X-Men: Who is Moira MacTaggert?

X-Men Moira MacTaggert - Cover
(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)

Powers of X #1 has drawn a great deal of attention to a reliable member of the X-Men’s supporting cast: Moira MacTaggert. A brief conversation in that issue has been declared the “most important scene in the history of the X-Men,” although the context that makes it so important has yet to be revealed. Both old fans drawn back in by Hickman’s revival of the X-franchise and new readers attracted by rave review, are likely looking for a brief refresher on who this character is and why she might be so important. That’s why we’ve assembled an essential summary to serve anyone tracing the mysteries of Powers of X and House of X. So if you’re not quite sure who Moira MacTaggert is or why she might be so important, just keep reading.

Creation & Origins

Moira MacTaggert was co-created by writer Chris Claremont and artist Dave Cockrum in the pages of X-Men (vol. 1) #96, soon after the same pair relaunched the series in the pages of Giant-Size X-Men #1. Moira was one of the first significant supporting characters in Claremont’s rapidly expanding to appear, and would become one of the franchise’s longest-lasting human protagonists.

She would first appear before the X-Men as a new housekeeper, but it was slowly revealed that her connections with Charles Xavier and mutantkind were far deeper than initial appearances. MacTaggert first encountered Xavier when they both attended Oxford; the pair were romantically involved before MacTaggert broke off their engagement in order to return to Scotland. It was revealed that she left due to an ongoing marriage with an abusive spouse whom she eventually left in order to found a foundation for mutant research on Muir Island. This is also where Moira would raise her son, Kevin, from her first marriage, an omega-level mutant with deadly reality-warping abilities who would later be known as Proteus.

X-Men Moira MacTaggert - Claremont
(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)

History

After joining the X-Men and becoming familiar with the team (specifically fellow Scot Banshee with whom she would become romantically linked), it was revealed that Proteus has become a threat to mankind. The X-Men were forced to kill Proteus, but Moira remained sympathetic to the team and continued to assist them in a wide variety of future endeavors, as both a scientific researcher and concerned guardian.

Part of this support came in the formation of an alternate team with Banshee on Muir Island after the apparent death of the X-Men. The island would remain a place of refuge and research for mutants, whenever it wasn’t under attack by the likes of the Shadow King or Magneto, often under the leadership of this pair.

When the mutant-killing Legacy Virus appeared, MacTaggert became a key figure in researching and combating the illness. Her extended exposure to the virus resulted in her becoming the only human it infected, but she continued to work on a cure while in quarantine. MacTaggert was killed by Mystique during this period, but managed to transfer crucial information that would eventually lead to a cure before dying. She only recently returned to life during the “Chaos War” event along with multiple other mutants and Marvel superheroes.

X-Men Moira MacTaggert - First Class
(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)

Greatest Hits

While Moira MacTaggert is primarily known for her supporting role in the X-Men mythos, she has accumulated a large number of well-known and well-liked stories across more than 40 years of Marvel Comics appearances. These are some of the essential reads for anyone interested in learning more about her comics history.

Night of the Demon!: X-Men (vol. 1) #96: Moira MacTaggert’s very first appearance introduced her as the X-Men’s new housekeeper. Her attitude and accent are present from the very start, even as much of her past remains obfuscated. In addition to a lot of pleasant introductions, this issue also features Moira wielding a shotgun to help the X-Men combat a demonic incursion.

The Mystery of Muir Island: X-Men (vol. 1) #125-128: This story transformed Moira MacTaggert from a valuable supporting cast member into a key figure in X-Men history. It reveals her past and the nature of Proteus in a mind-bending battle with the X-Men. This story also centers around Muir Island, a key locale for decades to come.

Here We Go Again: Uncanny X-Men (vol. 1) #254: This issue introduced the Muir Island X-Men led by MacTaggert and Banshee, and including notable members Forge, Legion, and Polaris. It provides an example of both how essential MacTaggert was to maintaining the team through so much strife and her strong relationships with a wide variety of different mutants.

Dream’s End: Uncanny X-Men (vol. 1) #388, Cable (vol. 1) #87, Bishop: The Last X-Men #16, and X-Men (vol. 2) #108: The climactic conclusion to years of stories featuring the Legacy Virus, this crossover event includes the deaths of multiple X-characters, including Moira MacTaggert. In addition to being a pivotal point in X-history, it also features a classic showdown between members of the X-Men and Brotherhood of Mutants.

Notable Adaptations

Moira MacTaggert’s significance to X-Men comics, specifically stories from the Claremont era, have resulted in her appearing in a variety of cartoons, films, and video games, often in a supporting role. While she can be spotted in other series and adaptations, the media below represents MacTaggert’s most prominent appearances to date.

X-Men: The Animated Series (animated series): Voiced by Lally Cadeau, MacTaggert appeared in a number of storylines primarily adapted from the comics. She was an expert of mutant biology and provided advice to the X-Men when confronting antagonists like Dark Phoenix and Proteus (who remained her and Charles Xavier’s son in this series).

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X-Men: The Last Stand (film): Portrayed by Olivia Williams, this was the first live-action appearance of MacTaggert. She only makes a series of cameo appearances throughout the course of the film, helping to explain the nature and debates surrounding mutant powers. Her post-credits appearance suggested a larger role in future films before the franchise was rebooted with X-Men: First Class.

X-Men: First Class (film): Portrayed by Rose Byrne, MacTaggert is the most prominent human character in this relaunch of the X-Men film franchise. She was updated to be a CIA agent who supports the X-Men after encountering mutants in her own efforts to expose the Hellfire Club. This was her largest role to date, including a relationship with Xavier, a key role in the film’s climax, and a subsequent appearance in X-Men: Apocalypse.