Disney Seemingly Recasts Iconic ‘X-Men’ Character as Star Fuels Rumors

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Wolverine looking shocked in X-Men

Credit: 20th Century

As Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man made a self-sacrificing gesture to defeat Thanos (Josh Brolin), and Chris Evans said farewell to his role as Steve Rogers/Captain America, handing over the mantle of Cap, a significant opening has arisen for superhero teams such as the Fantastic Four and X-Men to take on important roles within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

As the Multiverse expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) into new realms, characters from alternate dimensions, including those from the Sony Spider-Man Universe (SSU) and the Fox X-Men Universe (previously 20th Century Fox, now 20th Century Studios under The Walt Disney Company), are ready to enter the storyline.

X-Men cast
Credit: Marvel Studios / 20th Century Studios

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This encompasses personalities like Deadpool/Wade Wilson (self-named “Marvel Jesus”), portrayed by Ryan Reynolds, and Wolverine/Logan/James Howlett, famously portrayed by Hugh Jackman. Jackman’s highly anticipated film, Deadpool & Wolverine, AKA Deadpool 3, is the sole Marvel Studios theatrical release of 2024.

High Res version of a BTS photo of Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in Deadpool 3
Credit: Ryan Reynolds, Instagram

Has Marvel Found Its Next Big X-Men Star?

It’s well known by now that Wolverine and Deadpool will bring the Fox X-Men Universe to a head this summer, but few might have given thought to what happens to the X-Men after.

Seeing as Avengers 5 (formerly Avengers: The Kang Dynasty) and the allegedly Multiverse-erasing Avengers 6, or Avengers: Secret Wars is allegedly the end of the Multiverse Saga, it only makes sense for Marvel President Kevin Feige to further explore the X-Men in a future Saga — perhaps the Mutant Saga.

Giancarlo Esposito smiling in a suit, Professor X (Patrick Stewart) using Cerebro, Magneto (Ian McKellen) looking to his right disdainfully
Credit: Edited by Inside The Magic

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With the mutants more than likely to next come on to the MCU scene, and with the Fox iteration of those characters heavily teased to clash with the mainline MCU characters, especially in The Marvels (2023), Feige seems keen to nail down some key talent (and key X-Men) as tentpoles for the next phase of Marvel Studios’ cinematic story.

This is something they’ve already begun in Disney+’s (Disney Plus) ongoing X-Men ’97, a continuation of the 1990s classic X-Men: The Animated Series.

According to Hollywood and Marvel insider Daniel Richtman (@DanielRPK), Marvel is reportedly looking at casting Keke Palmer (Nope) in a major role, as fan speculation (and the star’s own actions) indicate that it is likely X-Men’s Rogue/Anna Marie LeBeau (or Marie D’Ancanto in the Fox X-Men films). Marvel Film News on X/Twitter shared the following report from Richtman:

Marvel is interested in Keke Palmer for a big role in the MCU

It’s unknown if they’ve already met but if they haven’t, it will happen in the future

(@DanielRPK)

Palmer seems more than ready for the role of Rogue, seeing as she is such a big fan of the Marvel character that she has even dressed up as the Marvel Comics icon for Halloween (via @kekepalmer on TikTok):

THANKS SUGA! 🎃

@kekepalmer

THANKS SUGA! 🎃

♬ Take Me to Hell – Chloe Adams

Fans were even reacting to this two years ago when it was posted; there was a discussion about how this was essentially Palmer’s “audition” to play the fan-favorite Southern-accent mutant Rogue. As u/gcaledonian shared on Reddit:

This is how you audition lol

Comment
byu/omar_afx from discussion
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Fans in 2024 have already begun reacting, some bringing up Palmer’s Halloween outfit and agreeing that it would be a perfect X-Men cast:

Cosmic Marvel: Marvel Studios is reportedly interested in Keke Palmer for a big role in the #MCU.

(via @DanielRPK)

@NOIVASwright: Come on now, SUGAH!

Inevitably, comments about “race-bending” from users online have also begun to crop up. This backlash references the fact that Palmer, a black actress, would be taking over from Caucasian actress Anna Paquin from the 2000s Fox X-Men franchise, should Palmer play the MCU’s edition of X-Men’s Rogue:

@STAYFRO5TY86: Instead of race bending characters why not be the actual black characters, there’s a large list of them y’all just don’t like them

@trarashad_: She can pull it off, yall just don’t want yall faves to be played by a black person

Another fan theory is that Palmer could potentially play Ororo Munroe, AKA Storm, yet another iconic X-Men character.

Do you think Keke Palmer would make a good Rogue? Who else could she play in the MCU? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

More on the X-Men

The Fox X-Men series, inspired by Marvel Comics, portrayed mutants with extraordinary abilities navigating modern society. It centered on the contrasting philosophies of Professor X and Magneto regarding the coexistence of mutants and humans, leading to differing beliefs and loyalties within the mutant community.

Key figures in the series included Patrick Stewart as Professor X/Charles Xavier, Ian McKellen as Magneto/Erik Lehnsherr, and other notable actors like Halle Berry as Ororo Munroe/Storm, Famke Janssen as Dr. Jean Grey, James Marsden as Scott Summers/Cyclops, Rebecca Romijn as Mystique/Raven Darkholme, Alan Cumming as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler, and Anna Paquin as Marie D’Ancanto/Rogue, among others.

Subsequent entries such as X-Men: First Class (2011), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), and X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) explored prequel narratives, introducing younger versions of characters like Professor Xavier, Magneto, and Mystique, played by James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence respectively.

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