5 Actresses Who Should Play Samus Aran


In this series, we speculate on what actors would be the perfect choice to play an upcoming character, or what type of character a particular actor is best suited for. Feel free to unilaterally agree with all our picks voice your opinion in the comments!

Back in the long, long ago there were surprises in media. We had no idea that Darth Vader was any relation to Luke Skywalker. No one knew who shot J.R. Ewing on “Dallas” (especially the writers of “Dallas”). And it was not common knowledge that Metroid‘s hardcore intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran was a woman.

These days, almost everything is leaked to the public before the media in question is even fully produced. The inevitable sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy hasn’t shot a single frame, but we already know Kurt Russell is playing Star Lord’s mysterious father. The Flash isn’t even in the upcoming Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, but we’ve heard for months that Ezra Miller is already being fitted for a scarlet speedster costume.

So, while mystery still remains around most of Nintendo’s properties regarding casting (since the company has only recently toyed with the idea of movie adaptations at all since the Great Plumber Boondoggle of 1993), I should probably get my licks in before casting is announced for a Duck Hunt film that lands in 2020.

Samus is one of the most interesting and fertile characters for a film adaptation. So who should don the big orange power armor?

Rock Rousey WM31

1. Ronda Rousey

Recently, apropos of nothing, the prodigious MMA fighter and queen of a growing multimedia empire professed her love for video games, and particularly shouted out Samus as a character she’d love to portray. And honestly, it fits very well. Rousey is a great choice for such a physically demanding role, if in fact the production would involve a full suit of armor. Being that Samus is a stoic Boba-Fett-by-way-of-Furiosa warrior, I feel it would be a good character for Rousey to cut her teeth on, acting-wise.

Much was maligned about her performances in Furious 7 and Entourage, but to be fair her physicality never came into question. Perhaps her Samus would be best as a stoic, mostly silent protagonist. Imagine a Metroid Prime scenario, where she is alone for most of the film in a hostile environment. What does appeal about a Rousey-led Metroid film is that it would not simply be a paycheck for her (as video game adaptations so often are). She is a genuine fan.

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Olivia Thirlby at 2012 TIFF

2. Olivia Thirlby

Once thought of as Juno’s sidekick character, Thirlby dove directly into sci-fi action as Judge applicant Anderson in 2012’s Dredd. As the rookie character paired with Karl Urban’s faceless supercop, Thirlby availed herself in keeping up with the action and portraying Anderson as vulnerable but by no means helpless.

If a Metroid film series were developed chronologically, the basic plot of Metroid: Other M would be a great place to start. Thirlby’s younger, less jaded Samus could have a complicated relationship with mentor Adam Malkovich that mirrors Anderson’s uneasy alliance with Judge Dredd. Not only that, she’s probably the actress you could lock down for a three or four movie deal, which is kind of a requirement these days.

Malin Akerman (5976950569)

3. Malin Akerman

You know how a Metroid movie could be totally hardcore while still maintaining some of the goofier aspects of the setting, story, and characters? Make it more like an old sci-fi serial like Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers. Accept the fact that our hero is fighting giant floating brains, and be cheeky about it. If that’s the way the film would go, Akerman is the perfect candidate for Samus.

Akerman is really funny. She’s been in her fair share of crappy romantic comedies, but anyone who has seen “Children’s Hospital” or “The Comeback” can tell you that she has such a charm and timing that put any other potential Samus to shame. On top of that, we’ve seen her as an action dynamo in Zack Snyder’s Watchmen. Just based on her fight sequences in that alone, I can picture her in the Zero Suit bashing the heck out of some space pirates. All it needs at that point is some self-aware “Zapp Brannigan” style humor.


4. Kate Mara

Yes, I’m continuing my crusade to save the acting careers of the Floptastic Four. And Kate Mara deserves it the most. Reportedly, she was treated like utter garbage by the director who objected to her casting from the very beginning. I have no idea why; Mara is a fantastic actress. She showed such nuance on the Netflix series “House of Cards,” wherein she got to play the naive young politico who is shown behind the dirty curtain, the savvy seductress, and the amoral conspirator all in one season.

Sure, that’s not exactly a resume for a sci-fi action flick, but it speaks to her range. While the recent Fox superhero bomb did her no favors, it did prove that she’s at home in an arch, over-heightened reality and somewhat silly choreography. Even her supporting role in The Martian shows a comfort with green screen. Her prolonged maneuvers through a zero-gravity hallway act as a great audition for the demanding production environment. I do think that her Samus would probably have a CGI-aided suit of armor akin to Iron Man, but that works just fine.

Gwendoline Christie by Gage Skidmore 2

5. Gwendoline Christie

Though she probably wants to avoid more roles that encase her in a suit of armor and a facemask, Christie is the perfect amalgamation of several interpretations of Samus Aran. She is statuesque, athletic, and could definitely hold up under a real suit of armor. She already has done so as both Brienne of Tarth in “Game of Thrones” and Captain Phasma in The Force Awakens. But as Brienne she’s also done some tremendous acting. During an entire season of the HBO show, her character is forced to survive alongside a much-hated enemy, and their blossoming respect for each other is a great turning point for both of their arcs. Brienne is tough as nails, but emotionally frail and intellectually stunted. Christie’s Samus would have the most depth, her every action speaking back to her history as an orphan, her warrior training with the Chozo, and her frustration with the Galactic Federation that caused her to abandon her military career. Her Samus would feel lived in.

And to anyone who even suggests that Christie isn’t “hawt” enough for the role… number one, that’s a dumb argument because appearance is the least essential thing to worry about. Number two, take a closer damn look. Find some pictures of her outside screencaps from GoT. That woman is 10 kinds of gorgeous.

Agree? Disagree? More ideas? Let us know in the comments.


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Daniel Epstein
Father, filmmaker, and writer. Once he won an Emmy, but it wasn't for being a father or writing.