Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Joss Whedon's Avengers

Joss Whedon has signed on to direct the upcoming Avengers movie. This is awesome, partly because it means we'll more than likely get to see at least a few of his favorite actors playing big-league superheroes in a major motion picture.

Of course, a fair amount of the cast is already determined due to the
film's place in the Marvel Movie Universe, (ie Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Cap) but let's pretend they're not.

Geektastic Challenge: Cast The Avengers using only actors who are featured in Joss Whedon projects.
The Rules:
1) Featured means that the actor played a significant regular or
recurring role in a Whedon-produced series or starred in one if his
2) Which heroes should be in The Avengers movie is up to you, but keep
in mind that the real movie will feature Iron Man, Captain America,
Thor, Black Widow, War Machine and Nick Fury at the least. You don't
have to use the same ones.

Nathan Fillion as Captain America: I was campaigning for this for some time, and even had an entire post about it on my old blog, Top5Everything. Cap is a hero from another age, with a more John Wayne style of heroism than the average modern superhero. But he's still got a sense of humor. To me, a cross between his Malcolm Reynolds and Captain Hammer is the perfect balance for the character.
James Marsters as Iron Man: it's hard to imagine anybody playing Tony Stark better than Robert Downey, Jr., and I am by no means implying that I would prefer James Marsters for the role. But of the Joss Whedon stable of actors, Marsters has best proven his ability to play the cocksure badass with good intentions.
Alexis Denisof as Bruce Banner: During his six-year stint as Wesley Wyndam-Pryce on Buffy and Angel, Denisof proved he could play both brainy and bumbling (Buffy season 3-Angel season 2) and dark and brooding (Angel seasons 3-5). He's not the rock star Ed Norton is, but seeing as Norton hates reprising roles in sequels, we're not likely to see him in Avengers anyway, and let's face it, Norton's acting didn't really blow anybody away in 2008's The Incredible Hulk.
Eliza Dushku as Spider-Woman: Jessica Drew is a very complex character, constantly unsure of her loyalties and her own motives. She's a secret agent first and a superhero second. She's dark but has a caustic wit. Come on, this role has Eliza written all over it. She's even a close cosmetic match to the character in the comics. And seeing as Joss has stated that he wants to work with her on a feature in the near future, this one's actually not much of a longshot.
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Black Widow: This one is a longshot, but this is an imaginary movie, so whatever. Gellar hasn't been in a feature film for a few years, but she's a genuine movie star with underestimated acting chops. She's got a lot of presence and could definitely rule the screen as Russian bombshell Natalia Romanova. The question is: can she pull off that accent? (Can Scarlett Johansson pull off that accent? None of the Iron Man 2 trailers have her speaking.)
Mark Lutz as Thor: This was a really tricky one for me. I'm not thrilled with the casting choice for the upcoming Thor movie, Chris Hemsworth, who played George Kirk in last summer's Star Trek. To me, nobody's as perfect a match as Alexander Skarsgård, True Blood's Eric Northman. The guy's a perfect choice, but I never heard of him being considered. Of course, since he was never used in a Joss Whedon project, he's off the table anyway. I had a lot of trouble with this one, and ended up settling for Mark Lutz, who played The Groosalugg on Angel. He's the closest I found to a physical match, and he pulls off majestic pretty well. Honestly, I'm not even a huge fan of Thor as a character, but I think he ought to be in the movie, being one of the originals and all.
D.B. Woodside as Luke Cage: Cage is an awesome character, street-smart, tough as nails and also smart as a whip. (Or a chain, that he uses as a whip.) He absolutely had to be in my Avengers movie. But let's all face the sad fact: there are not a ton of black people in Joss Whedon shows. I'm sure it's not on purpose, but it became a serious problem when trying to cast the Hero for Hire on this list. The obvious choice was J. August Richards, who played the ex-gang leader Charles Gunn on Angel, and the only age-appropriate black man of all the regulars on all four Whedon series. But honestly, Richards never presented the kind of maturity I expect from Luke Cage, and I really can't see him in it. Woodside, on the other hand, is classy as hell, as well as tough. Just check him out as the ass-kicking vampire hunter Principal Robin Wood in Buffy season 7. He's a little slimmer than Cage, but then, so is every actual human being. (Seriously, Cage is huge.) Woodside can play both the soldier of the streets and the family man sides of the character. Plus, he's already got the goatee.
and Nicolas Brendon as Nick Fury: This would be a minor role, just an easter egg for Buffy fans so we can see Nicky in an eyepatch again. Seriously, Samuel J. Jackson IS Nick Fury, and nobody else should attempt to play him ever again.

Juliet Landau as Moondragon - Moondragon is a really interesting, somewhat ethereal and godly character. She's also a bit unstable. Juliet Landau is a professional at pulling off these traits. Drusilla encompassed these traits, and it would be interesting to see her do things without the Cockney accent. And be bald. The bisexuality would be easily done as well, given that most of the vampire characters on Buffy are subtextastic.
Fran Kranz as Spiderman - I think Fran Kranz would make an excellent Spiderman. He's illustrated his ability to make quips quite well on Dollhouse. It is also on Dollhouse that we see his emotional side, which is vital to someone playing Peter Parker. There's that dichotomy of the emotional/sensitive Parker and the cocksure/witty Spiderman. He also demonstrated his ability to be painfully in love with someone through Topher's crush on Bennett Halverson. Additionally, his voice would be excellent to hear in the Raimi-style voiceovers. He conveys a lot through his voice and for a masked superhero, that's very important.
Nicholas Brendon as Deadpool - Nicholas Brendon is another Whedon actor who has shown his ability to be a fast-talking quipmaster, and his voice has the snappy sound I envision Deadpool to have. Brendon is also surprisingly buff, and that kind of physique is needed in a character like Deadpool. Although we didn't get to see Brendon do much ass-kickery on Buffy, I know Whedon originally wanted Brendon to play Malcom Reynolds on Firefly, a role that would have required much ass-kickery. For this reason, I have no doubts he could pull off the role.
Enver Gjokaj as Iron Man - Enver Gjokaj can do anything. Your argument is invalid.
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Mockingbird - Physically, SMG greatly resembles the character of Mockingbird. Petite, blond, pert nose, etc. The character of Mockingbird is similar enough to Buffy that she could slip into the role without much effort. Strong, confident, asskicking female. Gellar doesn't need to prove herself in this case.
Amy Acker as Scarlet Witch - Amy Acker is a fantastic actress, able to pull off many emotions and convey great depth with facial expressions. She bears a great deal of resemblance to Wanda, the curly brown hair, lithe body. I imagine her to look quite striking in that ridiculously pointy red headpiece. And, as Illyria, she demonstrated her ability to be psycho and unstable a la House of M, and her ability to fight.
Neil Patrick Harris as Quicksilver - Harris is another fast-talker, and he can be a real prick when he wants to be, as we all saw in How I Met Your Mother and Harold and Kumar. He has a pretty nice physique, but looks light enough to be a speedster. He also has walked both sides of the comic book path, as hero and villain in Dr. Horrible, being a sympathetic character who is supposed to be a villain but turns out to be more of a hero than the actual hero. Pietro has crossed the line several times himself, switching from villain to hero, and back.


  1. You guys covered what I would consider the core Avengers pretty well (Cap, Ironman, Hulk, Thor, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, no love for Ant-man?). So I'm going to be all over the Marvel canon for this and build my own team.

    Sarah Michelle Gellar - Songbird
    Mockingbird might be a better fit for the Slayer, but (and this is a personal conceit), I like Songbird quite a bit more as a character and I'd like to see Gellar's take on the role.

    Alan Tudyk - Phil Urich (Green Goblin IV, I think, can't recall at the moment)
    Why hasn't this happened yet?

    David Boreanaz - Toxin
    Personally, I think pretty boy's got the chops to pull off the pathos the role needs and the physicality to make Toxin as fucking scary as he should be.

    Amber Benson - Husk
    Both talented, both underrated. Benson is more than capable of adding layers (pardon the pun) to this role and taking it to the next level.

    Sean Maher - Hellion
    Two words: Quiet intensity.

    Anthony Stewart Head - Curt Connors
    Kind-of cheating on this one. I think Head would make an excellent Connors, but I'm thinking of pulling in Del Toro's boy Doug Jones for the Lizard.

  2. Scratch that last comment. Just wiki'd Jones and apparently he played the lead Gentleman in the S4 episode Hush, so he's game.

  3. Unfortunately, I don't know enough Joss Whedon stuff to do this, and I don't have the compulsion to research. However, I do want to say three quick things that I appreciated:

    1) Nathan Fillion as Captain America. Love that man.
    2) "Seriously, Samuel J. Jackson IS Nick Fury, and nobody else should attempt to play him ever again." Hell yeah! I'm sure that you already know, being the comic geeks you guys are, that the Ultimate version of Nick Fury was designed specifically with Samuel L. Jackson in mind. And that makes me happy.
    3) Neil Patrick Harris as Quicksilver. That makes me giggle. Not sure how well he'd do, since I've only ever seen him play non-serious roles (How I Met Your Mother, Harold and Kumar, Dr. Horrible, Prop 8), but I'd sure as hell be willing to give him a try.


  4. You know, Fio, I would have expected longer answers from someone like you. I want details, dammit!

  5. Well, at least you've got to understand the team dynamic. Husk and Hellion might be lent over from Prof. X (I'll be honest, I don't have any idea how to extract Hellion from his current storyline or Husk from Utopia), but the rest have a ton of thematic similarities.

    You've got the lot of them struggling with superhero vs villain identity, but being more interesting than the current Thunderbolts. Personally, I think Connors is long overdue for some sort of permanent redemption, and Toxin definitely needs more play, he's an incredibly interesting character. Songbird is the best leader for this team, having firmly cemented her hero identity by breaking away from Osborn's Thunderbolts.

    As for character justification, I think I picked pretty obvious ones, there doesn't need to be much.

  6. Amy Acker for the win! I was totally thinking of her as Decimation Queen