Casting Call1 of 12With an unprecedented slate of comic book movies coming out over the next four years, there are going to be a lot of superheroes and superhero supporting characters hitting the big screen. Marvel Studios' head Kevin Feige just announced that the actress playing Captain Marvel would be revealed imminently, and Creed's Tessa Thompson has reportedly just been hired as an unnamed superhero, there are still numerous major roles left to be filled, including some big name heroes with their own movies on the horizon.
So, like all fans, the staff of Newsarama likes to speculate about who we’d put in some of those roles. And while some of our choices may be unexpected, we’re confident that our picks would be spot-on choices for these big name characters and supporting roles alike.
Here are ten major DC and Marvel roles still to be cast – and who we’d pick for them.
Marvel and DC, you can thank us later.
J. Jonah Jameson - Bryan Cranston2 of 12Let’s be clear: we’d gladly bring back J.K. Simmons’s high-intensity J. Jonah Jameson from Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy for the new Spider-Man and wider MCU use, but with Simmons now cast as DC's Commissioner Gordon, we think that ship has sailed.
Enter Bryan Cranston. In an earlier version of this countdown we had Simmons returning to JJJ and Cranston playing Gordon, so we just flipped it.
The irascible actor may seem like a lock for a villain after his portrayal of Walter White on Breaking Bad – and indeed, he’s expressed interest in playing a Marvel villain, and was rumored to be in consideration for Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman – but we think he’s got everything thing it takes to be a perfect comedic foil to Tom Holland's teenage wallcrawler.
Cranston is equally known for his dramatic and comedic roles, and he could harness that in 2017's Spider-Man to be an over-the-top personality that has some bite to his boisterous bark.
Plus, we know he can rock that mustache.
Shazam - Armie Hammer3 of 12Shazam isn’t scheduled to hit theaters until 2019, making it a little early to start talking about casting his youthful alter ego, Billy Batson. But with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson locked in to play his arch-enemy Black Adam, the role of Shazam himself requires someone of considerable physical assets – and screen presence – to stand head to head with the imposing former World Heavyweight Champion.
Enter Armie Hammer. Hammer has had a few goes at superhero stardom, being cast as Batman in the unproduced Justice League: Mortal, and taking the title role in the ill-received Lone Ranger. But while he’s had little luck in that market, he’s had success as a dramatic actor with a star-making turn in The Social Network. With the kind of “everyman” good looks required for Shazam – and a towering 6’5” frame – Hammer could do wonders as the embodiment of childhood wish fulfillment fantasies given superhero form.
Black Bolt & Medusa - Joaquin Phoenix & Jessica Chastain4 of 12It’s hard to say which members of the Inhuman royal family will make it to the big screen when Marvel’s weirdest heroes hit theaters, but you can bet that the king and queen of Attilan, Black Bolt and Medusa, will certainly be among their numbers. And, with Inhumans marking the first MCU film to be released after Avengers: Infinity War (unless it's shifted back again), the pair will need to be played by a couple of powerhouse actors who can carry the Marvel Universe forward.
Vin Diesel has lobbied pretty hard for the role of Black Bolt – and indeed, he seems to be a fan choice – but we’re interested to see the role go in a slightly different direction. We’re thinking Joaquin Phoenix would be a solid choice for the stoic, silent king in black. He’s got the weirdness required for the role down pat, and playing a nearly wordless character might prove enough of a challenge to entice the off-kilter Phoenix. There is the hiccup of Marvel’s troubles getting him to sign on for Doctor Strange, a role that ultimately went to Benedict Cumberbatch, reportedly due to Phoenix’s reluctance to sign a multi-picture deal, but it’s a different role, and far enough in the future that things could change.
As for Medusa, we’ve got our eye on Jessica Chastain. After a breakthrough role in Zero Dark Thirty and Interstellar, Chastain is rising the Hollywood ranks, giving her enough cache for the role to stand with Phoenix. She’s also expressed interest in playing a superhero, and has been rumored to be in talks with Marvel for a role already. Seems like a safe bet, and a good choice.
Green Lantern - Matt Bomer5 of 12When talking about the cinematic Justice League, there’s one role left to be filled – that of Hal Jordan, the presumptive Green Lantern of the team.
Our pick? How about Matt Bomer. He’s got an extensive TV history, having starred in several seasons of White Collar, and the most recent cast of American Horror Story, and has made the jump to film, even appearing in Magic Mike XXL and the upcoming remake of the Magnificent Seven.
What’s more, Bomer actually auditioned for the role of Superman, so he’s definitely on DC’s radar.
Captain Marvel - Emily Blunt6 of 12We’ve talked about this choice before, with Emily Blunt topping our list of choices to take on the role of Captain Marvel, and our case being made in detail here. But now more than ever this casting is becoming a hot button issue for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Carol Danvers is poised to be the next major addition to the Avengers roster, and will be the first female character to headline a Marvel Studios movie. Danvers demands a star who can drive a film. Blunt has shown her star power – and sci-fi chops – time and again. And, we know she’s got a relationship with Marvel. She was the original choice to play Black Widow before scheduling conflicts forced her to drop out.
Janet Van Dyne - Anne Hathaway7 of 12It might seem weird to pair the youthful Anne Hathaway with the aging Michael Douglas as Janet Van Dyne to his Hank Pym, but remember, Janet was fairly young when she became trapped in Ant-Man’s Quantum Realm. Judging by what we know about that admittedly odd dimension, it’s entirely possibly – even likely – that Janet would have stopped aging while trapped there.
Which means that Hathaway would be a pitch-perfect choice to play off Douglas and Evangeline Lilly as her family. Hathaway has the perfect blend of den-mother and fashionista to embody the woman who, in comic books, was the heart and soul of the Avengers. While she may not have that specific role in the films, her attitude and spirit as the winsome Wasp would be a perfect foil to the grumpy, uncompromising Hank Pym.
Catwoman - Angelina Jolie8 of 12With the drums for an Affleck-led solo Batman film continuing to beat, finding someone who could match wits -- and her wiles -- with the 43-year old Batman is a challenge: good thing Angelina Jolie is around.
Jolie has built a reputation for herself both on- and off-screen as uncompromising and direct, and her action film resume between the Tomb Raider movies, Salt, and the action-filled Maleficent seems to make her a - if not the - contender.
In 2010 before The Dark Knight Rises, fans buzzed about the idea of the actress playing Catwoman -- with Jolie even commenting on the speculation calling it "flattering." Anne Hathaway was ultimately cast in the role, but I'm sure for fans the catsuit would still fit the Salt star.
The idea of Jolie-as-Kyle would also mirror Affleck's casting as Bruce Wayne, leaving the door open to Jolie to possibly pursue a solo Catwoman film as star and director now that she has three films under her belt.
Mary Jane Watson - Bella Thorne9 of 12Bella Thorne isn’t exactly a household name – then again, neither is Tom Holland, and he’s poised to be one of the new flagship characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Spider-Man. So there’s nothing stopping Thorne, who practically looks like a John Romita drawing ripped from the page, from taking on the role of his girlfriend, Mary Jane Watson.
Thorne’s got a fairly impressive resume for such a young actress, having appeared on numerous television shows in a variety of genres over the years – including a role on the Disney Channel’s Shake It Up!. So you can bet that Disney already has their eye on her.
Cable - Russell Crowe10 of 12There aren’t many actors with Russell Crowe’s film pedigree, balanced between action roles and dramatic fare. So it’s a little surprising he hasn’t been tapped for a starring role in a superhero movie. Sure, he played the role of Jor-El in Man of Steel, but that’s not a marquee role, and there are plenty of actors who straddle the line.
Just look at Oscar Isaac, who’s playing Cable’s nemesis Apocalypse in X-Men: Apocalypse. He’s also Poe Dameron in the Star Wars franchise. So we know 20th Century Fox is willing to go to the well for actors who are part of other franchises.
But all of that aside, Crowe has the kind of grizzled gravitas that makes the X-Men’s ultimate soldier who he is. As the leader of an X-Force incarnation, he’d be perfect as a counterpart to the more gentle leadership of the core X-Men team.
And remember, he was the studio's original choice for Wolverine but balked at the haircut -- Cable's look might be a little bit easier for the Australian.
Darkseid - Liam Neeson11 of 12The presumed “big bad” of the DC Cinematic Universe needs an actor of incredible gravitas and immense presence – after all, he’ll be playing a dark god, the ruthless ruler of an entire alien world.
So who better than Liam Neeson to menace the Justice League? Couldn’t you see the man with “particular set of skills” firing off some Omega Beams and monologuing in that baritone brogue?
Neeson’s usually the hero type, but he's played a villain on occasion - R'as Al Ghul in Batman Begins. Neither of those things preclude him from getting the call to be Darkseid; when you're looking to cast the big bad of your biggest movie, DC can't handicap their wish list at all.
Just don't tell Key & Peele's valets 'Neesons' is playing Darkseid. They're liable to hurt themselves.
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