Arnold Schwarzenegger Is A Marvel Villain?
In the now defunct Ultimate line of Marvel Comics, Arnold Schwarzenegger was portrayed as being a member of the Hellfire Club.
No, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s one and only turn as a supervillain so far–Mister Freeze in 1997’s Batman & Robin— has nothing to do with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, as ScreenRant recently reminded fans, a fictional version of the Terminator star was shown to be a part of the villainous Hellfire Club in 2003’s Ultimate X-Men #25. He doesn’t have a lot to do with the plot, but considering what happens in his appearance, he’s probably fine with the bad guys temporarily getting one over on the team of hero mutants.
The man who appears in Ultimate X-Men #25 is never specifically referred to as Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it’s made pretty clear he’s the one being referenced. At a fancy Hellfire Club party, the X-Men mingle among the rich and famous members. We see Ororo, aka Storm, in front of a tall man she calls “Arnold.”
Storm tells Arnold Schwarzenegger meeting him is a “thrill” and says that she loves his movies, “even the lousy ones you’ve done lately.” That tracks because in 2003, Schwarzenegger’s status as an action star was on a downward trend, with the actor starring in some of his least loved films–e.g. Collateral Damage, The 6th Day, End of Days–releasing in the late nineties and early ’00s. When the team is later captured by the mutant members of the Hellfire Club, we’re guessing Arnold is fine with seeing Storm incapacitated.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s appearance as a member of the Hellfire Club was characteristic in Marvel’s Ultimate line. The alternate narrative often strived to feature a world more in tune with real world trends, including both intentionally drawing Marvel characters as if they were being played by real world actors–e.g., it was in The Ultimates that Nick Fury was first drawn as Samuel L. Jackson, long before the actor was approached about the role–or making those actors characters in the stories.
In fact, in the Ultimate line it wasn’t Arnold Schwarzenegger, but Freddie Prinze Jr. of She’s All That fame who becomes one of the earliest targets of the Hulk’s rage. The I Know What You Did Last Summer star is dating Betty Ross at the time, and neither Banner nor his “other guy” are very happy about it. After Banner transforms into the Hulk toward the end of 2002’s Ultimates #4, the monster screams “HULK WANT FREDDIE PRINZE JUNIOR” before launching into a murderous rampage through Manhattan.
For better or worse, the Hellfire Club version of Arnold Schwarzenegger–along with almost everyone else in the narrative–faded into nonexistence with the 2015-16 event Secret Wars. The narrative’s demise was chronicled in the tie-in miniseries Ultimate End. However, Miles Morales manages to find his way into the prime 616 Marvel Comics Universe, as does the Maker–the Ultimate version of Reed Richards, who is NOT the hero his 616 counterpart is.
We may see Arnold Schwarzenegger soon as less of an implied Marvel villain and more of a bonafide antagonist. A few months ago we exclusively reported that the Expendables star was in talks for a villain role in the MCU. Depending on how those talks went, Arnold may finally get another chance to play a supervillain.