Despite having a fairly forgettable year, Disney recently announced its future projects on Investor Day that has left fans awestruck. With multiple Star Wars and MCU projects lined up, the future looks definitely exciting. As Marvel Studios is aggressively pursuing its Phase Four, the inclusion of Fantastic Four was a surprising inclusion as part of the future prospects. But unfortunately, there has been no official confirmation regarding the status of mutants in the MCU. Though it is widely speculated that WandaVision will introduce the mutants, the executives at Marvel Studios have stayed mum for quite some time now. Nonetheless, Kevin Feige has already told us that the arrival of the X-Men is ‘imminent’ and we couldn’t be any happier about it. But before the official confirmation arrives, Marvel Studios need to cast the most important mutant of them all: Erik Lehnsherr aka Magneto. The Master of Magnetism was portrayed by Sir Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender in Fox Studio’s X-Men. As it is quite inevitable that the MCU will be looking for a new actor to play the anti-hero, here are our top picks.
10. Giancarlo Esposito
The Breaking Bad star has achieved further stardom with his recent portrayal of Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian. Known for his engaging performances as antagonists, Giancarlo Esposito is one of the most sought after actors in the industry right now. His ability to portray calculating and sinister characters with an unflinching menace is perfectly suited for the role of Magneto. However, the actor’s broad acting range can also be brought to use if Disney wishes to include Magneto’s redemptive arcs in the movies.
9. Ralph Fiennes
Having cemented his legacy as Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter series, Ralph Fiennes particularly shines as an antagonist. His spine-chilling performance as SS Officer Amon Roth in Schindler’s List is a testament to the actor’s prowess as an unforgettable villain. His portrayal of Monsieur Gustave H. can also work in his favor if Marvel Studios decides to go for a slightly less menacing Magneto.
8. Javier Bardem
Widely regarded as one of the best actors of this era, Javier Bardem is shocking yet to make his appearance as a comic-book villain. Having risen to fame for his portrayal of Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men, Bardem also received widespread acclaim for his role of Raoul Silva in Skyfall. Bardem’s impeccable range and an imposing screen presence would work wonders for the MCU, if cast as Magneto.
7. Liam Neeson
A powerful individual who believes in a dubious justice system for self-preservation, where have we heard this before? Liam Neeson’s splendid performance as Ra’s Al Ghul in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins doesn’t really need much explanation as to why the actor is quite perfect to play the role of a similar character in the MCU. His unparalleled gravitas paired with sage-like wisdom easily sets him up as an intellectual opponent of Charles Xavier, whenever he is not crushing metals and destroying cities.
6. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Though Game of Thrones did not finish on a high note, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s portrayal of Jaime Lannister received universal acclaim. Starting off as an arrogant and immoral character, Jaime Lannister’s journey of regaining his honor and numerous sacrifices was perfectly captured by this Danish actor. His ability to seamlessly move between the emotional spectrum is a much-needed quality for the role of Magneto. Like Erik Lehnsherr, Waldau’s Jaime Lannister stayed a warrior till the very end, having a soft spot for children (except Bran), a trait that is also shared by Magneto in the comics.
5. Michael Shannon
Not averse to playing terrifying characters with self-preservation qualities, Michael Shannon’s portrayal of General Zod in Man of Steel was one of the major highlights of the movie. Shannon’s striking on-screen presence and his ability to play strong characters with morally dubious motives would perfectly set up Magneto as MCU’s next greatest antagonist. His unflinching and menacing presence can gel easily with the angst of a Holocaust survivor who wishes to protect the mutants at all costs.
4. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
Having already played two major comic book characters in the recent past, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is an interesting choice to play the Master of Magnetism in the MCU. As Black Manta in Aquaman and Doctor Manhattan in Watchmen, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II can internalize the rage and detachment of both the characters, thus encapsulating Magneto from the comics. Though a few might argue that changing the character’s race would receive severe backlash, casting Yahya Abdul-Mateen II would actually enforce the idea of equality and reflect the mutant metaphor in modern times, as envisioned by Stan Lee. The actor’s striking physique and stunning acting chops can easily do justice to one of the best comic-book anti-heroes of all time.
3. Mark Strong
Though Mark Strong’s last portrayal of a comic book villain in Green Lantern was fairly forgettable, the actor has since become a fan-favorite owing to the massive popularity of the Kingsman movies. The actor got a second chance at redemption when he was cast as Doctor Sivanna in Shazam!. However, the actor received critical acclaim for his role of Hani Salaam in Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies. A suave actor with a distinct individuality, Mark Strong can bring a sense of control and rage to Magneto.
2. Christopher Waltz
Having played the role of SS officer Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds, it is quite ironic to offer the role of a Holocaust survivor to Christopher Waltz. But then, the actor’s German-Austrian ancestry can put the personalized spin on the charismatic anti-hero that the MCU surely needs. Regarded as one of the best actors of all time, Waltz can effortlessly play the role of a cold, menacing character, along with a German accent.
1. Charles Dance
If Marvel Studios is looking for an older version of Magneto, Charles Dance is the answer. Having risen to fame for playing the role of Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones, the similarities between Magneto and the Lannister patriarch are quite uncanny. Both care deeply about their family, would go to any extent to ensure their survival, and are terrifyingly menacing if the situation arises. Also, it would make sense to cast Charles Dance as Magneto if the MCU is going for a comic-book accurate portrayal, since Erik Lehnsherr is a Holocaust survivor.