Now, I'm going to be honest, if there's one thing Marvel Studios has over everyone else in the business, it's their superb casting. I mean, it's hard to pick holes in, really.
Marvel isn't like DC in the way that it's not just the heroes that take the spotlight, but the people behind the mask too. Look at Batman, for example. He's been portrayed by five different actors on the silver screen (six if you include Lewis Wilson and a whopping seven actors if you throw Batfleck into the mix as well)!
Iron Man, on the other hand, one of Marvel's most iconic superheroes, has been played by just one actor, Robert Downey Jr., in a total of five films so far, with at least two more appearances set for the next two years. Imagining Tony Stark as anyone but RDJ seems unnecessary, as let's face it, Marvel could not have picked a better guy.
But what the heck, let's do it anyway!
Recasting The Avengers - No One Said It'd Be Easy...
- Tony Stark/Iron Man
Of all the Avengers, I found Tony Stark to be the hardest to recast. Not just because Robert Downey Jr. is irreplaceable, but because his character is so unique. How many actors do you know that could pull off the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist look while also hiding a dark past of alcoholism and substance abuse? RDJ will always define that role, both on and off screen, but I can hardly recast the same actor, so I went with my gut and chose:
With notable works including American Psycho and Zoolander, Theroux has certainly shown great range when portraying different characters from different genres. He's well accustomed to both light hearted and darker roles, perfect for Tony Stark, and he's well acquainted with the character having been involved in the writing of Iron Man 2.
And on top of that, he's got the look, which in the end is really all that matters, and at 43, I can see him playing Iron Man well into the future.
- Steve Rogers/Captain America
Maybe it's just that we've all become so used to Chris Evans as Cap that it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role, but I found recasting Steve Rogers to be almost as difficult as Tony Stark. In the end, I found myself poring over my extensive DVD collection in the hope of finding someone who fitted the part of the classic American hero.
And boy, did I find one.
Yes, Josh Duhamel, of Transformers fame, ticks all the boxes for a new Steve Rogers. He's had experience playing a soldier fighting extraterrestrial beings, he's an experienced actor that has never had the poor luck of being typecast, and most of all, he's got the look. Duhamel manages to pull off the rugged look without becoming a pretty boy while at the same time can hold the audience's attention with his powerful acting presence.
While fan favourites like Chris Pine and Ryan Gosling are often cited as being the perfect Chris Evans replacement, their previous outings would hold them back from really becoming the role. Casting an actor who's seemingly dropped off the board in recent years or even better is yet to have their big break will engage audiences with that character more instead of always comparing them to that actor's previous movies.
Or maybe that's just me.
When it came to recasting Thor, it was an easy decision. Not that Chris Hemsworth doesn't own the role, because he certainly does, but because deep down I'd always had my own desire to have this actor play the God of Thunder.
There probably aren't that many actors who can boast the range that McGregor possesses. He had a lead role in the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, an equally key part in the twisted Trainspotting and has also found time to appear in numerous indie films and documentaries.
Ewan McGregor is my one exception to the rule of not picking A-list actors, because he's just so damn perfect for the role. I remember the first time I picked up a Thor comic book and thinking "Wow, that guy looks a hell of a lot like Ewan McGregor." While the closest role he's had to this would probably be his younger take on Obi Wan Kenobi, McGregor has proved that he's certainly capable of pulling off such a part and owning it. Could he be better than Chris Hemsworth? Possibly, but sadly I doubt we'll be finding out any time soon.
- Bruce Banner/Hulk
I've always had an issue with Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner. It's not that I don't think he's a good choice or that he isn't good at what he does, because he was one of my favorite additions to The Avengers.
No, my issue is that I think he's an excellent actor and really takes on the role, but he just isn't nerdy enough. There, I said it. Mark Ruffalo isn't nerdy enough to play Bruce Banner. Otherwise he's perfect, but that one missing feature still bugs me to this day.
So I recast him.
Ugh, Adrien Brody just oozes nerd. He's played a scientist in Splice but also shown an angrier side in The Grand Budapest Hotel, both of which sum up Banner's character perfectly.
Coupled with his dorky atmosphere he brings to every role and his powerful screen presence, Brody is the best choice for Bruce Banner. Also, seeing such a skinny guy Hulk out would make the transformation all the more awesome!
- Clint Barton/Hawkeye
The issue with Hawkeye is that even in the comics, he doesn't carry much authority within the team. He certainly doesn't carry the same significance as DC's resident archer, Green Arrow, and hasn't made a name for himself in the movies outside of 2012's The Avengers.
It makes it hard to pinpoint what kind of actor should play him. The first actor that came to mind was Stephen Amell AKA The Arrow, but those thoughts were quickly extinguished. With nowhere near as much personality as the other members of the team, my choice for Hawkeye was sadly done on looks alone. I'm sorry. Here goes...
When I thought young, blond, and pretty boy, I thought Alex Pettyfer. The British actor, who was also on my shortlist for Steve Rogers, found fame in his portrayal of Alex Rider and Number Four in Stormbreaker and I Am Number Four respectively.
He's just got that look about him that makes him look both suave and sophisticated but childish and sarcastic at the same time, features that Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye sadly lacked.
- Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
When I first heard Scarlett Johansson was set to play Black Widow (or more accurately, when I found out that it had been Black Widow in Iron Man 2), I'll admit I was skeptical. She wouldn't have been my first choice for the role and I certainly didn't expect her to successfully translate the character from the comic book pages to the big screen.
Boy was I wrong.
The only issue I had with her performance was the lack of a Russian accent. Whenever I read Romanoff's speech I always imagined it with an accent, and Johansson's silky tone threw me off kilter at first. Much like with Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, it turned out Johansson was irreplaceable as Black Widow.
But still, I'll do my best.
After appearing from nowhere, Natalie Dormer is currently everywhere, with starring roles in HBO's Game of Thrones and the Hunger Games series. She's played the cool, calculating type as GoT's Margaery Tyrell and the determined soldier in Mockingjay: Part 1, instantly giving her the perfect background to play Black Widow. Just throw a slight accent and some hair dye in there and boom, a perfect Black Widow.
- Nick Fury
Try and convince me Sam L. Jackson isn't the definitive Ultimate Nick Fury. I dare you. I double dare you!
I thought long and hard about this one before realising there wasn't really any point in trying to recast Jackson's Nick Fury because there's quite honestly no actor that could pull off the role as well as he did. I mean, Marvel Comics actually changed the appearance of their Nick Fury so he looked more like the actor, and if that doesn't grant him immunity from this recasting then I don't know what will.
But thankfully, there is another version of Nick Fury. Before Ultimate Nick Fury, who has since taken over as the mainstream iteration of the character, the most well known Agent of Shield was in fact a dark haired white guy going grey around the temples. Think badass Mr Fantastic with an eyepatch and no stretchy powers. This version was omitted from the MCU and replaced by the Ultimate Nick Fury, but I've always wondered what it would have looked like with the classic comic hero.
Enter Kurt Russell. Despite dropping out of the limelight in the late nineties, Russell had a string of successful appearances in movies and TV shows such as Escape From New York and the original Stargate. He also worked with Disney during the 1970s and has already appeared with an eyepatch in the aforementioned Escape From New York.
He's almost the same age as Samuel L. Jackson and his history of playing tough, soldier-like characters gives him an edge when it comes to portraying characters like Nick Fury. And let's face it, much like everyone else on the list, he's got the look!
But what do you think?
Do you agree with my choices? Do you think you can name someone even more suited for the role? Do you think you can name someone that could possibly play Ultimate Nick Fury better than Samuel L. Jackson?
Let me know in the comments!