Today (the 9th of July) is the start of San Diego Comic-Con, and with that, lots of superhero news is stirring in the air, about confirmed and predicted new movies, TV series, comics, books, reboots, remakes, trailers, etc. Among those, we've heard a lot that sounds extremely exciting, and some of which...not so much. Atop the 'No Thanks' pile, though, I think my absolute most unwanted casting choice came in the form of Halle Berry possibly starring in an X-Men Series spin-off, based on Ororo Munroe, the mutant Storm.
Now, I can just hear the shocked and outraged gasps of disapproval on the other end of the internet: "But Randy, she's been Storm in the X-Men franchise ever since it first started way back in 2000! She's iconic in the part!" After all, Storm is among many X-fans' favorite mutants. Not to mention, with the coming wave of racial and gender-based diversity that's hit Hollywood, Storm seems like a near perfect candidate for her own superhero movie, and Halle as the star.
To anyone who would make the above argument, I would agree with you 50%: I certainly love the idea of Storm getting her own movie. She's wise and brave and beautiful, with a rather impressive and formidable set of superhuman powers to match. She has been and would continue to be a huge inspiration to Black and non-Black fans, female and male fans alike, as a very strong female protagonist.
Sad to say, as much as I love Halle Berry as an actress (she's been wonderful in many of the other roles she's had), I do not think that any of the above positive traits I described have been (or can be) properly portrayed by Halle Berry. At all. To be blunt, I think she was chosen because of her popularity at the time, and that (with a couple of exceptions) she has since been relegated to little more than a human plot-setting generator. It's time we move on.
And I don't mean with Alexandra Shipp, ie Bootleg Aaliyah. Nope. If it were up to me, the choice would be any one of the following five actresses, who you might notice have at least one trait in common (when you notice it, no spoilers!).
Gabrielle Union is an actress who has been around for some time now. From when I first saw her as Eva Dandridge in the movie Deliver Us From Eva, up to now, as she's taking BET by storm on the show Being Mary Jane, she is known for her beauty, as well as her charm and sense of humor. She can laugh and have fun, and can just as easily be serious and sentimental.
Potential Negatives: All I can see here as a possible issue is pulling off a dramatic yet believable African accent like portrayed in the animated series. Also, if they choose her for Mohawk Storm...I could picture her better as a long-haired version of Storm, but maybe that's just me.
Tika Sumpter, I haven't seen much of her around, but I've enjoyed her in all the parts I've watched. She's been everywhere across the spectrum, from caring friend on the soap opera One Life to Live, to sneaky and conniving skank on Tyler Perry's The Haves and the Have Nots. Little by little, her profile is rising, and she is showing more and more nuance to just what she can do.
Potential Negatives: I haven't seen her in an action role (or even an action movie) before. I think she can be athletic, but tends toward the dramatic type of movie or show, so maybe she isn't interested in being physical? One never knows.
Again, I haven't seen a whole lot of Christine Adams in action. However, she at least has a feel for the nerdy genres of sci-fi and fantasy, with a credit in shows like Heroes, Doctor Who and, recently, Marvel's [Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.](tag:722469). I've only seen her in the latter, to be honest, but as an agent in charge, I can say she owned that minor role, and conveyed her thoughtfulness and determination well. I mean, come on, she's British: she's GOT to be a good actor.
Potential Negatives: I have yet to see her show off any physicality, to judge whether or not she has any skill or preference for it. Also, I'd see her more in the long-hair role, than with a mohawk. And maybe her work with Marvel Studios would keep her from the role with FOX (it certainly will with Marvel Studios...).
Most will recognize her as Patsy from the intense drama 12 Years a Slave, but she will soon voice the mother wolf Raksha in the upcoming live-action Jungle Book remake, as well as space pirate Maz Kanata in the highly anticipated [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158). Admittedly, she is something of a newcomer to the acting scene, but in her short tenure, she is a fast rising star. And deservedly so, for an actress with such emotional range and genre versatility. Plus, as a bonus (correct me if I'm wrong), I'm guessing she can pull off the African accent quite well.
Potential Negatives: I think she is best suited for the mohawk; long hair might look funny on her, and not funny in a good way. And perhaps some might see her as too young, since Storm tends toward a mentor-like role for the students at Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters (which may or may not be relevant)?
Not gonna lie, Danai Gurira is my absolute favorite choice. She is beautiful, brave, bold, eloquent, capable of being funny and sentimental, and can carry an air of drama without seeming fake, self-important or over-the-top. Better still, she has no problem getting physical, as has been made abundantly clear with her role as Michonne in The Walking Dead. So Storm wouldn't always have to take flight to combat the bad guys. Plus, another actress with heritage directly linked to Africa (Zimbabwean parents)...she could probably do an accent quite well.
Potential Negatives: Scheduling conflict...(I love The Walking Dead, too, and I would hate for them to kill Michonne off just for her to join the X-Men...)
So, what do you think of my choices? Have I somehow telepathically tapped into your perfect list of Storm candidates for your dream solo Storm X-Men spin-off? Maybe I brought some new actresses to your attention, that you hadn't considered before? Or you might just prefer the actresses that were already cast by FOX, and take offense to any of the above ever replacing them.
Let us know, in the poll and comments below!