Spoilers follow for Doctor Strange 2 and Ms Marvel.
Giancarlo Esposito has called on Marvel Studios to cast him as Professor X in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Speaking at the Superhero Car Show and Comic-Con event (opens in new tab) in Texas over the weekend (August 5-6), the Breaking Bad, The Mandalorian, and The Boys star revealed that he'd love to play the leader of the X-Men in Marvel's cinematic juggernaut. Esposito's declaration comes after rumors linked him with a number of roles in the MCU.
Captured on video by the CountdownCityGeeks TikTok team (opens in new tab), Esposito was asked which character he dreamed of playing in the MCU. Surprisingly, Esposito began his answer by confirming he'd already met with Marvel to discuss acting opportunities. After a long conversational tangent – skip to the 1:08 mark of the video above to get to the good stuff – Esposito address the online speculation before deciding which character he'd want to play.
"I have not worked for Marvel yet," Esposito reveals. "[But] I've been in a room and talked with them... There has been talk of Magneto. There's been talk of [DC supervillain] Doctor [sic] Freeze. There has been talk of – who else have they got over there? Oh, [Doctor] Doom. And there is Professor X."
"Don't do this to us," the panel's host says. "Pick one!"
"Pick one?" Esposito replies. "I'm going to go for something that's a little bit different. I'm going to go and put it out in the universe that it is Professor X."
If Marvel hired Esposito as Professor X, he would be the third actor to portray the character in a live-action capacity. Sir Patrick Stewart played Charles Xavier in Fox's first X-Men trilogy, as well as having a cameo role in Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Meanwhile, James McAvoy portrayed a younger version of the character in Fox's second X-Men movie franchise, which ended in 2019 with the much maligned Dark Phoenix. You can find out more about these superhero films in our how to watch the X-Men movies in order guide.
It's only a matter of time before the X-Men make their way into the MCU. In the season finale of Ms Marvel on Disney Plus, it was revealed that Kamala Khan was a mutant – the first of her kind to officially join Marvel's cinematic universe. Additionally, X-Men 97 – a sequel to the beloved 90s X-Men: The Animated Series TV show – will join the MCU's growing Disney Plus show roster when it arrives in 2023. It's unclear how that series will fit into the MCU, but it could be a primer for the likes of Wolverine, Professor X, Magneto, and company to finally make their live-action MCU bows.
Analysis: will Marvel cast Esposito as Professor X?
Of course, this isn't confirmation that Esposito will play Professor X/Charles Xavier in an X-Men MCU movie. However, given that Esposito's career has been built on playing villainous characters, such as Gus Fring in Breaking Bad, casting him as leader of the X-Men would certainly fall into that "different" category he alludes to.
If he was installed as the MCU's Professor X, though, Esposito has the acting skills and authoritative persona to play the part to perfection. His villainous turns as Breaking Bad's Gus Fring and The Mandalorian's Moff Gideon serve as proof of how Esposito commands the scene when he's on camera. Given Professor X's larger-than-life status among the X-Men and Marvel fans, Esposito has the ability to play such a legendary superhero.
That isn't to say he will be, mind you. As Esposito confirmed, he's previously met with Marvel to discuss a role in the MCU. CanWeGetSomeToast (CWGST), a new and seemingly reliable insider on the MCU scene, claimed they heard Esposito had discussed opportunities with Marvel (opens in new tab), too, with CWGST suggesting as much a whole week before Esposito confirmed those talks had happened. According to CWGST, Doctor Doom was part of those discussions – one of the roles Esposito mentioned.
Meanwhile, a rumor-filled thread on the Marvel Studios Spoilers Reddit page (opens in new tab) linked Esposito with the role of Professor X. Some of that speculation has since been proven true, with Marvel's main San Diego Comic-Con panel confirming as much. However, there are plenty of other rumors in that thread that proved to be false, so it's worth taking this "Esposito is Professor X" gossip with a big pinch of salt for now.
Hopefully, we'll get official confirmation at D23 Expo in September, with Marvel set to hold another panel that's sure to be packed with new reveals and surprise announcements.
For more Marvel-based content, check out our Marvel movies in order and MCU Phase 4 guides. Alternatively, read up on everything to do with She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, the next Marvel Disney Plus TV series, which arrives on August 18.