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!
Much speculation surrounds the upcoming superhero roles for Marvel… and to a lesser extent, DC. Before the scripts are finished for movies releasing in 2018 or further, we here among the ever-flowing tubes of the internet have already come to consensus and have rendered the title “Casting Director” completely obsolete. It’s getting to a point where filmmakers are casting very odd choices almost as artistic rebellion against our prescribed decision. Casting Bryan Cranston as Lex Luthor made just too much sense, so Warner Brothers and Zack Snyder decided to cast Jesse Eisenberg. Because… he was so… menacing in The Social Network?
Having said all that, I’m now going to settle the matter of Carol Danvers, AKA Captain Marvel. Quite a few names have been pinging back and forth for the last few years in the hopes that her standalone film might be the first well-made superhero film with a female lead. In fact, only a few months ago, Linda Cardellini of “Freaks and Geeks” fame was suspected of clinching the role thanks to a very abrupt, detail-free announcement of her inclusion in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Though it turned out she was playing a different (re: less interesting) secret role, the speculation started to flow freely.
Well, what do we know about Carol Danvers? Her powers are related to the alien Kree originally, as she was caught in an explosion derived from Kree equipment and her DNA was altered. She’s an officer in the US Air Force, and has extensive combat, espionage, piloting, and marksmanship skills. She’s also a character created to exorcise some demons regarding gender politics. In fact, when Carol is first introduced in the comics, she is even fighting for equal pay for women in the workplace. Carol was originally Ms. Marvel, and the title “Ms.” was a new progressive identification associated with feminism at the time. Recently, Carol’s adoption of the identity “Captain Marvel” had a similar intent, to detract from her origin as a distaff-counterpart to a male hero, a la Supergirl, and establish her as a character of authority and agency.
In terms of personality, this is a character that emits confidence and swagger in the face of danger. She also has a vulnerable side, a nearly boundless capacity for empathy, and a constant struggle over her identity. So, which bankable actresses could bring this remarkable hero to life?
1. Katee Sackhoff
I think Katee Sackhoff’s name is associated with Danvers by fans even more than Bryan Cranston’s was with Lex Luthor. I like Sackhoff; she molded the character Starbuck into such a complicated person during the course of “Battlestar Galactica.” However, I will say that she handles bravado and hostility much better than helplessness and empathy.
2. Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron seems like a no-brainer for this, since she recently tore up multiplex screens as an unfettered post-apocalyptic badass in Mad Max: Fury Road, and yet also won an Oscar for playing an emotional wreck of a person who comes apart at the seams and begins thrill-killing in 2003’s Monster. She has range, but also brings the danger of coming off as an “ice queen” when playing opposite of such smirking wit as Paul Rudd, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, et al. If 2003’s The Italian Job taught us anything, it’s that Donald Sutherland is only available one day per week and Charlize Theron might not fit in with a silly team dynamic.
3. Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting
Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting might be the cure for that. The “Big Bang Theory” actress definitely can hold her own within an ensemble and has had a seven-season crash course on geek culture. The problem is, I haven’t seen much range out of her (being that she’s on a sitcom) and I don’t know if I would believe that she’s a brilliant fighter pilot who could win a fist-fight against other Marvel titans.
4. Zoe Bell
One idea that I keep coming back to is stuntwoman Zoe Bell. The “Xena: Warrior Princess” double for Lucy Lawless and Death Proof actress has the best action chops of any lady available. Yeah, sure, I know her New Zealand accent doesn’t quite fit the traditional Danvers character, but we should all remember that “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” can be found outside Manhattan. Outside the U.S. and outside the American hemisphere wouldn’t be a bad idea. She’s also incredibly funny. Unfortunately, there’s no way Disney would allow their big gamble of a female-led comic film to be headed by Bell. She isn’t exactly a marquee name that can guarantee a box office win, or even a face that would be recognized on the poster. But who knows… maybe we can see her as a worthy villain.
5. Gina Carano
Oh, and since I’ve already taken a few potshots at DC here, let’s consider professional MMA fighter and Furious 6 star Gina Carano. Warner Brothers sure didn’t adequately do so. Since the best choice for Wonder Woman was never even approached (per Carano herself), let their loss be Marvel’s gain. Carano is very believable as a military operative, her MMA background would make for some fantastic fight sequences, and I think she’s capable of the necessary emotional conflict for the character. Heck, she can even wear a silly spangly suit (she was an American Gladiator, after all). But I’m an easy sell, because I really am a fan. Some doubt has been thrown at her acting ability, since her big breakout performance in Haywire was that of a stoic Rambo type without a ton of nuance. See what I mean? That sounds perfect for what DC and WB are going for, doesn’t it? But not so much for Marvel.
6. Yvonne Strahovski
WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER! When all’s said and done, I submit that the perfect choice would be Yvonne Strahovski, aka Miranda Lawson, the genetically-engineered Cerberus operative from the Mass Effect trilogy. While she has the ability to project danger and a hotshot attitude, she has never been afraid to be silly or blend within a group. On “Chuck,” she fit right in with the comedy and action, and in both “Dexter” and the Mass Effect sequels she affected a somber, sympathetic disposition amid similar identity quandaries as Danvers experiences. She’s also within the age range Disney and Marvel would like, so they don’t have someone aging out of the role before her second sequel (we all know Marvel’s ten-year plan, right?).
Agree? Disagree? Got a better candidate? Let me hear it! The point of this is obviously to run every casting director out of the business for good. Who is with me?!