The Shi'ar are a race of avian-descended humanoids (see Biology).

Phoenix Saga

D'Ken Neramani, a corrupt Shi'ar ruler, attempted to use the powerful M'Kraan Crystal to take over the universe. His younger sister Lilandra and her new allies, the X-Men, foiled his plans. He was rendered comatose by the crystal, and Lilandra took over as the Majestrix of the Shi'ar Empire. The X-Men, as well as most of Earth's other superheroes, have had cordial if not friendly relations with the Shi'ar Empire ever since.

The Trial of Galactus

The Shi'ar put Reed Richards on trial for the crimes of genocide. He was guilty of reviving Galactus after he was defeated on Earth. Shortly after his revival, Galactus proceeded to consume the Skrull throneworld, resulting in the death of billions. Uatu the Watcher, acting as his lawyer and with the help of Odin and Galactus himself, convinced the gathered tribunal that Galactus was a necessary force of betterment of the universe, not a villain. This was done by summoning Eternity. The truth as shown by Eternity however, was so grand and overpowering that none of the tribunal's members could remember it fully, although the comprehension stayed.

Deathbird, the Kree-Shi'ar War, and the Spartoi

Lilandra and D'Ken's unstable exiled elder sibling, Deathbird, made several attempts to overthrow her sister from power. Deathbird even resorted to attacking Lilandra's Earth-based allies in order to achieve her goals. She was also responsible for initially directing the alien parasites known as the Brood towards the Earth and its heroes. Deathbird was eventually deposed with the assistance of the X-Men.

The Shi'ar annexed the Kree Empire at the end of the Kree-Shi'ar War and Deathbird was placed into a prominent position as viceroy of Hala, the Kree homeworld. However, Deathbird did not last long in this position and the current status of the Kree territories is unclear. [2]

The Shi'ar have had recent contact with the Spartoi, described as an equally advanced distant race, noted for Star-Lord's citizenship.

Cassandra Nova

Professor Xavier's evil twin sister, Cassandra Nova, single-handedly destroyed a good portion of the Shi'ar Empire. Inhabiting the body of her brother, Nova asserted control of Empress Lilandra and caused a Shi'ar civil war. Jean Grey was instrumental in ending this threat.

Phoenix Endsong & End of Greys

Even though Jean Grey did the Shi'ar a big favor by eliminating the threat of Cassandra Nova, the Shi'ar still wanted her dead. A group of Shi'ar tried to permanently kill the Phoenix Force and Jean Grey. Jean, however, escaped their suicide bomb attack and returned to the White Hot Room to restore herself. [3] The Shi'ar wanted to wipe out the Grey genome and Quentin Quire with the purpose of eliminating the possibility of a new Omega-level mutant becoming a host for the Phoenix Force. The Shi'ar Death Commandos murdered Jean Grey's father, niece, nephew, and other relatives in an alien invasion on Earth, thus inciting the wrath of Jean's daughter Rachel Summers, who vowed vengeance on the entire Shi'ar Empire. [4] Recent events seem to indicate the Shi'ar Council was responsible for this, and that Lilandra was unaware of what had been done in her name.

Fall of the Shi'ar

Another Shi’ar threat came from an X-Men villain called Vulcan. During his tenure as majestor of the empire, D'Ken killed Vulcan's mother Katherine Summers (also mother to long time X-Men Scott and Alex Summers) and made him a slave for most of his adolescent life. Bent on revenge against D'Ken, Vulcan attacked the Empire. Not only that, but within the empire, there was a coup to dethrone Lilandra and return D'Ken to power, with the aid of Deathbird. The X-Men once again teamed up with their space allies, the Starjammers, to stop both Vulcan and the plot to return rulership of the empire to D'Ken. In the end, Vulcan killed his father, Corsair, and D'Ken, and assumed the throne of the Shi'ar Empire for himself, with Deathbird as his queen; Lilandra and the Starjammers led a resistance against Vulcan's rule.[5]

Emperor Vulcan

The civil war between Vulcan's forces and those loyal the dethroned Lilandra raged on. Led by Havok and the Starjammers, Lilandra's forces gradually whittled away at Vulcan's forces, which were plagued by defections. The Shi'ar, contrary to Vulcan's expectations, were not happy to have an outsider as their ruler. Vulcan was discouraged by this, but Deathbird convinced him that they would come to accept him.

Warned in advance of a rebel raid on Feather's Edge, Vulcan and his fleet ambushed the Starjammers. However, in the middle of the battle, his ship, the Hammer, was destroyed by the Scy'ar Tal (translates as "Death to the Shi'ar"). Vulcan and Gladiator (still the praetor of his Imperial Guard) attacked the leader of the Scy'ar Tal and were easily defeated, whereupon they retreated deeper into Shi'ar space.

Marvel Girl made contact with the Eldest Scy'ar Tal and discovered their true origin. The Scy'ar Tal were originally called the M'Kraan. Early in their history, the Shi'ar attacked them, killed a great number of their people, making the rest flee for their lives. Eventually, the Shi'ar settled on their planet, took the M'Kraan Crystal as their own, and passed down the legend of the M'Kraan Crystal as a sacred gift from their deities, Sharra & K'ythri. The M'Kraan then changed their name to Scy'ar Tal and devoted their culture and society to the destruction of the Shi'ar Empire. With their first attack, they destroyed Feather's Edge by transporting a star to obliterate it. After which, Vulcan made contact with the Starjammers to call a temporary ceasefire.

Under the ceasefire, the Shi'ar and the Starjammers decided to take out the Finality, thus crippling the Scy'ar's biggest threat. Once Havok and Vulcan were in position to destroy Finality, the Eldest Scy'ar tried to stop them. Once Vulcan figured out how the Eldest was powered, he severed the connection Eldest had with his brothers, making him powerless. Once the connection was severed, the Scy'ar become unorganized, and the tide of the battle shifted to the Shi`ar. The Shi'ar then proceed to attack both the Scy'ar and the Starjammers. Meanwhile, Vulcan blasted Havok into a sun.

Vulcan decided to use Finality to destroy the Scy'ar by using the weapon to place a star in the middle of their fleet. Alex returned and, having absorbed enough power to burn him, decided to end things with Vulcan. While they battled, Rachel and Korvus tried, but failed to stop the beacon that would initiate the attack by the Shi'ar. The Shi'ar Imperial Guard ended Alex's battle with Vulcan by appearing with the Starjammers in captivity, threatening to kill them. Before surrendering, Alex destroyed Finality. With Alex and the Starjammers in custody Vulcan declared that he would return the Shi'ar Empire to its former glory.


The Shi'ar were humanoids of avian descent who resembled humans with feathered crests atop their heads in lieu of hair. Two different styles were common; Most Shi'ar, particularly those of the aristocracy, had feathers sprouting in a triangular shape away from the face, one peak on the top of the head and one peak on each side slightly over the shoulder. The other commonly seen "hair"style was bushy on both sides and very flat on the top.

Internally, they had light hollow bones, and on their forearms there were still some vestigial feathers left of wings that were lost over millions of years of evolution. The average Shi'ar could lift one ton in earth-like gravity and had far greater stamina. Most Shi'ar had no other special abilities, though some were genetic throwbacks. These individuals possessed wings which allowed them to fly.

The Shi'ar conceived their offspring in eggs. They were nurtured in special chambers and the children were referred to as hatchlings.


The Shi'ar possess technologies common to most alien races, including:

  • faster than light capable starships
  • energy-based weapons in their ships and in their handheld weapons
  • force fields
  • faster than light communication
  • teleportation technology

The Shi'ar also possess technologies fairly unique to them, including:

  • Hologram technology: which was used by the X-Men in their Danger Room.
  • Cloaking technology: rendering a craft completely invisible, used by the X-Men on their Blackbird aircraft.
  • Stargates: Devices in a network system. They were used for travel to faraway distances. There were planet-based Stargates (used for personal travel) and enormous space-based versions (used for starships to travel through).
  • Starcracker technology: This was the Shi'ar ultimate weapon. The Starcracker caused stars to go supernova.

Most if not all Shi'ar technology was sentient.[6]



Traditionally, the Imperium aggressively absorbs new cultures. The story of the Shi'ar deities Sharra and K'ythri was a parable which guided the Shi'ar expansionist philosophy to other worlds:

"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."[7]

There were aggressive and violent ancient traditions, such as the Rite of Arin'nn Haelar, which was a battle to the death. This rite could be invoked to settle disagreements and their outcomes were accepted by the Imperium.


Though the empire grew to include hundreds of thousands of different sentient species and worlds, the Shi'ar race controled and governed the empire. Its central base of power was located on the "throneworld" Chandilar, while the Shi’ar homeworld was called Aerie (it is unknown if the planet still exists). The leader of the empire was given the title Majestor (male) or Majestrix (female) and was a hereditary position, occupied by members of the royal family of the Shi'ar. The Neramani family was the most recent to represent the royal bloodline.

The Shi'ar Empire was one of the most advanced and expansive civilizations in the universe, spanning entire galaxies. It was mainly an economic co-operative, where trade with other galactic powers was its driving force. Not all races had the same rights in the Imperium, as the Shi’ar appeared to have a disproportionate influence on its governance.

It was nominally ruled over by a high council, which had representatives from a large majority of the alien races that existed within the Imperium. However, in practice, the head of the council (the Majestor or Majestrix) exercised strong executive control and could institute policy virtually by decree.

The leader of the empire was protected by his or her own personal guard, the Imperial Guard, which was made up of the most powerful and elite soldiers from throughout the Empire, and led by a praetor. The military itself (outside of the Imperial Guard) consisted almost exclusively of Shi'ar personnel, at least in most of the command positions.

Though having warlike and militaristic ancestry, the Shi'ar Empire largely occupied the role of peacekeepers in many interstellar affairs. For example, Empress Lilandra Neramani tried to broker peace between the Kree Empire and the Skrull Empire to help bring an end to their devastating war, she sought interstellar accord when deciding how to end the threat of the Dark Phoenix, and attempted to avenge the destruction of Tarnax IV, the Skrull throneworld, by Galactus.

However, it should also be noted that Empress Lilandra was personally responsible for authorizing the use of the Nega-bomb weapon, devastating the Kree Empire during Operation: Galactic Storm, and that the Shi’ar were pivotal in the invasion and containment of Earth during the Maximum Security event. One of the latest atrocities committed by the Shi’ar was ordering the extermination of Jean Grey’s family, in an effort to quell any future conflicts with the Phoenix entity.

Powers and Abilities


The average Shi'ar can lift 1 ton in earth-like gravity and has far greater stamina. Most Shi'ar have no other special abilities, though some are genetic throwbacks. These individuals possess wings which allow them to fly.


No known abilities.

Average Strength level

Superhuman, at least 1 ton with intensive exercise.


Population: 60 billion.


Type of Government: Imperial Empire ruled by Empress-Majestrix Lilandra Neramani
Level of Technology: Highly advanced, with warp-drive starships, and Stargate space-warping technology that allows for instantaneous travel between galaxies.
Cultural Traits: Warrior culture
Representatives: Lilandra, Chancellor Araki
Notable Members of Race: D'Ken, Deathbird


It can be presumed that shi'ars can cross with humans to produce hybrids. Two examples are X-Treme, and presumably Lifeguard.

  • X-Men writer Ed Brubaker compared the Shi'ar to Star Trek's Romulans, saying they are "smart, aggressive, and mean".

See Also

Links and References


  1. Deathbird says "I am of the Aerie, the royal nest of Shi'ar" in Uncanny X-Men #157. This suggests that Aerie might be the capitol building or even some section of that building (royal family creche?) rather than the name of the planet.
  2. In the 1992 crossover "Operation: Galactic Storm"
  3. Phoenix Endsong
  4. "End of Greys" story arc
  5. "The Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire"
  6. Astonishing X-Men #9
  7. Warren Ellis' 1995 Starjammers limited series
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.

Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, Fandom will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Stream the best stories.

Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, Fandom will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Get Disney+