No Right Answer: Recast, Retire or Pass the Avenger's Mantle

Recast, Retire or Pass the Avenger's Mantle

No matter how much fish oil and black magic is involved, our favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe actors will age out of their characters some day. Time to plan ahead.

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Passing the torch makes the most sense in the context of the narrative and could allow Marvel/Disney to invent new characters to expand the universe farther. This has potential to backfire tremendously, but I actually prefer this option of the lot of them.

Alternatively, I'm fine with recasting the characters. They've done it before. And it really isn't a bad idea IF and only IF you can find the right people. Replacing Iron Man will likely be the hardest because RDJ fits the role better than anyone else fits their respective roles (save for maybe Samuel L Jackson). But I'm sure if they take this option, Marvel has already started looking at potential candidates.

I'm not a fan of retiring the characters outright. Partly because name-recognition will keep the film franchises alive, and not having them will likely show Marvel on the decline as DC begins to step into the ring. Not to mention that comics generally don't retire characters. They keep going. Yes, they're essentially immortal, but anyone could put on the costume and be the hero. Anyone can be Batman. Anyone could be Iron Man, and so on. Financially, this option doesn't make sense for Disney and, for fans, retiring a character means that we won't see character X, Y, or Z until Marvel has run its course and they do a franchise wide reboot because, let's be honest, Marvel can't really reboot anything since its all connected otherwise it might break the continuity. If they fuck up anywhere or lose a cast member for whatever reason, they'll be in a tough position. DC can reboot all they want because Warner doesn't seem to really care. Sony will reboot Spiderman as many times as needed to keep Marvel away from it. and Fox just did a clever workaround for rebooting X-Men that they could probably do again if they really needed to. Marvel doesn't really have that luxury now.

I think recasting is more likely to happened (I mean you don't see their comicbook counterpart retiring or pass the mantle after a couple of story arc unless it's the big one like Avengers Dissasemble) but yet again it depend how many films they can pulled off before the audience get bored of the same routine.

I think a hybrid solution is best. As was pointed out, there are a lot of potential Avengers. You can't add them all in at once, though. So how about this: rotate. Retire a character for a few movies to give another one a chance, and use that down time to think of new compelling character arcs and find a suitable replacement actor. Then, when you do bring in the new actor, it isn't as jarring as if you went from Robert Downey Jr to Leonardo DiCaprio in the span of a single movie.

Scars Unseen:
I think a hybrid solution is best. As was pointed out, there are a lot of potential Avengers. You can't add them all in at once, though. So how about this: rotate. Retire a character for a few movies to give another one a chance, and use that down time to think of new compelling character arcs and find a suitable replacement actor. Then, when you do bring in the new actor, it isn't as jarring as if you went from Robert Downey Jr to Leonardo DiCaprio in the span of a single movie.

I was just thinking the same thing.

Take Captain America. Chris Evans wants to stop playing him? Fine. Cap steps down form his role leading the Avengers (or however things post-Winter Soldier play out) and the focus shifts to other superheroes. Then, in a few years, the Skrulls show up and the world needs Captain America to step up again and be a beacon of righteous purity. Still mostly the same character, but now he's played by Donald Glover in a slightly different way. The characters still evolve and change, but they aren't cast aside entirely.

In any case, Marvel has stuff planned out for decades; I'm sure they've thought of these things.

This was a great show guys, I really liked the three people / three arguments approach, and you did a good job of letting everybody get a chance to talk.

SPOILERS FOR CAP 2: TWS

My personal opinion is to pass the torch. With Phase Two introducing the Guardians of the Galaxy, Phase Three introducing Ant-Man and Dr. Strange (and hopefully a female-helmed movie - She-Hulk, anyone?), and the Winter Soldier in Cap 2, we've already got replacements lined up. Ant-Man as a tech character, Bucky as the new Cap, and Strange to maybe take the "magic" role from Thor... all we're left with is somebody to fill in for Hulk. Hell, Rhodey/War Machine could do it. Or maybe they get a direct transition from Thor to Beta Ray Bill or somebody else; what's important is that we're already seeing the groundwork for an Avengers 4, 5, and 6 being laid.

The cool thing about this is that Marvel gets to have these movies as basically a test run. Maybe audiences don't respond to Ant-Man - that's OK. They can spin in another character, or get one of the previous crew to reprise their role, or a million other things.

I think recasting is probably the least beneficial idea; fewer iconic Marvel (Cinematic Universe) characters live behind a mask than their DC (...and Fox/Sony) counterparts. Seven actors have played Batman on film, but it doesn't matter as much who's under the cloak-and-cowl so much as that icon look is preserved. I think I'd have a hard time divorcing the actor's look from Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, and Thor.

...they could probably get away with recasting Banner, but Ruffalo is so good I really wish they'd keep him around.

The Infinity Gauntlet is going to have the reality gem, right? Boom! An in-universe explanation for recasting every character.

Maybe they never actually physically pass the torch because the actors eventually get replaced by CGI....

Then the only thing that changes about them is their voices....

I would argue that re-cast is the worst option, because it would make the MCU a stagnet universe like the Marvel Universe already is. It would be better for both to have the MCU change with time, because people would expect the comic universe to change with it, which would mean that characters in the Comics would actually have to change, which they haven't done in decades.

I don't really have anything to say about the episode but I love the picture on the main page. You are talking about the Avengers and the MCU and the only characters visable on the picture are X-men, Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four.

Didn't Chris Evans already pass on the torch?........... amiright? ......badumtish...... il get my coat =(

Gizmo1990:
I don't really have anything to say about the episode but I love the picture on the main page. You are talking about the Avengers and the MCU and the only characters visable on the picture are X-men, Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four.

Added irony, the pic illustrating "choices for more female heroes" has almost half of that roster being impossible due to studio licensing - at least 5 of them (that I can make out) are X-Men (not counting Scarlet Witch, though as we now know she's been heavily retconned as no longer being a "mutant").

Three person no-right-answer. Nice.

She hulk would be so much better than Black Widow. At least She Hulk has real powers ("Oh, but the black widow has an enhanced-immune system, slow aging, and is resistent to mind control!", *sigh*, I repeat that She Hulk has REAL powers) and maintains an intellect. I mean, there's a LOT of other possible female characters that aren't female versions of an established male characters but this still isn't a bad idea.

KaZuYa:
Didn't Chris Evans already pass on the torch?........... amiright? ......badumtish...... il get my coat =(

That's just... That's just fantastic

I think in this case, a combination of the three might be best.

KaZuYa:
Didn't Chris Evans already pass on the torch?........... amiright? ......badumtish...... il get my coat =(

*whistle*

I'll allow it!

I'd say a combination pass the torch and retire. Only recast if you really feel you haven't done that character justice (which I think is what's been going on with hulk) or you have some really good specific plot line involving that character. It stops a character getting milked too much or just going around in circles and it gives others a chance to shine.

I never really thought the movies would go on so long as the outlive the ability of the cast to portray these characters. Then again, we've never before had a comic franchise that had as much staying power across sooo many various movies.

Even so, I would just assume recasting (like in the James Bond series) or eventual reboots when the series got too convoluted (I can see them doing a Star Trek style reboot with an old and new cast...XMen sort of did it this way).

Why does it have to be one or the other? It could be a combination of all 3.

Retire: the hero retires and movies focus on other heroes with new and exciting stories then...

Pass on the mantle: Someone (close friend, family or someone that got similar power) takes over which is essentially a recast.

But story wise, I think it's pretty hard to pass the mantle with the Hulk, good thing we can recast him like no tomorrow since we don't care about him much.

Recasting RDJ....no. It wouldnt work. One of the reasons that recasting Joker worked so spectacularly good was that the universe got a complete overhaul too. Heath Ledger got to do a completely personal take on the character. Recasting implies that the character will stay the same, and then we get the situation where someone will try to out-RDJ Robert Downey Jr. And they will fail spectacularly, one way or another.

If you're gonna do something new, the universe will most likely need a reset. And hey, thats not a problem. Its not a problem using other characters either, god knows the Marvel universe is full of them. Just find someone that takes the job seriously, thats why the Iron Man movies and Avengers for that matter works. They are not led by some douche that thinks "hehe, this is just for geeks, throw a costume on some guy, how can we go wrong?"

I kind o have to vote for re-casting. It's the hard one, but also he most viable option. As comics go, team books are sold more for their lineup than their writing. You go in to follow characters you like, and a lineup shift can cost readers or viewers. Since the Avengers started with as close to the dream team as we could get, you aren't going to win a lot of people over if Cap Thor Iron Man and Hulk are replaced by Wonder Man, Black Knight, Sersi, and Justice. There's been some lineups of the Avengers and the Justice League that aren't remembered fondly, and hell if you want to see how well it could go over, look up the 90s cartoon Avengers: United they stand to see the Avengers without Cap, Thor or Iron Man. Passing the torch might help, but again, it's been done a fair bit in the comics always to the return of the original. Bucky didn't get a long tenure as Captain America, alternative takes on the hulk go back to big green and angry, Stark always puts the Iron underwear back on, and you really don't want to bring up the replacement Thor (Thunderstrike). They might work for a bit, but again, people come for the original character and characterization, and changing it seems like relabeling a bad idea under a good name.

Recasting can be rough, but the other options seems to bring some bad comic history to the movies.

Recasting works in some cases, less so in others, mainly depending on how contingent a character's popularity is on the person playing him/her. For instance, it's easy to recast the Hulk, since he spends most of his "fun" scenes in CGI form and is a more low-key character in human form. Also, you can pretty much put whoever in the role of Hawkeye, since he's not particularly important. However, the other end of the spectrum is RDJ's Iron Man, which would be borderline impossible to recast - the character in its movie incarnation is very much tied to RDJ's portrayal. For MANY people, RDJ IS Iron Man. Most of the others fall somewhere in the middle here, and I'm pretty sure that if Captain passes the torch to Bucky, it won't go over too well.

However, the trickiest proposition is replacing them with other characters. Oh sure, the comic book enthusiasts will love it, but for general audiences it will suck balls. The current lineup relies on the more prominent characters in the Avengers, the ones who are better known in the general pop culture conscience, even before the movies started. And you have to be realistic here - if you want the Avengers to have the budget and scale it has, it can't rely on enthusiasts alone; it needs to appeal to a broad audience who will foot the bill.

And let's face it, general audience won't give two shits about Ant-Man or most of the other second and third tier Avengers.

So what is to be done? Make do with what you've got, maybe recast some of the minor ones if needed, pass a torch on someone, keep RDJ on stem cell infusions for the upcoming decade... and finish this continuity. Maybe do it with Avengers 3 or 4, giving most major characters one or two other solo movies, and having Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fill in the blanks. And then just end it. Tie up the plot and call it a day.

Then wait some time and "reboot" it. Doesn't have to be a full-on hard reboot, but you can recast the characters with fresh faces, maybe do some new takes on the material, and people won't bitch so much since this would be a new Iron Man, a new Thor, etc.

Scars Unseen:
I think a hybrid solution is best. As was pointed out, there are a lot of potential Avengers. You can't add them all in at once, though. So how about this: rotate. Retire a character for a few movies to give another one a chance, and use that down time to think of new compelling character arcs and find a suitable replacement actor. Then, when you do bring in the new actor, it isn't as jarring as if you went from Robert Downey Jr to Leonardo DiCaprio in the span of a single movie.

Pretty much this. Films are all about suspension of disbelief anyway. Just roll with it James Bond style and refuse to even acknowledge that there's anything different - the character is still the character and that's all that matters. Given the huge stable of characters there should be no problem cycling through them if you want to avoid having the change too jarring, but if you can't avoid it just make a good film - as long as you do that no-one will actually care that there's a different actor.

Thunderous Cacophony:
Still mostly the same character, but now he's played by Donald Glover in a slightly different way.

I first read that as Danny Glover. Now that would be awesome.

I think killing Iron Man in a future MCU movie would solve the potential re-casting of RDJ hands down...
Cap's got Bucky, so that already a no-brainer...
Thor can give some reason for staying in Asgard until further notice...
Hulk can just give up the good fight "for a while" while She-Hulk ends up taking the position as second-in-command to the "New" Avengers...
Black Widow and Hawkeye? Eh... I got nothing...

But overall, I think Marvel knows what they're doing if problems like that start arising... (If only they could see those "director/creative disagreements" coming, though...)

After seeing that side-by-side picture...I'm convinced I want to see Willem Dafoe cast as The Joker in something.

I definitely think retiring is the way to go, with some elements of passing the mantle. I mean obviously you don't wanna pass the mantle on everybody. Winter Soldier, good passing the mantle example, but Iron Man...not so much, especially since so much of the movies message has been "These aren't just suits. I am Iron Man. They are me." so just kinda going "And now they're you." feels off to me.

Retiring is the way to go, you get to cycle out the avengers teams every now and then, bringing in new characters.

By The Avengers 4 maybe we'll have a whole new slew of team mates like Dr. Strange, Black Panther, and other people they set up in Phase 3.

 

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