Giancarlo Esposito is a treasure and a rarity. With his gravelly baritone, his cinematic beauty, and the remarkable ability to mold into any of his on-screen personalities — whether it be the cold and calculating Stan Edgar, the solitary yet ruthless Gus Fring, or the mysterious Grogu-hunting villain Moff Gideon — it is a role he blends threads of himself into with ease.
However, now the stakes and the bar have been raised high and Giancarlo Esposito is on the cards to play Marvel x Foxverse legend and the godfather of all mutants, Professor Charles Xavier. The Better Call Saul actor has recently made it public that he is hopeful about the part and that he has been actively participating in talks surrounding the same with Marvel Studios.
Esposito Breaks the Internet With Professor X Rumors
The Danish-born American actor and director, Giancarlo Esposito has officially put it out into the universe that he is in the running to play Professor X and the internet has let loose a hailstorm of conflicting emotions and debatable opinions with everyone having something to say about the new topic at hand. It is unsurprising for comic-lovers who want to stick close to the scripted narrative of how the character is supposed to look. However, people have simultaneously been wildly receptive to the news as it ushers in a new era where comic characters designed in the mid-20th century shouldn’t have to dictate their current narrative.
That being said, it is immensely important to note that the cultural, ethnic, social, or political background and heritage of the characters make them into the characters that they are as these factors are inherently tied into the entirety of their personality. If one overlooks these factors in favor of staying true to the physical appearance as dictated in the original comics, it’d undoubtedly set a dangerous precedent.
For the racists: Magneto being Jewish IS essential to the character. Xavier being white ISN'T
— Clifford Batteau (@CliffordBatteau) August 6, 2022
The Relevance of the Socio-Political Narrative of Professor X
Professor X is most famously played by Sir Patrick Stewart, placing him as close to the comic rendition of the character, in terms of physical appearance, and timeline apropos age. However, the iconic mutant was birthed during an age of unrest defined by lingering aftereffects of the great wars. The socio-political narrative of Professor X builds in reference to the history of what the war had ravaged and how it had left the strongest of men with lost allies and scarred lives. Nowhere in history has war stopped to measure the tragedy and the echoes left in its wake, and not being white will not take away the importance or the relevance of an actor rightly depicting the character in all its faults and its glory.
The Tug-of-War Between Marvel and Giancarlo Esposito
The insurmountable talents of Giancarlo Esposito, the man born to an Italian stagehand and an African-American opera and nightclub singer, is not always sufficiently appropriate for certain parts and it is not a revolutionary idea to ask him to walk a mile in the shoes of such a character as Marvel’s Doctor Victor von Doom. Primarily, it would be a cultural appropriation for Esposito to play a character who was defined and shaped by the socio-political influences of a genocide.
Moreover, rumors had also surfaced regarding Giancarlo Esposito being eyed for the role of the other pioneer of the Foxverse mutants aka Magneto. This, too, then becomes a bad call for Marvel and 20th Century Fox to favor Esposito’s casting since Magneto was a survivor of the Holocaust, in addition to dismissing factual accuracy that makes the character an octagenarian in the current timeline.
But, given Marvel’s tendencies to play with the established ideas or change aspects of a character’s fundamental origin story (eg. Kamala Khan’s mutant arc instead of Inhuman lineage), it wouldn’t be surprising to note that Magneto could be made a child or activist of the Civil War era, guided by forces such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., the people who helped shape the creationist idea for the first of the mutants in Marvel comics history — Professor X and Magneto.