Robert Kelly
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Uncanny X-Men #135 (July 1980)
Created byChris Claremont
John Byrne
In-story information
Alter egoRobert Edward Kelly
Team affiliationsUnited States Senate
Project: Wideawake

Robert Edward Kelly is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He most often appears in Marvel's X-Men related comic books. He is a prominent United States Senator who began his career on an anti-mutant platform and tended to be an antagonist to the X-Men team, but later began to change his views on mutants as a whole.

Publication history

The character was created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne and makes his first appearance in The Uncanny X-Men #135 (July 1980).

Fictional character biography

Senator Robert Kelly was first seen at a social gathering hosted by the Hellfire Club, where an illusion projected by the mutant villain Mastermind caused him to believe he had witnessed the X-Man Cyclops firing randomly into a crowd. He was the primary backer of the Mutant Control Act and Project Wideawake, a government program aimed at creating updated Sentinel robots that would help track down, detain and, if necessary, kill violent mutants.[1]

Senator Kelly played a central role in the Days of Future Past storyline. His assassination by Mystique and the Brotherhood of Mutants leads to a dystopian future where mutants and other heroes were hunted down by the Sentinels and nearly totally eliminated, with the X-Men working to prevent it.[2]

Kelly was later married to Sharon, a former maid who worked in the Hellfire Club.[3] Kelly, in a meeting with Sebastian Shaw, was shocked when his wife walked in wearing her old servant garb as a bit of fun. Sharon was genuinely apologetic, saying she would not have done such a thing if it hadn't been just him and Shaw. Sharon was killed, shot by Master Mold during a battle between the mutant-hunting robot and Rogue. This further incited Robert's stance against mutantkind.[4]

Senator Kelly remained an active anti-mutant activist in the comics through the 1990s, but slowly became more open-minded and tolerant towards the mutant population, (thought to be a reference to George Wallace, and other former segregationists who renounced their past racism) promising the X-Men he would work for the rights of mutants during the early 2000s. After his life was saved by the mutant Pyro in an attack (this was when Pyro was infected with the Legacy Virus) from Post, Kelly vowed to reconsider his standing on mutants and work towards improving human/mutant relations. Despite being guarded by the X-Man Cable, he was not long afterward assassinated at a college rally (where he was speaking at the time) by the anti-mutant activist Alan Lewis who felt that Kelly betrayed their anti-mutant cause. He died in Cable's arms after Cable had been too occupied helping Jean Grey save Charles Xavier on the astral plane to realize the danger to Kelly before it was too late. With his dying breaths, he pleaded for Cable not to give up on his dream. Cable's failure to protect the reformed Kelly, coupled with the devastating loss of Moira MacTaggert who was murdered by Mystique, led Cable to leave the X-Men not long afterward.[5]

The Box prison for mutant criminals was also known as the Robert Kelly Correction Facility where it was named in honor of him.[6]


The character's name was chosen by Chris Claremont, in honor of his Bard College professor, the poet Robert Kelly. The latter has confirmed the connection between the two names in interviews among his students.[citation needed]

Other versions

Age of Apocalypse

In the Age of Apocalypse, Robert Kelly was an activist for mutant-human peace who is eventually elected President of the United States. He named Magneto as Director of Mutant Affairs and enlisted the X-Men's aid in the broken country's reconstruction.[7]

X-Men: Noir

In the X-Men Noir reality, Robert Kelly was a Republican Senator of New York who strongly defended the controversial U.S. extraterritorial prison Genosha Bay. Kelly believed through eugenics that it is necessary for containing criminals who are more exceptionally dangerous and from "infecting" the public with their criminal ways. However, in reality, Kelly's true purpose of keeping Genosha Bay was because it was the proving grounds in recruiting the next generation of ideal soldiers and government operatives.[8]

Secret Wars

During the "Secret Wars" storyline, a version of Robert Kelly existed as the appointed Baron of the Battleworld domain known as Westchester. Kelly survived an assassination attempt by the Shadow King whom possessed Cassandra Nova (revealed to be a clone of Charles Xavier created by Apocalypse) and despite being a merely "human" and remaining publicly favorable to the X-Men, Baron Kelly was secretly one of the Horsemen of Apocalypse along with Bastion, Mystique and Exodus. He was last seen meeting with Apocalypse to plan the future for Westchester.[9]

In other media


Senator Kelly as he appears in X-Men: The Animated Series (left), X-Men: Evolution (center) and Wolverine and the X-Men (right)


Video games


  1. ^ The Uncanny X-Men #135. Marvel Comics.
  2. ^ The Uncanny X-Men #141-142. Marvel Comics.
  3. ^ Uncanny X-Men #246. Marvel Comics.
  4. ^ The Uncanny X-Men #247 (August 1989). Marvel Comics.
  5. ^ X-Men #108 (2001). Marvel Comics.
  6. ^ X-Men Gold vol. 2 #23. Marvel Comics.
  7. ^ Tales from the Age of Apocalypse #1. Marvel Comics.
  8. ^ X-Men Noir: Mark of Cain #1. Marvel Comics.
  9. ^ X-Men '92 #1-4. Marvel Comics.
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Senator Robert Kelly Voice - X-Men franchise | Behind The Voice Actors". December 19, 2019. Check mark indicates role has been confirmed using screenshots of closing credits and other reliable sources.((cite web)): CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  11. ^ Romano, Nick. "'X-Men '97' exclusive look reveals legacy costumes, Theo James casting". Retrieved February 15, 2024.