The Fox incarnations of Magneto and Charles Xavier

Rumor Mill: Magneto and Professor X to Be POC in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

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With Marvel’s plans for X-Men and Fantastic Four movies completely up in the air, the rumor mill is churning, and one that’s going around is that Kevin Feige and co. are considering having people of color portray both Magneto and Professor X in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, according to Full Circle Cinema. Time to make those Malcolm X/Martin Luther King Jr. comparisons really pop!

This casting could be part of the MCU’s oft-stated desire to promote representation and diversity. After all, Feige told The Wrap that he does believe that the future of the MCU depends on that:

So, the notion of representation onscreen, in front of and behind the camera, somebody asked me once, so is Black Panther a one-off? I said, no, it’s not a one-off. This is the future. This is the way the world is, and the way, certainly, our studio’s going to be run going forward, because it brings about better stories. The more diverse the group of people making the movie is, the better the stories.

Now, this might come as a surprise, but I only think this half works. I think making Erik a visibly Romani Jewish man would be super important and a good way to counter the whitewashing casting fail that was Scarlet Witch/Wanda. I think you could also choose a mixed-race Jewish person, but I think it would be important to actually cast someone with Jewish ancestry, which could be someone of any racial group.

As for Charles Xavier, I think he works best as a white guy because of his relationship to power. Charles is a manipulator, in many ways, who has taken advantage of young people and turned them into child soldiers. When you read Professor X in the comics, there is a lot of privilege that he has that I think makes his optimism about human/mutant relationship so viable in his mind. He also has a very colonial mentality, molding these kids into his idea of what it means to be a “good mutant.”

What I do think would work better is that you keep Charles white, but diversify the rest of the X-Men. Scott Summers I can see as Native American/First Nations, Jean Grey could be Latina, Beast could be Southeast Asian, etc. I think diverse X-Men is a better goal than a non-white Charles Xavier himself—not to mention the optics of him, as a white man, running a school of young POC for his political agenda would be an interesting longterm narrative and highlight Charles’ ignorance towards the feelings and issues facing his students.

I love diversity in these movies, and I want it to happen, but I would like thought put into it. While “organic diversity” is a term that I feel has been weaponized, I do feel like, if you are going to race-bend important characters, you need to think about how that would change their mentality and experience. You want to write a non-white Charles Xavier? Then think about how that would change him and the makeup of the X-Men.

Let’s not forgot that part of the reason Charles and Magneto have conflict about their methods is because Magneto is a two-time minority as both a Jewish man and a mutant. He is aware that humans already hate other humans, so he cannot believe in some utopia where humans will come to love mutants who are even more different. So, if we have a non-white Charles, then we need to understand why he, as a person of color who had experienced racism, would have that optimism.

I’m glad Feige wants more representation, but let’s also get some of that behind the scenes and in the writers’ room.

(via Full Circle Cinema, image: Fox)

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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.