While there's still a pretty large contingent of the audience who knows The Jungle Book's Giancarlo Esposito best from his run as Gus Fring on Breaking Bad, spending a little time with Iron Man director Jon Favreau has apparently got him pretty close to joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe on at least one occasion.
Besides being one of the most beloved villains in TV history, Esposito has memorable villainous roles on NBC's Revolution and as Ra's al Ghul in Son of Batman, as well as a turn as Black Spider in Batman: Assault on Arkham, the first feature film appearance of the Suicide Squad.
While discussing this week's DVD and Blu-ray release of The Jungle Book, I asked Esposito what he thought about eventually joining a superhero universe in live action, and it's clear he's into the idea.
"I know the Marvel world exists on the Disney lot. I love those guys at Marvel. We've been trying to figure out how to collaborate on something," Esposito said. "I'm hoping that it is something. They came to me with something for their television department, then I realized if I did that, I'd never be able to have that same character be in that film department. Once you're in a Marvel character in the television version, you have to stay in the particular character. They can't carry that over to film."
Of course, there have been some actors who played more than one role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe -- take Alfre Woodard, for instance, who had a relatively minor role in Captain America: Civil War, but will appear in a more significant part in the Marvel/Netflix Luke Cage series. Still, his point is well-taken: in a shared universe, you can't very well cast the same actor in more than one major role without risking audience confusion.
At the same time, Esposito's implication that Marvel's television roles can't carry over to film would be a break with the long-stated policy that Marvel's TV and film universe is "all connected." Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury started on the big screen but has appeared on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Ditto Clark Gregg's Phil Coulson, Jaimie Alexander's Lady Sif, and more.
Of course, excepting Coulson, none of those people had a ton of screen time -- and once Coulson headed to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Gregg's big-screen run ended.
Perhaps more interesting is the question of who Esposito might have been offered on television: would it have been on S.H.I.E.L.D., on a Netflix show -- or perhaps even a role on one of the cancelled series like Marvel's Most Wanted or Marvel's Agent Carter, which would have allowed him to both accept the job and then move on to something else later?
We reached out to Marvel for comment but did not hear back in time for press. We will keep you updated as soon as we hear back.
What do you think, fans? Is there a Marvel character you think Esposito would be just perfect for? Sound off in the comments below.