|Who Could Play The Warbird?|
The Marvel Cinematic Universe, the shorthand for the shared universe created by the Avengers, and it's feeder films, has established certain rules for what can and cannot happen in this universe. As it stands, it is a more 'realistic' version of the world than the comics. The primary activators for most of the heroes has been technology, from Iron Man's suits, to Thor's quantum magic, to the science based Super Solider Serum responsible for Cap and the Hulk. There are no real supermen in this world. These heroes are made.
It has also established certain things as already existing. Odin's trophy room is a treasure trove of Easter Eggs, relating to half a dozen other Marvel characters. The map behind Tony in Iron Man 2, too. And the post credit sequence of The Avengers certainly sets up a big hint at the future direction Marvel is looking at. Certain things are established, which presents a clear path towards where the MCU will be moving now post-Avengers. We know that, aside from the sequels to all the current franchises which will undoubtedly introduce new characters, Ant-Man is coming, as well as probably Doctor Strange, and Black Panther.
And, it's probably in Marvel's best interest to introduce new characters to take over from actors like Robert Downey Jr., who is unlikely to return for more, multiple films. Like in the comics, the lineup of the Avengers could, and should, become fluid, drawing from the entire Marvel catalogue (that wasn't sold off to Sony or FOX by Avi Arad).
Hit the jump for the list.
So lets think about:
Dr. Strange/David Duchovny
There are basically three ways to cast movies in Hollywood. One, you cast an unknown. Someone who was discovered on the street, or working in TV, or another country. The 'Chris Hemsworth', as it were. Two, you hire someone known, but not well. A supporting actor, maybe the lead in a couple smaller films. Someone you might recognise, but hasn't really had the chance to shine. The 'Chris Evans', following the pattern. Then you have the third option: cast someone who used to be a star, but hasn't had a hit in a while. When Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang appeared in 2005, Robert Downey Jr. hadn't had a hit in years, possibly as far back as Chaplin. Since Iron Man, he's headlined two major franchises, and had two big hits unrelated, with more on the way. Marvel might want to see if they can find the magic again with a former star.
Duchovny proved for years on X-Files, and over the last five on Californication, that he can play the laughs, as well as the desperate, clawing sadness behind the smile. He could play the Doctor struggling with his demons, both literal and figurative, a more science based magic, as the MCU has already established. Strange is usually a stoic character, and Duchovny would hardly be Tony Stark, always ready with a one liner, though he could be the best possible replacement for Iron Man on the team once Downey Jr. steps away. A bit of twisted levity would probably appeal to movie goers, and if you got someone like Guillermo del Toro behind the camera, Dr. Strange could be a twisted, dark, Lovecraftian horror film with real teeth.
Quicksilver/Alexander Skarsgård AND Scarlett Witch/Poppy Mongomery
I do not think that Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch should be used in an Avengers film. I get that they have a long history in the comics with the team, but they are too outside the box for the MCU. Making them anything but mutants basically makes them different characters, and so what's the point? To keep them mutants would mean introducing mutants to the MCU, of which there has been no indication of thus far. Plus, because FOX owns the X-Men, no references could be made to Magneto, or the fact that these two working for the Avengers serves a political purpose, or represents a rebellion against their father, or any of the good stuff that fills out the character history. They'd be better used in a new X-Men film, where they could be themselves. Besides, if Dr. Strange is added, then the team already has a 'wizard', and has no use for a witch.
[Authors note: I wrote the majority of this list a month ago. Until yesterday, my suggestion for Scarlett Witch was Rebecca Hall, who decided to ruin my wanton speculation by trying for a role in Iron Man 3. So I changed it to someone I never would have considered until recently.]
Skarsgård does pretty good work on True Blood, though I don't actually like that show. And Montgomery could break out of her CBS-procedural rut with a high profile role. Plus, she's Australian. If the characters have to be used, you could do worse.
Falcon's abilities are usually technology based, which is the trend in the MCU. Make him a former Stark employee, working on contract with SHIELD, developing new technologies, including the flying apparatus. Since Cap and Tony's relationship is a little chilly, Snap Wilson could be a replacement Stark Sr. for Rogers. Make him a Q-like character, someone Cap can come to in a time of need, thus limiting his need to see action. And who better to be a friend and engineer then Geordi LaForge? Watch Burton's appearance as himself on Community to see his ability to play the laughs, and the seven strong years on Trek before that for his ability to spit out the technobabble.
Jessica Drew/Erica Cerra
Captain America sacrificed his life to destroy HYDRA, and what better way to knock Cap on his ass then the discovery that HYDRA survived. Red Skull possibly survived the end of the first film, being Bifrösted up into the cosmos. The modern HYDRA could be trying to retrieve him, and use their own super soldiers to do it, chief among them, Agent Drew. Her comic origins have her being powered in the womb, so have her be a HYDRA fertility experiment, trying to recreate the Red Skull under the guidance of an elderly Arnim Zola (Toby Jones). Cap's influence and experience could help her turn against her commanders and become an agent of SHIELD.
Emily Blunt might seem like the logical choice here, but I've never really been taken with Blunt as an actor. Certainly, she looks good, but eventually she has to open her mouth. I was happy when she passed on both Black Widow and Catwoman, though you get the feeling it's only a matter of time before she ends up in a superhero movie, and this role could be it. I'd prefer Cerra though, who has played the tough and emotionally hardened former marine Deputy Jo Lupo on Eureka for six years, can play the frustrated authority figure, and can be wickedly funny when call upon. She's not British, but it's not important for Drew to be either. And, as Drew, she could form a friendship on the team with:
Carol Danvers/Joelle Carter
Carol Danvers comes in one of two flavours: one, the super powered, alien infused Ms. Marvel, in the lightning bolt bathing suit and the long flowing blond hair. Two, the Ultimate version, a by-the-books military officer, right hand to Nick Fury, essentially the role Maria Hill played in Avengers. A combination of the two would be an excellent way to introduce a long standing and popular Avenger to the films, a decorated military officer making use of technologies developed by Stark and SHIELD from the alien tech retrieved after the attempted invasion. Carter, undeniably, is a lead on Justified, not just a female, growing her character from simple eye candy to a power house, standing head to head with Givens and Crowder. Also, this:
Yes, her acting in Haywire wasn't great, and was dubbed, but she shows promise, and with some more experience, she could be impressive. Certainly better then most wrestlers-turned-actors. The thing is, because Jennifer Walters doesn't change size, or shape when she Hulks out, and in fact remains green and Hulked-out for most of the time, the actress playing her can't rely on motion capture to portray the character as the Hulk actors can: they have to be Hulked-out themselves, and that is a short list in Hollywood. Carano stands to be the shiny new thing in Hollywood for the immediate future, and Marvel would be smart to jump on her bandwagon while they can. With Mark Ruffalo's turn as Banner getting people excited in a Hulk sequel again, his cousin Jennifer Walters might provide a female balance to the mythos. As for The Avengers, in the comics, she and Hawkeye shared a brief relationship, and, I'm sure SHIELD could use a good lawyer.
T'Challa AKA Black Panther/Lee Thompson Young
Young is just that: young. He's irked out a living sticking to TV roles, including a series regular on TNT's Rizzoli & Isles, only rarely venturing into minor film roles, and a brief turn as Cyborg on Smallville. He would be perfect for the role in that, like Chris Hemsworth in Thor, there are no expectations. He has the opportunity to surprise the viewer. Besides, I'm sure Marvel would prefer to go a little younger with at least one of their properties (the average age of the Avengers cast was 41), especially if it meant they could cast someone like Meagan Goode or Zoe Saldana as a love interest.
In my mind, T'Challa should be played like Hamlet. Having been raised in the US, he would be the ostracised rightful heir of the mineral rich Wakanda. In the comics the country is rich in vibranium, already established in Captain America as being rare, thus giving the dictatorship leverage on the world stage. Like Hamlet, the movie would focus on the tragic backstory of the family, including:
Like Alcimede of myth, she would have spirited her infant son away from Wakanda during a coup, bringing him to her native United States, to raise him in secret. Only when he grows would he learn the truth, which is literally a tale old as time. Torres kicked every sort of ass in Firefly, and deserves more recognition, and screen time, and would be a perfect queen during flashbacks, where she would be married to:
Former King of Wakanda, Oxford educated and on the path to leading his country to prosperity. He would of course, be overthrown and killed for this kind of thinking. Ejiofer is a quiet, skillful actor, capable of lending gentle grace and dignity to even the most savage of characters (see Serenity and Redbelt). I don't know what would be better: his potential ass-kickery during the rebellion, or the silent disappointment he would express towards:
His homeland-educated and military general brother, who, in the present, would rule the country with an iron fist. Think Idi Amin, but a necessary and tolerated evil to the US. Think about Hounsou negotiating with Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury or The Avengers Powers Booth over vibranium rights. See his minor role as Papa Midnight in Constantine to showcase his reserves of anger. Of course, he wouldn't be working alone, and possibly only a puppet to:
N'Jadaka AKA Erik Killmonger/Jeffrey Wright
In the comics, Killmonger (got to love the subtly inherent to comics, folks) is a physical match for the Panther, though I think he'd work better as a power broker, an update to the character like the movement for Lex Luthor from mad scientist to capitalist. Like an evil Josh Lyman, he'd be whispering in S'yan's ear, possibly under the employ of the Ten Rings, or someone new they could then use in an Avengers sequel, or elsewhere in the MCU. And Wright would play him with a perfect level of subtly, as his characters usually are. Look to his turns in the last two Bond movies for someone who doesn't crack under pressure, and plays things very close to the vest.
Squirrel Girl/Jewel Staite OR Amy Acker
Assume Joss Whedon returns for the Avengers 2. What does Joss Whedon love? Working with the same actors over and over? Check. Powerful young women? Check. Quirky, innocent seeming girls who have enough power to kill you and everyone you love at a moments notice? Check. What does that equal? Kitty Pryde. But he can't use her, so who better to fill her role then one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe? Really. Squirrel Girl is the perfect Whedon character, it's like she was designed to be used by him by some kind of future.. seer... person. He'd be right in his glory writing for her, and even more so if he knew that he was writing her for someone he can write for. Both Staite and Acker are older then Squirrel Girl is usually portrayed, but screw that. Watch Firefly. Kaylee is Squirrel Girl, and I don't care if that was a decade ago, she'd still be perfect. Relentless happy, optimistic, bubbly, almost naively so. But when she's called upon, there isn't anyone else better at what she does. And if she couldn't do it, Acker could. Plus, a hoard of CG squirrels swarming a villain as he screams in terror? How could that not be the 'Puny God' moment of an Avengers sequel?
So, there you go. Chances of any of these casting options happening? About the same as Wilfred Brimley renting out my spare room.