. Partially justified seeing as her husband refused to divorce her, leading to her running away and pretending she was widowed but when he actually died, there was no reason to keep using the name. She may have kept the name out of guilt for what happened to her son.
- Mama Bear: Do not mess with her students if you value your life. Subverted in her relationship with her supervillain mutant son Proteus, though.
- Offing the Offspring: Tries to kill her son Proteus at one point, after he's already murdered at least two people. Cyclops interrupts at the last minute.
- Old Flame: Her and Chuck nearly got married, a lifetime ago.
- Parental Substitute: To Rahne Sinclair (Wolfsbane). Also, to a limited extent, to Nate Grey, who came to her looking for a cure to his genetic degeneration a couple of times. The two were moderately close, with Moira seeing helping him as a way to atone for her failing her own son, Proteus, and, hilariously, she once managed to scold him into submission after his paranoia and Hair-Trigger Temper, plus taking the account of Spoor (a prisoner on the island) at face value, had resulted in a full-on meltdown.
- Rape as Drama: When recounting how Proteus was conceived, it's implied Joseph had raped her after beating her unconscious.
- Really 700 Years Old: Moira has actually lived through most of her resurrections already, and in one of those resurrections she lived an unnaturally long life thanks to Wolverine's blood and died after well over 1000 years. As this was all before Moira even met Charles Xavier, this places her roughly in the time periods of Apocalypse in terms of her actual mental age.
- Reincarnation Romance: Per House of X teasers, the reincarnated Moira has struck up one of these with none other than Apocalypse. Opposites Attract indeed!
- The Reveal: House of X #2 reveals that she's a mutant, and has influenced Charles Xavier's long-term goals, culminating in the foundation of Krakoa and she's still alive.
- Team Mom: To the Excalibur team.
- Token Human: Moira was the X-Men's second human ally and quickly supplanted the first (FBI Agent Fred Duncan) as the X-Men's most important non-mutant friend. House of X retcons this entirely, revealing that she was actually a mutant the whole time.
- Walking Spoiler: As of being brought back in House of X, where she is set to play an important yet currently ambiguous role. Also, her entire history has effectively been retconned, and as a result of now being Really 700 Years Old she has now had a far more important (yet currently ambiguous) influence over the history of the X-Men universe.
- What the Hell, Hero?: She imprisons her mutant son in a cell and dehumanizes him by referring to him only as Mutant X. Though considering her son was a walking case of With Great Power Comes Great Insanity it's clear that this was at least somewhat necessary. Ironically enough, X-Men Legacy revealed that she was very much in the habit of calling Charles out on this in the early days of him gathering the first class of X-Men.