Who are the Shi'ar?

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Who are the Shi'ar?

The Shi'ar are a powerful alien empire in the Marvel Universe.  They are most known for appearing in the X-men comic stories.  The Imperial Guard attacks Earth due to the presence of the Dark Phoenix/Jean Grey.
They are currently more powerful than the Skrulls and the Kree.  X-men writer Ed Brubaker once described the Shi'ar as "smart, aggressive, and mean" like Star Trek's Romulans.

One of the distinctive aspect of the Shi'ar is their Imperial Guard.  Originally the Imperial Guard were based off the Legion at DC.  Overtime they have slowly changed and bear less of a direct resemblance.  The Imperial Guard is a group of Shi'ar superbeings who have sworn loyalty to the Shi'ar Emperor.  The guard is led by the loyal and extremely powerful Gladiator.  Gladiator is loosely based off of Superboy and basically has the same super powers of Superman.

Government:  The Shi'ar is an Empire ruled by an Emperor or Empress they are called Majestor or Majestrix.  The Imperial Guard serves who ever holds the title of Emperor.

Emperor's of Shi'ar:
  • D'ken - Obessed with power and a crytal that can bestow upon its user the Godlike power Dken ends up in conflict with the X-men.
  • Lilandra Neramani- More wise than her father Lilandra leads the Shi'ar away from conflict with Earth.  She also is a love interest with Charles Xavier.  Through Lilandra the X-men gain critical technology like the holograms they use in the dangerroom, cloaking fields on their jet.
  • Vulcan- The evil and very powerful mutant brother of Cyclops.
  • Gladiator - The leader of the imperial guard takes the role of Emperor after Vulcan is seemingly killed with a bomb full of Blackbolts energy.

Location:  The Shi'ar Empire is located between the Skrull and Kree Empires.  Their capital is artificial planet called Throneworld.

Expansion through Violence:  The Shi'ar force other worlds to join their empire.  Their advanced technology can allow them to easily take over or wipe out empires that refuse to join.

Warren Ellis described their method of expansion with a parable in his 1995 Starjammers series:

"Sharra and K'ythri are the gods in marriage. The gods who didn't want to marry, but were forced into it. In marriage they found strength and in strength they found love. That's what the Shi'ar Imperium does. It marries other cultures. Shotgun weddings."

Key Technology:  The Shiar have stargates that allow them  to travel throughout the universe, they have cloaking and hologram devices.

One key piece of technology is the Starcracker.  The Starcracker allows the Shi'ar to destroy a star.  The threat of the Starcracker is often enough to force other worlds to surrender to the Shi'ar.


The Shi'ar empire includes multiple alien species and worlds.
The main Shi'ar species is coldblooded and avian based.  They often have a patch of feathers sprouting like upward facing widows peak on their forehead.  Like a bird the Shi'ar have hollow bones.  Shi'ar are also concieved in eggs like birds. While you may not think a hollow boned alien would be very strong the Shi'ar come from a world with greater gravity than Earth.  Shi'ar are physically stronger than humans and capable of lifting one ton on Earth. 

The Shi'ar end up defeating the Kree in the Kree Shi'ar war.   Leaving them as one of the most powerful remaining alien empires.

Sh'ar Art:

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