This is my third time trying to write this post. I accidentally closed out halfway through the first try, and BL went weird during the second.
Also, sorry for my long absence. Life has taken interesting turns.
Anyway, this is a topic that's been batted around the inter-webs for a couple of years, ever since the Disney-Fox merger was announced. My take will be a little different, trying to capture the ideas of the characters more than the classic look. Also, I'm using a modern concept, meaning a Holocaust survivor as revolutionary is less realistic. I feel you need some realistic grounding for something like this, meaning many of my choices are well thought-out and, in some cases, even researched.
Here we go.
Let's stick with the trend of Brits as Xavier, and this dude really rocks the cueball look.
My concept of X is rooted in civil rights, albeit with some twists. I see Xavier's dad as an important fellow in UK politics who is a closeted gay man in the early Sixties (when it was illegal). When blackmailed and threatened with public unmasking, he commits suicide and his family, though wealthy, emigrate to the US under a cloud. This would make Charles a (second-hand) victim of prejudice from the beginning, and a later Mutant Panic (late-Eighties?) would spur him to activism and opening his school.
I'm taking a similar process with the team's most iconic adversary. As stated, his origin story no longer works for a modern telling, but elements can be reworked to fit today. In this case, I think a survivor of a more recent genocide would work. I'm thinking Rwanda, as it would give our man a trgic past and, because the US ignored the whole thing, give him a reason to resent Americans.
Idris Elba is my choice here. He's got the gravitas and can be terrifying while still being sympathetic. He was 22 in 1994, so it could be that Magneto's village or young family were wiped out. If he was away at the time, it would add some guilt to his motivation as well.
A handsome, authoritative white dude with just enough humor and humanity to give the character some dimension (the writing will need to do more for Scott in this iteration, too; James Marsden was perfectly cast and woefully used). Armie Hammer or Scott Eastwood would work, though the latter may be too grim for the MCU.
If you want to cast someone in the Jackman mold, Joe Mangianello would be great. He could definitely convey the rage and physical presence. Obviously, he's taller than the comics version, but so was ol' Hugh. Besides, I'm not sure movie audiences would buy into a 5'3" killing machine. The key here would be to lean into the anger instead of the wounded romanticism. You won't beat Jackman at his own game.
I think, if she's willing to go back to superhero flicks, Kirsten Dunst could bring a lot of warmth to the role. She is also capable of balancing astute supporting work with tremendous impact in showcase scenes.
The woman was worshiped as a weather goddess, so this actress needs some serious oomph. My choice is Janelle Monae. Her performance in Hidden Figures tells me she can portray the grit, determination, and the utter wallop of the Gold Team leader.
Those are the most iconic characters and who I believe would play them well. The one I'm least confident in is Cyclops; he's an archetypal character, and that can easily slide into generic. Honestly, the best choices are already in the MCU playing other Boy Scout roles.