Marvel: 12 actors who should play the X-Men's Mr. Sinister

When Marvel Studios casts Mr. Sinister, the actor playing him has to be more versatile than any villain we've seen. These 9 actors have the best chance of bringing the character to life.

X-Men: Sins of Sinister Alpha Trailer | Marvel Comics
X-Men: Sins of Sinister Alpha Trailer | Marvel Comics / Marvel Entertainment

The success of X-Men ‘97 proved that the world is ready for mutants in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It didn't matter that the show was set in the 1990s. People tuned in because they missed watching the X-Men. Showing that Marvel Mightiest Mutants will be beloved once they make their MCU debut.

Among the many X-Men villains is Nathaniel Essex (Mr. Sinister). A villain that seems never really loses. Even when he’s defeated, he comes away with something. For example, he’s currently the strongest being in Marvel Comics. He’s something called Dominion read Sins of Sinister and Fall of X for more on that). 

Essex’s dominance is why he’s an anticipated X-Men villain. People still love Magneto and want a better version of Apocalypse (not that Oscar Isaac was the problem). Nevertheless, there isn’t a comic book villain like Sinister and he hasn’t appeared in a X-Men movie.

Like Dr. Doom, the problem is casting him. Whoever plays him has a tough assignment. He's a complex character that must equal or look greater than the heroes. Thankfully, there isn’t a shortage of performers that can play him. These ten performers are right for the job. Some of them are on the money. Others are on here because they’re elite actors. 

12. Tom Ellis

Tom Ellie played a character sassy and sarcastic Sinister throughout Lucifer. It‘s easy to see him portraying Nathaniel Essex in the 1920s before he meets En Sabah Nur and later when he becomes the monster with the white face and red diamond on his forehead. Ellis can also be the villain we've seen in the MCU or something different.

Richard Coyle
"Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" World Premiere - Arrivals / Mike Marsland/GettyImages

11. Richard Coyle

If you want someone evil, look no further than Richard Coyle. His role as Father Blackwood in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was devious. He was the type of character that was easy to hate. However, Father Blackwood was charming. That's something people forget. For all of Essex's disturbing ways, he can be smooth. 

Michelle Gomez
Entertainment Weekly And Netflix Host A Screening Of The "Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina: Part 2" In / Dia Dipasupil/GettyImages

10. Michelle Gomez

Here we have another character from Netflix’s Sabrina. During that show, Michelle Gomez played Lilith. A smart, cunning being constantly trying to become all-powerful. She was also funny and goofy in Doom Patrol. Both are attributes that can be used to play Essex.

You may be thinking that Nathaniel Essex is a man. You’d be right and wrong. Sinister is a genius geneticist. It’s a simple task for him to change his DNA. While Essex hasn’t been a woman in Marvel Comics (the woman wasn’t him), his sex isn’t important to the character.

LaKeith Stanfield
Louis Vuitton : Photocall - Paris Fashion Week - Menswear Fall/Winter 2024-2025 / Kristy Sparow/GettyImages

9. LaKeith Stanfield

This writer will continue to sing the praises of LaKeith Stanfield until he retires. He is also one of my original picks to play Mr. Sinister. Stanfield has these moments where his voice gets cold, slow, and direct. Imagine him experimenting on a mutant while opera plays in the background.

If Atlanta is too long for you to get into, watch The Harder They Fall. It’s another example of his greatness.

Iwan Rheon
"Our Planet" Global Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals / Samir Hussein/GettyImages

8. Iwan Rheon

No one was more despicable than Game of Thrones' Ramsay Bolton. He was the definition of a psychopath and deserved his fate. Later, Iwan Rheon played Maximus in The Inhumans. He was one of (if not the only) bright spots on the show. Since we’ve seen how good at being bad he can be, put him in place to help the X-Men franchise succeed.

Night of the Owls
Gotham Knights -- “Night of the Owls” -- Image Number: GTK113a_0069r -- Pictured: Misha Collins as Harvey Dent -- Photo: Amanda Mazonkey/The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

7. Misha Collins

It doesn't matter what direction Marvel Studios wants to go with. Whether he's a flamboyant, sassy, or serious Mr. Sinister Misha Collins can play it. He proved this during Supernatural where he played 9 different characters.

When Gotham Knights was airing Collins reminded people how great he was. He showed that Harvey Dent and Two-Face were separate people from his facial expressions alone. It’s a shame the show was canceled. It would have been special.

Kieran Culkin
30th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Red Carpet / Kevin Winter/GettyImages

6. Kieran Culkin

While Kieran Culkin is an actor with decades of experience, his role in Succession puts him on the list. As Roman Roy, the award-winning actor showed a level of perversion and sometimes wickedness that’s perfect for Marvel Studios. He could play Essex like an antagonist without emotions. This would explain the awful things Nathaniel Essex does. It wouldn't be the Marvel Studios villain we're used to, but that's good.

5. Giancarlo Esposito

Amazon Prime's The Boys has a plethora of amazing characters. When fans discuss their favorites, they usually name Homelander, Butcher, or The Deep. Meanwhile, Giancarlo Esposito is putting on a masterclass as Stan Edgar. And everything he did in The Boys is what he’d bring to Nathaniel Essex.

Throughout The Boys, Stan Edgar never raised his voice. Homelander said that Edgar’s heart rate never elevated during stressful situations. That’s the kind of villain he’d bring to the table. Someone that the X-Men can’t intimidate.

4. James McAvoy

There is nothing James McAvoy can’t do as an actor. Forget the X-Men movies. Split is proof of that. He was at least a dozen personalities throughout the project. Each of them had different mannerisms, speech patterns, and more. He could play any version of Sinister effortlessly. If needed, McAvoy could be Essex's other clones Dr. Stasis and Orbis Stellaris too.

Ewan McGregor
"A Gentleman In Moscow" New York Premiere / Gotham/GettyImages

3. Ewan McGregor

Whenever a writer makes a casting list, there’s always one biased pick. Ewan McGregor is it for this article. It’s not as if he can’t do the role. McGregor isn't someone you'd think of to play someone as disgusting as Nathaniel Essex. Nevertheless, he's proven that there isn’t a role he can’t dominate. And while you may not think of him as a villain, don’t forget that he was fantastic in Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey as Black Mask.

2. Tony Todd

Tony Todd can sound cold, intelligent, and terrifying. He may have the best voice for the job too. The part that solidified this as an option was Final Destination. The way he spoke about death is how Sinister talks about his experiments. It’s cold and eerily passionate. Maybe Todd could turn Sinsiter into something more horrific than we’ve seen from Marvel Studios. Essex is certainly that in the comics.

Zachary Quinto
GLAAD Celebrates Its Governors Award From The TV Academy With A Pre-Emmys Toast To The Future Of / Phillip Faraone/GettyImages

1. Zachary Quinto

It’s been over a decade since we’ve seen Zachary Quinto as Sylar and it’s a shame people forget how great he was. During Heroes, Sylar would be immoral (a trait he shares with Sinister). He’s also proven to be an elite villain throughout his time in American Horror Story.

Quinto could be the best fit to play any version of Mr. Sinister.

Who would you cast to play Mr. Sinister? Which version of him would you like to see? Let us know on ourTwitter and Instagram.

Next. Marvel: 20 actors who could play the Lord of Hell Mephisto in the MCU. Marvel: 20 actors who could play the Lord of Hell Mephisto in the MCU. dark