Some people argue that the best year for cinema was 1989. Such powerhouse films as Batman, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Abyss, Back To The Future II, and the Little Mermaid all came out that year. However, let’s not count out 2005, the year that produced the Peter Jackson remake of King Kong, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and Batman Begins. Before 2005, we were getting Spider-Man and X-Men movies but Batman Begins really changed the nature of superhero movies in terms of tone and approach. Superhero films were still trying to figure out what worked and what could translate from page to screen. Another film to come out in 2005 was Sky High, and many years later the film deserves a second look.
Sky High dealt with such issues as fitting in, dealing with change as you get older, and living up to the expectations set by your parents. Although it didn’t catch as many eyes as Batman Begins did when it came out, Sky High is one of those films when you mention to someone, they smile back and say “Yeah, I totally loved that film. I forgot about that!” That’s why we here at CBR thought it was time for a reunion! Let’s catch up with the case of Sky High, and see what they’re all up to today!
15. KURT RUSSELL (STEVE STRONGHOLD/THE COMMANDER)
When Steve Stronghold isn’t selling real estate, he’s saving the day as The Commander and is considered one of the greatest superheroes ever! The Commander was played by Kurt Russell and the actor is as super as they come; he is also having a renaissance with his career. Not only does he play Mr. Nobody in the Furious movie franchise, he also can be seen as Ego, father to Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
After working with Quentin Tarantino for the Death Proof segment of 2007’s Grindhouse, he reunited with the director for the 2015 western The Hateful Eight. Kurt has been acting since 1962 and doesn’t look like he’ll be taking any breaks soon! It’s fitting that he worked again on a Disney film since Walt Disney’s last written words were Kurt Russell’s name!
14. DANIELLE PANABAKER (LAYLA)
Layla Williams has the ability to manipulate plants and is sent to the class of Sidekicks at Sky High School. Although she’s friends with Will Stronghold, she has romantic feelings towards him. It takes some time, but eventually Will and Layla kiss at the homecoming dance and they become boyfriend and girlfriend.
Perhaps Danielle Panabaker’s acting in Sky High prepared her for other superhero roles she would eventually take on. On the television series Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, and The Flash, she plays Caitlin Snow, also known as Killer Frost, who has the ability to project blasts of cold. Frost was an evil criminal, but ironically Panabaker’s career placed her on a number of television procedural law shows, such as Shark starring James Woods, Law & Order: LA, Eli Stone, and Franklin & Bash. Clearly a pattern is forming in the kind of shows she likes to work on!
13. PATRICK WARBURTON (VOICE OF ROYAL PAIN)
Royal Pain, who once fought Josie and Steve Stronghold while they were students at Sky High School, returned to do battle with their son, Will. Although Royal Pain was played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, the voice work was done by Patrick Warburton.
We didn’t get to see Patrick suit up in Royal Pain’s armor, but we’ll always have the image of him playing the indestructible Tick back in 2001. Besides hearing his voice as Royal Pain, you can also hear him as Officer Joe Swanson on the long-running animated series Family Guy as well as Brock Sampson on The Venture Bros. Patrick starred as Mike Moore in the TV series Crowded, Guy in Ted and Ted 2, and as Lemony Snicket in A Series of Unfortunate Events.
12. BRUCE CAMPBELL (COACH BOOMER)
When Coach Boomer was an active superhero, he could emit sonic blasts when he spoke. Now retired and working at Sky High School, the Coach is the one who decides who trains to become a Hero or to become a Sidekick. Coach Boomer was played by Bruce Campbell, and if chins could kill, his face would take no prisoners.
Besides making cameos in the Spider-Man trilogy, he played Sam Axe on the tv series Burn Notice and as President Ronald Reagan on Fargo. Bruce went back to his roots when he returned as Ashley “Ash” Williams on the Starz television show Ash vs Evil Dead (he’s also a producer on the show). Bruce starred in The Evil Dead directed by Sam Raimi back in 1981 and became a cult icon as a result.
11. LYNDA CARTER (PRINCIPAL POWERS)
Principal Powers was the Principal of Sky High School and had the power to turn herself into a comet. In the film, Principal Powers says “I can’t do anything more to help you. I’m not Wonder Woman, you know.” Long before Gal Gadot picked up the Lasso of Truth, Diana Prince was of course played by Lynda Carter. She returned to her television (as well as DC Comics) roots when she played Moira Sullivan on Smallville.
Carter also played President Olivia Marsdin on The CW’s Supergirl and will be reprising her role as Governor Jessman in the the crowdfunded sequel to Super Troopers. For those fans of Elder Scrolls, she was the voice of Azura for the 2014 Elder Scrolls Online. She has been doing voice work for the Elder Scrolls series ever since the 2002 The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.
10. KELLY PRESTON (JOSIE STRONGHOLD/JETSTREAM)
Similar to her husband, Steve, Josie Stronghold is a realtor. Also just like her husband, she is a world famous superhero known as Jetstream. She has the power of flight as well as being an expert in hand-to-hand combatant. Kelly Preston, whose real name is Kelly Kamalelehua Palzis, has worked on a variety of films and with many big stars.
She played Meghan Doyle on the television series Medium, as well as Greer Latimore on the CBS series CSI: Cyber. She’ll be playing the wife of mob boss John Gotti in the film The Life and Death of John Gotti. She’s had a long marriage to John Travolta; the couple met on the set of the set of the 1989 film The Experts and were married two years later.
9. KEVIN HEFFERNAN (BUS DRIVER RON WILSON)
Not everyone at Sky High had superpowers. Although both his parents were superheroes, Ron Wilson was born powerless and served as the driver that transported the superheroes of tomorrow to school. As “luck” would have it, Ron is exposed to toxic waste and gains the power to grow in size, defending the city from giant robots.
Shout out “What’s up, Soapy?” if you recognize Kevin Heffernan as a cast member of the comedy troupe Broken Lizard. He acted with his fellow members in the films Club Dread, Beerfest, and got to serve as director on The Slammin’ Salmon. In 2015, Broken Lizard launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $2 million for the sequel to Super Troopers. They were able to raise the requested money in less than a day! Meow!
8. MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD (GWEN GRAYSON/ROYAL PAIN)
Gwen Grayson was a student at Sky High School who had the power to control technology with her thoughts. She befriends Will Stronghold but it is revealed that she is in fact Sue Tenny, who had attended Sky High previously when Will’s parents were at school, but was de-aged due to one of her own weapons. She fights Will as the villain Royal Pain but is defeated by him.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead has acted in a slew of high profile projects since Sky High. She played Bruce Willis’ daughter in the Die Hard films, the lead in the reboot to The Thing, Michelle in 10 Cloverfield Lane, and Nikki Swango in the TV series Fargo. Mary is also in the musical duo Got A Girl, producing music with Dan the Automator. Their first studio album I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff Now came out in 2014.
7. DAVE FOLEY (ALL AMERICAN BOY)
Before The Commander partnered with Jetstream, he had All American Boy as his sidekick. Currently, he works at Sky High School in Hero Support. In terms of superpowers, it’s never really made clear what All American Boy could do. Since Will never heard of his Dad’s former partner, maybe it was the power to not be remembered?
All American Boy was played by Canadian actor Dave Foley, one of the five people that made up the comedy group The Kids In The Hall (this movie has two of them)! Dave made appearances in many famous television comedies before and after Sky High. He appeared as Dr. Headrick on Scrubs, Principal MacIntyre on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Bob on Hot In Cleveland, Dr. Fulton on The Middle, Pat on Dr. Ken, and Xavier King on Bajillion Dollar Propertie$.
6. CLORIS LEACHMAN (NURSE SPEX)
Nurse Spex was a nurse at Sky High School, which made her x-ray vision perfect in helping her perform examinations on her patients. Nurse Spex was played by Cloris Leachman, who at age 82 appeared on Dancing with the Stars! She has also lent her voice to such films as The Croods and the animated TV shows Phineas and Ferb, and Adventure Time. She can also be seen as Maw Maw on Raising Hope and Mrs. Svorski on Girl Meets World.
Cloris has earned a number of awards for her performances over the years. She has been nominated for an Emmy Award 22 times, eight of which she has won. She actually holds the record for the most Emmy wins for the same role by any actor, male or female. Most recently, she has been nominated for Best Actress in A Drama for her work as Zorya Vechernyaya on Starz’s American Gods.
5. STEVEN STRAIT (WARREN PEACE)
Every high school has some sort of bully, and Warren Peace fits that description. He is feared for his powers and heritage: his dad was the supervillain Baron Battle and Warren is a pyrokinetic, giving him the ability to manipulate and produce fire. Although he starts out fighting Will, at the end of the film they’re best friends.
Warren Peace (no doubt a shoutout to the Tolstoy novel) was played by native New Yorker Steven Strait. Sky High was his first film role and he later starred as D’Leh in Roland Emmerich’s 10,000BC. In 2012 he was Stevie Evans in Magic City, a Starz TV series about Miami mobsters in the 1950s. In 2014, he played Brooks in the ABC TV series Revenge. Steven can be seen on the Syfy television series The Expanse playing Jim Holden.
4. KEVIN MCDONALD (MR. MEDULLA)
At Sky High School, Mr. Medulla was a mad scientist. He was good at teaching but sometimes the mad part got in the way. He taught the students how to make weapons and gadgets in the Mad Science Lab. His big head did equal a big brain, and as such, he was always the smartest in the room (or at least acted like it).
Mr. Medulla was played by Kevin McDonald, another actor from the Canadian comedy troupe The Kids In The Hall. While we all eagerly await for that reunion, Kevin has appeared in a number of Canadian television shows. He played Jimp on the TV show The Plateaus. He was also Bagel on The Bagel and Becky Show. Kevin can be found on the YouTube webseries Epic Studios playing Sherman Weakman. Epic Studios was created by Lloyd Ahlquist, who also helped create the incredibly popular webseries Epic Rap Battles of History.
3. DUSTIN INGRAM (CARBON COPY KID)
When Coach Boomer is dividing the class up into Heroes and Sidekicks, he encounters The Carbon Copy Kid, who turns into an exact copy the Coach. The Coach is very impressed by this and immediately labels him a Hero. The Carbon Copy Kid was played by Justin Ingram who appeared as Randy Rosen in Paranormal Activity 3.
He also played Ronnie, a vampire infected with Hepatitis V on the HBO series True Blood. Randy also played Bert in the 2016 remake of the film Cabin Fever. He also got to play rock star Alice Cooper in HBO’s series Vinyl, about the New York music scene in the 1970s. It’s a pretty impressive impression of the musician… did he use his Carbon Copy Kid powers to play the role?
2. TOM KENNY (MR. TIMMERMAN)
Did you catch Tom Kenny’s cameo in Sky High? Normally you’re only used to hearing his voice… he’s none other than SpongeBob SquarePants! Kenny is almost crushed by Sky High School itself, but is saved by Will Stronghold and Magenta as a guinea pig. Tom has not made many physical cameos since Sky High. One of the few times you can see him on screen is as Jerry Klein in 2009’s World’s Greatest Dad.
However, you can hear him as Plastic Man in the animated TV series Batman: The Brave and the Bold. He’s also voiced a variety of different characters in such animated television shows as Star Wars: The Clone Wars, American Dad!, Ultimate Spider-Man, Adventure Time, The Powerpuff Girls, and Rick and Morty. He can also be heard as King Bellenus on Adult Swim’s Apollo Gauntlet.
1. MICHAEL ANGARANO (WILL STRONGHOLD)
When Will Stronghold first attends Sky High School he’s nervous. His powers haven’t manifested yet and he’s the son of The Commander and Jetstream, two of the most famous superheroes around. Through the love of his friends and parents, patience and experience, Will discovers his powers as well as himself. He saves the school, turns the school bully into his best friend, and gets a girlfriend.
Will was played by Michael Angarano, who almost played George-Michael Bluth on Arrested Development and was in the running to play Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. He played Dr. Bertie Chickering, Jr. in the Cinemax series The Knick and can also be seen as Eddie Zeidel in I’m Dying Up Here, a Showtime series co-created by Jim Carrey. In 2017, Michael wrote, directed and starred in the film Avenues.
Would you be a Hero or Sidekick at Sky High? Post your comments below!
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