The Avengers: All Dressed Up and Where Do They Go?

Jan-15-09

So, Jason and I have assembled a group of new Avengers. We have She-Hulk leading the team, which consists of the new Captain America, the new Ant-Man, Stature, Vision, Iron Man, Wonder Man and Songbird. Falcon helps to organize and recruit the team, and stops by the mansion regularly to provide guidance and help on the occasional mission. We’ve detailed how the team comes to be in the wake of Dark Reign, as the SHRA is dissolved, and the heroes of the Marvel Universe must work to ingratiate themselves with the populace once again. This team is going to be on the frontlines, fighting those threats that no single hero can stand against, but doing so in a way that shows Joe Plumber that heroes aren’t all evil, selfish or destructive.

What we’d like to do now though, is to get into the nitties and the gritties of this team. From where do they operate (I believe both Jason and I would vote for Avengers Mansion, but it’s currently destroyed)? Is Jarvis a part of the support crew and how is he holding up after being a prisoner of the Skrulls? Are there other support crew members? Who is the government liaison and how does that relationship work?

Beyond those questions, we also need to ask how this group is viewed by the public, and also by other superheroes. How does Hank Pym feel about his identity being used by the current Ant-Man, not exactly the most upstanding hero in the line-up? Are there previous Avengers who are upset that they weren’t asked to join? How do the Thunderbolts feel about Songbird leaving them to join this team?

Moreover, does this team of Avengers have an overall strategy? The fact that they are trying to rebuild the public’s trust in heroes in general already makes them more proactive than many previous incarnations of the team, and the fact that Wonder Man has been chosen as their public face also suggests that they will be more proactive than reactive, at least in certain areas.

So, I’ve asked the hard questions, and now we can let Jason do the actual work by answering them….

I’m just going to take the questions in the order presented and see what develops from there. First off: Location. I would LOVE to see the team return to Avengers Mansion. It’s an unobtrusive way to demonstrate that these heroes see themselves on the relatively same level as the common citizen. The group lives together in a house, not lording over the population in an ivory tower. Of course, I’d also expect that any new version of Avengers Mansion would be completely updated on the interior…top-notch security measures, sub-basements for equipment and transportation, completely wired with tech and accessories. In fact, if Stark is involved, I’d imagine some sort of re-purposing of the Negative Zone prison idea…perhaps a holding cell area for dangerous foes that can’t be managed in conventional prisons. I’m not advocating a permanent location to keep criminals, like the Marvel version of Gitmo or anything, but why not use the space and the technology behind the scenes? Originally I thought they could steal a cue from Doctor Who and make Avengers Mansion be some sort of trans-dimensional location where the interior is far bigger than the exterior, but that could get too complicated far too quickly. Rebuilding Avengers Mansion would also serve as a huge PR win for the team. let’s show the populace that everything is returning to normal and they can begin to feel safe again.

About Jarvis: I’d actually like to see him NOT return. It would be in character for him to politely excuse himself, feeling that he had let the team down and that their trust had been ultimately lost. Honestly, I’d rather see him working for Tony Stark exclusively. Stark is currently going through a revamp of his own in relation to his supporting cast and Jarvis would fit in well there. So where does that leave the Avengers in terms of support? I would like to propose the inclusion of Machine Man as the Operations Manager for Avengers Mansion. With his revamp in Nextwave and his subsequent appearances with the Initiative, he’s the perfect candidate for a position as both integral assistant and comic relief. Considering he was married to the boss, it would make sense to bring John Jameson along too. He could be the Transportation Director or something. And exploring his current non-relationship with She-Hulk would be intriguing. Aside from that, I’d probably look for a Communications Director too…someone who can collect info and relay it to the team ala Oracle (and please not Pepper Potts).

To answer the government liaison question, it’d be easy to appoint Falcon as their mediator. However, I don’t think it would be helpful to have a costumed hero as the government representative (that leaves out Stingray too…damn). However, I do think it would be appropriate to grab one of the long-serving former members of SHIELD to take up that post…someone like Gabe Jones. He has the experience, the respect and the wisdom. Plus, he’s an older gentleman who is probably looking to take it a little easier (not so much a field agent anymore). He’s the perfect candidate in an Obama-led Marvel U.

I’m not going to answer the questions about how the team is viewed, because I think that would need to develop organically. Would Pym really care at this point? Would any former members feel shunned, knowing that no Avengers lineup has ever been written in stone? The only thing I CAN answer is the thought about Songbird. A faction of the Thunderbolts was actually trying to KILL HER, so I could imagine she’d be glad to get out of that situation and they’d be irritated that she got away. Sub-plot alert!

I see this relaunch as a way for Marvel to connect its heroes to the normal folk. I imagine the team would be doing a lot of appearances, making themselves much more public. With Simon in charge of PR, I could even see some sort of reality TV show popping up to follow the lives and adventures of the team. The focus would be to set America’s mind at ease. Maybe the Avengers team up with Damage Control to perform some good works. Basically, they’d be putting out little fires around the states. I’d even go so far as to have them breaking up simple crimes by completely surprising and overpowering some common criminals. Total overkill.

At the same time, I think the team should be challenged quickly and effectively by an outside force. The easiest solution, if Jones is the government contact, is to launch a huge offensive by SHIELD’s nemesis HYDRA…unexpected, with no warning or chatter…perhaps even in conjunction with AIM, the Secret Empire and Sons of the Serpent. Just a ridiculously large, coordinated attack that truly tests the new team’s abilities without resorting to a superpowered menace. This could also be a product of the negative fallout of the SHRA and Osborn and all of that. I don’t want to dictate who would be behind the whole thing, but there’s a curious list to choose from.

Care to expand on any of those answers with some of your own?

I’m in agreement that they should be based in Avengers Mansion. For the moment, I’d say they’re working out of the old sub-basements of the mansion, while the rebuild the structure above them. Then, once that’s done and they can move in upstairs, they can work on renovating the sub-basements as well. This could be a long running subplot, but there’s a lot that can be done with construction and with a crew of people constantly in and out of the mansion. It also forces the heroes to cope with less than ideal conditions for awhile, which can always be interesting. Failing and missing technology can make for some interesting hurdles for our heroes to leap.

Man, I would miss Jarvis. A lot. While I can certainly understand your logic, and that he would excuse himself from duty, I’m not sure the Avengers would allow it. I think that the Avengers need him, and he certainly needs them. The Avengers have always been a chaotic group, with larger than life personalities and frequent roster changes. Jarvis is the glue that holds the team together, and I think dropping him from the title is a mistake. That being said, there’s nothing that says he needs to be their butler and in the title from the get-go. Having him focus on working for Stark makes sense, and since Stark is a member, it also means that Jarvis is still tied peripherally to the team. Have him show up in some issues, acting in his capacity as Stark’s butler, and give him a chance to interact with the cast; both in talking with the members he knows well (like She-Hulk) and in getting to know those members who are new to him (like the new Ant-Man). I definitely would want to see him have a few moments with the new Captain America, since he was so important to the original, when the original joined the team. Let’s keep Jarvis a presence in the book, and if it works organically for him to return to the team in an official capacity, that’s fine. If it doesn’t work and he never rejoins the team, that’s okay too, but at least we’ve got him guest starring occasionally.

As for your other choices, the Machine Man and John Jameson are excellent choices. A Communications Officer would make sense; how about Louise Mason, the Blonde Phantom? For those who don’t know her, she was a supporting character in one of She-Hulk’s previous series. She was a super-hero called the Blonde Phantom back in the Golden Age (no powers), and was pretty old, but she had some of her youth restored to her. I wouldn’t actually want her too young, but we can show her as middle aged. She’d be perfect; it makes sense that She-Hulk would recruit her, since they’ve worked together in the past, and Mason is quite familiar with the life of a hero. She saw a lot when she was the Blonde Phantom, and even more when she worked with She-Hulk, so she is going to be able to keep her cool even when things are going poorly. I have some other ideas if you don’t like that one, but if you like that one, I say we go with it.

Man, I’m a fan of Gabe Jones, but I try to ignore the Howling Commandoes since their histories place them all in WWII, and except for Fury, they should all be incredibly old by now. Using him in the book on a regular basis is just going to be a constant reminder that he’s a walking continuity issue, and yes, it would bother me. Other than that, Jones is perfect, but that’s a pretty big problem for me, and because of it, I’d love to find an alternate. What about Miriam Sharpe? Sharpe, as some may recall, was the primary mover and shaker who organized the demonstrations that helped the SHRA to pass in the first place (her son was among the casualties in Stamford that kicked off the entire Civil War plotline). She’s been described as a brilliant political operator, and indeed, she’s done amazing things for someone who has never been involved in this sort of activity before. She doesn’t work for the government, but that could change, and wouldn’t she be the perfect liaison if the government and the people really want the Avengers to be accountable for their actions? She’s a concerned mother who has become the voice of a nation; I think she’d be a good choice.

As for your other comments, I really like your idea of the Avengers working closely with Damage Control in an effort to boost their public approval. I also think the idea of cameras coming along on some missions in the manner of a reality show has potential. I don’t think that the Avengers will be sitting in cubicles explaining why they’re frustrated because She-Hulk left a green ring around the bathtub again, but I can see them having cameras that record some of their activities.

As for villains, HYRDA is ok, and would probably work well for a beginning arc. My problem with the giant organizations like HYDRA is that they’re not very interesting as villains; they’re mostly faceless flunkies with perhaps one or two recognizable personalities at the very top. However, in a first arc that works well, since you can focus more on your heroes; on their personalities and how they interact with each other, and that’s perfect for when you want to establish some core concepts at the start of the series.

Beyond them, who can the Avengers fight. I like Kang, but Jason doesn’t, and to be fair, I think that Kurt Busiek used Kang quite a bit and quite well, and I’m not sure where you take him from here. I mean, he did conquer the world; it seems most plots would be a step down. I’d not want to do much with him. Ultron always has potential (not that Kurt Busiek didn’t kick major butt with him too when he used him) and is worth bringing back. Otherwise, one of the concepts I’d really like to see brought back is the Masters of Evil.

The Masters have always been a huge part of the Avengers Rogues Gallery, but ever since Roger Stern’s amazing use of them, when they besieged and captured the mansion, they haven’t seen much use, at least in the Avengers title. I think a new Masters is needed, and I think the Mandarin would be the perfect villain to lead it. The Masters almost always have had someone leading them who has a problem with one of the Avengers, and with Stark on the team, the Mandarin is a natural fit. I’ve raved about the new Mandarin before; I never much liked the original, who just never seemed scary. While I loved the gimmicks of his ring, he always seemed somewhat silly to me and I never got the impression he was much of a threat. The new Mandarin definitely exudes an air of menace, and he would be a perfect villain to recruit and lead a new Masters of Evil. Plus, it would be fun to see Songbird’s reaction to fighting the new Masters, and if any other members of the team had doubts about her membership, they would be cleaned up then.

Comments, and other villains you’d like to see?

We seem to be in general agreement about a lot of things. I have no problem with Louise Mason acting as a communications director/general secretary for the group. It would make a lot of sense for She-Hulk, as a new leader, to bring in her own people to flesh out the team. Honestly, I’m just excited by the idea of Machine Man popping up in the title! I agree with letting the Jarvis situation kind of play itself out and see what happens. My main point was that we shouldn’t force him back into his previous position, and this solution offers a solid alternative to that while still keeping him relative to the team. I guess our biggest argument is over the government liaison. I concur that the true age of Gabe Jones is a mystery which needs explaining (and could be another interesting subplot). However, I also feel that he has decades of relative experience working in a government agency and dealing with superheroes. These types of positions need to be filled with logical choices, not just who might seem “cool” at the moment. Unfortunately, I see Miriam Sharpe as a trendy nominee. She was terribly confrontational with the superhero community, spearheading the SHRA which, we’ve already admitted, has to be abolished. We know absolutely nothing about her past, her career or her education. Naming her as government liaison to the Avengers would be akin to making Cindy Sheehan Secretary of Defense! Bonkers!

Ahem. That was quite political of me, huh? Back to the discussion…

We’re agreed on the limits of both the “reality TV” idea and the “massive attack” scenario. I offered neither of these as an ultimate solution that should be taken to its limits, but merely as interesting sideshows, if you will. Anything we can inject into the title that will offer smaller plotlines and show a range of emotions in the team is a necessary exercise. You’re right that HYDRA is kind of boring and faceless (since the Struckers disappeared) and I suggested them only as so much cannon fodder to test the new group’s teamwork and communication abilities. I want to ratchet up the pressure and try to keep the Avengers as busy, as distracted and as overwhelmed as possible. Stress builds character!

As for other villains, I completely forgot that we previously offered up our version of the Masters of Evil! Awesome! Now that I think about it, the whole HYDRA/AIM/Secret Empire plot could end up being set off by Mandarin as his way of softening up the team before the Masters of Evil launch a finely coordinated attack. It would be rather poignant to have the Masters attack as the Avengers are regrouping at a mansion that is being rebuilt, and neither Jarvis nor the original Captain America are on the premises. Kind of a chilling thought, actually.

I believe that any subsequent threats should be positioned in one of two ways: 1. They have something against the US government or 2. They have a beef against the Avengers team concept itself. Any other foes would seem kind of silly at this point. I don’t want to see the new team getting caught up in some interstellar battle or trying to take down any kind of worldwide threat. At the same time, I don’t see them facing off with any singular villain that may have a problem with one member or the other. It has to be a team thing, otherwise it’s just another intricate subplot (which isn’t a bad thing either, as I explained above).

So who do I think fits either of those criteria? Hmm…Hate Monger? Is he still around? Would some sort of Atlantis uprising be redundant at this point? How about fallout from Dark Reign that would pit the Avengers against Doom? Or better yet, let’s see The Hood and his syndicate become some sort of guerrilla army…domestic terrorists that do hit-and-run missions throughout the country.

Honestly, I’m at a loss here. Perhaps we need to invent some new threats in the Marvel Universe?

Let’s start with Gabe Jones.  I certainly understand your point about Sharpe, but understand that she’s appointed by the government, and right now, she’s a news darling.  The government would love her, and to be fair, if the team is trying to project a positive image and win back the trust of the world, having her liaison with them is going to go further in the public eye than some unknown spook who’s buddy-buddy with the superhero elite.  With that being said, I will agree to Gabe Jones (who is a character I like quite a bit) as long as we agree to tackle the problem of why he’s not 80 years old at some point in time. 

That ties us into villains, as perhaps we could use the Yellow Claw as a potential adversary to the group, and perhaps as the villain responsible for Jones’ retarded aging.  First of all, perhaps we can simply call him The Claw, which is not a bad name and a tad less racist, and we can modify his design a touch so he doesn’t look quite so much like a refugee from a 1940’s Charlie Chan serial.  With those touches in place, I think he’d be a great villain for the team; he’s fought them before, and he’s certainly worked to destroy the American government.  He’s a tad megalomaniacal, but I find him interesting.  He ties into Jones’ because, in one of the Nick Fury series, the Claw “killed” Dum Dum Dugan, and then returned him to life.  There was no real explanation, but I’m wondering if the Claw might not have been playing with a lot of the Howlers.  In any case, it’s one possibility.

Now, having said that, I think that your conditions for Avengers villains don’t make a lot of sense.  Why would we confine them to just fighting those who hate the government and those who hate the Avengers?  The Avengers have always been at their best when they’re fighting truly menacing threats, and they exist to protect the world, not just America.  I’m not saying that the two categories of foe you mention don’t have a place in the team’s annals, but I don’t think they should be the only foes the team faces.  In fact, I’d throw the Hood right out the window; the Avengers don’t fight organized crime bosses, and the Hood has not proven himself to be anything but a mafia boss with delusions of grandeur.  Ugh.  It would be like the Avengers going after the Kingpin.  I don’t buy it.  They need world class menaces to test their mettle.  I do like the idea of them fighting Dr. Doom though, since he’s about as world class as you get, and let’s face it, it’s always fun when Doom shows up in any comic.  That works for me.

Otherwise, I think creating some new villains might not be a bad way to go.  Unfortunately, they’ve never had an extensive rogues’ gallery, usually using the villains of other heroes, and I think that needs to change.  In fact, this is so important that we’re going to continue it in a separate post!

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One-Shot: The Wraith

Dec-03-08

Jason and I have had such grand plans for this website, and there have been suggested commentaries on Grant Morrison, James Robinson, the state of hot writers, and the recent cancellations of various comics that we have vowed (to each other) that we would bring to our readers. Sadly, I have been buried under various projects at work, and just as busy (if not busier) in my personal life when I am not on the job. Jason has also been busy, as well as fighting a series of winter illnesses. Unfortunately, these circumstances have combined to make our postings much quicker than intended.

Currently, I have a window of time in which to post, and was planning on starting a deep and philosophical discussion. However, I quickly realized that while I have time now, I won’t have much more today, tomorrow is going to be busy, and Friday and Saturday I will be out of town on business. Therefore, if I start something deep and meaningful today, I won’t likely have the time to follow up on it until next week. Hence, the One-Shot: we can get some content on the blog, and still make our other commitments.

The Wraith is a character from Marvel Team-Up who first appeared in the late 1970s. He is the brother of policewoman Jean DeWolff, an important part of Spider-Man’s supporting cast before she was killed off in the appropriately titled “Death of Jean DeWolff” storyline. Brian DeWolff, our focus for this one-shot, was a policeman who was shot by criminals. His father found him, and used an experimental process to nurse his son back to health; this process also endowed Brian with psionic powers. For a time, Brian had no control over himself, and his father used him as a puppet, making the Wraith a criminal. Brian finally was able to regain his senses and wanted to become a hero, but wasn’t seen much in that capacity. Finally, he was killed by Scourge, without ever getting the opportunity to really show what he could do.

Brian DeWolff (Earth-616)
Personally, I’ve always liked the Wraith, and regretted his death at the hands of Scourge. However, did he really die? His powers made it quite easy for him to fake his death, and I’d love to see this character return to the Marvel Universe (although Marvel does have a cool looking new Wraith in their cosmic comics, so this one might need a name change). I’d be curious to see what a creative person like Jason might do with him. So, have at it Jason! Make me proud!

Ah, right…the ol’ “cop shot by criminals is conveniently rescued by dad who zaps him with experimental technology that gives him brain powers” origin. Classic Marvel. The interesting part about this character was that he had the ability to read minds, induce illusions in others, zap folks with mind bolts and even possess someone, but he himself was also susceptible to being controlled. He was the monkey in the middle. He could have been the puppet master and the puppet at the same time…which really begged the question of who was truly in control of the third person. Was it Wraith or the person controlling Wraith? That’s weird.

Sadly, Marvel saw to it that this unique anomaly was removed from the character as he developed, which left him as just another bland mind-powered dude in a funny costume whose Spider-Man-obsessed sister was killed by a bad guy. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen a bajillion of ’em.

Regardless of his abilities, bringing him back from the dead is no big hurdle. He had already transferred his consciousness from one body to another after he was killed by Scourge, so there’s no reason to believe that he couldn’t have done the same exact thing right before he was killed A SECOND TIME by Morbius. Yes, that’s right, Morbius.

See, John left out the part where Wraith went cuckoo after Sin-Eater killed his sister. He decided to take it out on the entire NYPD, because whenever I drop a quarter down a manhole I send scathing emails to Microsoft too (see how much sense that made?). He showed up at a random police station which just happened to be the same random police station that Scourge was hanging out in, dressed as a policeman, waiting for a chance to shoot Flash Thompson (because evidently Flash Thompson was some secret third or fourth-tier supervillain whose costume was out-of-date or something). Nothing about this makes any sense, so I’m just winging it. Oh, and then he led some sort of anti-vampire clubhouse gang which ticked off Morbius enough to cause the good doctor struggling with his inner demon to commit cold-blooded murder on an obviously mentally impaired man. I guess a restraining order was just too much paperwork.

To recap: A cop is shot by criminals. His dad saves his life with a super brain machine. He becomes a quasi-superhero. His sister gets killed by a crazy dude, so he goes crazy in return and is killed by Scourge. However, he transfers his spirit into another body only to then be killed by Morbius. That’s where we stand.

My solution? Well, obviously, he transfers his spirit to another less-dead body (perhaps one that is bulletproof and teeth-proof). Let’s assume that each time he transfers his consciousness that there is some degradation and that degradation takes the form of reverting back to his previous mental susceptibility. Boom! Problem solved. Wraith is back, baby! And he’s only one of, technically, four Wraiths currently operating in the Marvel Universe. That shouldn’t be too confusing.

The angle I would take would be to make this “consciousness jumping” a prominent power. He previously had the ability to possess up to one mind at a time, but I say we take it a step further and say that he actually transfers his whole spirit into that body and makes it his own. Now, this could come in handy in using Wraith as a decoy or a spy…he could technically be “disguised” as anyone and still have the ability to infiltrate and use his mental powers on people.

I could see him as an ally of someone like Captain America. Cap needs a way to get inside Hydra, for example. Wraith simply possesses a Hydra operative and walks right in to the eye of the storm. Cap then guides Wraith to use his head-zapping skills to get whatever info or create whatever situation is deemed necessary. Then Wraith hops a ride back out in someone else’s brain and no one is the wiser. Talk about your Secret Invasion! ZING!

Hell, he wouldn’t even need the goofy costume shown up above. He could be anyone and anywhere at any time! It blows the mind.

Of course, that brings up the ethical issue of using someone to achieve your goal. It’s kind of a sick trick. And might be best suited for more of a horror angle. Unfortunately, I don’t feel like pursuing that.

And, I’m spent.


Casting Call: Captain America

Nov-17-08

Marvel has announced an upcoming Captain America movie, as part of their Avengers series of films. Now, details about the film aren’t available (at least, details aren’t available to me), so I don’t know which characters from the comics we might see in the upcoming film, but I thought we might take a look at the characters who figure prominently in Cap’s life and see who we might choose to cast in those parts.

Captain America: Obviously, this is the most important role in the film, and it’s tempting to cheat by saying I’d cast an virtual unknown, like they have with Superman in the beginning of his two film series. I think that a movie with a new actor in the starring role, and with established actors filling out the rest of the supporting cast, would work very well. However, that’s kind of cheating for these Casting Calls, so let’s see who we can find. Cap is actually a difficult role to fill; you need an action star who can act, but more importantly, you need a huge, buff guy, which really isn’t in vogue these days. Most young actors are skinny and don’t have the size that Cap really needs. That being said, I’m going to cast Adam Baldwin, from Firefly, Angel and Chuck. I can’t remember if I’ve cast him before, and he’d need to dye his hair blond, but he’s a great actor, and he’s got the size to be a convincing Cap.


Red Skull: Cap’s greatest enemy is a sure bet to be in the film, although I don’t know if they’ll have the skull be just a mask, or his actual face. I’m also not sure if they’ll play him more as a criminal genius or as a martial arts expert to rival Cap. In either case, chances are we aren’t going to see his face much. Still, if there’s an actor we know can do an evil German, and we know can act under a lot of makeup, that would be Ralph Fiennes. Whether we see his actual face or not, he would make the Skull truly memorable.


Bucky during World War II: Hard to say how much of the movie will be set in WWII, but a younger Bucky is a distinct possibility. What young actor could recreate the character? Without a doubt, this has been the hardest part for me to cast. I would have cast Lucas Black, from American Gothic in the part, were he still 15 years old. Sadly, that time has past us. I find it hard to actually identify teenage male actors who seem like they could handle this part; most “teens” on TV are in the early 20s and tend to look like it, and I really think that Bucky needs to be a teenager. Finally, I’m going to go with Rafi Gavron, who was just in Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist. He was fun in that character, but he’s younger, he looks like a teenager, and yet he’s built enough to be Bucky (he’s the one on the left).


Winter Soldier: The older Bucky has proven to be such a neat idea in Ed Brubaker’s comics that he would have to be included. I’ve recast this part a few times. Personally, I think that the Winter Soldier should look pretty bad, and look a little older, to really cement how much he’s been through since WWII. However, in the comics he still looks relatively young, since he’s been in suspended animation for many of those years. I’m going to pick Jensen Ackles, of Supernatural, who has the build and the ability to be moody and intense. I think he could pull it off.


Sharon Carter: There’s sure to be a love interest, and Sharon Carter is the best one for Cap. As the only main female character in the movie, this woman has to do a lot. She’s got to be able to be strong, both physically and emotionally. I’m going to go with Charlize Theron, who’s proven she can hold her own in both Hancock and Aeon Flux (among others).

Nick Fury: I’m going to stick with the casting of Samuel Jackson for this one. I think the role should have gone to David Hasselhoff, who played Fury in the TV movie, but for some reason, Hollywood didn’t agree. Since Fury has already been seen in the Marvel movie Iron Man, and Jackson will do a great job with it, he’s in.

We were going to add another villain, but since this took me so long, I’m going to leave it with these six. Jason may discuss the other villain if he’d like. I’m sure he’ll have some comments on these selections anyway.

Yeah, I noticed on Friday that Newsarama was invading our casting turf (after we blatantly swiped it from Wizard…back when Wizard used to be good…or at least better…or at least entertaining) and thought we should jump on casting a movie that actually has a chance of being made in the near future. Our Justice League, Hawkeye and Doctor Strange casting calls are all pipe dreams at this point. But this one could actually see the light of day! Hopefully the two of us, and our four and a half average daily readers, can have some influence!

John made some solid choices overall. I don’t really feel horribly put off by any of them, but I do think there are some individuals who could fill a few of these roles more appropriately. I will say that I did not mind at all doing a 20-minute image search for the right Charlize Theron picture. As I’ve said before, she and Kate Beckinsale can do no wrong in my eyes. I was going to pose a half-serious argument for David Hasselhoff in the Nick Fury role, with visions of his career taking off like Travolta’s did post-Tarantino. But then I realized that I don’t really want The Hoff’s career to take off (and I don’t really care for Travolta either…he ruined what could have been a good Punisher movie).

Like John said, I was originally thinking of a secondary villain. Not sure how the script would play out, but it seems like Baron Strucker and HYDRA could be good foils for Captain America as he struggles with the Red Skull. And the two villains are of the same mold and might work with each other (or double cross each other as villains are wont to do). So, I’ll be casting the role of Strucker in addition to the others…

Captain America: I like Adam Baldwin…as a supporting actor. For some reason, and I don’t know if it’s the person or the roles he’s been put into, he always comes across as smug and sarcastic to me. He just doesn’t seem like the all-American guy I picture when I think of Cap. I’m with you on this one that they should probably cast a relatively unknown actor. However, I have to give it a shot, so I’ll go with Colin Ferguson. You may recognize him from a variety of TV shows, most recently the Sci Fi series Eureka. He’s 36, looks world-weary and can play both strong and humble (he has an improv background). The only slight against him is that he’s fairly thin…but I could see that working for the pre-serum Steve Rogers and then have him add some weight for the action parts of the flick.


Red Skull: I have no problem with Ralph Fiennes, per se. He’s a great actor who has played both a German and a villain, so that’s a good fit. The role needs a strong personality, someone who is willing to play it over the top and really brash. I’m not saying Ralph Fiennes is out, but I would like to offer up two other choices: Peter Weller (Robocop) and Peter Greene (Zed in Pulp Fiction). Oddly enough, both actors have the same general appearance…which seems to translate well to a skeletal look. Weller always came across as a bit more stone-faced and cold to me. Greene is the quintessential slimy bad guy type and creeps me out on screen. Let me know what you think of either of those options.


Bucky (young WWII version): I’m in the same boat as you when it comes to young Hollywood types who could play this role. In lieu of pounding my head on my desk in an attempt to shake a name loose, I’m just going to agree with you on this Rafi Gavron dude (even though I have no idea who he is).

Bucky (Winter Soldier version): This is another Ralph Fiennes moment for me. I see nothing wrong with Jensen Ackles and actually enjoy his Supernatural role. While he’s not yet written off by me, I’d like to suggest some competition in the form of Wentworth Miller. Miller has that look of someone who has gone through hell, been manipulated and came out the other side not giving a damn. Brooding is a good trait for older Bucky. It also helps that Miller looks like an older version of Gavron.


Sharon Carter: As I said above, I’m a ginormous Charlize Theron fan. She’s gorgeous. She’s fun. She’s proven she can occupy a variety of roles. I’m sure there are other strong blonde actresses out there, I’m just drawing a blank on any one in particular right now. Therefore, Theron is in.

Baron Strucker: The head of HYDRA has to have a maniacal bent to him. In fact, I posit that he has to look literally insane from power and hatred of his fellow man. This role needs an abrasive, evil man who can not only hold up under the monocle, facial scar and bald look…but thrive in it! For this special spot in the credits, I choose the guy who played both Laura Palmer’s dad on Twin Peaks and the Devil himself in Reaper: Ray Wise.


Sam Jackson as Nick Fury is a gimme. That completes my cast…sort of. Let’s discuss the Red Skull role a bit. And then give me your feedback. I can take it!

You’re completely correct when you say that Adam Baldwin has usually been somewhat smarmy, if not downright villainous. I think, however, that he’s a good enough actor to pull off Cap, but your counter suggestion of Colin Ferguson was brilliant! I hadn’t thought of him, and he would be great! You’re right, he’s a little thin, but he should be able to bulk up.

As for the Red Skull, your choices are fine, but I’m going to defend Ralph Fiennes. I think he’s a stronger actor than the other two, and again, he’s proven that he can work through makeup. He’s also an excellent villain, who simply oozes menace, and he can be somewhat cultured at the same time. Of all my choices, he’s the one I feel the strongest about, and I still think he’s the best choice for the role.

How sad is it that we couldn’t come up with a better choice for a young Bucky? It says something either about today’s teen actors, or our knowledge of today’s teen actors. Again, I can think of former child stars who would have been good in the role, but they’re all too old now, and most “high school” students are TV are in their 20’s. Is there an actor waiting in the wings on the Disney Channel or Nickelodeon that I’m simply not aware of? Quite possibly. Perhaps this is the part that will be filled with some unknown after a nationwide search.

I’m a huge Wentworth Miller fan as well, and he could pull off the Winter Soldier, no doubt about it. This is the first choice where I throw up my hands and say that I could see either one in role. I think I’ll go with Wentworth Miller, simply because he does look more like our young Bucky than Jensen Ackles. I think he may also be a little thin for the role, but that’s nothing a personal trainer and a high protein diet won’t fix.

Ray Wise as Strucker is a great choice! I’m good with that. I believe we have our cast!

You’re right that Fiennes is clearly the better actor of the three choices. And it might help to anchor the cast with someone who has that experience and depth. Plus, Fiennes could play the role with more of a simmering hatred which would contrast brilliantly with a boastful, bombastic Strucker. Isn’t it rather strange though that all three of the actors selected have the same basic appearance? The larger forehead and deep-set eyes really portray the skull visage underneath.

I’m trying to come up with something to fill that “young Hollywood” gap in my brain, but it feels like a fruitless effort. All the Nickelodeon shows my sons watch are either animated or feature teenagers who don’t really act like teenagers. And if you’re good with Wentworth Miller then it makes sense to cast the visually similar Gavron as his younger self.

So that’s that. Not only could I imagine Colin Ferguson smiling in the face of danger as Ralph Fiennes seethes and fumes, but I could also totally see Ray Wise and Sam Jackson butting heads on opposite sides of a national security threat. Anyway, here’s our version of the Captain America movie cast: