Giancarlo Esposito Has Joined the MCU — Let’s Hope He’s Not a Villain For Once

The Breaking Bad star really wants to play a good guy. Could Marvel finally give him that chance?

Giancarlo Esposito as Stanley Johnston in The Gentlemen
Kevin Baker/Netflix

When it comes to modern villainy, few actors are more capable than Giancarlo Esposito. The actor has quietly become one of Hollywood’s go-to guys for subdued, subversive, and downright elegant adversaries. From roles in The Mandalorian and The Boys to his breakout in Breaking Bad, it’s hard not to think of Esposito as a bad guy himself.

That said, Esposito seems ready to step out of the rogue’s gallery in future roles. The actor has been circling a role in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe for years, and in 2022 he expressed a real interest in one of the franchise’s most altruistic characters. “There’s been talk of Magneto,” Esposito said at the time. “And there is Professor X ... I’m gonna go for something that is a little bit different. I’m gonna go put it out into the universe that it is Professor X.”

Two years later, Esposito has finally locked down his MCU role. Speaking at a panel at CCXP in Mexico City, the actor confirmed that he’d be appearing in a Marvel project “sooner rather than later,” teasing a role “better than you can imagine.”

Esposito is well-known for his role as antagonists, but that might change when he appears in the MCU.


“I cannot promise you it’ll be Professor X,” he said. “I think that there’s something about being original. We’ve seen different versions of Professor X. Wouldn’t you like to see me play a character in a Marvel movie who is original, and new, and fresh? So, mark my words: This will happen sooner than you think.”

Given Esposito’s enthusiasm, it’s hard not to hope for a change for the actor. Though he notably doesn’t believe in the idea of villains, he’s been locked in antagonistic roles for the better part of a decade — and sure, he’s naturally incredible in every role, but he’s apparently ready to play a good guy. Hopefully Marvel won’t waste a performer with such an impressive range. Even if Esposito doesn’t end up playing Professor X, there are plenty of heroic, sympathetic characters still untouched by the MCU.

Esposito seems ready for a new challenge: “Wouldn’t you like to see me play a character in a Marvel movie who is original, and new, and fresh?”

Rich Polk/Deadline/Getty Images

Recent Marvel projects have felt more subversive than ever before, all thanks to the added freedom of the multiverse. The upcoming Fantastic Four has handpicked a familiar villain from an alternate Earth, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness did the same with an alt-universe takes on Reed Richards (played by John Krasinski) and Charles Xavier (still X-Men alum Patrick Stewart, just with a different look).

It’s safe to assume that Esposito’s MCU character will subvert expectations in a similar way. He might even be playing an all-new character, not unlike Shang-Chi’s Katy (played by Awkwafina) or Moon Knight’s Scarlet Scarab (a remix of a comic book character, played by May Calamawy). The possibilities really are endless, so hopefully we Esposito really does get to unveil his character sooner than later.

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