In case you haven’t heard, Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies were pretty popular and his (producer’s) take on Superman coming out this year is something quite a few movie fans are eager to see. Not only that, but there’s a little studio called Marvel that’s been churning out superheroic hits every year for, at this point, an eternity and building a solid foundation for a whole filmic universe with crossovers that maximize each movie’s profit potentials. So it stands to reason that Warner Bros., the studio behind all the DC comic adaptations (if he’s got a cape and/or a mask, he’s probably not a Marvel character), would be bristling at the chance to make all the moneys.
Naturally, this being superhero comics, Warner has a property that could mesh perfectly with the Avengers movies course of action: the Justice League of America. Or, JLA. Or, the Justice League. Or, simply, the League, not to be confused with FX’s “The League.” Of course, as implied, Marvel Studios had a plan that took years to develop and execute in order become rich as Nazis, and the WB is really just looking to make a quick buck. I applaud and respect both choices, but one is more likely to find success than the other. The most likely outcome is that there will be no Justice League movie, full stop. But if one does come to fruition (with the rumored most obvious line-up), it ought to be the most coveted gig for every Hollywood casting director since The Simpsons Movie. Look below to see just how easy that job will be.
(Note: Any fan art was independently created; click on the pics for sources.)
Henry Cavill as Superman
No surprise here, since Warner Bros. is currently banking on a) Man of Steel not to suck and b) audiences to embrace Cavill as the heir apparent to Truth, Justice, and all that stuff that Brandon Routh apparently couldn’t shoulder on his own. If Cavill and Zack Snyder’s vision of a post-modern Superman doesn’t resonate and busts at the box office, then the JLA is DOA faster than Gene Shalit can rip off that line. The trailers have been promising, though, and Cavill rocked the casbah in The Immortals, so I’m siding with the suits for once. The search for the next Clark Kent is already over. If I’m wrong, then we can just get Tom Welling from “Smallville” to reprise his role. Let’s hope we don’t need to get Tom Welling.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Batman
In a previous SRL, I named several actors I thought could take over the cape and cowl from Christian Bale, since - unless a miracle on the scale of Heath Ledger raising from the grave happens and, thus, Christopher Nolan returns to Gotham or the DC Universe - he’s done with Batman. I named those thespians that either had the necessary Hollywood momentum or the qualified chops to play the dark knight and I still think most of them make sense creatively and financially. But only Joseph Gordon-Levitt would make the transition as painless as possible for fans of the established world and its continuity. And, no, despite the accompanying image, not as Nightwing or Robin, but as the new god damn Batman.
Gina Carano as Wonder Woman
Have you seen Haywire or any of Carano’s mixed martial arts fights in a hexagonal “ring?” Then you’ve seen why she’d make a believable, brutal, and beautiful Princess Diana of Themiscyra. Her physicality and fighting skill ought to make her the obvious pick and clear front runner when actual casting begins. But let’s keep it real ‘til doing so goes wrong: So far, Carano hasn’t really shown the capacity to flex her acting muscles, so it’s no doubt that her Wonder Woman would be stiff, stilted, and probably a little awkward around all these men in Man’s World. When she isn’t punching stuff good and hard, anyway. Wait a second, you know what? We can just call that character development.
Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern
When the Green Lantern movie was originally announced, prior to any above the line talent attachments, fans of the comic character knew exactly who could best play the ace test pilot turned space cop. Two words, one name: Nathan Fillion. An industrious fan even cobbled together his own faux trailer with Fillion as Hal Jordan and pretty much everyone, even those who didn’t know Green Lantern from Green Arrow, loved it. So what did Warner do? They hired Ryan Reynolds and relegated our beloved Cap’n Reynolds to their direct-to-DVD animated films. Because obviously? To be fair, it’s probably a good thing Fillion dodged that big, green mental construct of a bullet, so now he can save the day by becoming the Justice League’s very own Mark Ruffalo. His secret is that he’s always afraid.
Neil Patrick Harris as The Flash
After Spider-Man 3 creatively crushed the still lucrative franchise and Sony decided to reboot it, I always thought NPH would make a pretty perfect adult-sized wall crawler. He voiced Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the MTV cartoon around the time Sam Raimi shat the web, but that show was downright dreadful. This was before news came out that the studio wanted to start all over with a teenage Spidey, so Harris seemed a natural fit (an upgrade, even) to take over the role as portrayed by Tobey Maguire. Alas, Andrew Garfield is fine. Now here’s a chance to finally play a live action super hero that he not only resembles, but could play almost any incarnation thereof (because Barry Allen and Wally West are basically the same person at this point). Plus, imagine the photos we’d get when his family is on set. Cue “g’awwwws” now.
Donald Glover as Cyborg
It is true that the most recent news on the Justice League script does not reference Cyborg, or even indicate a name drop. That isn’t too surprising since JLA mainstay Aquaman was, reportedly, already nixed . Even if you only know that submarined character from a lame extended joke on “Entourage” (is there any other kind?), he’s much more a household name than Victor “Cyborg” Stone. Still, that does leave the League looking like a, well… a Whites Only club. At least The Avengers had Samuel L. Jackson and “Maria Hill” is sort of an half ethinic name. So let’s throw in Cyborg to tie the film even closer to the re-launched comic books where he’s now a founding member of the team. Since Donald Glover will never get to be Spider-Man either, let’s give him a character that he can make his own. Tina Fey knew the dude was going to be a huge star years ago, and when is Tina Fey ever wrong?
Keith David as Darkseid
Interestingly, Avengers 2 is probably going to use Thanos as their next villain, who was glimpsed at the end of the first movie and is a Jack Kirby rip-off of one of Kirby’s own villains, Darkseid (pronounced, yes, like the evil aspect of the Force). Darkseid, you may or may not know, is DC’s biggest big bad and is the most likely foe in the Justice League movie. Because they’re so similar in power (nigh) and motivations (death worship), Warner Bros. is going to have to really do something special to avoid the inevitable boos and hisses from audiences fresh off Thanos’ cosmic devilry. The character is probably going to be a CGI monstrosity to begin with and will merely need a voice, so it’d be foolish not to just hire the best damn voice in Hollywood. Keith can play hero and villain, which is appropriate for a character whose main focus is bending others to his will by turning hopelessness into the ideal state of existence. Something like that. Should the studio forego special effects, Keith also has the imposing build to capably play the ruler of Apokolips on screen, too. Casting a black actor as a character named “dark side” may have some negative blowback, but, hey, it worked out okay for George Lucas and Star Wars.
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’ll stop dream casting Donald Glover in everything when someone actually starts casting him in everything.