Something sinister this way comes. While promoting his animated series Supermansion at New York Comic Con 2018, actor Bryan Cranston fielded a volley of questions about superhero films, inevitably landing on a theme of villainry that Cranston has been unable to avoid since his infamous TV character Walter White broke bad ten years ago. The venerable actor is no stranger to speculation regarding supervillain roles in comic book movies, having previously been rumored to play Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
When pressed by ScreenGeek for thoughts on the type of supervillain he would want to play in a comic book film, Cranston said, “I want to play an antagonist a fraction smarter than the protagonist, never dumbed down to give the hero an easy win. That’s frustrating and boring to watch.”
After discussing the struggle and ruthlessness of his character in Breaking Bad, and comparing his temperament to a villain such as Nathan Essex (a.k.a. Mister Sinister) in the X-Men universe, Cranston agreed that the role would suit him. “Okay don’t talk about my personal life (laughs). Actually, that was the character, I’ll admit. Mister Sinister was the character I was thinking about.”
Mister Sinister is a Marvel character who frequently battles the X-Men in comics and animated TV shows. He is a genetically-altered human with superhuman abilities, able to read and control minds, shape-shift, regenerate body parts, and teleport. He is a scientific genius, using his knowledge of genetics and cloning to extend his life; he was born in the early-1800’s and extensively studied the theories of his contemporary, Charles Darwin.
Sinister also hasn’t been portrayed by any actors in a live-action capacity, which appeals to Cranston. “I guess it’s a selfish standpoint. I don’t want to do a character that has been done several times before. I don’t want to be compared like ‘well, his Commissioner Gordon was yada yada yada.’ I don’t want to do that. I want to take something that hasn’t been done.”
The existence of Mister Sinister has been referenced in the X-Men film universe. X-Men: Apocalypse mentions that employees of his company Essex Corp. obtained Wolverine’s blood, leading to his clone’s existence in Logan. There were plans in place for Essex to make an appearance in upcoming X-Men spin-off The New Mutants, but his role (reportedly played by Jon Hamm) has been cut following extensive reshoots, perhaps opening the door for Cranston to portray the notorious baddy in a different capacity in the near-future.