Pretty much out of nowhere, the cult favorite NBC drama “Friday Night Lights” has turned into the place to watch for super hero castings. After the show ended its five season run back in 2011, a number of actors graduated into big super hero roles. First Taylor Kitsch picked up a bo staff to play Gambit in 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” then Michael B. Jordan got cast as the Human Torch in Fox’s upcoming “Fantastic Four” reboot. Now, Adrianne Palicki has transformed from Tyra Collette into Bobbi Morse — the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent codenamed Mockingbird.
Palicki will make her debut as the agent in the second season of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” but the actress is no stranger to super heroes. In 2011, she was cast as Wonder Woman in a pilot produced by David E. Kelley for NBC — a pilot that did not get picked up. Now Palicki, who co-starred in 2013’s “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” as Lady Jaye, will finally get to make her big debut as a (possibly) costumed crime-fighter, this time for Marvel Comics. But with Kitsch, Jordan, and Palicki all tackling comic book roles, can the rest of their “Friday Night Lights” co-stars be far behind? Here are six other actors from the series and the roles they’d be perfect for in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Scott Porter as Quasar
As paralyzed ex-quarterback Jason Street, Scott Porter showed that he could handle playing an all-American everyman tasked with overcoming extraordinary odds during the first two seasons of “Friday Night Lights.” The role seems like a solid warm-up for taking to the stars as Wendell Vaughn, a failed S.H.I.E.L.D. agent turned security guard who gets in over his head when he comes to possess the cosmically charged Quantum Bands. The success of “Guardians of the Galaxy” has made it possible for a number of lesser-known characters to show up in the MCU, and Quasar could be one of them. If “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is looking for a way to tie into Marvel’s new cosmic corner, maybe Porter as Vaughn is the way to go.
Jurnee Smollett as Monica Rambeau
Jurnee Smollett joined “Friday Night Lights” in the show’s fourth season as Jess Merriweather, a student determined to break restrictive gender norms by becoming a high school football coach. Smollett infused a lot of passion and determination into her performance as Jess, two traits that go hand in hand with Monica Rambeau. Also known as Spectrum, Photon, and originally Captain Marvel, Rambeau has been an Avenger on the brink of superstardom since her debut back in the ’80s. Putting her in a Marvel Studios property would be welcome move considering how few women of color exist in the MCU. Her superhuman ability to transform into different types of energy within the electromagnetic spectrum would also provide for a fantastic visual onscreen, and it’s a power set we haven’t seen before.
Zach Guilford as Cannonball
Two of the “FNL” grads — Taylor Kitsch and Michael B. Jordan — have gone over to Fox properties, and we really want Gilford to do the same. Gilford gave an entire football stadium’s worth of heart and soul to the comparatively shy and good-natured backup-turned-star-quarterback Matt Saracen. That character arc matches up exactly with Samuel “Cannonball” Guthrie, so in a way Gilford’s already played this role once before. Cannonball’s reluctance to lead the New Mutants, his struggle with his energy propulsion powers, his loyalty to both his real and surrogate families — Gilford’s dealt with all of that stuff in “Friday Night Lights.” If you need convincing, just watch the season four episode “The Son.” Get ready to cry.
Minka Kelly as Hellcat
The Marvel Cinematic Universe needs more female super heroes, period. More importantly, it needs more female heroes that don’t fall into either the brilliant scientist or brutal warrior categories. Enter: Patsy Walker. The character started out in the 1940s as the star of teenage romantic comedy comics, continuity that made it’s way into actual Marvel canon when Patsy Walker debuted. She’s fun, flirty, feisty — and she’s a super hero too. Minka Kelly played all of those traits to perfection as cheerleader Lyla Garrity during the show’s first three seasons. We need a heroine like Hellcat, and Minka Kelly would be a dynamite choice for her.
Kyle Chandler as U.S. Agent
As an incredibly committed character actor with a diverse resume, Kyle Chandler seems Taylor-made for a Marvel Cinematic role. The actor won an Emmy for his work as Coach Eric Taylor on “Friday Night Lights,” and deservedly so; Chandler disappeared into the role, swinging from playing a staggeringly intense coach to a harried family man in every episode. Finding a role for Chandler is a bit hard, as his grounded energy doesn’t match out there characters like Doctor Strange and Adam Warlock. That’s why it would be great to see him suit up as U.S. Agent, the no-nonsense, relentless, government-appointed substitute for Steve Rogers. Chandler’s 15 years older than Chris Evans, but that age difference works when you realize that the U.S. Agent’s supposed to be an Army veteran that’s seen everything and is ready to do anything for his country.
Connie Britton as Captain Marvel
Yes, Katee Sackhoff is still the clear choice for Carol Danvers, but when picking a character for the fantastically charismatic and fearless Connie Britton, you have to go with Cap. Britton’s in the same age-range as Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr., and it would be great to get a female Avenger that could match them age-wise. Heck, the 50-year-old Ming-Na Wen kicks ass every week as “S.H.I.E.L.D.’s” Melinda May! Britton would kill it as Captain Marvel. Of everyone on the “Friday Night Lights” cast, no one exuded as much confidence and possessed as much swagger as Tami Taylor. The way she fought for the rights of the teenagers in Dillon, Texas just screams Carol Danvers — and come on, you kinda want to see Britton’s trademark mane standing tall outside of the Captain Marvel helmet.