It’s official! As of last week, Marvel Studios confirmed that they were partnering with Netflix on an unprecedented deal for original programming. I recently wrote about my own theories for what those shows could be, and it turns out Marvel was listening (or maybe I just got lucky). Street-level superheroes Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage will indeed be coming to small screens near you in 2015, and they are joined by the even lesser-known Jessica Jones, aka Power Girl, aka Jewel, all leading up to a team-up miniseries called The Defenders. It’s very exciting news for any Marvel fan, and in the name of blind speculation (and just in case Marvel is checking Fansided for ideas, as they so clearly have been so far) I want to offer some suggestions (one or two names each) for casting the lead roles in these four series.
My picks: Garrett Hedlund, Jason O’Mara
The man who brings Marvel’s Man Without Fear to life should be able to play haunted, intelligent, and determined all at once while also taking on the physicality of the highly skilled and acrobatic fighter. In his brief but increasingly impressive career, Garrett Hedlund has shown the ability to add layers to even the most seemingly one-sided characters, and he also showed some action chops in the recent sequel TRON: Legacy. His star is rising pretty quickly in Hollywood, so it might be tough to coax him onto TV, but considering that Netflix originals operate with the same cinematic license as HBO programming (and the fact that a big-timer like Kevin Spacey headlined the first of Netflix’s shows), it may not be too far-fetched.
Another solid choice would be TV vet Jason O’Mara. He’s about a decade older than Hedlund, so casting him would indicate an older, grizzled Matt Murdock as opposed to one who is just finding his footing. If Marvel decides that Daredevil’s crime-fighting career has been established for some time and they put him in a leadership role in The Defenders (which would make sense considering his is rumored to be the first series to air, and thus set up this area of the Marvel cinematic world), then O’Mara possesses the gravity and world-weariness necessary for that interpretation.
My pick: Chadwick Boseman, Morris Chestnut
I became a huge fan of Chadwick Boseman after seeing him earlier this year in the Jackie Robinson biopic 42. He’s got the kind of intensity you’d like to see in a man who has been hardened to the world by serving time in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and he is also capable of exhibiting a quietly heroic side, one which Luke Cage shows only to those closest to him, and which I think is crucial to providing depth to the character. Boseman would have to put on some more muscle to complete the look for Luke Cage, but that’s going to be true of pretty much any potential contenders.
Morris Chestnut will be close to 50 by the time 2015 rolls around, so he’s a pretty unlikely choice for what Marvel surely hopes could be a long-running commitment. But he absolutely has the look and physique required for Cage, which lands him on my list.
My picks: Evan Peters, Ryan Kwanten
One of the few current shows my girlfriend and I watch together and consider appointment television is American Horror Story, now in its third iteration called Coven. It’s an occasionally hokey, usually disturbing, sometimes downright scary series with a recurring cast playing different roles each season. One of the actors who has been there from the beginning is Evan Peters. Choosing Peters is based less on his resemblance to the way Danny Rand, aka Iron Fist, is drawn (though he does have the thin frame and blond locks), or his ability to carry the physicality of one of the Marvel Universe’s premier martial artists (I have no idea whether he could pull it off or not); this is a choice based on talent. Peters is incredibly compelling on AHS, and he’s been asked to handle a variety of characters already in his young career. Plus, he’ll have already had some superhero fan cred after playing Quicksilver in next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past.
While Peters is my pick based on sheer talent, True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten has the physical aspect of Iron Fist down. The New Zealander is toned as all get-out and has proven to be a very charismatic presence on a very out-there show. When the inevitable Luke Cage/Iron Fist team-up happens on the way to The Defenders, Kwanten’s comedic chops could come in very handy.
I have also seen Sons of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam’s name thrown out there for Iron Fist by fans across the Internet and, despite what I find to be a very odd voice, would firmly stand with that casting decision as well.
My pick: Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Superhero. Private investigator. Mother. Wife (of Luke Cage). The recently created (especially when compared to the other characters here) Jessica Jones plays a lot of roles in the Marvel U, requiring a versatile actress to fill her shoes. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’s Mary Elizabeth Winstead not only has the range and talent, but she also bears a striking resemblance to the way Jessica Jones has been drawn. Though I haven’t seen her do much in the way of physical, super heroine-type roles and thus can’t speak to that aspect of her capability, I’m confident that with her talent, Winstead would be able to exhibit the character’s intelligence and play off whoever is cast as Jones’ potential love interest/future husband.
Those are my ideas – have any of your own? Who should be the supporting characters in each series, and who should play them? Sound off in the comments!