As the MCU continues to expand further into the Multiverse Saga, Marvel Studios remains as busy as ever in terms of matching A-list talent with the right on-screen Marvel characters. And with regard to new talent making its way into the franchise, The Mandalorian’s Giancarlo Esposito is seemingly at or near the top of that wishlist.
Esposito has seen the MCU as one of his potential destinations for more than two years after jumping back into the spotlight with his role as Moff Gideon in the Star Wars universe. It’s a franchise he’s openly interested in joining, and he seems to be a great fit for a number of big roles that the MCU has in store for the future.
During a live appearance in San Antonio, Esposito confirmed that he'd officially met with the Marvel team, teasing the idea of playing either Professor X or Magneto for Marvel Studios' take on the X-Men. But even more recently, he shared that his first meeting with Marvel actually came a long time ago for a potentially much smaller role.
Marvel Almost Had Giancarlo Esposito
As reported by ComicBook's Liam Crowley from Boston Fan Expo 2022, The Mandalorian actor Giancarlo Esposito revealed that he spoke with Marvel Studios about potentially taking a role in the Loki Disney+ series.
The Star Wars fan-favorite confirmed that he first met with Marvel right after the Infinity Saga ended for "a television role" that's come to fruition since that time:
"Giancarlo Esposito addresses the Marvel rumors. He confirms he met w/ Marvel Studios a couple years ago for a television role which they have since done. 'I think it was Loki.'"
Crowley also reported that Esposito mentioned passing on this role with the intention of holding out for a bigger role in an MCU movie, comparing it to a similar situation with Benedict Cumberbatch. The British star initially rejected an offer to play Malekith in Thor: The Dark World, and he'd go on to become the MCU's Doctor Strange:
"Giancarlo alluded to passing on this mystery TV role because he wanted to hold out for a film character. Reminds me of Benedict Cumberbatch, who turned down Malekith from Thor: The Dark World in hopes of getting something better, which ended up being Doctor Strange."
Esposito Passed on Loki for Something Bigger?
Looking at these quotes, the first question that comes to mind is - who would Giancarlo Esposito have played if he'd signed on for a role in Loki?
The most natural fit would seemingly have been Classic Loki from Episodes 4 and 5, who wound up being played by Richard E. Grant in the character's limited screen time. The only other potential option might have been He Who Remains, but that role is now confirmed to go to the big screen with Jonathan Majors, so perhaps Marvel was already set on that casting at the time.
Regardless of who Esposito would have played, his relationship with Marvel Studios is clearly well established as the team works to find the best role for him to play.
With the X-Men likely making their way into the mix over the coming years, both Magneto and Professor X could fit Esposito well, with the Moff Gideon star bringing a presence and gravitas that would fit with either side of the fight. There's also the ever-looming Doctor Doom, who could even debut as early as this year in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and Marvel would certainly want to keep that casting a secret if it's already happened.
No matter who Esposito plays, it's clear that his talks for Loki were only the first step for a potentially long run in the MCU.
Season 1 of Loki is currently streaming on Disney+, and Season 2 is currently filming in London. Giancarlo Esposito can also be seen in both seasons of The Mandalorian on Disney+.