“I Want To Take Something That Hasn’t Been Done”: Marvel Finds New Villain for ‘X-Men’ Reboot

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Michael Fassbender as Magneto bryan singer

Credit: Marvel Studios

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is rebooting the X-Men, one way or another, and Kevin Feige is circling an iconic TV actor for its newest villain.

The cast of X2 walking toward camera
Credit: 20th Century Studios

20th Century Fox and Marvel

Ever since The Walt Disney Company acquired 21st Century Fox in 2019, Marvel fans have had one question: what’s going to happen with the X-Men? Along with rebranding its new property as 20th Century Studios, the Mouse gained access to the X-Men, along with all mutant-adjacent Marvel Comics IP like Deadpool and the Fantastic Four, meaning that it was only a matter of time before all of those characters debuted in the MCU.

Deadpool & Wolverine will bring Ryan Reynolds and a returning Hugh Jackman into the MCU proper, which seems to be the first step in introducing mutantkind to the franchise on a large scale, but Kevin Feige has still been strangely quiet about an actual X-Men reboot.

Deadpool in red and black suit converses with Logan/Wolverine in a dimly lit room, adorned with lights, suggesting a casual, slightly tense atmosphere.
Credit: Marvel Studios

Inside the Magic recently reported that Marvel Studios has enlisted Michael Lesslie, the co-screenwriter (with Michael Arndt) of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (2023), to script an upcoming X-Men movie, and now, it seems that Feige might actually be getting around to casting some actors.

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It is unknown whether the MCU will feature an entirely new cast for familiar characters like Cyclops (previously portrayed in live-action by James Marsden and Tye Sheridan) and Jean Grey (Famke Janssen and Sophie Turner) or whether audiences will see returning legacy characters.

Patrick Stewart has already reprised his version of Professor Charles Xavier in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), and Kelsey Grammer voiced a motion-capture Beast in The Marvels (2023), but aside from Hugh Jackman, there is no indication as of yet which direction Marvel Studios will go in.


Kelsey Grammer as Beast in the 'X-Men' franchise
Credit: 20th Century Studios

However, it turns out that Marvel is currently in discussions with actor Bryan Cranston, who seems most interested in an X-Men character that has not yet been seen in live-action.

Bryan Cranston + ‘X-Men’ = Profit?

Social media scooper @MyTimeToShineH recently reported that Bryan Cranston, the six-time Emmy Award-winning Breaking Bad actor, is in discussions to play a new character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Breaking Bad Bryan Cranston
Credit: Sony Pictures

Bryan Cranston is best known for portraying high school teacher turned ruthless meth baron Walter White in the AMC series Breaking Bad, a role that brought him massive critical acclaim and popularity.

Prior to the show, he had been best known as a bumbling father on the Fox sitcom Malcolm in the Middle and as a guest star on the NBC series Seinfeld. He has since gone on to an Academy Award-nominated role in the biopic Trumbo (2015) and numerous other film performances.

Bryan Cranston could be up for any number of roles in the MCU, but the actor has previously indicated his strong interest in playing an X-Men villain, provided the character has not yet been seen in live-action.

Illustration of a menacing X-Men character with dark armor, glowing red eyes, and a red diamond on his forehead. He has long black hair, a stern expression, and his hands are clasped together in front of a background featuring dark wings and a red glow.
Credit: Marvel Comics

Bryan Cranston confirmed to ScreenGreek that he was interested in portraying the fan-favorite X-Men bad guy Nathaniel Essex, AKA Mister Sinister, saying, “Actually, that was the character, I’ll admit. Mister Sinister was the character I was thinking about.”

However, it sounds as though Cranston does not want to play a comic book character that would make him immediately be compared to others, saying:

“I guess it’s a selfish standpoint. I don’t want to do a character that has been done several times before. I don’t want to be compared like “well, his Commissioner Gordon was yada yada yada” . I don’t want to do that. I want to take something that hasn’t been done.”

Related: “The MCU Has Knocked on My Door”: ‘Breaking Bad’ Star Confirms Upcoming Marvel Role

Illustration of an X-Men character with pale skin, red eyes, and a high-collared cape. The character has a small red diamond-shaped mark on their forehead and is reaching forward with an intense expression. The background is dark and shadowy.
Credit: Marvel Animation

Mister Sinister was created by legendary X-Men comics writer Chris Claremont and has been a prominent recurring villain since he was introduced in 1986. Most recently, he was featured in the critically adored X-Men ’97 animated series (voiced by Christopher Britton) and was, at one point to appear (portrayed by Jon Hamm) in The New Mutants (2020), the last of the Fox franchise X-Men movies.

According to Hamm (per Yahoo), discussions were had, but they did not go far:

“I never shot anything. I remember having a conversation with people: I’m a huge comic book fan, especially of the X-Men and The New Mutants, so I was excited to be considered. But these conversations happen, and then life intervenes.”

Mister Sinister was also obliquely referenced in X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) and was rumored to appear in Logan (2017), but has never successfully made the leap to live-action. If Bryan Cranston truly wants the role, it might finally be his for the taking.

Who do you want to see Bryan Cranston play in the MCU? Give us your choices in the comments below!

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