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NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Sebastian Shaw from the X-Men film series. The mainstream version can be found here: Sebastian Shaw.

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

He was portrayed by Kevin Bacon who also played Wade in River Wild, Bobby Hayes in R.I.P.D.Jacques in Super, Joe Hickey in Trapped, Ray Duquette in Wild Things, Sean Nokes in Sleepers, Martin Thiel in Criminal Law, and Sebastian Caine in Hollow Man.


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.
~ Sebastian Shaw/Dr. Klaus Schmidt to a young Erik 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 silver coin 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. For the next eighteen years or so, Shaw tortured young Erik, attempting to see his powers in action again.

Attempting World War III

Setting American Missile Sites

Shaw threatens Colonel Hendry.

I expect you'll reconsider.
~ Shaw to 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

Shaw is threatened by an adult Erik Lehnsherr.

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

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 the Division X Facility security personnel.

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 Darwin by making him swallow one of Havok's energy discs.

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 Angel Salvadore and Darwin to join his team, but unaware to Shaw, Darwin used the opportunity to attack Shaw. He absorbed one of Summers' energy rings and placed it inside Darwin. Shaw, Angel, Riptide and Azazel teleported away from the following explosion which killed Darwin.

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, which prevents Xavier from stopping him. Lehnsherr tells the frozen Shaw that he agrees with him that mutants are the future, but he refuses to forgive Shaw for killing his mother. With the same three second count Shaw gave him uses his ability to force the Nazi 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 Absorption: Shaw is able to absorb energy in all of its forms, augmenting all of his physical parameters until he is able 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 strengthens him in battle, it also keeps him rested, nourished, healthy, and even young, making eating, drinking, sleeping, and possibly even breathing, unneeded.
    • 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.


Shaw Is a cold, heartless mutant who has no empathy towards the deaths of others. His only concern is to bring mutantkind to the top of the world by any means necessary. This involved killing Erik Lensherr's mother to force Erik to move a coin and manipulating a new world war, regardless of the deaths of others. He is also a skilled manipulator and blackmailer as he is able to convince Angel Salvadore to join his cause and blackmail Colonel Hendry into supporting the construction of Turkish missiles. His longing for genocide makes him a monstrous foe.




  • 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




  • In the comics, Shaw's powers are slightly different, since he can only absorb kinetic energy and transform it into physical strength.
  • 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".
  • In the X-Men Origins: Wolverine video game, Shaw is revealed to be the owner of the cybernetics lab. His company, Symstemized Cybernetics Lab, is responsible for manufacturing for Project WideAwake under Bolivar Trask, Senator Robert Kelly is mentioned as one of the backers of the company by Raven Darkholme.
  • Shaw is the Predecessor Villain of the X-Men film franchise because he killed Erik's mother and is responsible for Erik becoming Magneto in the first place, and therefore indirectly responsible for almost everything that happened afterwards.


           X-Men films logo.png Movie Villains

X-Men: Brotherhood of Mutants (Magneto, Mystique, Sabretooth & Toad) | Pyro
X2: William Stryker Jr. | Lady Deathstrike | Jason Stryker | Brotherhood of Mutants (Magneto, Mystique & Pyro)
X-Men: The Last Stand: Brotherhood of Mutants (Magneto, Dark Phoenix, Pyro, Juggernaut, Multiple Man & Mystique) | Omega Gang (Callisto, Psylocke, Quill, Arclight, Avalanche, Spike, Glob Herman & Phat) | Archangel
X-Men Origins: Wolverine: William Stryker Jr. | Sabretooth | Deadpool | Agent Zero | Blob
X-Men: First Class: Hellfire Club (Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost, Azazel, Angel Salvadore & Riptide) | William Stryker Sr. | Magneto | Mystique
The Wolverine: Silver Samurai | Madam Viper | Shingen Yashida | Noburo Mori | Magneto
X-Men: Days of Future Past: Trask Industries (Bolivar Trask, William Stryker Jr. & Sentinels) | Magneto | Mystique | Toad | Horsemen of Apocalypse (Apocalypse)
Deadpool: Deadpool | Dopinder | Ajax | Angel Dust | Agent Smith
X-Men: Apocalypse: Ashir En Sabah Nur/Horsemen of Apocalypse (Apocalypse, Magneto, Psylocke & Archangel) | Dark Phoenix | Mystique | William Stryker Jr.
Logan: Essex Corp (Zander Rice, Donald Pierce, X-24 & Reavers)
Deadpool 2: Deadpool | Cable | Dopinder | Firefist | Juggernaut | Essex Corp (Headmaster) | Black Tom Cassidy | Sergei Valishnikov | Omega Red
X-Men: Dark Phoenix: Dark Phoenix | D'Bari (Vuk & Jones) | Brotherhood of Mutants (Magneto & Selene Gallio) | Mystique
The New Mutants: Essex Corp (Cecilia Reyes) | Demon Bear

See Also
Deadpool Villains | Wolverine Villains | X-Men Villains

          X-MenMovieLogo.png Villains

Abomination | Adversary | Ahab | A.I.M. | Apocalypse | Arcade | Archangel | Arkon | Avalanche | Azazel | Badoon | Bastion | Batroc | Belasco | Beyonder | Blastaar | Blood Brothers | Bolivar Trask | Blob | Brotherhood of Evil Mutants | Bullseye | Cameron Hodge | Cassandra Nova | Children of the Vault | Clan Akkaba | Count Nefaria | Crossbones | Dark Beast | Dark Phoenix | Dark X-Men | Deadpool | Demon Bear | Dracula | Emma Frost | Exodus | Fenris | Freedom Force | Friends of Humanity | Galactus | Graydon Creed | Hand | Hela | Hellfire Club | High Evolutionary | Holocaust | Horsemen of Apocalypse | HYDRA | Impossible Man | Juggernaut | Kang | Kid Omega | Kingpin | Krakoa | Kraven | Lady Deathstrike | Legion | Leper Queen | Lilith | Living Monolith | Lizard | Loki | Madelyne Pryor | Magneto | Magus | Mandarin | Marrow | Masters of Evil | Master Mold | Maximus | Mesmero | Mikhail Rasputin | Mister Jip | Mister Sinister | Mojo | Mole Man | Morlocks | Moses Magnum | Mutant Response Division | Mystique | N'Astirh | Nanny | Nekra | Neo | Nimrod | Nitro | Obnoxio the Clown | Omega Gang | Omega Red | Onslaught | Orphan-Maker | Ozymandias | Pandemonia | Phalanx | Pilgrimm | Predator X | Proteus | Psycho-Man | Purifiers | Pyro | Quicksilver | Reavers | Red Ghost | Red Skull | Rhino | Right | Rogue | Sabretooth | Sat-Yr-9 | Sauron | Savage Land Mutates | Scarlet Witch | Sebastian Shaw | Selene Gallio | Sentinels | Serpent Society | Shadow King | Shadow Xavier | Shocker | Silver Sable | Silver Samurai | Simon Trask | Skrulls | Spiral | Stranger | Stryfe | Stephen Lang | Sublime | Sugarman | Super-Adaptoid | Supreme Intelligence | Toad | Trevor Fitzroy | Typhoid Mary | Tyrannus | Unus | Vulcan | Wendigo | William Stryker | Xemnu | Xorn

X-Men: Brotherhood of Mutants (Magneto, Mystique, Sabretooth & Toad) | Pyro
X2: William Stryker Jr. | Lady Deathstrike | Jason Stryker | Brotherhood of Mutants (Magneto, Mystique & Pyro)
X-Men: The Last Stand: Brotherhood of Mutants (Magneto, Dark Phoenix, Pyro, Juggernaut, Multiple Man & Mystique) | Omega Gang (Callisto, Psylocke, Quill, Arclight, Avalanche, Spike, Glob Herman & Phat) | Archangel
X-Men: First Class: Hellfire Club (Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost, Azazel, Angel Salvadore & Riptide) | William Stryker Sr. | Magneto | Mystique
X-Men: Days of Future Past: Trask Industries (Bolivar Trask, William Stryker Jr. & Sentinels) | Magneto | Mystique | Toad | Horsemen of Apocalypse (Apocalypse)
X-Men: Apocalypse: Ashir En Sabah Nur/Horsemen of Apocalypse (Apocalypse, Magneto, Psylocke & Archangel) | Dark Phoenix | Mystique | William Stryker Jr.
Dark Phoenix: Dark Phoenix | D'Bari (Vuk & Jones) | Brotherhood of Mutants (Magneto & Selene Gallio) | Mystique
The New Mutants: Essex Corp (Cecilia Reyes) | Demon Bear

X-Men (1992): Magneto | Sentinels | Sabretooth | Juggernaut | Apocalypse | Mesmero | Horsemen of Apocalypse | Mister Sinister | Omega Red | Brotherhood of Mutants (Mystique, Avalanche, Blob & Pyro) | Dark Phoenix | Master Mold | Bolivar Trask | Silver Samurai | Hellfire Club (Sebastian Shaw, Harry Leland, Jason Wyngarde, Donald Pierce & Emma Frost) | Reavers (Bonebreaker & Lady Deathstrike) | Supreme Intelligence | D'Ken Neramani | Deathbird | Graydon Creed | Red Skull | Silver Samurai | High Evolutionary | Phalanx
X-Men: Evolution: Magneto | Brotherhood of Mutants (Mystique, Avalanche, Toad, Blob, Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch) | Pyro | Mastermind | HYDRA (Madame Viper & Omega Red) | David Haller | Juggernaut | Bolivar Trask | Sentinels | Apocalypse | Horsemen of Apocalypse | Mesmero | Destiny
Wolverine and the X-Men: Brotherhood of Mutants (Magneto, Mystique, Scarlet Witch, Juggernaut, Quicksilver, Avalanche, Blob, Pyro & Toad) | Dark Phoenix | Bolivar Trask | Sentinels | Sabretooth | Mutant Response Division (Colonel Moss) | Shadow King | Hellfire Club (Sebastian Shaw, Donald Pierce, Harry Leland, Selene Gallio, Emma Frost & Stepford Cuckoos) | Master Mold | Silver Samurai

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