We all remember the movie massacre that was Dragon Ball: Evolution. I am of the opinion that Dragon Ball Z should remain an anime, especially with the news that Dragon Ball: Super is on it's way.
While I do believe Dragon Ball Z should remain an anime, I still cannot help but think about what a successful live action adaptation would be like. So with that being said I have decided to create my own list of actors to play most of the Dragon Ball Z characters.
One of the biggest struggles I had with this list though was distinguishing between which character should be portrayed as Caucasian and Asian.
Dragon Ball Z is a Japanese anime, but the ethnicity of it's characters has been up in the air, and of much fan debate for quite sometime, and the creators of the show have really not given much insight to the answer.
So I am matching these characters with actors of the ethnicity that I believe to be the best fit. This is strictly MY opinion, and my intention is in no way to offend anyone if I do not pick a certain character to be the ethnicity you desire. I am only human, unfortunately.
Some of these choices may appear to be very outlandish, I hope that you will read my reasoning at the very least and if you disagree, do it respectfully.
With that being said, let's get started:
T.J. Miller (After Extensive Training) / Goku
I know your automatic thought is to cuss me out and tell me to never do a fan cast again, and I understand that this is an odd choice. Be open minded for a second. As far as personality and voice goes, T.J. Miller hits the nail on the head perfectly. Goku's overly chipper and whimsical personality is near identical to Miller's acting style.
He also will of course have to make a dramatic body change, but with the wonders of Hollywood workout schedules, I believe this is a non issue. Maybe use some of that work out time to learn some martial arts. It would take an incredible amount of dedication, but if he makes the effort he can do it.
His dramatic acting skills would need to be put to the test, but from everything I have seen from him, I believe he can do it. He is a talented actor. I would compare this transformation to that of Chris Pratt. Pratt went from playing Andy on the comedy Parks and Recreation to Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy, and is now an A-list actor. I believe T.J. Miller has the talent to do this, whether given this role or not.
A more realistic choice: Ryan Reynolds
Constance Wu / ChiChi
Goku's wife is a bit of a hot head, and Constance Wu (Fresh off the Boat) can do this just as well. Wu is a talented actress that could make you fall in love with this character.
Ryan Potter / Gohan
The son of Goku. Ryan Potter is half-Japanese and half-American, so I thought this was not only a solid acting choice, but matches with the ethnicity I have picked for his mother or father. He is also young looking enough to play a possible 15-year old. While Gohan is depicted much younger in the anime, for an talented actor like Potter to take the role, I believe some liberties can be taken for Gohan's age.
Brian Tee / Vegeta
I was debating with myself on whether to have Vegeta and Goku a different ethnicity, due to them being aliens of the same race. But seeing as how we were never given anything official on what race Saiyans actually resemble, I suppose having a nice mix like Earth has, would work right?
Brian Tee is a master of taking on bad guy roles. He can be ruthless and stop on a dime to become a kind character. He is perfect for a character like Vegeta.
Kaley Cuoco / Bulma
I think Cuoco may have been born for this role. Her personality is identical to Bulma's. The attitude, charm, and looks are near spot on. While I am not the biggest fan of her acting, I believe she is the best fit.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt / Trunks
The son of Bulma and Vegeta that comes from the future to aid Goku and his freinds. JGL is very capable of playing this role. He has the gritty dramatics that Trunks needs down pat. On top of being an incredible actor, he is well versed in action roles.
Elijah Wood / Krillin
Krillin is a hard character to adapt to live action. His body is not exactly anything that an actor can really match. So I decided to settle on a shorter actor (5'5) and one that can capture Krillin's fearfulness and best buddy vibe. Wood can easily portray a lovable sidekick.
Anthony Mackie / Piccolo
At first I was thinking of Dijmon Honsou for Piccolo, but I think Mackie fits the character better. He has that bad ass demeanor that Piccolo is known for.
Morgan Freeman / Kame
Come on? Who would not love to see Morgan Freeman play the Guardian of the Earth? Morgan Freeman is the only person I considered for this role.
Jet Li / Master Roshi
Maybe this is just me wanting to see one of the most famous martial artists in the last century play Dragon Ball Z's famous mentor. But I think this is a solid fit.
Other options: James Hong or Ken Jeong
Jon Foo / Yamcha
Jon Foo is a trained martial artist, and famous for his role in the Tekken series.
Alan Ritchson / Tien
Ritchson has action roles under his belt, and a good look for Tien.
Michael Cudlitz / Hercule Satan
The hair color will be different, but as far as acting and look, he's got it.
Eddie Redmayne / Frieza (Mo-Cap and Voice)
On the rise in Hollywood. After his performance in Jupiter Ascending, I believe he would be a great fit to play Frieza. While the movie was underwhelming, Redmayne's voice and mannerisms were chilling. Exactly how I believe an audience in a theatre should feel when Frieza is on screen.
Another Option: Mark Hamill provides voice work, while a martial artist performs motion capture.
Armie Hammer / Cell (Mo-Cap and Voice)
The perfect face and body to play Cell, but with the acting chops to go with it.
Scott Adkins / Majin Buu (Mo-Cap and Voice)
An elite martial artist who is an amazing actor. Should have been Batman, but what about one of the best villains in the Dragon Ball lore?
Dwayne Johnson / Nappa
Maybe this is too obvious, but I think it is a great fit.
Ian Somerhalder / Android 17
Best known for his Vampire Diaries fame. He has the piercing blue eyes and jet black hair that 17 is famous for. He can easily play evil and sadistic.
Scarlett Johansson / Android 18
Action skills, acting skills, and the beautiful looks. Perfect fit? Yes.
Arnold Schwarzenegger / Android 16
He is obviously good at playing an android. I picked Arnold for this role mainly because of his screen presence. 16 has a very quiet demeanor that all Arnold needs to do is stand there and look bad ass. I only worry that he may be a little old for the role.
Ian McKellen / Dr. Gero
Can play the bad guy, and has the look. I could not think of anyone better suited.
Mason Cook / Goten
The youngest son of Goku. Mason Cook has the acting chops that will make him a star in the future.
Mace Coronal / Young Trunks
A young actor who caught my eye early on. Funny and talented and has the personality of a younger Trunks.
I hope you enjoyed the list. Tell me what you think in the comments, and thank you for reading.