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Dream Casting Marvel Studios Phase… What Are We On Now, 3? 4?

By Rob Payne | Seriously Random Lists | June 4, 2013 | Comments ()


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Every day seems to bring more news from the little movie studio that could... become a giant, all pop culture consuming space monarch that traverses the galaxy eating our money and attention for its apparently eternal sustenance. (I'm saying Marvel Studios is becoming its own (metaphorical) Galactus, and not the puny space cloud version from the Fox movies.) Karen Gillan -- along with, it seems, everybody else -- is joining Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy as an unnamed villainess, and last month The Hollywood Reporter, er, reported on several properties that the burgeoning behemoth is gearing up to make, or re-make, in the next few years beyond their current "Phase 2" plans. So we can look forward, with undoubtedly diminishing returns, to another half-decade of Marvel Studios news at least. Yay?

Well, with some of the mentioned projects, yes, indeed, yay. Along with Edgar Wright's Ant-Man, there are several characters who are interesting enough on the page to merit their own films even if they haven't yet become household names. I already wrote about what could be done with the mostly maligned Daredevil franchise, so let's keep going and imagine who could play the roles of some of Marvel's never-3rd-tier-in-our-hearts heroes. The articles linked above mention The Runaways as a possible movie, but that is one series and set of characters I am sadly ignorant on, so I can't dream cast them yet. Feel free to do so in the comics if you like, but please refrain from telling me I have to read it. I know I do, I've heard.

Before somebody, somewhere wants to keep making Ghost Rider movies with or without Nicolas Cage*, let's see what else we have to work with, shall we?


Katee Sackhoff as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel
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Carol Danvers is a f*cked up character. Her story, over decades featured in other characters' arcs, of becoming the cosmically powered Captain Marvel is one of the most confusing and reprehnsible in all of comics. It's much too long to go into and far too incoherent to even attempt half of it in a movie. But good writers have proven she can be one of the most engaging heroes in the whole universe, and while her movie would have to be much bigger in scope than where Kelly Sue Deconnick's first issues start in her recent series that's the characterization I'd love to see. The noble but risk-taking pilot, whose never far from a quip and is trusted to get the job done -- like Green Lantern but interesting. Just streamline her origin and put Katee Sackhoff in that flightsuit, one she already proved more than capable of wearing in "Battlestar Galactica." This is such a no-brainer to me, and the entire reason I'm doing this list.


Richard Madden as Doctor Strange
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After being cast as the latest Prince Charming, it seemed likely that Robb Stark's last days on "Game of Thrones" could be in the offing. Forget about book-reading spoilers, the trades can be worse. But that would mean Richard Madden could have a lot of free time on his schedule coming up, so why not combine his two famous roles -- the aforementioned charming prince and the King in the North of Westeros -- and cast him as Marvel's Sorcerer Supreme? Stephen Strange is a subtly challenging role, needing to be taken seriously as a surgeon, an actual mystic, and a ladies' man all while dressed as Disco Merlin and sporting a 'stache that Tom Selleck would mock but secretly covet. I don't know about that outfit, but Madden was believable as the smirkily dour Robb and can grow some decent facial hair. He's got to be a better pick than Patrick Dempsey, anyway.


Michael Jai White as Blade 3.0
pajibamarvelphase3dreamcastMichaelJai.jpg
Blade, as originally portrayed by Wesley Snipes, has already been rebooted in a TV show starring Sticky Fingaz, and both were at least marginal successes, so it's no surprise that Marvel wants to another go at the guy. As a half human/vampire hybrid who was created as a response to blaxploitation cinema and dressed in all black leather before The Matrix made it cool, he's a pretty strong character on paper. It's no surprise, then, that Black Dynamite himself, Michael Jai White, is often the most rumored and talked about to take over from Snipes. As a movie martial artist, White has basically been preparing for this role for years, and he's a much better actor than a cursory glance at his resume might suggest. So let's give it to the man, already, Marvel. Just get a not-horrible script and some decent effects, and this new Blade could easily become the next, well, Blade.


Chiwetel Ejiofor as Black Panther
pajibamarvelphase3dreamcastChiwetel.jpg
Black Panther is more than just one of the first, if not the first, black superhero in modern superhero comic books, he's also the ruler of his own fictionalized African nation, Wakanda. He's an important and popular character in the Marvel U and in fandom, and as such, he needs a better actor than a straight-up bruiser type. (No offense to Mssrs. White or Crews.) He's more thoughtful than violent, though he can stand toe-to-toe with any of the Marvel gods and super soldiers, and his most dangerous weapon isn't a tactile object, but his passion. He'd have to be wearing a full face mask for large chunks of time, but Chiwetel Ejiofor is talented enough to overcome that to play the part of a proud man defending his homeland. If Maguire can do it, Ejiofor can. And this time he'd get to be the badass and the hero.


Jason Statham and Terry Crews as Iron Fist and Power Man, the Heroes for Hire
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In my "research" for this list, I came across several other dream casting choices for Luke Cage, aka Power Man, including: The Rock, Tyrese Gibson, Idris Elba, the aforementioned Michael Jai White, the Old Spice "I'm on a horse" Guy, and pretty much every other muscly black actor in Hollywood. Terry Crews is another, no doubt due to his physique, his charisma, and his penchant for screaming while shirtless. All of those are important attributes, and no doubt the other fellows would be entertaining in their own right, but Crews also just showed he can actually play a fully-realized human being in season 4 of "Arrested Development." Naturally, a cartoonishly over exaggerated human being, but that's exactly what somebody who willingly called himself "Power Man" requires. As for Iron Fist, I initially thought about race-bending Danny Rand into Byung Hun Lee, because he always wears a mask anyway and who needs another White Man Saves the Day movie? I mean, if Donald Glover is ever going to be Spider-Man, we've got to start somewhere, don't we? But then I remembered that Jason Statham exists and is perfect for an over powered martial artist with a vengeance complex. Now all is right with the world.

Well not right right. Racism still exists, too. But you know what I mean.


* Who would want to make a Ghost Rider movie without Nicolas Cage?


Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter, tumbls on the Tumblr, and his wares can be purchased here. He thinks Nic Cage should be in most things.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Trayl

    I want to cast my vote for Luke Evans as Namor, the Sub-Mariner!

  • who will play SPEEDBALL?!?!?

  • BlackRabbit

    I would have said Downey in his youth. Wouldn't even need to research it. I dunno about a Dr. Strange movie-magic can be tricky to pull off. And I feel like you have to go a little younger for Iron Fist. I always read Cage as a kind of big brother to him.

  • sean

    Some of those are awful choices. Especially the Power Man/Iron Fist. Too old. They need to cast young actors, so these franchises can last a long time. I think Black Panther, especially needs a young actor, say Michael B. Jordan. Think a young T'Challa being forced to take over the Panther Clan upon the death of his father(say...Peter Mensah). The Lion King basically. Iron Fist is about a young man coming to grips with the western world that he has no place in. Power Man, a young man framed for a crime.

    That said, everyone and their grandmother thinks that Katie Sackoff is the perfect choice as Carol Danvers. Hell, I have even read that Katie wants the part.

  • foolsage

    Huh, that's actually pretty good casting, I agree. At 26, Jordan is just old enough to be plausible as the Crown Prince inheriting the mantle and the crown upon T'Chaka's death. The main problem I see is that T'Challa really shouldn't be the youngest Avenger; that's kind of a weird vibe (RDJ is 48, Ruffalo is 45, Renner is 42, Evans is 31, Hemsworth is 29, and Johannson is 28).

    Still, yeah, he could pull it off.

  • Bam Bunting

    I've been wanting Chiwetel to be Black Panther for years.

    The guy could be the next Downey in the rough.

  • sean

    Chiwetel needs to be Doctor Who first.

  • JohnnyHotsauce

    Terry Crews, Aaron Paul, Olivia Munn, and Kerry Washington in my Heroes for Hire movie. Book it.

    Richard Madden is a good Dr. Strange, I think. If you want to go older, I think Jeff Goldblum could pull off the eccentric yet strangely handsome mystic. He might be a little TOO old, tho.

    Put me down for Strahovski as Danvers, too. And Ejiafor as BP is great!

  • Salieri2

    Kerry Washington as Misty Knight!!

  • John W

    How about Katee Sackhoff as

    Mockingbird (Hawkeye's partner and love interest)

    The Cat (Spider-Man's enemy and then love interest)

    She Hulk,

    now that Daredevil is back in fold, Elektra?

    Invisible Woman?

  • CoachPenn

    I like Terry Crews, but not for Luke Cage. The recent, more mature take on the character is the one I would want to see, and I just don't think Crews can pull off the serious, protective dad version.

  • Three_nineteen

    Go find the old TV show Everybody Hates Chris.

  • John W

    All great choices although I agree with jthomas666, Yvonne for Carol Danvers.

    I would love to see Terry Crews as Luke Cage.

  • foolsage

    OK, thinking about Richard Madden as Dr. Stephen Strange has me contemplating who'd be cast with him.

    Richard Madden as Dr. Stephen Strange
    Saoirse Ronan as Clea
    Jay Chou as Wong
    Brad Dourif as Baron Karl Mordo
    Mark Strong as Dormammu

    I'm unsure who to cast as the Ancient One, who properly speaking ought to look Tibetan/Nepalese.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Not that Madden is a bad idea, but is there some reason we aren't talking about Jon Hamm as Doctor Strange?

  • jthomas666

    Yvonne Strahovski as Carol Danvers or GTFO.

  • calliope1975

    I'm thinking Mark Strong for Dr. Strange. An older Strange admittedly. I really liked his Sinestro, but it's best to wash that horrible Green Lantern movie away.

  • foolsage

    Mark Strong would be perfect for Dormammu, IMO.

  • John W

    Oliver Platt or Alfred Molina as Baron Mordu

  • foolsage

    Ohhh, Molina would be great there, agreed. Platt isn't scary/intense enough IMO, although he was a decent enough voice for Hades in Wonder Woman.

  • calliope1975

    I'm not familiar with him so off to Wikipedia I go.

    I'm good with Ejiofor as BP or Aldis Hodge if we're skewing younger.

  • psemophile

    Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange.
    That is all.

  • John W

    Wouldn't Cumberbatch be great as Neil Gaiman's Sandman?

  • Paige Record-Needlescratch

    For years I have been saying Adewale Akkinouye-Agbaje should be Black Panther. Just watch him on Oz and tell me it's a bad fit.

  • Feralhousecat

    Put Katee Sackhoff in ANYTHING to save her from Longmire. That show is terrible.

  • She deserves so much better. She's such a powerful actress, but in her post-BSG career, she CANNOT pick a project to save her life.

  • Joe Grunenwald

    Holy shit, Katee Sackhoff as Carol Danvers is PERFECT.

  • foolsage

    I have to agree. I would love to see that casting.

  • Fredo

    Madden is way too young to be Stephen Strange. You need someone with some years and some scars to play him. If we're picking from GoT for our Sorcerer Supreme, what about Iain Glen or Nikolaj Coster-Waldau?

    And Marvel better, at some point, redeem the damn Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom! Stop making other movies and fix that nonsense!

  • Yes to everything you just said. Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom are two of my favorite Marvel characters.

    I think what bummed me out most about the FF movies (aside from almost every choice they made) was that they failed to capture the fun, dangerous hammy-ness of Victor von Doom. He's given to Shakespearean monologues, he rules over a post-Soviet Slavic country from his castle, every time he dies it's always just a Doombot impostor; he's hilarious. Like a magpie, I'm drawn to how flashy he is in his big cloak and crazy power armor. But, when done right, he's also very dangerous and seems to pull off Batman-level gambits.

  • foolsage

    What infuriated me about the movie treatment of Dr. Doom was that they turned the consummate plotter/manipulator into a brutish thug who blasted people for kicks and went toe to toe with the Thing. That's what the frickin' Doombots are for, dammitall. Doom should be more like Loki or Lex Luthor, orchestrating everything behind the scenes, always a few steps ahead of the heroes, until Reed outthinks him of course.

    You don't defeat Doom by punching him.

    And yes, he needs a certain amount of arrogant gravitas, which in a lesser mortal would seem cheesy. Doom's so deadly sincere though that there should be nothing humorous about him. And he should speak of himself in the third person, as well.

    IT IS DOOM'S DESTINY TO RULE.

  • True, but let's get real: just about the only thing that they did even a little right was the Thing. Solid casting, generally on par with the established character. Chris Evans as the Flaming Torch weirdly didn't work then, but I bet if he weren't already Captain America, it'd work better now.
    Everything else was a total shit-pile.

  • foolsage

    Agreed on all counts. Chiklis made a good Ben, and pretty much everyone else in that movie was horrible. I did like Evans somewhat (he had a couple of funny lines anyhow) but he's a much better Cap than he was a Johnny Storm.

  • foolsage

    I don't agree. The critical aspects of Strange's character initially are his arrogance and his skill as a surgeon. In Earth-616 continuity he was only 33 years old when he had his car accident, although obviously Ditko's art made him look older, with the white streaks in his hair.

    I hadn't considered Madden but I think he could really pull the role off. At 26, he's a bit young, but I really don't see a problem.

  • sean

    But he then spent decades learning magic. Strange in the comics is actually quite old. Just magically well preserved. He is supposed to be in his mid-80s actually. He still chases college girls however. http://marvel.wikia.com/Stephe...

  • foolsage

    Well, yes and no. That is to say, sure, in Marvel continuity Dr. Strange has been around for a long time and has aged. My point though was that, when he began his studies with the Ancient One he was in his early to mid 30s. Casting an actor in his late 20s isn't wildly out of the question from that perspective.

    Dr. Strange was said to have studied under the Ancient One for seven years in all, which is inclusive of his initial battles with Mordo and Dormammu (which I expect would form the basis for the origin story). Remember, Clea's first appearance in the comics took place when Dr. Strange was only roughly 34 years old (Strange Tales vol 1 #126). That's the timeline I think they should aim for in the origin movie, since Clea provides a nice love interest to keep things interesting.

    Looked at another way, the character Dr. Stephen Strange was born in 1930, and we're talking about an origin story that took place in the early 1960s. He wasn't 80 years old back then. ;) Also remember that Dr. Strange and Spider-man had quite a few adventures together (e.g. the Wand of Watoomb) back when Dr. Strange was in his 30s. This doesn't make sense anymore if Spidey is in his 20s and Strange is in his 80s. Which is to say, pretty much everything in the Marvel timeline has shifted forward 40 years or so, with the exception of Captain America, for obvious reasons. Look at how Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos were retconned; Fury fought in WWII in the comics, but he's not 90+ years old in the new movies.

    Again though, there's no good reason why Dr. Strange's age couldn't be up to a decade younger than it was in the comics back at the time of the stories in question. That's a very minor continuity change that affects nothing of substance about the character. The essential facts of his character are that he's a brilliant and arrogant surgeon, who loses his career after a terrible accident. Having the accident at e.g. age 29 instead of 33 is quite innocuous. I think Richard Madden could convincingly play someone 3 years older than he really is. :P

    Amusingly, I'd looked at the article you cited earlier when I sought to establish Dr. Strange's age at the time of his car accident.

  • Because Jaime Lannister and Jorah Mormont are still alive, and probably wouldn't have time to do GoT and a film. Right?

  • sean

    Sure they would. Both actors only do 8-10 scenes a year. I imagine that they only actually work a few weeks a year on GoT

  • Fredo

    Jorah might have a bit more time in the near future.

    Hint, hint.

  • Guest

    He's not dead, though. I mean, it's been a while since I read the series, but I don't remember him dying. Who knows how they're going to stitch things together in the future show?

  • foolsage

    It's still a spoiler if you correct someone else's misleading spoiler.

  • goddamn it.

  • psemophile

    Marvel has zero control over FF. You can thank Fox for that debacle.

  • Fredo

    I thought those rights reverted back to Marvel if Fox made no more movies after a certain time? Isn't that why Amazing Spider-Man was fast-tracked?

  • angelorabbit

    Fox is fast tracking a FF movie right now.

  • psemophile

    they are already working on FF

  • BendinIntheWind

    Iain Glen times ten thousand! Now that you've planted the seed I sincerely need this to happen.

  • sean

    Actually, I think a thousand isn't a high enough number.

  • Boo_Radley

    Jason Statham as Iron Fist? Surely, you must be joking.

  • foolsage

    Yeah, I really don't see that working at all either. For one thing, Danny Rand is generally portrayed as considerably younger; he was only 19 when he earned the power of the Iron Fist. Statham is 45.

    I'd suggest someone more like Kellan Lutz for the role.

  • Batesian

    It's not a bad thought, actually. And don't call him Shirley.

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