Powers continues to defy expectations when selecting cast members for the superhero/crime procedural series.

The most refreshing thing, so far anyway, about Sony’s upcoming adaptation of Powers, the long-running comic series created by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming, is how much it is avoiding spot-on, on-the-nose casting.

Already, the series has shown real imagination, hiring Susan Heyward as detective Deena Pilgrim, District 9 actor Sharlto Copley as former superhero Detective Christian Walker, and the great Michelle Forbes as murdered superhero Retro Girl. Now the series has cast one of the most important characters from the first few Powers story arcs, and it’s another interesting defiance of expectations.

On his official blog, Powers co-creator Brian Michael Bendis has announced that the superhero Zora will be portrayed by Logan Browning, most well known from her role in Bratz: The Movie. First introduced during the investigation of Retro Girl’s murder that makes up the comic’s first story arc, Zora is a gifted power who can fly and manipulate weaponized cubes of pure light. Once part of a superhero team that included Walker, Retro Girl and the series’ Iron Man pastiche Triphammer, by the start of Powers, she operates solo and has a controversial public image owing to her very open atheism.

Spoiler, highlight to view: As it turns out, approximately 15 years prior to the start of Powers, Walker had a polyamorous relationship with Retro Girl and Zora that was interrupted when he lost his superpowers. After Retro Girl’s murder, Walker and Zora reconnect, begin dating again and ultimately get engaged. Unfortunately, Zora is killed defending Walker from an insane former superhero. However, she continues to loom large in the series, appearing in numerous flashbacks that flesh out just how close the two were. It’s gradually revealed that she, Walker, and Retro Girl knew one another for several centuries. Suffice to say, if the series manages to last, Browning will be a big part of it.

In addition, Bendis revealed two other roles have been cast. Triphammer will be played by Upstream Color‘s Andrew Sensenig, while foulmouthed Detective Kutter, a fellow Chicago police detective who frequently butts heads with Pilgrim and Walker, will be played by actor Justice Leak.

Frankly, one of the most frustrating things shows and films like this is the inevitable fantasy casting by fans who insist that each role must be filled by someone who looks exactly like the comic character does. While that’s important in some respects, it’s meaningless in others. Peter Parker for instance, has to be an unpopular, awkward teenager. But his being white has no bearing whatsoever on what kind of person, or hero, he is. The same is doubly true for Deena Pilgrim, Zora and Retro Girl, all white, blonde women in the comics.

I have no doubt the production has erred in favor of picking the right actors for the roles rather than thinking expressly about defying how they look in the comic. (and so far, the cast is excellent). But it’s a bonus that the show will end up being far more inclusive and frankly interesting, than it could have been.

Source: Brian Michael Bendis

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