Would you like to see Shia Labeouf as Iceman? Or would a certain Arrow star be a better idea?
Ever since the Walt Disney Company bought 21st Century Fox, superhero movie fans rejoiced at the idea of the X-Men joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That conversation then turned to energized talks about who should be cast as the iconic mutant team. In June, social media sites were littered with posts over who should play Storm in a future Marvel film. And now, the internet has turned its attention to the (fantasy) casting of Iceman.
The conversation surrounding the original X-Man started earlier this week due to a casting rumor. A rumor popped up that Labeouf “was in talks” to play the mutant superhero on the big screen. That rumor then got fans excited on social media. After that, one LGBTQ actor, by the name of Colton Haynes, decided to put his name in the hat. Haynes did so by tweeting a video of Shawn Ashmore’s take as the character in 14’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. Haynes captioned the tweet with a raised hand emoji. Fans, of course, then got excited at the idea.
— Alessia (@obriensrlygf) August 10, 2020
A Gay Actor for A Gay Role?
But does Haynes’ lobbying have any merit? In part, yes. Haynes definitely has the look to go with Iceman. His visual appearance is on par with that of Shawn Ashmore. In addition, Haynes is an openly gay actor. Haynes came out as gay in 2016. Since then, his sexuality has been a major talking point in his online presence and his public persona. Part of that is due to the fact that he was advised by Hollywood insiders to not come out the public. This advice was given due to the fear that it would ruin his career.
Having a gay actor play the role of Ice-Man may be the right way to go for the character. After all, the character is gay himself. That’s a fact that came out after decades of speculation. In 2015’s All-New X-Men No. 40, Bobby Drake, aka Iceman, was visited by a time-traveling teen version of himself. In that issue, the young Iceman came out as gay and forced his older version to admit the same. Since then, the older character has been depicted as openly gay and has even engaged in dates, kisses, and sexual exploits with other men.
Having a gay character play a gay role, would be helpful in selling the character to LGBTQ fans. Plus, it could support Marvel Studios’ wish to create more representation in its upcoming Phase 4 of programming. That said, not all gay characters have to be played by gay roles. The real issue is in the belief that gay actors, like Haynes, should stay in the closet or else risk ruining their acting careers. The root cause of this issue is the fact that Hollywood companies wish to market their films to conservative areas like the American Midwest or China. Meanwhile, indie/”serious” films and tv/streaming programs, without the need to market internationally, hire straight actors for LGBTQ roles and promote those performances as awards contenders. So in the end, it all comes down to money.
Why It Won’t Happen (Right Now)
Of course, there’s also a LARGE problem with this discussion: it’s too early. This is because the Marvel Cinematic Universe is nowhere near ready to introduce the X-Men into their tied universe. First off, Kevin Feige and the other producers at Marvel Studios already have a tall order in front of them. They set out for their Phase 4 to be an expansion of the MCU and especially in the realm of representation. From the greenlit introductions to heroes such as Shang-Chi, Monica Rambeau, Blade, and the Eternals to rumored projects in the making, such as the introduction of Ms. Marvel and The Young Avengers; there’s already A LOT of new characters on the horizon.
On top of that, the coronavirus pandemic has left all of Hollywood on pause. Production of many Marvel projects have been halted or slowed down, the premiere of every MCU project has been pushed back, and the future of the MCU is in flux. Because of this, the idea of working on an X-Men introduction is unlikely. That’s not even counting the fact that the X-Men need time to breathe after the 20th Century Fox interpretation is still fresh in our minds (Dark Phoenix released in 2019, folks). Plus, the final Fox X-Men movie (New Mutants) will be playing in theaters later this month.
With all of that in mind. Maybe Colton Haynes would do well as Iceman. In fact, maybe he’ll get the role in 5 or more years. But unlike Storm, who has a backdoor into the MCU through Black Panther and Wakonda, Iceman is tied to the X-Men. Bobby Drake has no way to be introduced to the MCU until when the main group appears. As such, we have to say sorry to Colton Hanes. But right now, it’s way too early to be seriously considering a trip to Marvel.