Which Marvel TV Series Did Giancarlo Esposito Turn Down? An Investigation

Giancarlo Esposito is well on his way to joining Ming-Na Wen as a fellow Disney EGOT* (*not a real thing). The star of "Breaking Bad," "Better Call Saul," and "The Boys" (along with several famous Spike Lee joints) has already worked on a handful of Mouse House projects, on top of playing a "Star Wars" villain. That leaves the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the next big Disney property for Esposito to tackle, and he's made no secret of the fact he's got his eye on portraying a certain bald-headed mentor to the X-Men.

But more than merely gunning to succeed Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier/Professor X, Esposito has confirmed he's spoken with Marvel Studios about other MCU roles in the past. "In the Marvel Universe, if you do something in television, one character, you can't switch and play a different character," as the actor reminded the crowd during a panel at Fan Expo Boston (via ComicBook.com). He went on to reveal he had already turned down a role in an MCU TV series in order to hold out for something bigger (namely, a movie):

"So, out of that meeting, which was really wonderful, I had some interest in doing something with them which they've since done, I think it was 'Loki' at that time, and someone else has done 'Loki,' that's great, in television and I'd like to be invited to the table to do something in film because I have a big persona and I've been in the television world for a while and I've still got some movies each year."

Assuming it was "Loki," what role was Esposito offered? Could it have been another MCU series entirely? Perhaps not, but let's speculate wildly about it anyway, shall we?

Moon Knight

Given he's the go-to choice for playing menacing, coiled bad guys on TV, it's not at all hard to envision a scenario where Giancarlo Esposito was in the running to portray the self-righteous cult leader Arthur Harrow on "Moon Knight" rather than Ethan Hawke. But why type-cast the actor when one could instead take advantage of his vocal skills as the grumpy, tantrum-throwing deity Khonshu?

As voiced by the always-terrific F. Murray Abraham, Khonshu is easily irritated and snooty yet only really seems to inspire terror in Steven Grant (which, with no disrespect to our dear boy Steven, isn't that hard to do anyway). However, toss Esposito into the mix, and it adds a whole new layer of intimidation to the Egyptian god, the sort that would have changed up his dynamic with Steven, Arthur, and Marc Spector. It wouldn't have been "better" so much as "different" than what we got, and that's always interesting to think about.

What If...?

Few actors can deliver sci-fi mumbo-jumbo with the authority and gravitas of Jeffrey Wright, as his role across the first four seasons of "Westworld" alone can attest. That said, anyone who doubts Giancarlo Esposito can go toe-to-toe with Wright in the voice-acting arena need look no further than his roles as the narrator of "Dear White People" and Lex Luthor on the animated "Harley Quinn" series for the proof.

Combining his skills at both narration and voicing animated characters, Marvel wouldn't have gone wrong bringing Esposito onboard to voice the Watcher on "What If...?" (in the event, for one reason or another, Wright wasn't available). If nothing else, Esposito might have leaned into the ambiguous nature of the cosmic being on the show, making it all the more difficult for viewers to discern if he's merely an impartial observer of the multiverse or secretly a force for evil who delights in the chaos he sees unfolding around him.


In the event Giancarlo Esposito was, in fact, in talks for "Loki," it's fun to imagine him as the alternate casting pick for Classic Loki (played by Richard E. Grant) — if only so one can picture the Gus Fring actor dressed in that particular Loki variant's costume. As delightful as Grant is in the role, the idea of Esposito trying to be serious while wearing the character's Kermit the Frog-style getup is pretty wonderful. Surely there's some timeline out there in the multiverse where this happened?

Another fun possibility: Esposito as the MCU's Mobius M. Mobius. Owen Wilson's unflappable Time Variance Authority (TVA) agent made for an excellent foil to the God of Mischief, but the prospect of Esposito playing Mobius as a stone-faced time detective unamused by his partner's shenanigans reads like buddy-comedy gold.

Still, let's be real: There's only one "Loki" character Esposito would have been perfect for, and that's Alligator Loki. Because who wouldn't want to watch a first-rate talent like him pretend to be a reptile and chomp off Tom Hiddleston's arm? That's the stuff the Emmys were truly made for.