Following the model that Marvel created with their [The Avengers](movie:9040) cinematic universe, Sony now wants to create a Robin Hood shared universe. This isn't the first we've heard of a studio attempting to replicate the success that Marvel has had. Warner Bros. is currently working on making their DC properties one cohesive universe and Fox is expanding upon the X-Men universe. I guess this is just what all the cool studios are doing these days!
Sources recently told The Hollywood Reporter that Cory Goodman and Jeremy Lott are pitching the idea, titled Hood, for a cool seven figures. This universe sounds like it will focus largely around Robin and his Merry Men. While Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, and Cary Elwes have played Robin Hood in the past, there is nothing yet to makes us believe that any of them are involved in these films. So just for fun, I'm going to make some speculations about actors who would play each of these roles well.
Dan Stevens as Robin Hood
Robin Hood, the man in tights. Whoever plays him would have to be dapper, chivalrous, but also still a little rough around the edges. That's why Dan Stevens would be so great in the role (not to mention that facial hair). His character on [Downton Abbey](series:251870), Matthew Crawley, was sweet but firm. It would be awesome to see Stevens turn on a bit of grit and mix that with a bit of Matthew.
Ben Barnes as Will Scarlet
Will is one of Robin's right hand men. In some versions, he's actually Robin's half-brother as well as friend and ally. Historically, there isn't a ton of information on Will, so filmmakers have been able to create different storylines behind the character. Ben Barnes is perfect for this role for because he's supposed to be a suave, flirtatious gent. We also know he's got the period pieces down if Dorian Gray and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian were any indication. Plus, look at that face! Just look at it!
James Corden as Little John
The name Little John is of course used ironically as he's supposed to be heavy and just generally huge. He's Robin Hood's lieutenant, his second-in-command. I imagine Little John being a funny character, which is why I would love to see James Corden, who is going to be replacing Craig Ferguson on The Late Late Show, cast. Granted, he would probably have to wear lifts or something to make him a taller, but this could be a great fit! I could totally see James Corden carrying around a quarterstaff and helping the gang get into and, subsequently, out of trouble.
Nick Frost as Friar Tuck
Friar Tuck is another big man who loves food, alcohol, and God. He's known as one of the merrier of the Merry Men, but he's a worthy opponent and shouldn't be messed with! We all know that Nick Frost can play the lovable sidekick from the Three Flavors Cornetto film series, but I think he deserves a bit more screentime to himself. Let's put him in the spotlight and give Friar Tuck the origin story he deserves, then pair him up alongside Robin Hood.
Anna Kendrick as Maid Marian
Maid Marian is Robin Hood's one true love, but she's also a strong female character in her own right. True, in some of the Robin Hood tales she plays the damsel in distress, but in others she acts as a spy, an archer and a swordswoman who isn't afraid to speak her mind. So who else would be better at playing a strong yet adorable female lead than Anna Kendrick? Well, there are some other contenders, but Anna is still the best. Her film would be a great way to feature a funny, smart, and strong female character who develops as her own character before becoming Robin Hood's love interest.
Is this going to work? Well, it's hard to say. Robin Hood is a great character, and an awesome story. But while the ensemble is definitely an interesting one, most of the appeal comes from Robin, the central character. Will anyone care enough about the Merry Men and their origins to warrant an entire expanded universe? Would anyone really pay to see a Will Scarlet spinoff movie? I'm not completely disinterested in the idea of [Hood](movie:2323919), but I'm also very skeptical of its potential. After all, it's not the universe that made Marvel so successful, it was the quality of the universe.