Denzel Washington hasn’t joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet, but with growing interest in him appearing, here are some of the best character choices for the screen icon. Throughout the years of Marvel Studios’ dominance, they’ve managed to bring some of the biggest actors in the world aboard the MCU. One of the most notable stars to avoid superhero movies altogether at this point is Denzel Washington. The legendary actor is open to joining the MCU, though, leaving audiences to wonder about which Marvel roles best fit his talents. Through the combination of his commercial movies and award-winning performances, Denzel Washington’s legacy is one of the most enduring in Hollywood. That is what makes it quite surprising that he’s avoided the superhero movie genre for this long and that he’s never even spoken to Marvel about a potential role.
Since Denzel is open to joining the MCU in some capacity, it might only be a matter of time before Kevin Feige finds the perfect role for him. Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan has even stated that he has ideas for who Denzel should play in the MCU. With retirement possibly on the horizon, the clock is ticking for him to join the mega-franchise. MCU Phase 4 has continued to add high-profile stars to various projects, such as Ethan Hawke in Moon Knight, Christian Bale in Thor: Love and Thunder, Olivia Colman in Secret Invasion, and Delroy Lindo in Blade. Denzel could be the biggest new addition to the MCU’s ensemble as long as Feige presents him with the right role. So which Marvel characters could they possibly discuss? Here are some of the best roles for Denzel Washington to play in the MCU.
Since Deadpool 3 will be part of the MCU and Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine will feature, the X-Men appearing in Earth-616 won’t be far off. Magneto is easily the biggest role that Denzel Washington could play in the MCU moving forward. He’s long been considered a fan-favorite choice to play the role as part of the MCU’s expected X-Men reboot. He’d follow Sir Ian McKellan and Michael Fassbender as actors to play the metal-manipulating mutant, making Denzel’s Magneto the first live-action iteration of the character to be Black. In addition to being one of the best actors of his generation and having everything it takes to be a terrifying villain, Denzel has long been thought of for the iconic X-Men role due to Malcolm X. He starred as the Civil Rights activist in Spike Lee’s movie, and Malcolm X is commonly thought to be the inspiration for Magneto. While that isn’t entirely true, the comparisons would make Denzel a bit of a meta-casting on Marvel’s part, especially if the MCU’s eventual mutants lean more into the political metaphor of their comic roots. This would require a long-time commitment from him, though, which he might not be fully on board for at this stage in his career.
Adam Brashear a.k.a. Blue Marvel
If Denzel Washington wants to play a potentially major MCU hero, he’d also be a perfect fit for Adam Brashear—also known as Blue Marvel. Brashear is a Korean War veteran and super-genius who developed superpowers after being exposed to high levels of anti-matter. Blue Marvel uses his powers, which are tied to the Negative Zone, to become a powerful Marvel hero. He served as a member of the Avengers for some time before joining Captain Marvel’s Ultimates team. Denzel is the perfect age to play the older superhero, and he could be intrigued to explore parts of Adam’s backstory. When his identity as Blue Marvel was first revealed to the public in the comic’s universe, the racist response from Americans in the 1960s pushed Adam to the background. It is probably too late to get Denzel as Adam Brashear in The Marvels, but he could be introduced in any number of upcoming MCU projects, such as Fantastic Four. Blue Marvel is also a role that could occupy a lot of Denzel’s time, but the MCU could take it slow and use the character as long as he is interested.
Going back to the villain side of the MCU, Denzel Washington would also be an intriguing choice to play Mephisto. The devilish villain has been at the forefront of Phase 4 speculation thanks to WandaVision, but Marvel has yet to actually introduce the character. Mephisto would give Denzel an opportunity to fully lean into playing an unlikeable and terrifying antagonist. He’s confessed in the past that he loves how fun it is to be the villain of a movie. He relished the opportunity in Training Day and could dial up the evil with his take on Mephisto. This could also be a single appearance role for Denzel in the MCU, which might work better for his career plans, but still ensure Mephisto gets a major actor to play him whenever he debuts.
There is also the opportunity for Denzel Washington to play Dracula in the MCU. He’d easily fit into the role of a power-hungry vampire who leads his own nation of the undead. The nearly immortal villain would also give Denzel a role that could appear in various projects, such as opposite Mahershala Ali in Blade. With Werewolf By Night opening up the monster side of the Marvel canon too, there’d be a lot of scope for Washington to make many cameo appearances if he were the MCU’s lord of all Vampires. It would be quite exciting to see Denzel’s Dracula in any capacity, but having him as the villain of Ali’s solo film could be a great place for his introduction. If that isn’t possible, Dracula could be the main villain of a team-up movie like Midnight Sons featuring Blade and other supernatural characters.
Instead of playing a Blade villain potentially, Denzel Washington’s MCU role could also wind up being Hannibal King. The character is an ally to Eric Brooks in the comics and a fellow vampire after being turned by Deacon Frost. This would present Denzel with the opportunity of being a potential mentor to Mahershala Ali’s Blade. While this could change up the dynamic between Hannibal and Blade as readers know it to be in the comics, the potential of Denzel Washington filling that type of role might be too great for Marvel to pass up. This could also be a single appearance for Denzel in the MCU, while still giving him the chance to be part of Marvel’s next potentially massive franchise. Ryan Reynolds previously played Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity, so Denzel Washington would present the MCU with a very different way of bringing the character to life.
Back on the villain front, Denzel Washington’s MCU future could also be tied to the Black Panther franchise. It would be understandable if Michael B. Jordan’s ideas for him to join the MCU rest with the series he is most familiar with, and Denzel would be an excellent choice to play the maniacal foe Achebe. He is more of a psychological and tactical villain than one built on physical strength or superpowers. Achebe once devised a plan that lured T’Challa out of Wakanda and became its ruler in his short absence. Over time, the character becomes a bit more unhinged and even began talking with a hand puppet. The latter might not factor into the MCU’s Achebe, but it is easy to imagine Denzel as the menacing foe in Black Panther 3.
Sticking with the Black Panther franchise, it could also be quite fitting for Denzel Washington to join the MCU as the first Black Panther, Bashenga. The original ruler of Wakanda was featured in Black Panther‘s opening explanation of the title’s history. The reason for Denzel to play Bashenga is tied to his real-life relationship with the late Chadwick Boseman. Denzel helped pay for Boseman’s schooling as an actor, and the late MCU star once admitted that there “is no Black Panther without Denzel.” Since the Black Panther mantle wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Bashenga, it would only make sense for Denzel to play him in some fashion. How Denzel’s Bashenga could factor into Black Panther 3 or another MCU project is unclear, but the potential for it to honor Boseman’s legacy, even more, is quite clear.
A Kang Variant
Jonathan Majors is portraying the Multiverse Saga Big Bad, Kang the Conqueror. A Kang variant named He Who Remains appeared in Loki season 1, and Kang is set to return to the MCU in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. It’s been established that the main threat presented by Kang is all the variants of him engaging in a full-on war across the Multiverse, a conflict that would cause the collapse of reality. This incursion-creating battle would also involve a potentially infinite number of Kang variants. The MCU has established that not all variants are identical. Indeed, Loki featured many actors portraying different versions of the God of Mischief, with only one non-616 variant. (President Loki) also being played by Hiddleston. If any future projects need an older Kang variant who isn’t played by Jonathan Majors, Denzel Washington would be an excellent choice. Washington has long since proved he can bring the gravitas needed to bring a threat as substantial as Kang the Conqueror to life. The Multiverse Saga is culminating in Avengers: Secret Wars, which is preceded by Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. Both present an opportunity for a Denzel Washington MCU Kang variant, even if it’s just a cameo.
For similar reasons to Magneto, Denzel Washington would be a superb choice for another essential Marvel Comics antagonist yet to appear in the MCU – Doctor Doom. While he might appear a little cheesy to the uninitiated, Doctor Doom is a force to be reckoned with in the Marvel Comics canon. Previous Fantastic Four movies really haven’t done the character justice, which is possibly why prior attempts to turn Marvel’s First Family into an X-Men or Spider-Man rival have failed. The relationship between Doom and Reed Richards is pivotal to so much of not just The Fantastic Four, but the wider Marvel Universe. Most notably during the 2015 Secret Wars comic, Doom reassembled reality post-Incursion, and it transpired his motivation was essentially just to prove he could do what Mr. Fantastic couldn’t. Instantly, this highlights the clear potential for a proper Doctor Doom to appear in the Multiverse Saga. With Marvel’s Fantastic Four arriving in 2025, it will no doubt bring with it the MCU’s first glimpses, if not its full appearance of, Doctor Doom. Having an iconic veteran of cinema like Denzel Washington in the role is possibly one of the few ways to keep character elements like Doom’s habit of referring to himself in the third person without it being corny. The character is definitely a balancing act on the big screen, but a presence like Denzel Washington’s could carry that balance well.
Willem Dafoe famously brought Norman Osborn and the Green Goblin to life in Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man and returned to the role in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Since they’re the same version, however, the MCU still doesn’t have its own Norman Osborne. Norman and Oscorp are famous in Marvel Comics, so the fact nobody recognized Dafoe as Norman Osborn on Earth-616 suggests one of two things: Norman Osborn doesn’t exist in the MCU, or he looks totally different. Denzel Washington would be a superb choice to play the 616 Norman Osborn if the latter is true. Osborn has a much larger role than simply being the Green Goblin in the Marvel Comics canon. At one point he is the director of the Thunderbolts at the behest of the US Government, and he was also the President of the United States at one point. Since No Way Home already included the Aunt May moment, there’s not a huge incentive to focus on the Green Goblin again. The portrayals of Osborn that don’t involve a glider could easily be brought to life by Denzel Washington in the MCU, and having him play a significant version of the character who was nothing like Dafoe but absolutely terrifying in his own right as a more corporate/political villain would be a fascinating turn for Marvel studios to take.
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