Character Revamp: Santa Claus

Dec-19-08

Marvel has long been known for taking characters from popular culture and making them stars of their very own comics. Marvel has published books focusing on Rom, GI Joe, the Transformers, Heathcliff, and if my memory serves, Barbie. They also had a hit with their long running series that starred Dracula. Well, Jason and I have heard rumors of their newest sensation, a popular character who is set to star in his very own mag: Santa Claus.

Some of you may have heard of Santa Claus, but for those who haven’t, he’s a powerful hero who maintains a base at the North Pole. From this base he monitors the world, seeking out the naughty and the nice, and distributing appropriate rewards or punishments, dependent on someone’s naughty level. He’s seen many evil beings rise up against him in the past, from everyday political adversaries, such as his original nemesis, the Burgermeister Meisterburger, to more powerful magical foes, such as the Winter Warlock, to even foes from other dimensions, such as the Boogie Man. Yet, still he soldiers on, doing his part for the people of Earth.

Now, we haven’t seen Marvel’s pitch for this series yet. I can’t say for sure how they’re going to play it. However, Jason and I….well, figuring out how to sell series like these and make them relevant to today’s audiences (or, at least, interesting to us) is what we do. So, we thought that we’d share our pitch for the new Santa Claus series, and then you can compare it with the eventual series that Marvel produces (the first issue of this series was supposed to ship this month, in time for the holidays, but it’s late, and will now ship in July).

So, we basically have to nail down three basic areas for our Santa proposal. First, we have to define Santa. Who is he? What powers does he have? Why is he doing what he does? Where does he live, and what sort of base does he have? Does he have a secret identity?

Second, we need to nail down his supporting cast. Who are his allies? Any family? Who helps him in his duties, and why?

Finally, we need to determine his villains. Who forms Santa’s Rogues’ Gallery?

Let’s start with Santa himself. The legends would have you believe that Santa is centuries old and has been waging his war on naughtiness for all that time. However, I posit that the man we know as Santa has actually been many men, who have passed the costume down over the years, somewhat like the Phantom. One of the main jobs of Santa is to locate a suitable replacement, bring that replacement into the fold, explain his secrets, and train the replacement. In this way, there is always a Santa, ready, willing and able to take over whenever he is needed.

Santa himself has no special powers, although all Santas are trained in various skills. Moreover, Santa carries certain technological and magical gadgets (provided by two of his allies; we’ll discuss those later) which aid him in his work. I believe we will keep his headquarters at the North Pole, but with the understanding that Santa can transport himself anywhere on Earth quite quickly, and would even be capable of covering the entire globe in the span of about four hours if necessary.

Before I get into detail, I’ll see if Jason has any concerns or wants to go in a different direction.

The biggest difficulty, and also the biggest resource, with this revamp are the various legends and attributes put upon “Santa Claus” by different countries and cultures. I would think, for the sake of appealing to the action/adventure aspect of the character, that we should eschew the whole “leaving candy for the kids” part of Santa’s lore. This action could show up as a final page wrap-up…almost like a calling card of sorts, but I wouldn’t want to base every storyarc around it. However, the reasoning for such behavior could play into his development. Santa Claus, in the comic book sense, stands for something more powerful and universal than seasonal gift satisfaction. He’s the ultimate protector of the innocent, the vanguard of an entire season, and the primary source of oversight for keeping everyone on the straight and narrow. Even when he isn’t in his prime period of activity, he still has to keep a vigilant watch over the easily swayed minds of the world’s wishful youth.

It’s a tough job and I like the concept of having a Santa succession schedule. I would guess that the average person behind the Santa costume would only last for a decade or so. The job is so draining, both physically and mentally, that an average person might go insane rather quickly. I would also like to put forward the notion that his support staff is made up of a line of legacy characters as well…almost like a solemn, dedicated branch of a religious group whose sole purpose is to aid this universal symbol. Their world is very insular and secretive, but abounds with joy, fulfillment and an inner peace brought on through their work.

Besides, a badass group of ninja monk elves would be awesome to witness in action.

I could also see Santa employing a multi-branched charity organization posing as a front for data collection. He needs to have an alter ego who can blend into normal day-to-day activities.

I do have an idea or two for villains and would like to offer at least one supporting cast member. However, it sounds like John already has some ideas brewing, so I’ll let him take the stage again…

I have a few ideas, and since there is interest in supporting cast and villains, let’s move that way first (we can always detail exactly what Santa can do later). Let’s start with supporting cast.

The original Santa’s origins are still somewhat shrouded in mystery and legend, which works well for all concerned. Honestly, no one in the know about who Santa really is wants the veil pulled away from Santa, since if someone knew much about the original Santa, they may start to realize that the current Santa isn’t that person. However, one thing we do know about the original Santa is that he met and fell in love with a remarkable woman, one who was the matriarch of an entire clan.

This clan was made of elves, elves who had been exiled/marooned/imprisoned on Earth centuries ago. These elves had tried to hide themselves from the outside world, but when their mistress met Santa, she broke their traditions and the two wed. When Santa began his calling of watching the world and doing good, his wife was in full agreement, and she brought her family inline with Santa’s goals, even convincing them to move to the North Pole, when Santa decided that they needed to be farther away from the people they watched over.

This clan of elves are not the long lived, virtually immortal elves that one reads about in The Lord of the Rings. Their lifespan is that of a mortal, and their numbers are not limitless. They obviously can’t continue to only mate among themselves without serious consequences, and Santa also realized that forcing them to spend their entire lives in the North Pole could be cruel. So, each elf is allowed a time in their life when they can go out into the world and seek a mate, living as normal humans do for a set period of time. The time period is indeed finite, and an elf (male or female) must find a mate within that window or they lose their chance. Complicating matters is the fact that the mate they find must be special, as the elf must tell their chosen one of their true nature before the time limit expires. If the mate agrees to return with the elf, they are made to appear to have suffered a fatal accident in their world, and can never return to it. If they do not agree to return with the elf, their minds are wiped of the information that was imparted to them, and the elf returns empty-handed.

Because of these strict restrictions, not every elf is able to find a mate, which is one of the reasons why their population does not expand beyond the capacity of their headquarters. Any children that a couple produces are raised by the entire elven clan, in a communal setting, which helps to placate those elves who never find a mate in the first place. Santa is not really the leader of these elves; instead the elves follow the descendent of that original matriarch, who may or may not be the current Santa’s mate.

These elves have a mastery of their own unique technology, which they use to help Santa in his mission. They perform the necessary maintanence around the headquarters, and provide Santa with numerous gadgets. They also count among their numbers experts at various fighting styles and they can train Santa in those arts as well.

Santa’s other ally is the Winter Warlock. Once a foe of the original Santa, he was eventually reformed, and became a steadfast ally of the man in red and white. As the Winter Warlock grew older, he began to investigate ways to prolong his life. He eventually realized that the cold of the North Pole seemed to have retarded his aging process, and he soon theorized that even deeper cold would stop his aging process completely. To that end, he used his magics to encase himself in a block of ice in the middle of the Claus compound. He is still conscious in that block, and can communicate with Santa, but he can never leave it. However, he still possesses power, and is quite helpful in providing magical aid to Santa in the form of information gathering and occasional magical trinkets for Santa to use. Most Santas would actually say that his most useful gift is his wisdom and willingness to listen. He now communicates telepathically, and is aware of what happens around him. He can see and hear in all areas of the compound, and were the compound to ever be attacked, he would be able to marshal his magic for a terrible defense.

That’s some of his supporting cast. Your thoughts Jason? Any you want to change or add?

Love it! I was trying to come up with a supporting character that could be a mentor of sorts to the incoming Santas, but I think you’ve handled it beautifully with the Winter Warlock idea. I see him as a version of DC’s Oracle character…someone who can offer advice and give direction to Santa during his adventures. There’s something interesting about having him be a former adversary too.

I think you nailed what I was going for with the elves. They’re old school. And their only purpose is to serve the mission of Santa Claus. However, they aren’t just cute little toy builders…these guys are a hardcore, focused “army” of assistants who have a multitude of skills. I can imagine elves with specialties…some are engineers, some are tech experts, some are trained in military operations (including intelligence and espionage). It’s the perfect scenario, almost like DC’s League of Assassins or a competent version of AIM from Marvel.

You’ve touched on the character of “Mrs. Claus” too. I like the notion that she may or may not actually be married to the current Santa. It could all just be a front to make them more acceptable in the public eye. That could offer a fun dynamic behind the scenes too. Maybe the two of them don’t get along at all!

The one thing that seems to be missing from the support side of things is an explanation of Santa’s abilities. How does he deliver goods to everyone on Earth all in one night? How can he be in so many places at once (I’m looking at you, mall Santas!)? How does he keep track of so much information? And how does he manifest the “holiday spirit” to affect emotions and generosity? I have a feeling you’re going to make a reference to the North Wind, and who knows what else, with that storyline.

As far as bad guys go, the first obvious choice would be Jack Frost (who may or may not be an elf himself). He’s the expected archenemy and I have no problem with that. However, I feel like he needs some sort of history and motivation. He could be the Lex Luthor to Santa’s Superman…a super smart foe who employs others to carry out his schemes. He uses fancy gadgets but doesn’t really have any powers of his own.

I’d also like to mention Black Pete. In Dutch and German folklore, Black Pete was Saint Nicholas’ assistant, but I think it would be cool to have him turn on Santa at some point…maybe he was persuaded away by something evil. This would make him similar to Marvel’s Winter Soldier or DC’s Tim Drake.

John and I spoke briefly about this topic before we posted and I told him about a vague idea I had for a villain that almost seemed to borrow themes from the supernatural (a la Swamp Thing or Sandman). I thought that Santa and his elves should be ever vigilant against a vast negative force called “The Never.” I see The Never as a network of evil, always evolving and adapting, a personification of children’s nightmares that draws its power from the darkness and the negativity of the general populace. This villain could look like anything really, but would most likely take forms similar to the Perchten of Germanic folklore…grotesque animal masks with horns and fangs, thick furs and pelts as a costume, almost like a version of a zombie viking. I could also see The Never as a group of shapechangers who taunt and harass Santa during his travels. They appear as a flock of ravens or a massive colony of rats. I could even see them spreading a sort of plague (of fear, of sickness, of darkness. etc.).

I dunno. Aside from the general nuisance villains who have their own schemes in mind to steal gifts or ruin the holidays, it seems like you’d need something that would pose a serious threat to the well-being of humankind without their knowledge. Santa is the secret defender. And The Never would be an excellent, yet nebulous, enemy for him to face off against.

Hopefully, John has some more follow-through for these ideas!

Okay, we seem to be on the same page as far as allies, and I think you’ve really nailed some neat villains. I couldn’t agree more with you that Santa needs a serious threat to combat, and I think The Never is a perfect one. The Never would be his Dr. Doom, his Dormammu, his Red Skull. I like that The Never isn’t defined and is somewhat nebulous, as it should be at this point. Perhaps, over the years of Santa’s run as a comics character, the Never may be fleshed out more and examined in detail, but that should be a slow process, taking many storylines. The Never wouldn’t appear in every plotline, but it would be a presence in the book almost constantly. Even when Santa is dealing with other villains, the Never would be a looming menace.

I like the idea of Jack Frost and I like that he doesn’t have any powers. If he doesn’t have powers, one must wonder why he took that name and what it is he does. One of the things that must be decided for every Santa villain is whether or not this threat has been a long term foe of Santa (and therefore has fought many different Santas over the years) or whether or not this is a more recent foe. It gives the villain a much different feel if he or she has been fighting the Santa organization, in some form, for centuries, or whether they just ran afoul of the current Santa much more recently. In this case, I’d like to cast Jack Frost as the former. In fact, I’d like to suggest that Frost did have powers at one point in time, and that he clashed with Santa in the early days, when the original Santa was fulfilling the role of protector. Here’s how I see it going down.

Frost was a rival of the Winter Warlock; they were both powerful supernatural beings, with Frost being an immortal of the same type that live in Asgard and Olympus, and the Warlock being a powerful mortal. When the Warlock fist clashed with Santa, and then began to reform, Frost saw his chance to eliminate his rival once and for all. Frost launched a devastating attack against the Warlock, wounding him deeply. Frost could probably have finished off his foe, when Santa intervened (perhaps it was this intervention that convinced the Warlock that Santa truly followed a path that appealed to the Warlock as well, leading to his final redemption and reformation). Thus did Santa earn Frost’s enmity. The two of them clashed repeatedly for the next few decades, with the Warlock joining the fray on a few occasions. Frost had nearly defeated Santa a few times, but the Warlock and Santa, working as a team, continually proved too much for him. Frost decided he needed to eliminate the Warlock as an ally of Santa, and conjured up a crystal which would drain the Warlock’s powers. He devised an elaborate plot to use the device (stories which will no doubt be told in the inevitable spin-off, Santa: Origins) but during the battle when the device was used, Santa inadvertently interfered with its operation, and Frost had his powers removed instead; everything except for his immortality.

That sets Frost up as more of a cross between DC’s Lex Luthor and Vandal Savage. Ever since that battle he’s been searching for ways to restore his lost power. To stay a credible threat, he’s also amassed as much power as he could in the physical world, studying science and the technology of the day, staying on the cutting edge of what is new and dangerous. This also gives him a motivation to continue to fight against Santa; he wants revenge for his powers being stripped from him and he wants to find a way to be powerful again.

That’s two great foes. Black Pete is a very interesting foe, who I think would also be aware of Santa’s true nature. And, obviously, Santa would fight much more conventional menaces too, as well as meeting some of the existing villains in the Marvel Universe (because, really, who wouldn’t pay good money to see Santa vs Dr. Doom? Or Santa vs the Kingpin: Battle of the Fat Men? I know I’d shell out $4 for some of that). Do we need to detail out any further villains? If not, then all we need to do is nail down his abilities. I’ll check in with you tomorrow to see what you think.

Again, kudos to you for all the inventive backstory stuff. I think we’ve detailed the essential supporting cast and supplied a solid inventory of villains. Of course, there will always be other characters (both good and bad) who pop up from time to time…but I think there’s a strong nucleus there to build a long-lasting title around.

Probably the best thing to do now is to delineate just what it is that Santa does and exactly how he does it. Applying basic comic book physics to what we know from the Santa-based legends, I’m assuming he has gadgets or magic items that help him teleport/move at lightspeed/displace time. His ability to squeeze up and down chimneys indicates a level of shapeshifting. He has certain resistances to the elements. His reindeer and sleigh can fly somehow. And Santa’s sack of presents probably has origins in a pocket universe where he’s able to store vast amounts of product…like a Bag of Holding from D&D. Can you explain all of that?

We seem to be rolling along well. Let’s get this thing wrapped up in time for Christmas!

Hmmm. Detailing exactly what Santa can do could prove slightly challenging, simply because there’s so much to choose from. Santa seems to be able to do so much. Let’s break it down.

I agree that transportation is our first priority. Let’s face it; the guy lives at the North Pole, which is probably not very villain infested. He could potentially fight that polar bear that shills for Coke, but otherwise, he’s going to have to travel to defend the Earth. Teleporting would certainly be the quickest way for him to get from place to place, but it doesn’t really fit into his mythology and it can also be used as something of a cheat by writers. I prefer something that’s more traditionally Santa, and something that doesn’t enable him to arrive at the scene instantaneously. I think keeping the sleigh is the way to go, although I’m not sure that it should be pulled by reindeer, or at least, not all the time. I imagine that Santa used to use the reindeer, which the Warlock had enchanted, to pull his sleigh when he wanted to travel. However, while he still keeps reindeer for emergency sleigh-pulling, the simple fact is that they were sometimes unreliable, and they needed to be fed and taken care of, and when Santa had to travel halfway around the world and didn’t come back the same night as he left, they were problematic. So, sometime in the past few decades, the elf clan constructed a technological sleigh for him. This new sleigh can move at fantastic speeds (several times the speed of sound) and comes with a retractable canopy so that Santa doesn’t have to worry about breathing when it’s moving that fast (and it can also be used in low altitude orbit or underwater, although it’s design isn’t very efficient in those environments). The elves have loaded the new sleigh with all kinds of gadgets, much in the manner of Blue Beetle’s bug, and are constantly experimenting with more, in the manner of James Bond and his Q.

I like the idea of shapeshifting as a way to move up and down chimneys, but I’m wary of making Santa too superhero, because if that’s the case, how are powers passed on from Santa to Santa? There certainly could be a way to do that, probably involving a ceremony between the outgoing and incoming Santas and the Warlock, but then there’s also the case of what happens when a Santa falls in battle (although his powers could then be transferred automatically, kind of like a Vampire Slayer’s powers are in the Buffy universe). Actually, the more I think about it, the more I like that last parenthetical aside. It could be interesting to see the powers transferred, either by ceremony or by automatic transference. What makes the latter such an interesting proposition is the idea that perhaps a Santa could die without locating a suitable successor. Normally, the successor is training at the North Pole, so if a Santa would fall, they would already be in a position to take over the role. But what happens if there is no one ready to take over? I could see a plot where the powers choose someone when the current Santa falls unexpectedly, and the Warlock and Mrs. Claus and the elves have to figure out where the powers went, have to try and determine why that person got the powers, and then have to locate them, bring them in and train them. That could be fun.

So, what are these powers? I agree that shapeshifting has to be one of them. After all, moving up and down chimneys is difficult without shapeshifting, and Santa is also someone who’s depicted at vastly different weights. It’s going to be difficult to fight the Never or Jack Frost’s goons when you’re morbidly obese, so he’s going to need to be able to go from overweight to fit and ready to fight. Shapeshifting also gives him a lot more options in combat, and that’s important. Shapeshifting can also be useful for entering those houses without chimneys, as he could make himself thin as paper, and slide under doors or around windows, or he could turn a finger into a key to open the door; there are lots of options with this power. In fact, I’m wondering if he really needs any others, or if that power is enough for Santa to have? I think it is.

Santa does have a sack with an immense storage capacity; another gift from the Warlock. Santa fills that sack with gadgets from the elves, gadgets which give him a wide range of options, which often change. As I mentioned earlier, the elves can be seen as a clan of Q’s from James Bond. These guys provide him with a huge selection of technological edges, and it might be fun if they’re all constructed to look like toys. That keeps a theme going with him, and still enables him to kick some butt.

What do you think of that power set?

I hate to say it, but the “gadgets disguised as toys” idea is hilarious. Not only could it be a running joke that the elves don’t know how to build something that isn’t toylike, but it also opens up a story or two about mistakenly leaving the wrong item under a child’s tree. Oops! Santa accidentally gave Timmy a freeze ray instead of the BB gun he asked for!

Your sleigh idea could be taken a step further. Since you brought up Blue Beetle’s bug, why not have Santa’s “sleigh” actually be a ship of sorts? Perhaps he has an image inducer attached to it to make it look like a sleigh being pulled by reindeer to the average passer-by. The truth is, however, that Santa’s ship is the same thing people have been reporting seeing in the sky all across the Midwest and Southwest. All those assorted UFO sightings and things that look like tin pie pans floating in the sky with flashing lights are really Santa going about his evil-fighting business. I like how that ties the Santa legend into everyday pop culture. It would also be fun to have his sleigh resemble Doctor Who’s tardis…where the outside is a defined size, but the inside is disturbingly larger, with numerous cabins and compartments, massive storage areas and sleeping quarters for dozens of helpers. The power of magic!

I also agree that Santa should have some sort of super-ability. I’d hate for everything to rely on tricky gadgets and amorphous wizardry. I don’t want to lean to heavily on Winter Warlock though. The process of finding, training and passing on the Santa powers should be a function of the elven lore. Perhaps they’re actually aliens and have highly advanced technology to imbue these powers upon their selected target. Maybe it’s something they really have no control over, but are just there to monitor. Or, and this is kind of a twisted spin, maybe the machine/gizmo/process they use is extremely dangerous and some of the Santa recruits haven’t survived the transfer of power…or, in a way of explaining Black Pete’s origin, maybe one of the subjects was affected differently by the transfer. Maybe Black Pete had been selected as a Santa apprentice (like Robin to Batman), gone through the training and all that, and then the power transfer didn’t work or screwed him up somehow and he vowed revenge for eternity!

Too dramatic?

Shape-shifting as Santa’s sole power covers a lot of bases. It could also explain how he blends into the crowd so easily and how no one sees him throughout the rest of the year. This could also play into the earlier idea I had about having his alter ego be the head of some large charitable organization. He keeps tabs on the world in plain sight of the everyday populace!

Wow…I think we came up with some valid ways to make The Scintillating Santa Claus! an enjoyable comic book. Final thoughts?

Just that I agree with you on everything you mentioned.  I had originally thought of suggesting that the sleigh be an actual ship that shared some of the properties of the Tardis, so that’s amusing.  I also agree that having Santa’s power transfer be a function of the elves rather than the Warlock is a good idea, and does help to maintain a balance between the Warlock and the elves, so one side isn’t obviously more important than the other.

I think this works!  This could actually make a comic; it would be a huge hit!  After all, if kids don’t buy it, they’re going to find themselves on the naughty list!

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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: