In what can probably be filed under 'slam-dunk casting of the year,' Marvel has just announced that Sherlock, The Hobbit and Fargo star Martin Freeman will be joining the cast of Captain America: Civil War - and though it's still in an unspecified role, it's still more-or-less the most fan-friendly piece of casting since...well, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange.
After all, with Freeman joining his Sherlock co-star in the MCU, and the much loved likes of Vin Diesel, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, David Tennant and Anthony Mackie added into the mix in recent years, there's a rapidly dwindling list of awesome geek-icons who aren't in the MCU.
The big question, though?
Who'll Freeman Be Playing in Captain America: Civil War?
Well, Marvel's official statement may offer some kind of clue, with head honcho Kevin Feige revealing that:
"From his roles as Bilbo Baggins and Doctor Watson to Tim in 'The Office,' Martin's range from the dramatic to the comedic has consistently impressed us...We couldn't be more honored or excited to have such a talented actor join the Marvel Cinematic Universe."
Which would seem to suggest that Freeman's role may well combine elements of both comedy and drama - though since that's pretty much every character in the MCU, that may not actually tell us all that much.
Similarly, the image Marvel chose to illustrate the announcement may well be revealing...
...Perhaps suggesting that Freeman's character will be more on the suave side of the superhero movie spectrum.
Who are the Possible Candidates, Then?
Well, despite the vast numbers of characters already added to the MCU, there are actually still a whole lot of characters that both the Cinematic Universe's internal logic and the original comic-books themselves suggest could well be possibilities.
Here are seven of them...
7. A Marvel Legend's Husband
If Captain America: Civil War opts to feature a flashback or two, there's a possibility that we could see Freeman play Peggy Carter's eventual husband - though since that would completely cripple the romantic sub-plots in Agent Carter, it might well be a long-shot...
6. A Young Hank Pym
Another possibility, should the movie opt for flashbacks, is that Freeman'll play a young Hank Pym - played by Michael Douglas in the upcoming Ant-Man - opening up the possibility of Civil War actually having its roots not in the actions of Tony Stark, but of his father, Howard Stark, and his contemporaries.
5. A Male Maria Hill Equivalent
One of the biggest potential problems Marvel has going into Civil War is that Maria Hill - though already well-established in the MCU - is potentially a very different character than she was during the comic-book version of the story, in which she was a key (and generally unlikable) authoritarian presence on Stark's side. Could Freeman play a male variation on the role?
A version of the (possibly exclusively Fox-owned) Henry Peter Gyrich, perhaps?
4. A British World War Two Hero
Again, a flashback-friendly option - if, for instance, Freeman were to play one of the original iterations of the British hero Union Jack. In the present day, though, he could well play long-time Cap ally Joey Chapman (center, above) - the latest man to adopt the name of the legendary war-time hero. After all, he did make an appearance in Cap's solo comic just before Civil War started...
3. A Reed Richards-Esque Scientist
Another role from the comics that could well need filling in Civil War - Reed Richards (a.k.a. the Fantastic Four's Mr. Fantastic) was a key part of Stark's scientific efforts to curtail the Civil War. Could Freeman replace him (since his rights are still held by Fox) by playing one of the lesser lights of the Marvel scientific community - or even a brand new character?
2. An Ex-Avengers Leader
Specifically, Doctor Druid, a.k.a. Dr. Anthony Ludgate Druid, who joined the Avengers after helping them battle Baron Zemo (a.k.a. who Daniel Bruhl is playing Civil War), eventually leading the team for a brief while.
Better yet, he was at one point the back-up for Doctor Strange as sorcerer-supreme, meaning that - along with him taking over 'Avenger-everyone-makes-fun-of-duties' from Hawkeye - there's a good chance we could see him interact with Doctor Strange.
And honestly, who doesn't want that to happen?
1. Doctor Strange's Trusty Assistant
My personal favorite option - despite it being one hell of a long shot - is that Freeman'll end up playing Doctor Strange's man servant and closest friend, Wong.
Not because it makes a whole lot of sense, but because who doesn't want to see Freeman and Cumberbatch team up on screen yet again. Sherlock with added magic - and Iron Man - sounds pretty awesome to me...
What do you think, though?
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