While you could technically say that Ewan McGregor has been playing a superhero for years (if you count the Jedi as such, at least), when speaking more definitively, it was not until he played Roman “Black Mask” Sionis in Birds of Prey when he made his superhero movies debut. It is a bit ironic how the Scottish, Golden Globe winning actor is best known for playing a hero in the Star Wars movies wound up playing a bad guy from the DC movies, but still nailed it, unsurprisingly.
Thus, I have ideas for heroes and villains alike whom McGregor could play in the Marvel movies if Disney wanted to recruit him for another franchise following Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi TV Show, starting with one who also knows his way around the galaxy.
Some of the best Marvel movies have incorporated some of the comic book giant’s more cosmic elements and characters, since the surprise success of Guardians of the Galaxy, but one who has yet to join in on the bandwagon is Quasar. While several heroes in the Marvel universe have worn this moniker (including Richard Rider, better known as Nova), the first and most famous is Wendell Vaughn, who was just an Earthbound soldier-turned-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who became a protector of the universe after harnessing the power of the Quantum Bands, which he was originally assigned when guarding them as Stark International tried to study them. Playing a man who stumbles into a life as an outer space defender could be a fun change of pace for Ewan McGregor after years of a playing a man essentially born into it.
With some notable exceptions (such as when he played an American solider in Black Hawk Down, or the clone of a wealthy, Scottish boat designer in Michael Bay’s The Island, or his more recent title role in the biographical Netflix miniseries Halston), Ewan McGregor is one of the few UK-based actors who has been allowed to use his natural accent onscreen relatively often throughout his career. To that I say, we might as well keep that trend going in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by casting him as a character whose UK origins are definitive to his identity, such as Captain Britain. English actors, such as Simon Pegg and Orlando Bloom, have campaigned to play Great Britain’s answer to Captain America, but it could be a slam dunk for McGregor to acquire if he started expressing interest soon.
Speaking of UK based Marvel actors (and ones who hide their natural accents, too), before Benedict Cumberbatch was cast in the title role of Doctor Strange, Ewan McGregor was rumored to be in consideration to play the surgeon-turned-Sorcerer Supreme and was even interested in the idea, despite having zero knowledge of who the character was. Well, just because that ship has sailed, it does not mean that he should not be given the opportunity to join his August: Osage County co-star on a magical, marvelous adventure. To make that a reality, I recommend casting him as Kyllian Boddicker (better known as Wildpride), whom Stephen Strange would attempt to help control his magical abilities as they threatened (and succeeded) to physically consume him with full-body arcane tattoos.
Another character that would require some extensive make-up alterations to pull-off (and one whose MCU debut is even more hotly anticipated) is Mephisto. Essentially the Satan of the Marvel Universe (or Marvel Multiverse, more accurately, since he does not originate from one true dimension), this is one extremely mischievous demon who has been known to be responsible for some of the most vile and horrifying crimes against many different Marvel characters, which would certainly be interesting to bare witness to on the big screen in what could very likely be the darkest installment of the Marvel movies in order so far. Since we already know Ewan McGregor plays a good villain from Birds of Prey, I think putting him to the ultimate test by casting him as one of the worst antagonists imaginable would make for quite an interesting experiment.
Of course, I would empathize with Ewan McGregor if he would prefer not to undergo extensive alterations to his body in order to play a Marvel villain, and I have a pretty good (and retroactively appropriate) alternate choice if that was to be the case. Does anyone remember the movie Robots - the star-studded 2006 animated adventure from Blue Sky Studios set in a world entirely inhabited by sentient mechanical beings and starring McGregor as one with big dreams of being the next great inventor? Well, I would like to see the actor revisit that sort of role, but with a more sinister personality, as Bastion - a cybernetic organism who would prove to be one of the X-Men’s greatest enemies, because of having almost any mutant ability you could imagine due to being part Sentinel.
On the other hand, if I was Kevin Feige, I would want to give Ewan McGregor a much bigger part in Marvel Studios’ eventual X-Men reboot, if not the biggest part there is (outside of, say, Wolverine). In fact, the founder of the team of mutant defenders, Charles Xavier (otherwise known as Professor X), has a great deal in common with one of my favorite of McGregor’s more recent roles: Danny Torrance in Mike Flanagan’s masterful Stephen King adaptation (and sequel to The Shining), Doctor Sleep, from 2019. Therefore, the actor already has the proper experience playing a psychokinetic being (and the natural accent) necessary to be a worthy successor to Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy for the latest incarnation of one of Marvel’s most respected and inspirational figures.
I truly do not even think I have really scratched the surface with the amount of Marvel characters Ewan McGregor would be a prime candidate to play. I would not surprised if, while reading this, you managed to come up with 6 (or 60) other names that would be an even better fit for the widely acclaimed actor. If not, is there a character from the list above whom you would most rather see McGregor bring to life on the big (or small) screen?
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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