The MCU Could Introduce Professor Xavier and Magneto as Kids in a Civil Rights Era Movie

When the Marvel Cinematic Universe introduces mutantkind — bringing both the X-Men and Brotherhood of Mutants into the ever-expanding landscape — the introduction will have to be both familiar, yet original. If too similar to Fox’s earlier rendition, the take on the mutants will be deemed mimetic and uninspired. However, if too far from what comic book enthusiasts and X-Men fans recognize, it could feel noncanonical and unrecognizable. 

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Marvel Studios’ ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Screening | Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Avengers: Infinity War

The MCU could easily choose to change the time frame in which Professor X and Magneto come to play, opting instead for a Civil Rights era introduction, which works with the source’ material’s intended subtext and aligns with current rumors surrounding mutants in the MCU. 

Professor Xavier to emulate Martin Luther King Jr. and Magneto to emulate Malcolm X 

Stan Lee notably looked toward history and society when penning his comics — to both reflect and comment on contemporary cultural zeitgeists. If you read the X-Men comics, it should become obvious that Professor Xavier and Magneto allude to Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X respectively. 

One pushes for peaceful coexistence, while the other wants to bring fists to fists. One pushes for conversation and negotiation, while the other believes that fighting fire with fire may be the more practical solution. Stan Lee once explained to The Guardian why he loved the idea behind the X-Men. He explained that the X-Men were unique for they defended those (humans) who rejected their existence, which “ not only made them different, but it was a good metaphor for what was happening with the Civil Rights Movement in the country at that time.”

The X-Men and the Brotherhood of mutants were always written with a cultural backdrop — a thematic undertone designed to reflect the Civil Rights movement. And, if Professor Xavier and Magneto are young during the Civil Rights movement (adolescents developing opinions), they could be older adults in the current MCU timeline; whereas, using the Holocaust era for an origin story would make both character dead (or very, very old) in the present MCU landscape. 

Marvel Studios is reportedly eyeing Denzel Washington for the MCU’s Magneto 

According to We Got This Covered (WGTC), Marvel Studios is eyeing none other than Academy Award-winner Denzel Washington for Magneto in the MCU. WGTC reported — relying on the same sources who knew Moon Knight and Black Knight were headed to the MCU prior to such confirmations — that the studio has got Washington on the top of their Magneto casting list. Washington is known for starring in The Equalizer franchise, and he could easily fit in the action-oriented MCU space, as WGTC noted.

If this turns out to be true, could Marvel be planning to go in the civil rights direction with the mutants, making the allegory more obvious than it was in Fox’s prior iteration? Will the Civil Rights era be a backdrop for the mutant introduction and the later brotherhood of mutants uprising; could both happen in-tandem, working to highlight the similarities?