Who Is Giancarlo Esposito Playing In The MCU? 10 Best Captain America Villain Theories

Giancarlo Esposito in Front of Gallery of Marvel Villains

Giancarlo Esposito has been rumored to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe for years, and he’ll finally make his debut in Captain America: Brave New World. The Breaking Bad star is known for playing villains on the small screen in series such as The Mandalorian and The Boys, and it appears that pattern will continue in the MCU with the recent casting news in Captain America: Brave New World. There are countless roles inside the evolving Marvel Cinematic Universe the actor would be well suited for, and the description of being an agent of chaos, along with a set photo of Esposito in character, hints at his role.

Having already appeared in several science-fiction and comic book properties, it seemed inevitable that Esposito would eventually join the MCU or the DCU. The actor has spoken briefly about his role in the film, claiming that it is a villainous figure who will appear in a movie, which now appears to be Brave New World, before later appearing in a Disney+ series. These facts can help create a shortlist of characters that the esteemed actor may portray in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

10. William Stryker

The Man Who Created Wolverine

William Stryker invading Xavier's School in X2

Set after Deadpool and Wolverine but before the MCU X-Men reboot, it makes sense that one or more characters from the X-Men universe may slowly find their way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe beginning in Brave New WorldOne figure who has risen in prominence thanks to an excellent portrayal by Brian Cox is William Stryker. The character has become an integral part of X-Men storytelling. He would be an excellent pick for Giancarlo Esposito to play with his frighteningly confident sternness as the X-Men story evolves in the MCU.

Because Stryker is a politically aligned threat and a physically capable soldier, there is a reasonable likelihood that the villain could appear in Brave New World. While not typically portrayed as an agent of chaos, the character fits the appearance of recent set photos. Stryker is a military man who, while necessarily older due to his relationship with the ageless Wolverine, is physical and brutal. He is also the person who covered Wolverine’s bones in adamantium, a metal that is rumored to be central to the Brave New World plot.

9. Paladin

A Marvel Assassin And Daredevil Antagonist

A close-up of paladin in uniform in a Marvel Comic

A member of the Thunderbolts and an antagonist to Daredevil, Paladin makes sense as a role for Giancarlo Esposito to play in Brave New World. The character is an assassin who shares some similarities between his uniform and Esposito’s pictures. Esposito’s claim that he would be in a movie and then a series aligns somewhat with this. Daredevil: Born Again has wrapped filming that may have included Esposito, and no release date has been announced, meaning it could air after Brave New World.

Esposito’s role in Brave New World is likely small, as the actor was only added in recent reshoots. It is also possible that the film he said he would be featured in is not even Brave New World, and this is only an extra cameo. Historically aligned with the group, Paladin may be a more fundamental player in Thunderbolts*. Seeing Esposito play a murderous, chaotic assassin like this would be a refreshing change to his usual thoughtful and stoic villains that would complement the actor’s skills with rage and anger.

8. Nathaniel Richards / Kang The Conquerer

The Greatest Multiversal Threat In The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Kang the Conquerer emerging from time portal in Marvel Comics.

Since Marvel Studios parted ways with Jonathan Majors, the franchise’s plans for Kang the Conquerer have become unclear. After disappointing returns from and response to Quantumania, many have speculated that the studio would pivot away from Kang as a central threat. However, it seems as though Kang will remain the antagonist of Avengers 5. Marvel is likely looking for a new Kang, and perhaps there is no better option than Esposito, who would bring the gravitas and bold confidence that Kang needs to the role while being distinctly different from Majors’ iteration.

As a film in the Multiverse Saga, despite its grounded appearance, Brave New World will need to make connections that further the overall MCU story. A Kang variant like Nathaniel Richards would make sense here to fulfill that need. Tying into the upcoming Fantastic Fouran appearance by the time-traveling scientist to contribute to the study of adamantium makes sense within the political machinations of Brave New World. Nathaniel Richards is also often seen in time-traveling outfits that, while colorful, sport designs somewhat reminiscent of Esposito’s weapon-laden appearance in recent photos.

7. King Cobra

Klaus Vorhees And His Powers Of Elasticity

King Cobra Appears In The Avengers Cartoon

Captain America is rumored to fight against members of the Serpent Society in Brave New Worldand several characters from the group will appear. King Cobra is a strange villain with a violent and chaotic bent ripe for reinterpretation in the MCU. The villain generally wears an eccentric costume, which could be toned down in the MCU, similar to how Batroc and Flag Smasher were in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Seth Rollins’s undisclosed role in the movie is rumored to be King Cobra, but if it’s not, Esposito could be the villain instead.

Esposito needs a fresh, exciting, and violent villain to portray in the MCU, and taking this antagonist and his powers of elasticity would be a great physical force to introduce. The character is suited to the film due to his Serpent Society affiliation. He could logically follow in many other projects, such as Thunderbolts*, another team he has been a member of. Replacing the snake costume with his black tactical gear and venomous daggers would be a sensible way to fit this villain into the MCU. Esposito’s dominant presence would help establish the character immediately as a notable threat.

6. Spymaster

A Terrifying Physical Foe For Captain America To Face

Spymaster breaks into a warehouse in Marvel comics

An excellent marksman and master of disguise with various aliases, Spymaster would fit into the world of the new Captain America film. Focused on espionage and backroom dealings, the film promises to provide numerous threats to Sam Wilson, many of which are more grounded than some of what audiences have come to expect from Marvel. Assassins like Spymaster make sense as opponents for this un-powered version of Captain America to take on, and images of Esposito indicate what could be a muted-down version of the villain’s costume, complete with kevlar padding.

Skilled in industrial espionage, the foe would fit perfectly into the world of Captain America stories and the legacy they have built across the hero’s first trilogy. Government dealings and spies are fundamental to the Captain America stories, and featuring Esposito as this character, a brazen, violent foe with incredible skill, would be an effective addition to the film. It would also utilize his skills at portraying ominous villains who always feel in control. Whether involved in the adamantium story or working for the Leader, Spymaster would be an excellent fit for the MCU.

5. Norman Osborn

The Green Goblin, Spider-Man’s Greatest Foe

Norman Osborn leading HAMMER in Marvel Comics

A reinvention of Norman Osborne is likely in the MCU. Even after Willem Dafoe lamented that his business does not exist in the universe in Spider-Man: No Way Home, the character is too important to Spider-Man stories to be left off the table entirely. Perhaps this non-existence could be justified by Osborn operating undercover for the government in some capacity, which might explain his assassin-like appearance here. Then, with Oscorp creating weaponry, the villain would want to get his hands on the adamantium rumored to be at the heart of Brave New World‘s plot.

Perhaps not veering into Green Goblin territory, at least not immediately, Osborne could be an excellent foil for the Avengers, the Thunderbolts, the new Captain America, and Spider-Man. Esposito would be excellent as the calculating, ruthless figure, giving him a larger role in the series moving forward. A character like this would fit Esposito’s wide, complex range, and an eventual transformation into the Green Goblin in an upcoming Spider-Man film, especially originating from this tactically trained version, would be thrilling.

4. Mister Sinister

Dr. Nathaniel Essex, The Greatest X-Men Threat Not Yet Explored On The Big Screen

Mister Sinister looking menacing in X-Men '97 episode 3

Eccentric and charming in all the ways that align with Esposito’s darkness, Mister Sinister is the perfect fit for the actor. ​​​With no incarnation of Sinister having yet appeared in any Marvel film, the character needs someone with Esposito’s skill to communicate his importance to casual audiences. Following The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, some focus on the super-serum that created Captain America will continue in Brave New World. Exploration of this serum aligns perfectly with Sinister’s goal of creating an ideal being through genetic manipulation.

Esposito would be the perfect choice to bring Sinister to life in the MCU, and his appearance would set up future X-Men stories. If Sinister is to be used here, he would likely be working as an authority over assassins like the Serpent Society. Before gaining powers, Esposito’s appearance in the leaked photos makes sense for a crooked scientist commanding assassins in the field, even if it is a disguise like the Red Skull wore in The First Avenger. This iteration of Essex would be true to the character, and his 19th-century origins could be explained in future projects.

3. Doctor Doom

Ruler Of Latveria Victor Von Doom

Close-up of Julian McMahon as Doctor Doom in Fantastic Four (2005)

One of the greatest antagonists in comic book history, Doctor Doom’s entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is inevitable. While his first appearance seems likely to be in The Fantastic Four, there were rumors that the character would appear in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, so an entry in Brave New World is not impossible. While set photos of Esposito carrying knives and wearing sunglasses do not fit the typical Doom look, Victor is a hands-on leader who would not hesitate to take physical action that could require utilitarian tactical gear like this.

While arguably a little old to play the role alongside Pedro Pascal’s Reed Richards, Esposito would be an excellent Doctor Doom. Featuring political machinations surrounding the US President, diplomacy with Latveria and its leader would be a natural fit in Brave New World‘s story. Recent leaked photos from the film’s production have even been speculated to show the nation of Latveria, adding credence to Doom’s possible appearance here. Esposito stands out alongside other rumored casting like Ryan Gosling and Cillian Murphy as a powerful and bold Victor Von Doom.

2. Henry Gyrich

A Terrorist And X-Men Antagonist

Henry Gyrich smiling while being held against a wall in X-Men 97

A crooked figure who has appeared in many X-Men storylines, Henry Gyrich would be an appropriate antagonist to feature in the upcoming Brave New World due to his political ties. Harrison Ford’s President Ross is a major player in the film, and there will certainly be other senators and politicians surrounding him in Washington. Featuring Gyrich in scenes like these and allowing him to commit acts of violence would go a long way in setting up X-Men stories in the Marvel Universe.

Esposito fits the part perfectly and would be as terrifying as Gyrich, whether as the physical terrorist or the backroom schemer. A character who is not a major figure in Marvel comics, Gyrich is often relegated to the background, which would give an actor like Esposito ample opportunity to elevate the material and make it his own. Whether the MCU decides to lead into stories of mutant registration or sentinel production, including Gyrich in Brave New World would be an effective path to the X-Men that would greatly benefit the future of the Marvel Universe.

1. Jacob Fury

AKA Scorpio

Jack Fury Nick Fury on Cover Of NIck Fury Comic

A little-known character, Nick Fury’s younger brother Jacob, would be an ideal casting choice for Esposito in the MCU. The actor has claimed that he will be playing an original character, although what that means is unclear. Still, it makes sense to suppose that Esposito will be playing someone who has not yet been seen in the MCU.

Jacob Fury is a genuine agent of chaos, a terrorist, and a spy. The character is resentful of his older brother, Nick, and goes out of his way to upset him at every turn. With the Marvel Cinematic Universe veering into new teams and new governmental forces, with the new Avengers beginning in Captain America: Brave New World and the Thunderbolts in their film, new authority figures will be required for the world ahead. Casting Giancarlo Esposito as Jacob Fury would be an excellent addition to the universe and create exciting new paths forward.

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