I love Marvel. And if there is one thing that Marvel gets right (other than making truly unforgettable movies), it's their casting picks. That being said, it was more than difficult to re-cast some of my favorite heroes but I think I have managed to do a pretty decent job.
Tony Stark is essentially the most important casting decision in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Iron Man was the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If Marvel didn't make the right call, movie-goers would be turned off to the franchise. In retrospect, Marvel made the perfect call with Robert Downey Jr. He is, in fact Iron Man. Casting anybody else to play Tony Stark just seems wrong. However, for the purpose of a re-cast, I was forced to make a decision.
Tony has three major attributes that make up his character: intellect, professionalism, and wit.
He is in fact a genius. Not only does he build a wide array of suits, but he builds them by himself. Just take into account how many people contribute in order to build a single car. Now imagine a high-tech man-sized car that has an array of military-grade weaponry. Now imagine building forty-two of these by yourself. Not only do you need to be incredibly smart, you need a lot of free time.
He obviously needs to be professional to run a major company. Sure he gives Stark Industries to Pepper at the end of Iron Man 2 , but he still plays a major part in the handling of the company.
Wit is one of the largest factors of his character. Stark just wouldn't be Stark without turning every situation into some kind of a joke. His sarcastic quips and gimmicks are essential to making the character.
In order to make a good Iron Man,you have to find an actor who could easily cover all three of those points.
Nathan Fillion was the first one I came to when considering the three points. Chances are that you've seen him in something before, whether it was Firefly or Castle, and he is amazing in everything.
His humor and wit are identical to Stark's in both their frequency and intensity. Whether he is captaining the Serenity or solving crimes along Beckett, he always makes sure to throw in a good joke. He also has that charming vibe about him, the one that makes him right for the playboy sort of character. Imagine that scene in Iron Man 2 when Tony is stumbling around drunkenly in his suit during his birthday party. I don't know about you but I can easily see Fillion playing that role perfectly.
Fillion is no stranger to intense fight scenes. From fighting the Alliance Operative at the end of Serenity, to getting in frenzied shoot-outs in Firefly, Fillion has proved himself to be experienced in action.
If you have seen one of the many Castle episodes in which Detective Kate Beckett has gone missing, you know that Fillion can play the vengeful boyfriend type with aplomb. Remember the end of Iron Man 3 when Tony gets angry once Pepper gets abducted? Now visualize Fillion beating up on Extremis-junkies to get to Pepper. It's flawless!
Although he is the leader of Earth's mightiest heroes, he was the last Avenger to be introduced into the MCU before The Avengers. To cast a good Steve Rodgers, you need someone who could be passed off as a little guy, one that's scrawny and bony. This actor needs to be a really good guy, with a smart head and a pure heart.
Steve is pure in general. He sees everything with a level head, which is particularly useful when it comes to leading. Captain America has to lead the Avengers, which consists of an egotistical genius, a humongous green monster, a god from another world, and a couple of master assassins. Telling them what to do isn't the easiest of jobs.
Chris Evans pulled it off in The Avengers when he gave orders during the battle of New York, so when looking for a replacement for Evans, you need the same sort of leadership potential.
It was tricky to find an actor who can be shrunken down to a rather puny form as Steve Rodgers was. It was trickier yet to find someone with the potential to lead Earth's mightiest heroes.
Matt has the youthful appearance that would make it much easier to make him look scrawnier at the begging of Captain America: The First Avenger. He also has the muscular build that you need to be a super-soldier.
Matt has considerable experience as an action-star, especially since he starred in the Bourne movies, Elysium, and Saving Private Ryan. He would feel right at home with all of the fighting and acrobatics that Captain America shows-off.
Thor has been one of my personal favorites for years, so it was important to me to cast someone perfect. The Iron Man movies have had their ups and downs, Hulk gets re-casted every other weekend, Captain America is just going to die anyways. Thor is Thor, and he is going to stay Thor for the foreseeable future.
With Thor, you need someone built. I don't just mean muscular, I mean built. Look at Chris Hemsworth. He has broad shoulders and huge muscles, perfect for an Asgardian warrior.
His voice is also perfect for the role. Thor needs a masculine, deep voice. If you had a guy with a high-pitched voice swinging his hammer saying "You want me to put the hammer down?" you wouldn't quite have the same epic effect. Say what you will about the Thor movies, but Hemsworth was perfect for the role.
However, there are many options that would be viable candidates for Thor. You need a man's man, with rugged features that looks like he drinks protein shakes three meals a day. You need a man with an epic voice, one that could yell "For Asgard!" and lead forces into battle. You need the one, the only...
There are a plethora of choices for muscular macho men, but I only know of one man who could pull of the voice of Thor. And that my friends, is Thorin Oakenshield. Wait, did you just catch that? Thorin Oakenshield! Thor is in the name! Of course that doesn't qualify Armitage to become an Avenger, but numerous other qualities do.
I already mentioned the voice, but it is worth mentioning again. It is insanely close to Hemsworth's, and it has already proven to be inspirational (just ask Fili, Kili, Oin, Gloin, Bifor, Bofur, Bombur, Balin, Dwalin, Ori, Nori, and Dori).
He has the strength and figure to play a good Thor as well. He's not really dwarf-sized, he's really 6' 2". That's only one inch shorter than Hemsworth. He's strong, he's burly, and he's the perfect alpha-male to lead the Warriors Three.
To play the Hulk, you basically need anyone capable of using a motion-capture suit. If you need someone to play Bruce Banner, that's something completely different.
Banner is a genius, who wants to be known for only that. He needs to have an intelligent personality that provides assurance about his intellect. However, you need a person that looks that they could be hiding a secret.
Even though it is common knowledge to S.H.I.E.L.D. and the rest of the Avengers that Bruce Banner is the green, mean, fighting machine, he still has that look of someone with a mysterious past.
Not only does Banner need to be smart and mysterious, he has to deliver one of the signature lines of the movie: "I'm always angry", which needs to come off as both nonchalant and impressive.
Matthew Gray Gubler
While I haven't watched all that much of Criminal Minds, I've watched enough to know that Gubler's character is perfect for Banner. Gubler has that quirky yet highly-intelligent vibe that Banner is known for, and seeing him morph into the Hulk is something I'm sure everyone would like to see.
My only concern with this casting call is the anger. While actors like Edward Norton and Mark Ruffalo have perfected the art of anger-acting, I'm not sure that Gubler could perform to the same standards that those two other actors have set. I'm sure Gubler could pull it off, as he has proven himself to be a truly great actor.
Black Widow has a very interesting back-story. It's full of pain, confusion, and a lot of death, much of which caused by the Widow herself. She has a long history of martial arts training and manipulation techniques, which has made her a master assassin.
A replacement actress would have to be athletic enough to pull off crazy ninja moves, smart enough to speak multiple languages, and beautiful enough to combine seduction and manipulation into one master spy technique.
She also has to be a blank slate. She has to keep any emotions that she has bottled up, except when revealing these emotions benefits her plan in some way, like when she "showed fear" when talking with Loki in order to find his plan.
There are many women who fit this bill, including any number of Bond girls, but there is one actress in particular that could substitute Scarlett Johansson.
Olivia has played many different roles, but the one I am interested in was when she played Quorra from Tron: Legacy. Love the movie or hate it, she had a pretty ninja scene near the middle of the film.
While that may not be the best reference material to play a master assassin, I'm sure that Olivia could hit all of the major points for Natasha Romanoff.
She has proven her intelligence when she played Thirteen in House M.D., she showed her athleticism in Tron: Legacy, and she showed her head-turning good-looks in movies like The Change-Up.
Honorable Mention: Summer Glau (Firefly)
Sure, this expert archer isn't the most valuable of the Avengers, but he is still important. He just goes to show that you don't need a magic hammer, a shield made out of rare metal, or a technologically advanced metal suit to contribute to the Avengers. His prowess with a bow is enough to rank him up with Katniss, Merida and Legolas. Unfortunately for him, that;s almost all you need.
As many Marvel fans complained about, Hawkeye didn't get much screen time in The Avengers, and during much of the time he was on-screen he was portrayed as an enemy. Therefore the only two mandatory traits that Hawkeye needs is an obedient mindset and a sharp eye.
Even though he is a minimal character as far as Avengers are concerned, I think I found the perfect casting choice.
I'm joking of course, but you get it right? Hawkeye? Right? Anyone? Oh well, moving on.
Sure, it might seem strange to have both stars of Tron: Legacy in the same film again, and as Hawkeye and Black Widow no less, but I think Garrett would make a magnificent Hawkeye. He is fit enough to pull-off the the superhero persona, and he has that feel of a military operative.
Not to mention this wouldn't be the first time for Garrett to shoot a bow. In the film adaptation of the novel Eragon, Garrett played Murtaugh, who was known to have shot his fair share of arrows.
Honorable Mention: Jensen Ackles
Nick Fury has proven to be more than just a figurehead for S.H.I.E.L.D. It was shown that he was a hard-working man long before he took up the job as Director, and definitely earned the respect that he gets from everyone, from superheroes to government officials.
To be Fury, you have to be intimidating. You need to walk around with the air of importance, like people should be privileged to even look at you. You also need that unexplained experience shining through your eyes (or eye rather). Anyone who looks at you should be able to tell that you've been through some stuff.
You need training with firearms, as guns are as common with Nick Fury as eye-patches. So who you ask can pull off this mysterious and formidable Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Well this guy of course!
I went back and forth between a lot of actors for this role, but I ultimately ended up with Sean Bean. No matter what role he plays, from Boromir to Ned Stark, he carries around an air of authority at all times, like he deserves to be respected.
Of course we've seen him with a fire-arm before. Heck, we've even seen him as a spy before. Remember Goldeneye? He was the ultimate spy-with-a-secret, and that's a very Fury-like trait. Just give him a few scars and a nifty eye-patch and he'll be more than ready to be Marvel's new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Honorable Mention: Kiefer Sutherland (24)
If you have read any other of my articles, you may have realized that I love Loki. He is truly a magnificent character to me, so I paid more attention to this casting decision than any of the others.
Loki is a complicated character. He comes off as evil and power-hungry, but deep down he is trying to take what he views as rightfully his. He is genius, cunning, and manipulative, and that's hardly scratching the surface.
Besides his admirable intellect, the actor to replace the Asgardian trickster needs to be lean. He has always had to live in the shadow of Thor. Thor, the giant, hulking, muscular warrior. Loki has to be less-impressive in comparison, sometimes coming off as skinny and somewhat pale.
In order to play Loki, you need to be intelligent, you need to be devious, you need to be...
Yes, calm down, I know. Cumberbatch is Dr. Strange. But what if he wasn't the Sorceror Supreme? What if Phoenix was actually cast as Strange and instead Cumberbatch was the trickster. Think about it, Cumberbatch is perfect. He has the right slender form, the perfect slicked back hair look, the same devious plots going on in those eyes.
He is already well-established in geek culture, as Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock, as Khan in Star Trek: Into Darkness, as Smaug and the Necromancer in The Hobbit. In each of those movies he performed to perfection. And to those who claim he plays the same character over and over again, watch him in August: Osage County. It will really open your eyes to the scope of this magnificent human being.
He is smart, he is well-liked, he is absolutely perfect for the role of Loki in all ways possible.