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The Real Reason Jessica Chastain Turned Down A Role In The MCU

Jessica Chastain passed up a chance to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe... but not for the reason you might think.

Doctor Strange screenwriter C. Robert Cargill recently revealed in an interview that Chastain was offered the role of Christine Palmer, the good doctor's ally and sometime love interest, which eventually went to Rachel McAdams. While a fair number of big-name actors have been hesitant to join the MCU due to the potentially insane multi-picture commitments the franchise can require, Chastain passed on the role for quite a different reason: she's holding out for a bigger one.

Cargill told Junkfood Cinema that while Chastain was psyched on the film, she wasn't interested in playing a Marvel supporting character (although she did end up in a villainous role in the non-MCU, Fox Studios-produced disaster Dark Phoenix in 2019). Rather, she wanted to be the one saving the world.

"This is the interesting thing that Hollywood's starting to find out, is that a lot of the actresses out there want to be superheroes as much as the actors do," Cargill said. "I know this happened with [Doctor Strange director] Scott [Derrickson]. He went to Jessica Chastain to get her on Doctor Strange because we were considering her... [and] she's like, 'Hey, look, this project sounds awesome, and I would love to do it. But I'm only going to get one shot at being in a Marvel film and becoming a Marvel character, and I trained in ballet, and I really want to wear a cape.' And that was the coolest rejection ever" (via ScreenRant).

We tend to agree, even if Chastain was speaking figuratively; oddly enough, the only MCU hero that pops to mind who actually wears a cape is Strange. Cargill's disclosure got us thinking, though, and you can probably guess what about.

What role could Jessica Chastain play in the MCU?

Since we're of the opinion that Chastain's Dark Phoenix role doesn't count as an appearance in a Marvel movie, we must say that the first potential part for the actress is obvious (to us, at least): the MCU's version of Jean Grey. With apologies to Sophie Turner, Chastain would be perfect for the role, and would bring the acting chops necessary to properly convey Jean's inner turmoil.

For that matter, since we're on the subject of former Fox properties, we could also see her as Sue Storm of the Fantastic Four. Strong-willed, an able foil for even as mighty an intellect as her husband Reed Richards, and possessed of an underrated power set, Sue has gotten short shrift in her previous cinematic incarnations (with more apologies to Jessica Alba).

For our money, though, there's only one best way for Chastain to put that ballet training to use in the MCU: as Jessica Drew, also known as Spider-Woman. With the multiverse about to come into serious play in the franchise (via, coincidentally enough, the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness), the character could be introduced fully-formed, as a seasoned crime-fighter. Chastain is almost exactly twice the age of MCU Spider-Man Tom Holland, which could lend a complicated and potentially hilarious dynamic to their onscreen relationship.

Of course, this would be contingent on Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures continuing to play nice for the foreseeable future, as the rights to Spider-Woman and every other ancillary Spidey character are still held by the latter. Assuming, though, that the two studios see their way clear to continuing their ridiculously profitable, fan-pleasing arrangement, we'd like to delicately suggest that they give Chastain a call... like, yesterday.