Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wishful Casting: Avengers Movie Edition

Unless you live under a rock or were born before 1980 you've had some contact with Joss Whedon.  He writes he directs, he produces, he creates musicals; I'm pretty sure he can even pat his head and rub his stomach at the same time too.  He's created some of the finest television programs that have graced the small screen within the past fifteen years: Buffy, Angel, Firefly and Dollhouse all have left their own legacies due to him.  He's built up a fan base that proves he can pull his own weight in the box office with Serenity - assuming he is left alone (I'm looking at you BtVS: The Movie.)  He's responsible for Doctor Horrible’s Sing-A-Long-Blog and has set down his comic roots with Buffy Season 8, Angel Season 6, and all the Firefly/Serenity comics over the years, Astonishing X-Men and even an arch on Runaways.  So it's no surprise that all of Geekdom breathed a sigh of relief the second Joss became attached to the new Avengers Movie.

 I spent a few days scratching my head over exactly what the first post to this blog should be about and it dawned on me that an event as epic as Joss doing the Avengers movie was the perfect fit.  Now some of the rolls have already been cast (Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Nick Fury) - but that doesn't answer the question: "What would be the ultimate cast?"  If I were casting the movie which actors would I pick? Who would do Joss' words the most justice?  This was a hard one since the potential cast is massive to begin with, so picking and choosing the characters alone was quite the process.

Iron-Man - Lets get this out of the way first.  I'm not a huge fan of Iron-Man; in fact I can't stand him at all.  But if anyone can make me like the character it's Joss.  The same could be said for Robert Downey JR.  I've never cared for him but there's a reason why the movie did so well and I guess he's a part of it.  But in my eyes RDJ and Jeffery Dean Morgan are pretty interchangeable, but I'll stick with RDJ.

Captain America - Even though Chris Evans has already been cast I still can't see it.  Joss always likes to do a dark tragic hero and I don't think Chris could pull it off so I went with Jeremy Renner.  He's already proven his acting chops with The Hurt Locker on the big screen and he was great in TV's way too short lived The Unusuals, which also had a lot of Whedon qualities despite the fact that he had nothing to do with it.  I think Jeremy would be a good fit and could pull off a spin-off franchise much more successfully than Chris Evans could.

Thor - again he has already been cast with Chris Hemsworth who I'm sure is a capable actor and Joss is known for going for unknowns but I think Alexander Skarsgard would be a better fit.  Granted physically they both don't really have the build for Thor but Skarsgard would have a little bit more of a draw than Hemsworth would.  It helps that his character Eric was practically the only thing that made season two of True Blood watchable.

Wasp & Ant-Man/Giant-Man/Yellowjacket - given that Ant-Man created Ultron who in turn created Vision who once semi-destroyed became a house for Wonder-Man (all of this sounds very Whedonesque to begin with) and Vision/Wonder-Man's romance with The Scarlet Witch it would be virtually impossible to launch an Avengers movie without Ant-Man and by extension Wasp.  Throw in the fact that both characters are scientists and in turn geeks it's a safe bet for these two characters.

Wasp - Rachel Nichols has that certain thing that Joss likes in his fictional females: brains, conventionally unconventional beauty, the ability to play the tragic hero, and the ability to kick people in the head.  Rachel has done all of this already, multiple times.  Her casting as Scarlett in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was a shocker to say the least, but she pulled off the role well.  And that wasn't Rachel's first swim in the Geek Pond; she stepped up and took the lead as wait for it... Rachel on Alias once Jennifer Garner got pregnant.  As if two fandoms weren’t enough of a pull she's going to be in the new Conan movie and was in the Star Trek reboot. The question isn't would Rachel Nichols accept the role, it should be how will Joss be able to get her out from under J.J. Abrams' thumb long enough to film it.

Ant-Man/Giant-Man/Yellowjacket - I would say put Chris Evans in this role.  He's an important character, but not important enough to ever get his own franchise.  A supporting character that is the catalyst for events that change the course of the entire universe -  it's what this character is, it's the type of character Joss writes the best, why not give Chris Evans the chance to pull it off?

The Scarlet Witch - Olivia Wilde.  Okay, okay hear me out I promise I'm going somewhere with this.  The Scarlet Witch is a long running character who has always been around, yet not around at the same time.  She's been good, evil, insane, and altered reality.  Forget about The Avengers for a second, you'd be hard pressed to come across a canon aspect of the Marvel Universe as a WHOLE that Wanda's presence doesn't spark a heated debate.  Now what has Olivia Wilde made her career of? Short lived TV Shows: Skin, The Black Donnelly's; she's in the upcoming Tron movies so she'll cut her geek/genre teeth on that.  And she's made a career of playing much debated characters whose presence alters the course of the TV show. She joined House M.D. after it had been well established and she had a short stint on The O.C. each time playing characters that polarized the whole fan base.  Isn't that just the definition of The Scarlet Witch at the moment? Plus casting Olivia as Wanda would be an inside joke to that fact and Joss loves him some inside jokes.

Quicksilver - A.J. Buckley.  And now we've come to our usual WTF? Whedon moment.  It would be hard to do Wanda any justice without her brother Pietro.  Now he was a hard one because there were so many choices, Neil Patrick Harris would have been a safe bet and I'm willing to say Michael Rosenbaum too, but they would have been the obvious choices to play the role which in Joss-world that makes them the WRONG choice.  Why A.J. then?  Well look at how Pietro has been played in all the previous TV cartoons (which is the most accessible outside of the comic fandom.  A snarky, skinny brat with a chip on his shoulder - and I think that's something A.J. has proven that he does well (Ghostfacers anybody?)

Crystal - Erica Durance.  Depending on how big of a role Pietro has in the Avengers movie determines how big of a role his once/former/future wife Crystallia will have.  Granted Crystal isn't that important of a character unless you go into the whole Inhuman storyline but still.  Erica Durance took the iconic character of Lois Lane and made it her own.  She outshines the majority of the cast on a regular basis and if you write Pietro as snarky and moody he needs someone for his character to play off of.  Someone who can be an equal, a witless foil, the fall guy, the straight man all at the same time while she's kicking your ass and Erica has been playing that part to a t for the past 5-6 years on Smallville.

Hawkeye & Mockingbird - Barbara "Bobbi" Morse and Clint Barton are a tragic love story that needs to happen and it needs to be done by the master of tragic love stories Joss Whedon.  Bobbi is a relevant character in Whedonverse.  After meeting Clint they fell in love, got married, moved to the West Coast and started the West Coast Avengers.  That alone is pretty epic right?  Well she gets even epic-er.  Yes I said 'epic-er.'

Mockingbird - Michelle Ryan (with a bottle of hair dye) spoiler alert!!  After being kidnapped by the Skrull who sent an impersonator to fill the void she returns to the West Coast Avengers and to Clint only to end up sacrificing her own life to Mephisto in order to save her husbands life.  After Bobbi died in Clint's arms he was so distraught that he disbanded the West Coast chapter of the Avengers.  Later her reanimated corpse was used by the Grim Reaper in an attempt to destroy the Avengers.  Years later she returns again only to be another Skrull impostor whom Clint kills after finding out that she isn't really Bobbi.  I'm telling you this character is PERFECT for Joss to get his hooks into.  Plus with her back yet again and being the real Bobbi this time she is now off with Clint on their own adventures they're rife for a spin-off franchise.  Why Michelle though?  The girl is sporting some serious geek cred here folks.  Bionic Woman reboot, one of the final Doctor Who Christmas Specials with David Tennant (which is sure to send her to the geek hall of fame no matter what else she does), Merlin; Michelle sure has come a long way since her EastEnders days (and Joss does love his tragic female figures to be played by women with former soap opera roots SMG anyone?)

Hawkeye - Jensen Ackles.  Swap out the shotgun for a bow and arrow and Jensen's been playing tragic anti-hero who had his loved ones tragically ripped from him, only to return just to be killed by him before coming back again for 6 years on The CW's Supernatural.

Black Widow - Stephanie Romanov.  Joss likes to keep it all in the family and out of all of the Whedon alum Stephanie fits the role the most.  Some say she's too old to play her, okay a lot of you are saying she's far too old to play the Russian spy but she can pull it off (IMO a whole lot better than Scarlett Johansson ever could.)  Another thing in Stephanie's favor is that Iron-Man and Nick Fury aren't exactly young-bucks themselves.  There are many ways they could spin it to make it work which leads me to this:

Nick Fury & Black Widow II (Yelena) - Samuel L. Jackson & Rose McGowan.  I do enjoy the fact that they've been using Ultimate-verse Fury so there's no sense in changing it.  Rose would be a perfect Yelena, she's strong willed, oozes sex and again she has major geek cred. (Scream, Charmed, Death Proof, Planet Terror, the new Conan movie, Phantoms, Jawbreaker the list just goes on and on.)  Bringing in Yelena would be a good way to justify Natalia\Natasha joining the Avengers full time.  There are so many things they could do - including making S.H.I.E.L.D. evil and Yelena a pawn being used to hunt down and murder Natasha.

Now for villains - because you have to have a villain before you turn a hero evil (still like my idea of evil Fury and pawn Yelena) we have to have someone for these guys to fight right?

Loki - Alan Tudyk.  Loki is the god of mischief and to do that you need to be able to act like you've got at least 10 personalities and Alan does that very well.  Serious Geek cred - Firefly, Serenity, V, Dollhouse, plus it's obvious that Joss loves casting Alan so why not keep up the trend.

Ultron - Nathan Fillion.  Again much beloved by Joss, serious geek cred: Firefly, Serenity, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Castle, Lost.  And Ultron would need to be a voice over and that's something that Nathan does very well which is why he's also done the voices for: Justice League cartoon, Wonder Woman animated movie, Halo 3, Robot Chicken.  It would work well and if they found a plot that had Ultron teaming up with Loki Nathan and Alan have a history of being able to play well off of each other.

Agree, disagree, busy gathering the villagers and lighting your torches over the choices? Let us know.

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