Shazam’s Mark Strong Almost Starred In An X-Men Movie

Mark Strong as Dr. Sivana in Shazam!
(Image credit: (Warner Bros))

Mark Strong’s latest role as the villain Dr. Sivana in Shazam! isn’t anywhere close to his first rodeo in comic book movie adaptations. He’s been Frank D’Amico in Kick-Ass, Sinestro in Green Lantern, Merlin in Kingsman and he almost played a villainous mutant in an X-Men film. Here’s what Strong said of his role that never was:

Matthew Vaughn did ask me to do X-Men: First Class. There was a bad guy in X-Men that Kevin Bacon played. Because I speak German it just seemed so logical having worked with him that I would play that part, but I think at that point we both felt… I think I had just done Blackwood in Sherlock Holmes and it had been just too many bad guys very recently. So that one we didn’t go down the path of that.

How interesting is that. According to Mark Strong’s recent words to, he was in the running to play Sebastian Shaw in 2011’s X-Men: First Class. The character turned out to have an important role in the origin story of Magneto, as a Nazi in the concentration camp who guided Erik to manifesting his powers out of his rage and murdered his mother in front of him. He eventually showed up as the main villain the X-Men must take on when Erik is an adult. Kevin Bacon won the role and did an effective job as Shaw, but looks like Strong was originally an option the filmmakers seriously considered.

Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw in X-Men: First Class

(Image credit: (Fox))

Because Mark Strong was a past collaborator to First Class director Matthew Vaughn for both Kick Ass and Stardust, he immediately thought of the actor to take on the role of Shaw – especially considering Strong could already speak German. But since the actor had done quite a few high profile bad guy roles recently, he decided against it. He would however take on the role of Sinestro during the same year of X-Men: First Class was released, though the famous DC didn’t quite get to live out his full potential in the famous superhero bomb.

Mark Strong now gets to be the DC villain he was meant to be as Dr. Sivana in Shazam! which critics have raved about ahead of its upcoming weekend release. The villain will go head-to-head with 14-year-old Billy Batson’s adult superhero alter ego Shazam, who is discovering his fantastic powers with his fellow foster kid friend Freddy in a hilarious and entertaining new superhero origin story.

Mark Strong recently expressed what attracted him to return to another comic book adaptation to CinemaBlend, by explaining he loves the crowd-pleasing humor of the hero and the dark, weird and creepy story of his newest bad guy character. You can check out Strong as Sivana in Shazam!, in theaters on April 5.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.