Marvel reportedly ‘keen’ to cast Shia LeBeouf as gay superhero Iceman in its X-Men reboot
Shia LeBeouf is reportedly in the running to play gay superhero Iceman in Marvel’s highly-anticipated X-Men reboot.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is set to undergo a radical shift in the next few years following Disney’s acquisition of Fox, and with it the rights to the X-Men.
Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios president, has confirmed that the MCU’s take on the mutants will be “quite different” to the previous series, and is said to be working on a plan to introduce the X-Men to his carefully calibrated world.
After fervent speculation, the first grain of news regarding that plan appears to have leaked, with reports Shia LeBeouf is a frontrunner to play Iceman.
Portrayed by Shawn Ashmore in the original X-Men films, the comic books’ version of Iceman is notable for being one of the most prominent queer superheroes.
A teenaged version of Iceman, displaced in time, came out as gay in an April 2015 issue of All-New X-Men after Jean Grey read his mind.
A later issue saw the teen Iceman confront his older, still closeted self, who admitted he didn’t want to be gay or a mutant. Iceman was then given his own series which focused on him coming to terms with his identity and his legacy as a superhero.
LeBeouf has long been under consideration to play Marvel anti-hero Moon Knight, according to We Got This Covered, but producers are now reportedly “keen” to cast him as the X-Men hero.
Having made his name in Michael Bay’s Transformers series, LeBeouf has turned his back on blockbusters for much of the past decade, instead focusing on smaller films with meatier roles.
Marvel reportedly see the role as a “possible way of bringing him into the fold while still easing him back into the big budget environment that he’d previously sworn off”, We Got This Covered wrote.
The news that LeBeouf could play Iceman was met with a mixed reaction online, with member of the LGBT+ community pleading with Marvel to cast a queer actor in the role.
Scott Evans, the gay younger brother of Captain America star Chris Evans, tweeted: “I am a Shia fan. But can Iceman, a prominent gay character in the comic books, PLEASE be played by a gay man?”
I am a Shia fan. But can Iceman, a prominent gay character in the comic books, PLEASE be played by a gay man?
— Scott Evans (@thescottevans) August 10, 2020
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Comic writer Joe Glass went one better by offering some alternative casting suggestions: James Bond’s Ben Whisahw, Broadway and Girls actor Andrew Rannells, and EastSiders stars Kit Williamson and John Halbach.
No, Marvel, please hire a gay actor. Give Shia someone else, but why cast him as Iceman when Ben Whishaw, Andrew Rannells, Kit Williamson and John Halbach are RIGHT THERE!
— Joe Glass 🏳️🌈 ✊🏿is looking for an agent! (@JosephGlass) August 10, 2020
The latest rumours suggest that Marvel’s plan is to introduce the X-Men slowly, one-by-one, before staging a later Avengers-style team-up.
Who the studio will cast in other key roles remains a mystery – though Pose star Dominique Jackson has thrown her hat in the ring for the role of Storm, to the delight of everybody with taste.