Professor X & Magneto to be Mutants of Color in the MCU?

Professor X in Powers of X Issue 4 (Marvel Comics)
Professor X in Powers of X Issue 4 (Image: Marvel Comics)

So according to certain sources, the MCU is thinking of turning Professor X (Charles Xavier) and Magneto (Erik Lehnsherr) into people of color. While I’m all for diversity on the big screen, this might not be the best option for the MCU to take, considering how actual characters of color in the X-Men franchise have been ignored in the film series.

The core X-Men team is all white. We have Professor X, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, and Angel. Marvel Comics tried to diversify it by revealing that Bobby Drake/Iceman was always gay. However, it didn’t counter the fact that the team is still all white.

And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that, considering the time period in which this comic book superhero team was created (and even the inspiration). Also, the X-Men comics have always been a renowned leader when it comes to racial and sexual representation. So, points to the series for becoming better with time.

But the current reports about the MCU considering making Prof X and Magneto into mutants of color is what irritates me. I don’t see any reason why such a change needs to be made, because the X-Men already have a wide range of fan-favorite mutants of color to choose from.

Modifying Charles and Erik in such a manner seems like Marvel’s way of trying to address some fandom concerns (poorly). Many in the fandom aren’t happy with how FOX designed the live-action film series to be all about white mutants. Even though Storm was in the cast, she was nothing more than a background character.

So the current news makes it seem like, instead of the MCU focusing on actual mutants of color, the studio has decided to repackage Prof X and Magneto. It’s as if the MCU is saying that Prof X and Magneto are still going to be the focus of the upcoming films (or streaming content or whatever), but it won’t be too bad because this time they won’t be white!

I mean, come on!

Changing the race of white characters and then using them to (quite possibly) continue ignoring characters who were diverse from the beginning is not well-written representation.

And quite frankly, if the MCU decides to make freaking Jean Grey a WOC and still have Storm be a background character, I will riot!

Right now my mind is running such a scenario:

MCU Exec 1: We’re still writing a story focusing on Jean, right?

MCU Exec 2: Yes. But I worry about the online fandom talking about the film not being diverse enough. They keep crying about Storm deserving a bigger role.

MCU Exec 1: Nah! Don’t worry. We’ll just repackage Jean Grey. Let’s make her African-American? Perhaps even Chinese-American so we don’t have to deal with Jubilee? Or perhaps even a more diverse mix to check all the boxes? We’re already making Prof X, Magneto, and Wolverine of color.

MCU Exec 2: So, about Storm’s role?

MCU Exec 1: Jean will cover all the female diversity boxes. Don’t worry.

So, in the end, we’re still basically getting stories about white characters, but this time, differently repackaged while actual mutants of color continue playing support. This is like, in a sense, simply giving white characters a tan or a darker skin foundation job to have them still be the leads while appeasing an audience that would like to see diversity.

Again, it wouldn’t be an issue for me if the X-Men franchise didn’t already have a diverse (and well-known) cast to choose from.

I mean, I’m okay with the MCU deciding to make certain members of the Fantastic Four of color, and using them to tell some well-written stories.

Of course, the MCU’s X-Men films might focus more on actual fictional characters of color (time will tell), but the current development about Professor X and Magneto has made me cautious.

There’s also the concern about Erik’s Jewish heritage. He was born to a Jewish family and was sent to Auschwitz. It’s a major part of his backstory. Will the MCU be going the Jewish-person-of-color route with him? Are they going to erase his Jewish heritage?

Anyway, we’ll find out what the MCU plans to do with the mutants soon enough.

Feel free to share your thoughts with us.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.


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About the author

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

Comments

  1. I get why this an avenue, they might go down, but it’s going to really annoy the mass readers that have been with these x-men characters for a long time, i’m definitely not against gender swapping or race swapping after all, both professor xavier and magneto were loosly based on Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. So if they go this route i see that angle, But, …. and this is a HUGE but.

    That’s not the characters origins, Charles led a privileged life, while Erik was a Holocaust Survivor, yes charles can be of whatever race, but Erik has to be of Polish/Jewish Decent, as this is his origin, its a part of his being. It defines his overall choices in life, if i was jewish and marvel decided that magneto was too Caucasian, and made him Hispanic to tick a box, i’d stop watching mcu related, because they had changed his origin to suit an agenda, changing a race, for a character has to be authentic, nick fury didn’t have to be white, same goes for heimdall, i can see a few major X-men characters having a color change, like the human torch when Mic B jordan was cast, it’s not a big deal, unless that is part of their origin.

    We cannot change Magneto into a Veitnam War Survivor and say its the same effect, he is a Holocaust Survivor. also for those who say well “we need to show diversity” already this states that Jewish Superheros or polish Villians in magnetos case are needed to change because their white. That in itself is racist.

    Nothing wrong in casting an Asian actor to play the Mandarin, So Cast a Polish actor who may or may not be Jewish to play Magneto,

    Im ok with the maybe Iceman being of South or Central American decent, as long as he grew up in boston, as that is his origin etc…

  2. Turning white characters into black characters is just asking for trouble in my opinion. Plus, they ALREADY have characters of color in the Xmen verse that they could focus on so why turn traditional characters white if only to create controversy to sell this?

    1. That’s what irritates me about such a development. It’s not like the X-Men roster doesn’t already have diverse characters to choose from (which the FOX films have continued to sideline). It’s not like the Fantastic Four, which I can see the studio changing the color of some characters up to diversify it and make it different from Disney’s The Incredibles. The Prof X and Magneto thing (and likely others) feels like the MCU thinking… “We still want to tell stories about Prof X, Mag, Wolverine, Jean, etc. But how to do that without being called out for the films not being diverse? I know! Let’s make them POCs!”

  3. There have been exactly zero (0) explicitly Jewish characters (nevermind superheroes) in the 25 or so MCU films, which is pretty remarkable.

    This despite the fact that the vast majority of the superheroes were created or co-created by Jews and that some of the actors are Jewish (Paul Rudd, Scarlett, Downey, Jr.).

    It’s remarkable that all these New York City lawyers, businessmen, doctors, and scientists who turn into superheroes are somehow never Jewish. Where do they find them?

    1. BTW, they could have easily made Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man Jewish. His name is ambiguous, there’s nothing in the movies about him being non-Jewish, and the actors is Jewish. Since Avengers: Endgame made so much money, it would have been the highest-grossing movie ever to feature a Jewish character.

  4. I am thinking Magneto as a Holocaust surivivor like someone wrote Polish/Jewish person can’t be made into another person of color. Though they may want to make the MCU Xmen movie in modern times, so that means Magneto would be nearly a 100 years old today if he really existed. So if they wanted to make true to Marvel comics movie it would be in the 60s or 90s. I don’t know why they don’t just make Xmen as it is in the comics? It is the MCU is not earth 616 of the Marvel universe but an alternate Marvel universe where the characters are different. Nick Fury being black comes from the Ultimate Marvel universe not 616, in 616 he looks similar to Solid Snake on the Metal Gear games. Though Nick Fury Jr the son of Nick Fury perhaps is black now in 616 universe. Though honestly there hasn’t been anything as bad as the holocaust in recent times, that the Holocuast also being linked to racism. This is because Jewish people and other victims in the Holocaust were not considered to be of the same race by the Nazis. So then mutant kind is killed because people fear their abilities and want to hunt them down, kill them, or put them in concentration camps and to do experiments on them. The Nazis did this as well, can you really say people have after WWII done this? So Magneto in a ways wants to stop humans to prevent another Holocaust but of mutant-kind. So Magneto is more miliitant and kind of way different from Malcolm X, Magneto wants to prevent a Holocuast from happening to mutants in a sense. In some Xmen storylines in the comics people try to exterminate mutants with sentinels and other things but it backfires and humans get exterminated also (The time travel archs). So the Professor X and the Xmen have to save the mutants from humans and the humans from mutants, while Magneto clearly wants to save the mutants from humans for he seen the full extent of evils man can do.

    So really if they did a Magneto of color or not of color a Magneto from our time it would not truly be Magneto. Because the character would have no true historical motivation to drive him to being this way. He would be a character Though why Magneto thinks mutant-kind is superior makes no sense to me though, maybe they can do things normal humans can’t so they have more advantages than normal humans. This would disappoint me if the made Magneto different, but there is always Marvel Comics with the 616 universe untouched by the MCU.

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