Which Marvel Character Is Giancarlo Esposito Playing in the MCU?

Giancarlo Esposito is a veteran working actor who ascended to “TV’s greatest villain” thanks to his roles in Breaking Bad, The Mandalorian, and The Boys. And he’s long made his intentions very known about wanting to be a part of the MCU. For a long time, he campaigned to play Professor X in the MCU’s X-Men reboot. But now it seems he snagged another MCU role, one he described as appearing briefly first (probably a post-credits cameo) and then in a larger capacity in a Disney+ series. Here’s what he said:

I cannot promise you it’ll be Professor X, because here’s what I think. 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.

Giancarlo Esposito as Stan Edgar on The Boys.
Prime Video

Thanks to a photo of Giancarlo Esposito in costume that appeared online, it seems Esposito is showing up first in Captain America: Brave New World. Based on these criteria, these are our guesses for Esposito’s upcoming MCU role. A reminder, Esposito said “new and fresh,” which makes us think he’s not a previously established Marvel movie character. Yes, we also realize all of these are villains or adversary-type roles. At this point, it’s clear Esposito has no problem leaning into his talents at playing Machiavellian villains. This is a guy who loves playing baddies, so we’re taking that into account.

Henry Peter Gyrich

Henry Peter Gyrich, as a goverment agent in 1970s Avengers comics, and in X-Men '97.
Marvel Comics/Marvel Animation

Recent set photos show Giancarlo Esposito on the set of Captain America: Brave New World, looking very much like himself and not in some Mocap suit, only strapped with knives and wearing a jacket and sunglasses. He definitely looks like some kind of government agent type. Could he be playing Henry Peter Gyrich? That character in the comics has a long history of being an adversary to both the X-Men and the Avengers. In X-Men lore, he helps fund the robotic Sentinels through Project: Wideawake, who try to destroy mutantkind.

In the classic X-Men: The Animated Series, Henry Gyrich even tries to assassinate Charles Xavier. In the comics, before he became an X-Men villain, he was the government stooge attached to the Avengers, who tried to control their membership limits and who was on the team. The way Esposito is working those sunglasses, he could be Gyrich. He’d appear first in Captain America, before perhaps playing a bigger part in a future mutant-related Disney+ series. We know Esposito stressed this was a new role, and Gyrich appeared in X-Men in 2000. That appearance was just a cameo though, so we think it doesn’t really count. Right now, Gyrich is our #1 choice.

Baron Blood

The vampire villain Baron Blood, as seen in the pages of Marvel Comics.
Marvel Comics

First appearing in 1976, Baron Blood is a vampire villain who often fought Captain America. In the pages of Marvel Comics, John Falsworth was a British aristocrat, who during the early part of the 20th century was transformed into a vampire by Dracula himself. He fought Captain America and the Invaders during World War II, and eventually, he (and those who succeeded him in the title) became an enemy of Blade, the Vampire Hunter. We could see Esposito playing a version of Baron Blood, perhaps having a supporting vampiric role in the eventual Blade reboot, before starring in a potential Midnight Suns series as the lead villain. If you saw Abigail, you know Esposito was born to play the undead. Maybe he appears as Blood in the modern-day in Captain America: New World Order first? Although, those set pics show him in broad daylight. Another Daywalker?

Mister Sinister

Mister Sinister prepares to fight the X-Men. Art by Jim Lee.
Marvel Comics

Almost all of the major X-Men villains have appeared in live-action during the Fox era. So when Kevin Feige reboots Marvel’s mutants for the MCU, there is going to be a lot of new versions of classic characters. Yet one major X-Men villain has never shown up in live-action, and he’s rumored to be the “Big Bad” of the MCU X-Men, and that’s Mister Sinister. The nearly immortal, 19th-century geneticist (real name Nathaniel Essex) is the perfect erudite and scheming villain that Esposito has made his name playing. And with Sinister, he’d be introducing a role to live-action, not having to do a part someone else made famous already. We could see him cameo first in his Nathaniel Essex persona, before appearing in a Disney+ X-Men related series.

The Mad Thinker

The genius-level Fantastic Four villain the Mad Thinker.
Marvel Comics

First appearing as an adversary in Fantastic Four, the genius scientist the Mad Thinker was infamous for creating one advanced A.I. after another. These machines ranged from the android Quasimodo to the Awesome Android. Julius (his only known name) was a recurring thorn in the side of the FF. Yet with his robotic know-how, he could be a real threat to someone like the Vision. We think it’s possible that Esposito is cast as the Mad Thinker, who may appear in Captain America: New World Order, then later perhaps in Fantastic Four. Then later, he could become the primary antagonist in the upcoming Vision series for Disney+.

Originally published on May 28, 2024.

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