ByMatthew Jarrett, writer at
Matthew Jarrett

Recasting "Avengers"

Fantasy casting is a time-honored tradition among fans of any genre of entertainment. The game of "Who should play whom" is diverting, fun, and seed for countless (hopefully friendly) hours of arguments. Many years ago, while rereading David Eddings' "The Belgariad" for about the 9th time, I made a list of the ideal actors from my experience for every character. From the most prominent (a young, 1950's-era Burgess Meredith as Belgarath for example) to the most obscure. I was particularly fond of my choice of a 35 year-old Katherine Hepburn as Polgara. Inspired choice even to this day.

The current "Avengers" cast is as close to perfect as can be attained short of Peter Jackson's LOTR trilogy. Not a single miss in that one, in my personal opinion. Even though I likely wouldn't have chosen a single one of the current cast members myself, they've all pretty much hit the nail on the head. My only miss is that I wish Scarlett Johanssen could pull off a convincing Russian accent. Then she'd be perfect.

So I'm going to reach back in time, much as I did in 1989 for Garion and his friends, and cast "The Avengers" primary players from Hollywood's greatest ever....

Arnold Schwarzenegger circa 1988 as Thor.

No, the Governator never won an Oscar, and he never will. But the "Norse" accent, the ability to deliver the silliest dialogue with a painfully straight face, and Mr. Olympia's body. Slam-Dunk. Sir Alec Guinness (1980) bonus guest star as Odin.

John Wayne (1970-ish) as Nick Fury.

Hey, it fits with who Fury was then. A grizzled, cigar-chomping WWII vet going through the super-spy world like a bull in a china shop, changing it over to reflect his opinion of duty and honor. Sean Connery a close #2.

Dustin Hoffman (1982) as Bruce Banner.

The classic nebbishy, overwrought, bundle of nerves always on the verge of totally losing it, just barely (and debatably) in control. Slam dunk #2.

Catherine Zeta-Jones (1990) as Black Widow.

Did you see her in the catsuit in "Entrapment"? And she's frankly one helluvan actress, too.

Martin Sheen (1978-ish) as Tony Stark/Iron Man.

I almost went with Charlie here, but Dad's just SO much better in dramatic roles. He can also chew scenery with the very best, which you know full well if you've seen "Spawn" (still a guilty pleasure for me).

Tom Cruise as Hawkeye.

Honestly, this is kind of cheating. I don't know why, but I found this one hardest to recast. Sorry.

Max Von Sydow (1960) as Loki.

This is almost a no-brainer for me. Von Sydow at around the time he made "The Seventh Seal" totally has that manic, Joker-under-control, edge-of-disaster energy to him. I totally see this one.

Brace yourselves now, because here's where I go totally off the reservation and set myself up for imminent assassination threats...

John Amos circa 1970 as Steve Rogers/Captain America.

Marvel almost went with a black Cap for the Ultimates when they launched the line in the first couple of years of this century. For me, it's just a natural thing. What warrior could be more inspirational than a man who overcame not only his physical limits but those imposed by society to succeed as the First Avenger?

So there you are. Go ahead; judge my choices, question my intelligence (I do know how unlikely it would be for American soldiers to follow a black figurehead in the 1940s, for instance) and my sexuality (why? Are you interested or just curious?). Just remember; this is a game, and you kiss your mother with that mouth, so mind your language please.

Thanks for your valuable 4 minutes. Namaste.


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