Movies may not be coming to theaters for a while, but that doesn't mean the studios have stopped planning for the future.
After the Disney/Fox merger, Marvel fans rejoiced at the possibility of the X-men joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Much has been made of who might play which character, or how they would be portrayed on screen.
One name was recently added to the mix, and the response online has been a little divided.
Marvel reportedly ‘keen’ to cast Shia LeBeouf as gay superhero Iceman in its X-Men reboot https://t.co/Athz91aUqF— PinkNews (@PinkNews)1597174920.0
Shia LaBeouf is reportedly a top contender to play the mutant hero Iceman. This is surprising for a number of reasons.
LaBeouf is a well-respected actor, and his name could bring in an audience. He's become a very prestige actor in recent years, and this move would be a big return to the studio system.
On the other hand, Iceman is one of the most prominent queer heroes in the comics. After meeting a younger, time displaced version of himself, he comes to terms with his identity and sexuality.
This aspect of the character has people calling for an actor who is gay to play the character.
Is Shia LaBeouf gay? No? Then he shouldn’t be playing #Iceman in #XMen then 🤷♂️— Siclops (@Siclops)1597088018.0
I love Shia LaBeouf but #Iceman needs to be played by a gay man. #Xmen— Connor Wilkinson (@Connor Wilkinson)1597095297.0
Cast a gay actor as Iceman and make Shia Gambit #xmen #ShiaLaBeouf https://t.co/mICmXOpOGw— Cac (@Cac)1597131621.0
This isn't the first time LaBeouf has been attached to a Marvel character. Recently, he was also rumored for another hero called Moon Knight.
The talk of Shia joining the MCU is intriguing to many fans, even if the role presents some issues.
Shia LaBeouf being an XMEN is too on brand with my self-centred childish imagination. Life isn’t real.— emmanuel (@emmanuel)1597087144.0
#ShiaLabeouf i'm hella down with Shia Labeouf as Iceman for the #XMen in the #MCU big thumbs up on this casting. https://t.co/cXeWLAcohu— Kryptonian🌉 (@Kryptonian🌉)1597081992.0
Shia LaBeouf as Bobby Drake/Iceman. La Beouf could do a good job mixing "goofball accountant" with "been part of a… https://t.co/aKbXAcFmAu— Starwolf Oakley (@Starwolf Oakley)1597084460.0
https://t.co/qrIZFl88YO https://t.co/KuYsba9lGy— Antonio Zamudio (@Antonio Zamudio)1597175023.0
Comic book fans are very protective of their favorite characters, with many having their own preferences for each actor they want.
By contrast, there's the bigger issue of representation in media, a topic under renewed scrutiny during our national discussion on how the country treats minorities.
The lack of a clear visual for non-heteronormative characters means a lot of straight or cis actors can be cast to play those roles, but this takes possible jobs away from LGBTQ+ actors.
Other topics of debate have been brought up online as well.
This isn't about being a Shia LaBeouf fan (or stan :) ) this is about a person being right for the role; he's not.… https://t.co/D5ioqH34QZ— Jay Faulkner ♿ (@Jay Faulkner ♿)1597081775.0
i have thoughts... https://t.co/mv4kLSOwI6— michael 🏳️🌈 (@michael 🏳️🌈)1597174945.0
Shia LaBeouf could be a pretty sweet Wolverine too but he'd have to get HUNCH #XMen #MCU— Dan | Dan_The_Noob (@Dan | Dan_The_Noob)1597116649.0
....ok. Thats intetesting #ShiaLaBeouf #Xmen #Iceman #Marvel #Disney https://t.co/fHPylrXJJR— Kromatik Avenue (@Kromatik Avenue)1597161250.0
The casting is just a rumor, so take the discussion with a grain of salt. Until there's an official announcement, debates will be about a hypothetical.
But the discussion of representation and the actors chosen to play minority roles is one we must continue to have if we ever hope for real change.