In 2008 Director Jon Favreau gave us Iron Man, the first piece in The Avengers Puzzle. Since then the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been building drastically: we met Thor, Captain America/Steve Rogers and The Hulk/Bruce Banner, portrayed by Edward Norton who would later be replaced by Mark Ruffalo. This lead to the 2012 critically acclaimed and beloved film The Avengers, which saw all of these favourite heroes team up to face their biggest threat. But imagine if each Avenger were played by someone else. What would that be like? How would Tony Stark be if he weren't played by Robert Downey Jr.? Would Thor demand the same on-screen presence if it was not Chris Hemsworth wielding Mjölnir? Can Mark Ruffalo be as easily replaced as Edward Norton or even Eric Bana? Well, here comes a re-casting that you weren't expecting...(unless you read the title, then you probably were!)
I ask you to imagine that the DC Universe exists. I ask you to imagine that The Green Lantern Corps. watches over all 3,600 space sectors and that Gotham City is a simple flight away. For a moment, picture the Justice League keeping all the citizens of Earth safe from threats both terrestrial and extra-terrestrial. In this world Marvel exists, but they are just comics; they are just stories.
Using the characters from the DC Universe I am going to Re-Cast Marvel's The Avengers. Note that characters will not be allocated because of their powers, but because of their personalities - for example, The Flash does not automatically become Quicksilver because of their shared speed. This is based on the characters themselves and who would best play each role in The Avengers.
Tony Stark - Hal Jordan
Robert Downey Jr plays such a perfect combo of Tony Stark and Iron Man that it becomes near impossible to separate him from the role.
The logical choice from the DC Universe, however, to play both Tony Stark and Iron Man is Hal Jordan. Hal is arrogant and reckless. He is "volatile, self-obsessed and do[es]n't play well with others" - the words used to describe why Tony Stark was not originally suited for The Avengers Initiative. These traits cause problems for Hal when he fights in the New 52 Justice League. He becomes unable to see past his own problems until he is reminded by Bruce Wayne that all their personal issues are irrelevant in comparison to the safety of the world. This jolt of realisation flips Hal's moral compass and pushes him closer to being a team player. In the same way, joining The Avengers taught Tony Stark the importance of working together, and made him more of a hero than he already was. Therefore, the story of Tony Stark is mirrored in Hal's own life, and can be something Hal could draw upon when sinking into the role.
Hal is a human with powers bestowed upon him in the form of a Green Lantern Ring. Tony is a human with powers given to him via a suit of armour he built. Both are men with granted gifts, and both are human underneath all of the bravado that they show. In the end, they are both heroes! Hal, again, has his own personal parallels with the Iron-Clad Hero which he can be inspired from.
Hal is a cocky, wise cracking, flirtatious trouble maker. These are all qualities possessed by Tony Stark. It's almost as if this role was tailored specifically with Hal Jordan in mind.
Captain America - Clark Kent
Nobody knows patriotism like Captain America. Captain America! Superman is also thought of as a patriot, supporting "Truth, Justice and the American Way". Clark Kent slips naturally into his red and blue Superman costume so that he could very easily fit the Stars and Stripes of Captain America. Cap. is currently portrayed on screen by Chris Evans, the ex-Human Torch.
Clark is in peak physical condition. This is something which is required for the role as Steve Rogers' injection of Super Soldier Serum turned him into a muscly ab-machine! Clark can pull of this look and carry the idea that Captain America is a man with boosted human qualities and no special powers as such.
Clark Kent is known to be a very quiet, secluded, even clumsy man. While this is all an act which distracts from the fact that he is Kal-El/Superman, it is also vital experience for playing Steve Rogers. Before his dose of Super Soldier Serum, Steve Rogers was a small, undergrown man-child who could not hold up in a fight. Clark is able to emulate this idea. This would be useful if Clark were ever asked to reboot Captain America as a solo film, and re-tell his origin story.
Clark has also demonstrated his skills of leadership in being a valuable member of the Justice League. These skills can be transferred to the leadership role which Captain America has in The Avengers. I could see Hal's confidence and Clark's authority clashing like the characters did in the Avengers when wanting to discover S.H.I.E.L.D.'s dirty secrets. Hal and Clark's relationship could, therefore, carry more on screen conflict, creating more depth to the team. Dysfunction is always good!
Thor - Arthur Curry
Aquaman has been mocked as being a lesser hero than the likes of Green Lantern and Superman. This means people are likely to underestimate Arthur Curry, and probably not associate him with the thunderous (pardon the pun) booming-voiced protector of Earth and Warrior of Asgard, Thor, currently portrayed by Chris Hemsworth. However, Arthur Curry is the perfect choice to play the rightful King of Asgard.
Arthur, like the character of Thor, is a man of royalty. Arthur is the King of Atlantis and Thor is the rightful King of Asgard. These qualities of command, control and power are second nature to Arthur. Thor is a character who shares very similar traits. Who better then to play him than a man/Atlantean who can draw upon his own life to portray this personality? Wielding Mjölnir is no easy feat, but Arthur has weapons training, himself sporting the might Poseidon's Trident! This transfer of weaponry is one which gives Arthur an edge.
Both Arthur and Thor fight for their people (Atleanteans and Asgardians, respectively) and humanity as well. Thor is well practised in warfare. Arthur has had more than his fair share of battles, and can bring these experiences to screen when playing Thor.
Hulk - Ray Palmer
Okay, let me start off by being a little clearer. Ray Palmer could not play The Hulk! He could instead play the other half of Mr Hyde, the Dr Jekyll of Marvel: Bruce Banner.
It is Bruce's intelligence that makes him a vital member of The Avengers when he isn't a "huge, green rage monster". Ray Palmer is known for his background and knowledge in the fields of science. His brain is something which makes him a key candidate for playing Bruce Banner.
Ray's science was always intended for the good of mankind. Bruce's science was to replicate the Super-Solider Serum used on Steve Rogers, again for the good of mankind. Ray can feel sympathy for the character of Bruce, as a fellow scientist and someone who wishes to do good. Ray would bring a very human quality to the character, which we have briefly seen in The Hulk's many incarnations, but which could still be fully explored.
Ray is very fast talking, perhaps can even be described as awkward. This brings the comedic value which we enjoy about Mark Ruffalo's current incarnation of the character, carrying the torch.
Black Widow - Selina Kyle
In regards to her looks, I was tempted to place Selina Kyle as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill. However, I believe that Selina could breathe new life into the character of Black Widow/Agent Natasha Romanoff.
Don't get me wrong, it's not like there is no life being breathed into Scarlett Johansson's portrayal of the character. She has the sexy swagger and the acrobatic moves. She has the words and confidence to challenge the male powers in the team too! Still though there is something which she lacks. This is where Selina Kyle comes in.
Selina is just as seductive and flirtatious, known for using her body as a weapon of its own. She is just as flexible and agile as Johansson's portrayal of the character, if not more so. Selina also has that sly tongue and clever wit for which we adore her so much. She isn't just able to bring to life the qualities which already exist in Black Widow, but to amplify them so much.
Selina would bring the concept of an anti-hero across well in this role. Black Widow, as we know, was originally a spy and was a name on the SHIELD hit list. I would like to see future films delve deeper into this dark back story, and really uncover who she was. Who better to play this role than Selina, who walks the line between hero and villain so effortlessly? She would be perfect at bringing forth the depth and the grittiness we, as an audience, would love to see. Selina could carry this character into a solo movie with such a strong portrayal.
Hawkeye - Bruce Wayne
Huh? Were you expecting Green Arrow? Sorry, no can do! Oliver Queen might be a bow wielding vigilante who can knock an apple off someone's head from a mile away, but he's not right for Hawkeye/Clive Barton.
What I want to see from Hawkeye is a demanding presence on screen. I want someone who isn't afraid to stand up to the likes of Tony Stark or Thor. I want someone with charisma. I want someone who isn't content simply standing in the background. Who better than the charming and intimidating billionaire Bruce Wayne?
Don't get me wrong, half the reason the character wasn't developed enough through Jeremy Renner was that he spent most of The Avengers under Loki's mind control! Still, Bruce could make this character so much more!
Bruce Wayne is a billionaire, a businessman, an expert in combat and in science. You may therefore think he perfectly suited to be Iron Man. However, I would like to see Bruce's wit and charm rival that of Hal's Tony Stark, rather than him be Tony himself. Bruce Wayne has the physique to play a character like Hawkeye, who is dependent on his skill and training rather than some kind of gifted power like Thor.
We have seen a strong chemistry between Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle before. This would transfer onto their on screen roles as Hawkeye and Black Widow. Jeremy Renner and Scarlet Johansson play the roles well, but there is none of the raw magnetism that Bruce and Selina would bring to the characters.
Nick Fury - James Gordon
You might question this choice. How can do-good, idealist GCPD Commissioner James Gordon become the secret-keeping, covert spy Nick Fury? Well, I am going to convince you that he is the perfect Nick Fury! Yes, perfect! Yes, more perfect than the current Samuel L. Jackson version!
James Gordon is practised in authority. He is Police Commissioner for the GCPD and commands this department brimming with corruption in order to bring what justice he can. In the same way, Nick Fury brings a group of heroes together, ignorant of their personal lives, to exercise the strongest from of justice he possibly can. Both are do-good men who do the best they can with what they have.
James is also in contact with the Batman, regularly using the Bat-Signal to call upon him. This mirrors Nick Fury's ability to make the Avengers Assemble. It would, therefore, be very easy for James to slip into this role of authority as Fury.
Nick Fury is full of secrets - "even his secrets have secrets". James Gordon may not be the renowned secret-keeper, but with his mustache, long trench coat and mysterious expressions, I am sure this is a quality he could accurately give on screen.
Plus, cigars! Look at the image of James Gordon chewing on that cigar in comic-book Nick Fury fashion. That's the classic Nick Fury look right there! Need I say anything else?
Maria Hill - Dinah Laurel Lance
When Maria Hill was first introduced into the Marvel Comics Universe she was described by the then Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada as being "like a force of nature".
Cobie Smulders has had very little screen time as Maria Hill. She has done well with her allotted time, however the role needs a serious burst of vigour and energy. She needs to become the force of nature she was originally intended to be. Who better to bring this quality forth in the character than Dinah Laurel Lance?
Dinah is kick-ass by nature. She is the daughter of the previous incarnation of The Black Canary and Private Eye Larry Lance, so she is well equipped in morality and a sense of justice. These qualities are something she can bring to Maria Hill and make her a more important member of The Avengers, closer to the forefront. Furthermore, I'd like to see her use these qualities to challenge some of the more questionable choices made by Nick Fury. This confidence would put her in the ranks of Iron Man and Thor, and able to challenge these characters.
War Machine - John Stewart
War Machine is a direct result of Tony Stark/Iron Man, with the suit originlly being the Mark II Iron Man Suit. It was then taken and upgraded by Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes, portrayed in Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3 by Don Cheadle. Tony and James have had some conflicts of interest, but have also fought alongside one another as partners.
The relationship between John Stewart and Hal Jordan is similar to this. John was the back-up Green Lantern for Hal. Hal supplied John's costume and Power Ring, as well as some of his training. They had minor conflicts of interest, firstly John's disobedience for authority, but the two have since fought alongside one another as equals. This means that John will be able to bring to the screen a realistic friction with Hal's Tony Stark, while also being able to display the comradeship and friendship they genuinely share.
John has a background as a US Marine, however he has had known problems with authority. James Rhodes is a character known to have stretched the bounds of his commands too, like in Iron Man when he called off a military attack on Iron Man claiming it to just be "just an exercise".
John's strength and fortitude would act as a balance to the more reckless behaviour that we would expect to see from Hal's Tony Stark. This would help ground Tony in a sense of realism and provide a relationship that pre-dates the Iron Man Suit and even love interest Pepper Pots.
Falcon - Victor Stone
Anthony Mackie did a terrific job in portraying Sam Wilson/Falcon in Captain America: The Winter Solider. Sam Wilson is a brave USAF Pararescueman who then dons the mechanical "wingpack" to become Falcon. Victor Stone is a man who has also been altered by technology and in doing so has been able to become a force for good. This gives Victor understanding on how to accurately portray the feelings that would be overwhelming Sam: feelings of worry and stress about the magnitude of his job, sensations of justice and the concept of being a real hero.
Victor is also a High School Football Player, so very fit and athletic. These qualities are fitting seeing as how we are introduced to Sam Wilson when he and Steve Rogers meet during a jog. The physical ability of the character would realistically help set into motion the idea that he has had a background in combat too.
Victor is very capable of developing the character further on screen. I could see him integrating the character of Falcon well into The Avengers, as he himself integrated slowly into the already forming New 52 Justice League. This could carry the story of the character further for future films such as The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War.
J.A.R.V.I.S. - Alfred Pennyworth
J.A.R.V.I.S. is the Artificial Intelligence created by Tony Stark which directs him when he is in his Iron Man suit. The name is based on Howard Stark's, Tony's father's, butler Edwin Jarvis. The link between Alfred and J.A.R.V.I.S., however, is not their butler skills...although carrying a tea tray is invaluable!
J.A.R.V.I.S. is very witty and clever, with a quick quip for all situations. How does this not remind you of Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred? Alfred is always at hand with his dry, amusing sense of humour, which feels very stereotypically British.
Speaking of British humour, the voice! That English accent is the tone that we expect to hear from any automated machine, or form of A.I., especially J.A.R.V.I.S.!
Spider-Man - Barry Allen
Okay, so this one is just for fun. I know Spider-Man isn't due to appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron but a recent deal between Sony Pictures and Marvel means that he is set to appear sometime in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, there is now the potential for him to be hinted at in the series.
Barry Allen is the choice to take the mantle as Peter Parker for obvious, yet convincing, reasons. Barry is young, enthusiastic and has a passion for science - he works as a Forensic Scientist for the C.C.P.D. His boundless energy, his frivolous wit and charm make him the perfect person to play the cocky, sarcastic and fun character of Peter Parker.
I would like to see Peter Parker as more "geeky" before he gets his powers, which is something I am sure Barry could work on bringing to the role. Once he has his powers, and gains his confidence...well, there's no man suited better for the role than Barry Allen.
And that's that! Quick Recap:
- Tony Stark - Hal Jordan
- Captain America - Clark Kent
- Thor - Arthur Curry
- The Hulk - Ray Palmer
- Black Widow - Selina Kyle
- Hawkeye - Bruce Wayne
- Nick Fury - James Gordon
- Maria Hill - Dinah Laurel Lance
- War Machine - John Stewart
- Falcon - Victor Stone
- J.A.R.V.I.S. - Alfred Pennyworth
- Spider-Man - Barry Allen
So, that's my DC styled re-cast of Marvel's The Avengers. What do you think? Do you agree with the list? Which changes would you have made? Let me know your thoughts down below.