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Giancarlo Esposito confirms Marvel talks, says he wants to play Professor X

Giancarlo Esposito as Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian.

Marvel announced the entire MCU Phase 5 at Comic-Con a few weeks ago and unveiled three major titles from Phase 6. But we still don’t have an announcement for the rumored The Mutants movie that will bring Marvel’s X-Men to the MCU. And rumors say it might be years before the mutants join the Avengers. But some actors are already excited about the prospect, with Giancarlo Esposito having just confirmed that he wants to play the X-Men’s iconic Professor X.

Over the weekend, the actor took the stage at Celebrity Fan Fest in Texas, where he confirmed talks with Marvel. It’s in this context that Esposito addressed rumors about the MCU character that he might play. Mind you, some spoilers might follow below.

Marvel got the mutants back in 2019 after Disney finalized the Fox acquisition. The X-Men and Deadpool were finally fair game for the MCU. The Fox acquisition also made possible the Fantastic Four reboot coming soon to the MCU.

But Marvel certainly took its time announcing X-Men projects, with the pandemic giving Marvel even more time to rethink its mutant strategy.

When will the X-Men join the MCU?

The studio hasn’t shied away from adding X-Men adventures to the MCU, but we’re mainly looking at animated series. Also, the MCU got its first Professor X earlier this year, when the X-Men leader appeared in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Patrick Stewart played Charles Xavier in the movie. But this was a mutant from Earth-838 rather than the MCU’s primary reality.

scene from better call saul
Giancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring and Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut in “Better Call Saul”. Image source: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Marvel’s multiverse rules made it clear that a character doesn’t have to look the same in every universe. Loki and No Way Home are the best examples of that. Not to mention that 838 Xavier died, so there’s little chance we’ll see that Professor X variant again.

That said, Marvel finally acknowledged the existence of mutants in the MCU timeline a few weeks ago when the Ms. Marvel finale aired. Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) is the first big X-Men reveal in the MCU.

Explaining the mutants’ existence in the MCU is also problematic for Marvel. The studio has to figure out a way for everything to make sense, given that it could not use any X-Men in the MCU until the 2019 Fox deal.

Finally, we have rumors that say existing Fox contracts might prevent Marvel from truly rebooting the X-Men stories for the MCU. Those contracts might expire in 2025, so the mutants might not come to the MCU until Phase 7 in a worst-case scenario.

Rumors dating back to 2019 claimed that Marvel planned a few significant changes for the MCU’s X-Men. The studio had been looking at having people of color playing both Magneto and Professor X. The pandemic delays followed, and the MCU’s X-Men casting choices didn’t come up as much.

Giancarlo Esposito wants to play Professor X

Recently, reports said that Giancarlo Esposito has met with Marvel for a mysterious role. The actor played infamous bad guys in other TV shows. He was Gus Fring in Breaking Bad and Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian. Therefore, a villain role might seem like the likeliest choice for Esposito.

But the actor wants to play Professor X. He said as much in his talk at Celebrity Fan Fest, where he spoke about how such stories inspire entire generations and motivate them to do good in real life.

Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) in Ms. Marvel.
Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) in Ms. Marvel. Image source: Marvel Studios

“I have not worked for Marvel yet,” Esposito said. “I have been in the room with them and talked to them. There’s talks of Magneto, Dr. Reed, Dr. Doom… and Professor X.” 

“I’m gonna go with something a little bit different… I’m gonna go and put it out in the universe that it is Professor X,” the actor said, when asked to pick a character.

That’s not a confirmation that Giancarlo Esposito will play Professor X. Such a big X-Men announcement should come from Marvel sometime down the road. But at least we know what Esposito would like to do. And having Esposito play Charles Xavier is certainly an exciting prospect, one Marvel should definitely explore if it’s not doing so already. 

You can watch Esposito’s comments below:


More Marvel coverage: For more MCU news, visit our Marvel guide.

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.