Thanks to the She Has No Head! publishing schedule I haven't really had a chance to express my insane
excitement here over the Captain Marvel movie announcement. I am, in a word, PUMPED. Pumped that they finally committed, pumpbed that it has a date, and over the moon pumped that they're calling it Captain Marvel (as it should be). I am extremely disappointed that they didn't commit to two female led films by also announcing a Black Widow film, but that's another post for another day. Today we are here to celebrate and what better way to celebrate than with fan castings!
One of the only things the internet seems to collectively agree on is that Katee Sackhoff would make a near perfect Captain Marvel [ed. note: this is hyperbole people - these are the jokes - the internet is clearly in agreement on nothing - it would be literally impossible for all of the internet to agree on something, which seems like it should be obvious. Please take this statement as the hyperbole it is clearly intended to be. As a sidebar, I am sorry that I have to spell this out, but a few freak outs in the comments section over this one line means I must clarify or risk people continuing to miss the forest for the trees...and this is why the world cannot have nice things. Now back to your regularly scheduled program...]
ANYWAY, Sackhoff does feel a bit like no-brainer casting, the kind that has spawned an internet full of Sackhoff as Carol images. And to be clear, I agree. I think she could fill the role very well and she tends to be my default pick. However, Marvel, given their history seems to be interested in more known/bankable stars, and it’s fair to say that Sackhoff has not done much of note (especially when it comes to film) since her star-making turn as Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica (which ended five years ago). So assuming that Marvel is interested in a bigger/more bankable “film star” – and that does seem to be how they’re trending if you look at their casting choices, who might be our other options? Trying to focus (for the most part) on bigger more well names and those with more film experience or more recent break out roles, here are my alternate suggestions starting at 10 and working my way down to my #1 pick!
You’ll notice I put down two “facts” for each actress -- which should not mark them out (or in), but are of interest relative to potential in launching an action franchise. These “facts” are height and their projected age at the time of the first film (2018). Neither should be weighted too heavily. Consider that Scarlett Johansson is the same height as the smallest of these ladies and we’re loving her Black Widow, though it’s fair to say that Carol should probably feel more “physically significant” than Natasha.
The age thing, I mean listen, nobody wants it considered LESS than me, but I think we have to accept that it’s part of the conversation when executives are thinking about who can launch a franchise. And while NONE of these ladies are even remotely too old to do it (Robert Downey Jr. was 43 when Iron Man came out in 2008, Mark Ruffalo – clearly the best Hulk – was 45 when The Avengers came out) I think we all know that Hollywood unfairly penalizes actresses for age in a way it simply does not with men. Hopefully this is changing a bit with incredible roles/performances like Sandra Bullock (49) in Gravity, and well, Helen Mirren in EVERYTHING, but those roles are still few and far between and thus it just seems like facing reality to consider these things.
Honorable Mention: NAOMIE HARRIS
2018 Age: 42
Relevant Action Roles: 28 Days Later, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Street Kings, Ninja Assassin, Skyfall
Notable Role: Selena in 28 Days Later
Why She’s Worth Considering But Didn’t Make The Cut: Harris has actually long been my choice for Monica Rambeau (see here!) but if we’re never going to get a Monica Rambeau on the big screen, it’s only fitting that she be considered for Carol. However, since Monica Rambeau (a black woman) actually held the Captain Marvel title prior to Carol adopting it, it would be truly confusing to non-comics fans and go a long way toward hurting the efforts Marvel has made with Carol Danvers and her comic book (and efforts I hope they will both continue to make and in fact double down on in comics and other media as they launch her more widely). I’m not generally against changing up character’s races, but this does seem to be one of those cases where changing a character’s race for film would only complicate and confuse the issue and potentially hurt other characters (i.e. potentially damaging both Carol and Monica). Personally, I’m still secretly hoping that we eventually get a Nextwave movie (and thus a Monica Rambeau) since Guardians of the Galaxy has proved how doable the off the wall superhero comedy full of "nobodies" is. Slap an R-rating on that puppy and turn the naughty knob up to 10 and there we go…NEXTWAVE. So, consider Harris nominated for the Rambeau role in THAT film. J
10. KATHERYN WINNICK
2018 Age: 41
Relevant Action Films: None.Vikings (TV)
Notable Role: Sveta in Cold Souls
Why She’s Worth Considering: I haven’t seen much more than some snippets of Vikings, but in brilliantly beautiful screenshots alone, Winnick’s Lagertha has me pretty sold that she’d be a brilliant Carol at least visually. More importantly, I saw her years ago in a small movie called Cold Souls starring Paul Giamatti (Netflix it, it’s awesome) and it was impossible to take your eyes off her bitchy beautiful Sveta. While Sveta made Winnick a shoe in for a Black Widow role, or perhaps in a world where we can time travel, a new Emma Frost, I have no doubt she could also do interesting things with Carol.
Advantage: A blonde beauty, who has proven athletic prowess and with a decent height and good acting range she has a lot of advantages even if none of them make her stand out dramatically from the pack.
Disadvantage: Winnick has been slowly making a name for herself in a variety of films and now in the history channel’s Vikings, which shows she’s got the chops (and hunger) for action. That said, she’s certainly not a household name/bankable star like some of the other ladies on the list and since she’s one of the older women on the list, that lack of name recognition could be seen as a negative.
09. MACKENZIE DAVIS
2018 Age: 30
Relevant Action Films: Bad Turn Worse, forthcoming The Martian (Ridley Scott)
Notable Role: Cameron Howe in Halt & Catch Fire (TV)
Why She’s Worth Considering: Davis commanded the screen in Halt & Catch Fire, stealing all her scenes – usually from more accomplished actors (Lee Pace and Scoot McNairy) and finding a vulnerability and edge to her character of Cameron Howe that was just mesmerizing.
Advantage: Height and youth, and attitude to spare. If they wanted to go with a relative unknown, Davis would be a great pick. She’s very young, super talented, and just edgy looking enough to be really interesting and an unconventional choice for Carol. This would be a young Carol, but a brash one, and one that took no lip from the likes of Tony Stark…and already I’m liking the sound of this!
Disadvantage: Of all the ladies on the list she’s probably the least well known and has the least amount of film experience/credits/name recognition since her big role was on AMC’s Halt & Catch Fire.
08. GEMMA ARTERTON
2018 Age: 32
Relevant Action Films: Quantum of Solace, Clash of the Titans, Prince of Persia, Byzantium, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, and Tamera Drewe (not action, but a comic adaptation, so worth noting)
Notable Role(s): Tamera Drew in Tamera Drewe, Alice in The Disappearance of Alice Creed, Clara in Byzantium.
Why She’s Worth Considering: Arterton was (and remains) my number one pick for Diana/Wonder Woman but since that ship has sailed, I’ll be happy throw her into any other leading lady superhero roles we have. She has incredible presence and just enough experience and exposure to make her perfectly poised to level up into a major role/become a major star.
Advantage: Arterton was considered by Marvel for Black Widow after Emily Blunt vacated the role due to scheduling. So Marvel are obviously already fans, as they should be. Arterton has actually been considered for several big roles that have famously gone to other women, including Catwoman, which eventually went to Anne Hathaway. She also already knows an Avenger well – Hawkeye! - from her work with Jeremy Renner on the mostly unfortunate Hansel & Gretel.
Disadvantage: Along with a few others on the list Arterton doesn’t look much like Carol in her “natural state” – but this is the movies – transformation magic is not a problem. And she’s certainly got the drop dead gorgeous thing down. Also, possibly turning an advantage into a disadvantage perhaps Marvel has considered her one too many times for one too many roles?
07. OLIVIA WILDE
2018 Age: 34
Relevant Action Films: Tron: Legacy, Cowboys & Aliens
Notable Role: Kate in Drinking Buddies
Why She’s Worth Considering: Wilde is an incredibly interesting actress and one that has gotten a surprising number of mostly worthless film roles thrown her way (love interest/underused sidekick in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone? Yuck). Frequently relegated to the girlfriend or other under written supporting character status, she hasn’t had much chance to shine on film. She made a splash on the TV show House, and her turn in Tron: Legacy was certainly gorgeous and high on style even if the movie wasn’t great. Still, Wilde has done what she can with these thankless roles and somehow seems to shine all the brighter perhaps in spite of them. More than anyone else on this list (save perhaps Arterton?) she feels like an actress just WAITING for the right thing to break her through to the next level.
Advantage: Wilde is an incredibly striking woman, and one that feels like she is RIGHT ON THE EDGE of becoming insanely famous. She’s also, in person (as seen in interviews and game shows), a truly funny and charming person, and it feels like she could bring a real humanity and warmth to a character like Carol.
Disadvantage: Wilde is a new mother, so she may not want to throw herself into such a huge franchise commitment right away, or be feeling up to throwing herself around a stage for years on end in a high-level action role. But then again, maybe that’s EXACTLY what a new mother wants? Can’t hurt to ask!
06. CHARLIZE THERON
Height: 5’ 9 ½”
2018 Age: 43
Relevant Action Films: 2 Days In the Valley, Reindeer Games, The Yards, The Italian Job, The Valley of Elah, Aeon Flux, Battle in Seattle, Hancock, Snow White & The Huntsman, Prometheus, A Million Ways to Die In The West [Forthcoming Mad Max: Fury Road, and The Huntsman]
Notable Role: Helga Svelgen in 2 Days in The Valley, Mavis Gary in Young Adult, and calling it now Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road (she looks incredible)
Why She’s Worth Considering: Typing it out, it's impossible to deny the number of action role credits Theron has stacked up over the years. Not all of them have been great films, but they certainly add up to more experience than most of the ladies on this list and she shows no signs of stopping since her Mad Max: Fury Road performance looks to be perhaps her most interesting yet. Though her Carol would be a more mature version than some others we’re considering here, it frankly gives one a chill to think of her going toe to toe (and side by side) with Downey Jr.’s Stark, Hemsworth’s Thor, Chris Evans’ Captain America, and more. She could more than hold her own.
Advantage: Of everyone on this list, Theron probably has the most legitimate and far reaching star appeal/name recognition - the ability to get asses in seats even if folks weren’t sure the movie interested them. She maybe doesn’t have the “box office opening” capability of someone like Sandra Bullock or Julia Roberts but then nobody was quite sure Scarlett Johansson had that power and boy did Lucy prove all of them wrong.
Disadvantage: Her age could work against her. She’s no older than Downey Jr. was when he stepped into Iron Man, but as much as we’d like it not to matter, Hollywood doesn’t consider mens age as much as a disadvantage as women. Unfortunate but true. She also could be TOO big a star. Too much money, too much appeal, too much scheduling/demand. See also: Angelina Jolie, who I almost put on this list
Go to the next page for the next five!