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Sebastian Shaw (X-Men Movies)

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We are the children of the atom. Radiation gave birth to mutants. What will kill the humans will only make us stronger.
~ Shaw while inside of Emma's mind.

Sebastian Shaw, formerly called Klaus Schimdt and later known as Dr. Shaw, is the main antagonist of the 2011 movie X-Men: First Class. He is a merciless yet nefarious mutant German scientist, formerly worked for the Nazis in WWII, and he is the leader of the Hellfire Club. He wanted to provoke World War III between USA and Russia in order to conquer United States of America, and to kill the X-Men Team, but his plans were foiled. 

He was portrayed by Kevin Bacon who also played Wade, Bobby Hayes, David Lindhagen, Jacques, Joe Hickey, Ray Duquette, Sean Nokes and Sebastian Caine.

X-Men: First Class

World War II

Genes are the key that unlocks the door to a new age, Erik. A new future for mankind. Evolution. You know what I'm talking about? It's a simple thing I ask of you. A little coin is nothing compared to a big gate. The only thing I can say in favor of the Nazis is that their methods are producing results. I’m sorry, Erik. Now this is what we will do. I count to three, and you move the coin. If you do not move the coin, I’ll pull the trigger.
~ Shaw to Lehnsherr

Sebastian Shaw (under the alias Dr. Klaus Schmidt) was a scientist working for the Nazis during WWII. He was present in the concentration camp where a young Erik Lehnsherr's mutant powers first manifested, witnessing him open a gate with his mutant power from a window. Shaw attempted to coax the boy with chocolate into consciously using his ability but to no avail, with Erik claiming that he wanted to see his mother: Shaw did as requested.


Shaw threatens a young Erik Lehnsherr

However, he threatened his mother's life if he did not move a small gold coin made out of Nazi gold by the time he counted to three. When Erik failed to do so, Shaw shot his mother dead. This enraged him greatly, causing him to lash out with his powers to Shaw's delight, killing two guards and devastating the metal components of two separate rooms. He then congratulated the traumatized young mutant.

Attempting World War III

Setting American Missile Sites

I expect you'll reconsider.
~ Shaw to Hendry

Shaw threatens Colonel Hendry

18 years later, Sebastian emerged as the leader of the Hellfire Club, a group of mutants with aspirations of world domination. He was observed in Las Vegas by CIA Agent Moira MacTaggert meeting with U.S. Army Colonel Hendry (previously lured in by Emma Frost, under the influence that she was a stripper) where he threatens him into supporting the building of American missile sites in Turkey, near the Russian border. When MacTaggert witnesses Shaw's henchmen Azazel (who can teleport) and Riptide (who can create tornadoes by spinning his body) using their powers, she attempts to warn her superiors; but Shaw has Azazel teleport Hendry to a Joint Chiefs meeting where he voices his support of the plan.


Shaw after containing the energy from a grenade blast, moments before killing Hendry

Later, when Hendry comes to Sebastian's yacht to collect his payment, he attempts to have him killed. But the Colonel pulls out a grenade and threatens to blow them all up if they refuse to let him go. Shaw orders him to pull the pin on the grenade before he plucks the explosive from his hand and triggers it himself, displaying his mutant power by absorbing the energy from the explosion. In response to Hendry's reaction that he was a mutant, he releases the energy at Hendry, killing him instantly.

Reunited with Erik Lehnsherr

What kind of greeting is that? After all these years?
~ Shaw, being reunited with Lehnsherr

Shaw is threatened by an adult Erik Lehnsherr

That night, a now adult and vengeful Erik Lehnsherr, who had been hunting Shaw, sneaks aboard the yacht and attempts to murder the man who'd tortured him; only to be overwhelmed by Emma Frost's telepathy. At the same time, the U.S. Coast Guard arrived along with MacTaggert and mutant telepath Charles Xavier to apprehend him. Frost used her powers to shield Shaw from him and they all made their way to their submarine and narrowly escaped capture.

The Russians... made me this.
~ Shaw, referring to his helmet able to deflect telepathic powers

Shaw puts on his helmet

On their way to meet with a Soviet general, Frost senses Xavier's enhanced telepathy (through use of Cerebro) and informs Sebastian that he is recruiting his own team of mutants, consisting of Dr. Hank McCoy, Angel Salvadore, Sean Cassidy, Alex Summers, Raven Darkholme and Armando Muñoz. Shaw reveals a helmet he had built by the Russians that shields him from telepathic influence and orders her to meet with the general in his place.

Attack on the Division X Facility


Shaw kills multiple guards with the use of energy absorbed from the previously ensued gunfire

Shaw, Azazel and Riptide, in an attempt to kill Xavier attack the Division X facility. While Azazel and Riptide were slaughtering the CIA agents, Shaw entered through the entrance and demanded the location of Xavier's mutant entourage, threatening the life of a CIA agent. Multiple guards arrived and attempted to kill Shaw, but he absorbed the bullets and a rocket from an RPG and killed the surrounding guards with the released energy.


Shaw kills Muñoz with use of Havok's energy disc

Shaw located the mutants and introduced himself to them, offering them a chance to join him in his plans for mutant mobocracy. He had convinced Salvadore and Muñoz to join his team, but unaware to Shaw, Muñoz used the opportunity to attack Shaw. He absorbed one of Summers' energy rings and placed it inside Muñoz. Shaw, Angel, Riptide and Azazel teleported away from the following explosion which killed Muñoz.

Forwarding His Plan


Shaw threatens General Armivolkoff

Shaw proceeds to Russia, where he meets with the Soviet general he sent Frost to see during which she was captured by Lehnsherr and Xavier; forcing the man to send Soviet missiles to Cuba. It is his plan to goad the U.S. and Soviet Union to use nuclear weapons on each other, causing WWIII which will cripple human civilization and allow mutants to rise up and rule. He accompanies the Russian fleet in his submarine to assure that the missiles reach their destination, but he is tracked by Xavier and his team.

Cuban Missile Crisis


Shaw attempts to kill Erik Lenhsherr

I don't want to hurt you, Erik. I never did. I want to help you. This is our time. Our age. We are the future of the human race. You and me, son. This world could be ours.
~ Shaw's last words to Erik Lehnsherr

Lehnsherr uses his powers to lift the sub from the water before they both crash on a nearby beach. Shaw attempts to absorb the energy from the sub's nuclear reactor (becoming a human atom bomb) but is foiled by Lehnsherr. The two fight and Sebastian has the upper hand, until Erik manages to remove his helmet allowing Xavier to mentally freeze his body.


Erik Lehnsherr embeds a coin in a mentally frozen Shaw's brain, killing him

Lehnsherr then takes Shaw's helmet for himself and uses his ability to force the Nazi gold coin he still kept from his childhood (unforgiving of him killing his mother) and pierced it through Shaw's brain, killing him, avenging his mother's death as well as the humans and the mutants he killed. His body was then used by Erik as a dummy, as a means of showing he was now in charge to Shaw's former comrades.

Powers and Abilities

  • Kinetic Energy Absorbtion: Shaw is able to obsrob enerby in all of its forms, augmenting all of his physical parameters until he is abl to fully metabolize it. This makes him very difficult to defeat in battle as all of the kinetic energy attacks from his enemies will be absorbed and used against them while strengthening him in the process.
    • Self-Sustaining: The accumulated energy not only strengthen hims in battle, it also keeps him rested, nourished, healthy, and even young, making eating, drinking, sleeping, and possibly even breathing, uneeded.
    • Age Deceleration: Due to his ability to absorb energy, Shaw is able to reduce aging and extend his youth maintaining his young image for longer periods of time. This also extends his lifespan and grants him near-immortality as a result. 
    • Nigh-Invulnerability: As long as people keep attacking him, Shaw will simply absorb all of their attacks and use it to strengthen himself and inflict the same attacks used against him at his attackers instead. He won't even suffer a single injury or a scratch.
    • Kinetikinesis: Once he has a powerful source of energy, Sebastian Shaw can use it in any way he sees fit. He can use the energy from simple bursts to full-blown shockwaves. The strength of his attacks was shown where he attacked the Division X Facility and destroyed a whole room filled with CIA Soldiers and guards.
    • Enhanced Strength: With the ability to absorb all forms of energy, Shaw is able to give himself superhuman strength. This makes him a one-man army as his inhuman level strength makes him able countless human opponents all with the flick of his hand.


  • Multilingual: Shaw is fluent in many languages such as English, German, French, Spanish, and Russian.


  • Slow Attacks: If an attacker applies a low level of force, then Shaw will be unable to counter it and it can either injure or hurt him. This was shown when Magneto used the coin and slowly had it forced into his head which made it impossible for Shaw to detect and stop.




  • Humanity 
  • Division X †
    • Charles Xavier
    • Darwin † - Victim
    • Mystique
    • Erik Lehnsherr - Experiment-turned Killer
    • Moria MacTaggart
  • X-Men
    • Professor X 
    • Magneto - Experiment-turned Killer
    • Mystique
    • Banshee  †
    • Havok  †
    • Beast
  • Vinnie Lavecchia † - Victim 
  • United States Armed Forces
    • Colonel Robert Hendry † - Victim
    • Unnamed Navy Admiral 
  • Soviet Armed Forces
    • Unnamed Navy Admiral


  • Producer Lauren Shuler Donner said Bacon was considered for Shaw for being an actor who could convey a villain "with different shades, that's not always clear that he's the bad guy". Vaughn added that Bacon "had that bravado that Shaw needed", while stating that the actor was his top choice along with Colin Firth. Bacon accepted the role as he was a fan of Vaughn's Kick-Ass and liked both the character of Shaw and the script, which he described as "a fresh look at the franchise, but also the comic book movies in general". The actor considered that Shaw was a sociopath to whom "the morality of the world did not apply", with producer Simon Kimberg adding that Bacon portrayed him as "somebody, who in his mind, is the hero of the movie". Bacon also said that "aside from the kind of evil side, I portrayed him as kind of a Hugh Hefner type". Vaughn discarded Shaw's look from the comics as he felt he would "look like an Austin Powers villain".
  • Shaw is one of the most evil villains in the X-Men Film series along with Ajax and Apocalypse.
  • Some fans speculate he may have been working with Josef Mengele in the past.

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