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X-Men: First Class Character Profile: Sebastian Shaw

What can we expect from the Hellfire Club's Black King?

We are all very aware that there are clearly going to be many differences between the X-Men: First Class movie and the comics it is based off of. Another story arc that we are sure to see some loose liberties taken with in the movie will be the Hellfire Club and its leader, Sebastian Shaw, played by Kevin Bacon.

Sebastian Shaw first appeared in January 1980 in X-Men #129 as the Black King of the now infamous Hellfire Club. A shrewd businessman and strategist, Shaw was a self-made billionaire by age 40. This rapid influx of wealth caught the attention of Ned Buckman, the head of the New York branch of the Hellfire Club, which at the time had a very anti-mutant agenda unbeknownst to Shaw.

== TEASER ==

Shaw was invited into the club’s Inner Circle as the Black Bishop. But when Shaw and his lover came under attack for being mutants, his lover being killed, Shaw used Emma Frost to coerce Buckman into killing himself and all other members of the club’s Inner Circle instead. This left a power vacuum that Shaw quickly plugged as he announced himself the new Black King and began his pro-mutant machinations for the club and his ultimate goal of world domination.

Shaw’s first appearance in the comics would help set up one of the most dramatic story arcs in X-Men history as it would start The Dark Phoenix Saga and also marked the first appearance of two other very popular characters, Kitty Pryde and Emma Frost. Emma was Shaw’s right hand lady with her psychic abilities and Shaw had sent Emma to distract the X-Men and test their limits when they went to investigate the manifestations of Kitty’s powers. This was all to allow original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants member, Jason Wyngarde, the original Mastermind, a clearer chance to manipulate Jean Grey's mind while the X-Men were distracted and split up (Storm, Wolverine, Colossus, and Professor X went to see Kitty while Cyclops, Jean, and Nightcrawler went looking for Dazzler in New York) and begin preparing her to become Shaw’s Black Queen for his vision of the Hellfire Club. Of course, this would backfire, drive Jean mad, and unleash the Dark Phoenix, but that’s another story for another time.

Aside from being a brilliant tactician, Shaw also possesses a mutant power similar to that of Bishop's in that he can absorb kinetic energy and re-metabolize it. Shaw cannot redirect the energy into blasts of his own like Bishop, but like Bishop he can use it to increase his strength, speed, stamina, and invulnerability and often takes a pummeling early in a fight from his foes in order to build up his reserves and dish out punishment on a more personal level with his fists later on.

Now we haven’t seen much of Shaw in trailers or whatnot except that members of his Hellfire Club usually accompany him or there is one shot where he is talking to Angel Salvadore. Since I highly doubt we’ll see anything in regards to Dark Phoenix, I think it would make sense for Shaw and his Hellfire Club to have their own agenda for the mutant race and this is what puts them in conflict with the X-Men and maybe even gives Magneto the inspiration to form the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants later on. And this would at least stay true to Shaw as a character who plans for world domination through force and his vast fortune.

Also, even though Kevin Bacon is not nearly as imposing a physical force as Shaw comes across as in the comics, I’d at least like to see him get his hands dirty and slug it out with some of First Class’s heavy hitters like Beast, Havok, and maybe even Darwin. You could very easily have him absorb one of Havok’s blasts and go to town on some of the X-Men who use more hand-to-hand techniques when fighting their foes. No matter what though, this classic X-Men villain is sure to give these First Class recruits a run for their money.

So what do you guys think? Just how far will Shaw and the Hellfire Club go in the movie? Will Shaw get his hands dirty when push comes to shove or will he remain more simply as the brilliant tactician behind this odd roster of the Inner Circle of Emma, Riptide, and Azazel? Let us know what you think with comments below!

32 Comments Refresh
Posted by KJPPPimp

Apparently, in the movie, Shaw worked with the Nazis at the concentration camp Magneto was in as a child. When Xavier meets him as an adult, Erik is still hunting him down.

Posted by oldgum

It seems the movie Shaw doesn't have too much muscle to show lol.

Posted by Out_of_Space

Posted by IrishX

I'm a fan of Shaw's and it's good to see him and the Hellfire Club be a part of this movie.

Posted by White Assassin

it will be interesting how the movie plays out and i can't wait to see it


Posted by FoxxFireArt

I understand that these movies can't be 100% accurate, but that doesn't excuse not being even 10% accurate. That's what this movie is getting it.  They screw up Emma Frost and Mystique. Both are two of my favorite X-Men female characters. I feel as if they are targeting the things I like and purposely screwing it up. It's happening way too much to just be coincidence. lol

Would he even be old enough for that when you compare the Erik and Shaw's ages in this movie? The actors have a 20 years age difference, so I guess that's possible. That doesn't seem very Shaw.

Posted by PrinceIMC

I always liked that the Hellfire Club wanted to run the world but from behind the scenes. From the previews it looks like both Charles and Erik want to reveal mutants to the world, I think it would make sense for Shaw to want to keep them secret. His actions could even be what makes Xavier change his mind until the X-Men are more ready to fight for the world's safety.

Posted by umbrafeline

how & when did riptide get to be part of the circle?
Posted by Doctor!!!!!

more six degrees to a superheroes now.

Posted by jubilee042


angel leaves the x men and joins the hellfire club

Posted by Edamame
Posted by StrongProtector

@umbrafeline: It's yet another liberty this movie is taking by adding him to the Hellfire Club. Maybe they wanted someone with wind effects since there won't be Storm this time around. ::sighs::

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

Shaw and the Hellfire Club are another central thing that caught my eye when I first saw the FIrst Class trailers so Im real psyched about seeing them now.

Posted by Emperormeister734

WTF (excuse me for cursing) why is he seriously talking to Angel Salvadore in the movie, she's an X-man, her and him sitting on the couch drinking champagne should not be happening

Posted by FortressoftheMoon
Posted by The Impersonator

I can't wait to see Shaw in his kinetic action.

Posted by Blindside002

Emma frost being so much older than what Cyclops would be is the only reason I need to hate this movie. At least use the same damn characters.

Posted by Edamame
@Emperormeister734 said:
WTF (excuse me for cursing) why is he seriously talking to Angel Salvadore in the movie, she's an X-man, her and him sitting on the couch drinking champagne should not be happening
It was already stated that Angel decided to join the Hellfire Club later on in the film.
Posted by Shadow_Thief

I'm just going to keep closing my eyes and telling myself that this is an alternate universe interpretation independent of the other films (or anything else X-Men-related, for that matter). This way, I can watch the film and try and judge it simply on its merits as an action/adventure movie.

Posted by Phylos

question, is there any info on angel salvadore for the film? regarding her powers? from the trailer we see she has wings & what not, but do you think they'll add something else to her? im one for not so famous comic characters, when i seen that they'd be casting hers i got really excited, although, in comics, angel didnt become badass until she was depowered & repowered through machinery. you think they'll add? or she's just going to be that beautiful actress that really doesnt have an important role?
Edited by Edamame
@Phylos: Angel's ability to fly is depicted at 1:14:
That is all so far. lol
Posted by TDK_1997
@oldgum said:
It seems the movie Shaw doesn't have too much muscle to show lol.
Posted by umbrafeline
@StrongProtector: oh, then the wolverine movie never happened? this film and that make me confuesd
Posted by weaponmaster

Bacon could have at least hit the gym and put on a few pounds of muscle. He looks emaciated.
Posted by Eyz

Any movie could use more Bacon~

Posted by SC

Bacon is good enough of an actor for me, to dismiss physical discrepancies. I think Liev Schreiber played a better Sabretooth than Blondie McBeefCake for example. 

Posted by Osiris1428
@Eyz said:
Any movie could use more Bacon~
Consider my "Eyz" rolled,lol
Posted by Edamame
@SC said:
I think Liev Schreiber played a better Sabretooth than Blondie McBeefCake for example. 
Do you mean Tyler Mane? LOL
@Osiris1428 said:
@Eyz said:
Any movie could use more Bacon~
Consider my "Eyz" rolled,lol
Posted by SC
@Edamame:  Uh... thats what I said  
*jumps out window*  
Posted by Edamame
@SC said:
@Edamame:  Uh... thats what I said   *jumps out window*      Ouch. 
Okay.   lol
Posted by Darkerman


Posted by AMSmith83

Ok, well, a couple things. Angel can do more than just fly, she can spit that acid that can seemingly eat through almost anything.

As far as Shaw goes, he was extremely powerful. Firstly, because there seemed to be a couple posts confused about his age, Shaw mentions early in the movie that he doesn't age because of something to do with the energy he has within him. Basically, Shaw could create enough energy to simulate a nuclear blast but with a much smaller radius. He could also use the energy in somewhat of a telekinetic fashion it seems. In the scene in the sub, in the reactor room where Magneto is going after Shaw, Shaw basically throws magneto around like a doll. However, that somehow broke the glass (or glass-like material that prevents telepathy apparently) that was keeping Charles's telepathy out (however, the reason the helmet worked for Shaw and the lack of logic and consistency in what can keep Chartles's telepathy out remains a mystery), but Charles apparently needed that helmet off of Shaw to get in. However, before that, Magneto was trying to push (throw, crush, whatever) a huge iron pillar towards Shaw, yet shaw is able to push it right back at Magneto, showing he could use his energy, like I said earlier, in some sort of telekinet form. Also, because Shaw was really just a huge ball of energy, he was practically impervious to damage because his body just absorbed the energy from the force of a bullet or bullets being shot at him, or even a missile. So, outside of mutants, Shaw would be untouchable. Therefore, I do not think he is as weak as some on here have suggested.