Michael Jackson Almost Played Two Marvel Heroes

Michael Jackson wanted to play Professor Charles Xavier and Spider-Man, even considering a purchase of Marvel itself in order to get himself the role of Peter Parker.

By Jennifer Asencio | Updated

michael jackson

Michael Jackson was always a very unusual person who was willing to take atypical steps in his enthusiasm as an entertainer, including approaching Marvel to talk about playing some well-known names. The King of Pop almost led the X-Men and was considering a very drastic measure to play Spiderman. Nerdist delves into the superstar’s interest in both these roles and a few others that would have changed beloved franchises.

Patrick Stewart was iconic in the role of Professor Charles Xavier, or Professor X, because he looked almost exactly like the powerful psychic headmaster. However, when the Bryan Singer version of X-Men was cast in 1999, Michael Jackson lobbied for the role of the Marvel hero, despite looking nothing like the part. When told that Professor X was an older white guy, the perky pop icon replied, “Oh yeah. You know, I can wear makeup.”

Michael Jackson was also so fond of the idea of playing Spiderman that he met with famous Marvel icon Stan Lee to discuss the idea and get pointers about the character. He even considered buying Marvel at one point in order to hedge his bets and guarantee the role. Given the amount of wealth and fame the inventor of the Moonwalk had at his disposal from years of performing and producing hit songs and music videos, Marvel Studios came very close to being part of his legacy.

Given the cinematic style of his music videos, Michael Jackson would have created a very different Marvel Studios from the one we know today. Marvel is currently owned by Disney, which featured the short film Captain EO among its attractions from 1986 to 1998. Captain EO starred Michael Jackson and Anjelica Huston, was directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and was co-written by Coppola, George Lucas, and Randy Lemorande.

Captain Eo
Michael Jackson, as Captain EO, and George Lucas.

With that connection, it is also possible that Michael Jackson would have put Disney and Marvel together sooner. In an alternate timeline, we might have had X-Men-themed attractions similar to Captain EO in Disney parks, with the King of Pop sitting in Cerebro and guiding both the Xavier School For Gifted Youngsters and the superhero team. We might have seen a Spiderverse that featured Michael Jackson web-slinging around Manhattan.

Reportedly, Michael Jackson was interested in a few roles outside of Marvel, as well. He tried to convince casting directors for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace to let him play Jar Jar Binks, and also attempted to get the role of Willy Wonka in Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. True to form for a person who lived in a place called Neverland, he also wanted to play Peter Pan in Stephen Spielberg’s Hook.

Michael Jackson was an enigmatic personality, and could possibly have found a place in a Marvel movie today, although probably not as Professor X or Spiderman. His unique take on any of the characters that interested him would have been interesting to see, especially if he had taken the initiative to make his own adaptations of these properties. We will never know, but it’s interesting – and unconventional – to consider.

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