Michael Fassbender is playing a major Marvel villain - but will it be young Magneto in X-Men: First Class or the baddie in the Spider-Man reboot? And which Spidey nemesis will it be?
The German-Irish actor, who played the dashing Lieutenant Archie Hicox in Inglourious Basterds and costars with Josh Brolin in the upcoming Jonah Hex, is in hot demand from the Marvel moviemakers at both Fox and Sony, the homes of the X-Men and Spider-Man franchises. He's reportedly been offered Ian McKellan's old role as Magneto in the prequel X-Men: First Class and the main villain in Marc Webb's Spider-Man reboot.
It's hard to say which role he should take, if only because we still have no idea who he would play in the new Spidey movie. Indeed, we still don't even know who is playing Peter Parker (although the smart money is apparently now on Jamie Bell). What makes things particularly tricky is it's difficult to imagine who in Spider-Man's rogues gallery Fassbender could even conceivably play: Spidey's enemies aren't exactly known for their good looks and natural charm.
The internet scuttlebutt seems to think he'd be playing Electro, which honestly is a bit disappointing. Electro, whose powers are pretty much exactly what you'd expect them to be, seems like an altogether minor sort of villain who doesn't have a ton going for him beyond the fact that, yeah, his electric powers can look pretty cool. Other than that, though, he's never been much more than a fairly one-dimensional villain. It's perhaps telling that the Ultimate Universe couldn't come up with a more interesting spin on the character than he was now the result of bioengineering and is bald.
It's particularly a shame if the Electro rumors are true because I think Michael Fassbender would be a great choice for a far more interesting Spider-Man villain - Kraven the Hunter - provided he bulked up a bit. (And if Marc Webb and company are serious about making the reboot "grittier" than the original trilogy, there's no finer comic source material than "Kraven's Last Hunt.")
If nothing else, X-Men: First Class seems to be quite a bit further along than the Spidey reboot. It's got its talent behind the camera firmly in place with producer Bryan Singer and Kick-Ass's Matthew Vaughn directing, and James McAvoy will be taking over for Patrick Stewart as the young Professor X.
There's also now one more name to add to the growing cast, as reports indicate Rosamund Pike is now testing for the part of morally ambiguous telepath Emma Frost. The 31-year-old Pike, whose previous credits include Die Another Day and Surrogates, is about the same age as McAvoy, meaning Frost's character is likely not a student of but rather an equal or even rival to the Professor.