In early September of 2023, the internet blew a collective gasket. The MCU, it seemed, was getting ready to rub smooth, oily peanut butter all over the chocolate that is the Harry Potter franchise, by offering Daniel Radcliffe a role in the seemingly ever-expanding Deadpool 3. Two franchises built on fan bases with a lot of opinions looked ready to converge. Fanfic authors sharpened their pencils to scalpel-fine points.
The only problem: They weren’t sure who Radcliffe would be playing. The smart money seemed to be on a new version of Wolverine, at least at first blush – fans had been photoshopping photos of the Guns Akimbo star smoking stogies and wielding stab-hands for years already. But what if that was exactly the point? To get nerds thinking that they’d figured the whole thing out, only to pull the rug out from under them once they got to the theater (or whatever we’ll have instead of theaters once Deadpool 3 comes out?) Assuming that Radcliffe’s not keen on the idea of picking up another decade-plus of schedule-annihilating franchise stardom, here are a few of the less ubiquitous X-Men that Radcliffe could be playing in the MCU.
Daniel Radcliffe has spent his post-Potter years proving to audiences that he’ll do whatever he feels like doing. A movie where he plays a gassy cadaver? A TV show where he’s a dead caveman making snowflakes melt one at a time? Challenge accepted.
And for the weirdness connoisseur, there are few better characters on offer than the X-Men’s own Beak, AKA Barnell Bohusk. Part of Grant Morrison’s early-2000s initiative to make the Xavier School alumni as uncomfortable to look at as possible, Beak was a member of the remedial class, owing to a mutation which afforded him all of the terrible parts of bird physiology (easily-broken bones, a weird mouth) without any of the helpful ones (flying, being allowed to sleep at Petco for free). We don’t claim to know Radcliffe at a personal level, but “tragic, easily-punched bird boy” feels like a role that’s right up his alley.
For one thing, we already know that Radcliffe can pull off the glasses. For another, casting the five-foot five-inch performer as a seven-foot, 700-pound ball of anabolic 1980s proto-Liefeldian CGI is exactly the kind of curveball we would hope for from a Ryan Reynolds movie.
The Deadpool movies already broke a particularly nerdy kind of ground when they became the first entries in the Marvel brand of movies to make reference to Alpha Flight, even if it was just a background Easter egg. Deadpool 3 could blow the geek doors off the dweeb hinges if it decided to add an actual member of the Canadian super team to its roster.
Puck feels like the right choice for Radcliffe. He’s a tiny, hairy buff boy in a body sock who says “Eh?” a lot, blessed with such powers as “not being very big” and “that’s pretty much it.” If Reynolds and company were looking for a way to subvert audience expectations, casting one of the most recognizable actors in the world as “Slightly Smaller Than Average Man” would definitely work a trick.