Top List Thursday – 10 Actors who should join the Marvel Cinematic Universe

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Whether you’re a fan of their movies or not, there’s no denying that Marvel rule the cinema-scape at the moment. With that kind of superiority – not to mention their ability to turn practically anybody into a Hollywood hot property – it’s no wonder that everybody wants to be in their movies. Yes, everybody. The only reason that Robert Redford – the very opposite of the type of actor you would ever associate with a comic book movie – actually ended up in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, was because he came to Marvel and asked them for any role they could give him.

Well, now it’s our turn to ask, as there are some actors out there who we really think should be getting in on this Marvel action. Here are 10 of them, and who they could possibly play:

  • Katheryn Winnick as Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel

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Watch an episode of Vikings and it won’t take you long to see how badass the shieldmaiden Lagertha is. That’s because actress Katheryn Winnick is a legitimate badass in real life! The Canadian-born actress started training martial arts at age 7, got her first black belt by 13, had opened three martial arts schools by 21, has a third degree black belt in tae kwon do and a second degree black belt in karate and is a fully qualified and licensed bodyguard.

Hollywood has a very unbelievable habit of casting women built like hat racks runway models to play physically demanding action roles (the image of a skinny Angelina Jolie knocking out 120kg okes with one punch in Salt springs to mind), but that will clearly not be a problem here.

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Throw in the fact that she’s a great actress, and bears a striking resemblance to Carol Danvers aka Ms Marvel aka Captain Marvel, the air-force officer turned superhuman powerhouse member of the Avengers, and it’s amazing that she hasn’t been approached yet for the 2018 Captain Marvel solo movie.

She may not have shown off some of the lighter side that Carol Danvers has depicted in the comics at times, but she is just too good a physical match to ignore.

  • Yvonne Strahovski as Phyla-Vel aka Quasar

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If there was ever any competition to Katheryn Winnick’s claim on the role of Captain Marvel, Yvonne Strahovski would be it. A long-time fan favourite due to her roles on Chuck and Dexter, and also for providing the voice and likeness of popular video game character Miranda in the “Mass Effect” series of games, Strahovski recently showed off her more straight-up action-drama side in 24: Live Another Day to unexpected acclaim. And it’s certainly a huge badge of honour when you can hold your own onscreen next to Jack freaking Bauer!

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She has shown off a bit more of a range than Winnick though, which should broaden her potential characters from just Captain Marvel to include others though. Characters like Phyla-Vell, the other Captain Marvel (a couple of people have claimed the title) who hangs out with the Guardians of the Galaxy and goes all angsty and ass-kicky at the drop of a dime.

She has a softer, tender side too, especially in regards to her romantic relationship with Drax’s daughter Moondragon, which Strahovski could sell really well. Oh and she also has a big-ass energy sword.

  • Nicole Beharie as Monica Rambeau aka Spectrum

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Hey, we’ve already had two actress pegged for characters who used the name “Captain Marvel” at some point in their superhero careers, so we might as well make it 3 for 3. Monica Rambeau may have started her career as an Avenger with a borrowed name, not much of a profile and being a bit out of her depth, but she would soon come into her own, eventually morphing into a kick-ass team leader who took no lip from anybody and never backed down in the face of folks who challenged her gender.

Which kind of sounds a whole lot like Nicole Beharie’s spunky, tenacious character on Sleepy Hollow.

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On the hit gothic show, Beharie has shown off a feisty spirit and wry streak that has endeared her to fans, and also makes her a great choice for Rambeau. I mean Photon. Sorry, I mean Pulsar. No wait, I definitely mean Spectrum. Yes, definitely Spectrum. For now.

Let’s just say she changes names a lot. But I guess you’re bound to develop some type of identity crisis when you get caught in an extra-dimensional energy blast that allows you to transform your entire body into any form of energy in the electromagnetic spectrum.

  • Kurt Russell as Nick Fury

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Yes, I know there’s already a Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but let me explain. The Marvel Comics universe is a multiverse, i.e. consisting of multiple universes, and the two biggest and most popular of those universes are the original mainstream one, known as the “616” universe, and the “Ultimate Universe”, which is a much more modern, contemporary take on classic characters and story lines.

In the 616 Universe, Nick Fury was traditionally a cigar-smoking, eyepatch-wearing middle-aged white guy who had been around since WWII. When it came time to create his Ultimate counterpart, artist Bryan Hitch decided to model his likeness on somebody that was more indicative of the modern era: Samuel L. Jackson. So of course, when Marvel started making their own movies nearly a decade later, it was a total no-brainer of who to cast in the role: Samuel L. Jackson.

What’s more, many of the visual elements in the Marvel Cinematic Universe borrow more from their Ultimate incarnations than the 616 ones, leaving most fans to sort of dub the MCU as the live-action Ultimate universe.

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So what is the point of this? The point is that if Marvel had used instead the 616 Universe for their inspiration of the MCU, Kurt Russell would have made the perfect grizzled Nick Fury (I mean, have you seen the way he wears an eyepatch and smokes a cigar?!). And you know what? I sill want him for the job!

I don’t care how Kevin Feige and the rest of the Marvel crew do it, but wouldn’t it be cool to start bringing in the Multiverse elements in future movies? After all the fan support for the Ultimate Spider-Man Miles Morales to debut on the big screen, how ironic would it be to have them eventually cross over to that universe as a way of bringing him in, and then to find that the Nick Fury from there is actually the classic white guy version aka Kurt Russell?

  • Charlie Hunnam as Johnny Blaze aka Ghost Rider

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Despite my colleague James’ insistence that I’m wrong about this, I think that Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance was the type of garbage that gives garbage a bad name. Because of that, I think Marvel is going to wait a while before they roll out their own version of ol’ Flame Head, despite them getting the film rights back a few years ago. Eventually though, you know that they’re going to bring him back, and I can’t think of a better pick than Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam.

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Rides a motorcycle like a badass? Check. Has a cool swagger? Check. Can show off a mean attitude? Check. Is not Nicolas Cage? Mother-effing check! Hunnam has also already had his taste of leading a CG-heavy blockbuster in Pacific Rim and did a fine job of it. Plus, he’s known well enough to draw in a crowd, but not so well known that he would be above Marvel bringing him into the fold via their Netflix TV series, which seems to be a much more likelier avenue for Ghost Rider‘s return to the screen.

  • Jessica Chastain as Medusa

No, I didn’t just pick Jessica Chastain here because of her signature red hair, but it sure as hell didn’t hurt this selection one bit! The Oscar-winner has been acting up a storm in all sorts of films over the last few years, and will be making her more fantasy genre debut in Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak, which just so happens to see her team up with none other than Marvel’s Loki himself, Tom Hiddleston.

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Maybe her co-star can give her an invite to the MCU, seeing as how Marvel’s The Inhumans solo movie in 2019 is going to need to a strong actress with great screen presence (and a serious head of red hair) to play Medusa, queen to the titular clan of genetically modified human offshoots. Although not numero uno in the Inhumans hierarchy (we’ll get to that in a minute), Medusa is still her people’s spokesperson and the role will require somebody regal and formal, but also somebody who can let her passion – and prehensile hair – fly when needed.

  • Dan Stevens as Adam Warlock

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Dan Stevens has seemingly come out of nowhere in the last two years, but the truth is that he actually came from Downton Abbey. I don’t watch the acclaimed period drama, but I’m guessing that Stevens’ role in that show never called for him to be much of mysterious, slightly unhinged badass.

That’s exactly what 2014 breakout indie hit The Guest called for though, and the blue-eyed Stevens delivered in spades. And then just to prove that he’s more than just a steely gaze, a grim jawline and a good head of hair, Stevens ended up being the greatest and arguably only good thing about Night At the Museum 3 with his hilariously dapper turn as Lancelot.

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And all of these qualities will certainly make him somebody to look at when Marvel eventually introduces the “quantum magic” using Adam Warlock into the MCU. You’ll notice that I said “when Marvel eventually introduces” and not “if Marvel eventually introduces”, and that’s because Warlock is just too intrinsically linked to Guardians of the Galaxy and the Infinity Stones to leave out in the wild.

His “cocoon” is already in the first Guardians of the Galaxy as an Easter Egg, so his appearance is almost a certainty now, and it would be fantastic if the rapidly rising Stevens was the one to bring the character to the screen.

  • Ryan Gosling as Danny Rand aka Iron Fist

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Of all of Marvel’s planned Netflix series, Iron Fist is easily the one I’m looking forward to the most. But as a gigantic fan of the comics, I know it’s also going to be the hardest to realize, and that’s just when it comes to the title’s heavy Eastern mysticism, insanely colourful cast and crazy kung fu mythology.

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To play the lead role of Danny Rand aka Iron Fist – the young millionaire industrialist who loses his parents in a Himalayan plane crash as a kid, stumbles across a mystical city, learns the type of martial arts normally resigned to badly dubbed Shaw Brothers epics and then has to punch a dragon in the heart to gain the power of the Iron Fist – you need somebody who is athletically gifted with quickness and grace, can step into that Eastern world easily despite having All-American good boy looks, has a soft spoken side but can still get super violent, and should be able to play both effortlessly charming and tortured soul.

So step on down Mr. Ryan Gosling, because you sure as hell tick all of those boxes!

  • Jason Statham as Bullseye

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A short while back a rumour popped up on the interwebs, which was very quickly shot down as nothing more than wishful thinking. But in it’s very brief net-life, this rumour was like a geek milkshake, bringing all the fanboys to the yard where they promptly lost their minds for a few hours.

The reason for all the excitement? The rumour suggested that Marvel had met with Jason Statham to play the supernaturally accurate hitman Bullseye in Daredevil season two.

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Now think about that for a second – Jason Statham playing Bullseye and going toe-to-toe with Charlie Cox’s Daredevil – and tell me you wouldn’t have been willing to sell off some organs to see that happen? I mean, I have Darryn’s my one kidney already wrapped up with a bow, ready to go to the highest bidder right here.

  • Vin Diesel as Black Bolt

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Before you ask, no, I am not high on sinus meds again. I do know that Vin Diesel is already in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the voice of Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy. But that’s just it, it’s only his voice. Now you might think that it would be weird to have Diesel actually step in front of the camera to play another character in the MCU as all you’ll hear when he uses his super distinct bass rumble voice is the sound of Groot. But that won’t be a problem at all for one specific character.

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Black Bolt is the King of the Inhumans and one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel universe. He also never talks. It’s not because he’s mute though, but rather because his Inhuman ability actually is his voice, which is so crazy powerful that a simple soft whisper can flatten a mountain range. Yeah, this is not a guy you want pointing and laughing in your general direction.

Physically, Diesel is perfect for the towering and intimidating Black Bolt, having the muscles and screen presence to play a super-powered King like few others can. And the actor definitely knows this, as he has been teasing fans with a possible involvement in the Inhumans movie since last year. C’mon, Marvel. Make it happen!

Honourable Mention: Sean William Scott

“Stifler” finds himself on this list purely because Darryn has a man-crush on him and insisted that I add the American Pie star. So I did. Happy now, Darryn?!… Oh, you actually want me to write nice things about him and come up with a role for him as well?

Well, I guess the dude’s funny, in that sarcastic/witty Marvel sort of way. And I guess he has the right jawline and physique for a comic book character. And I guess he has actually done the ass-kicking comic book character thing quite well before in Bulletproof Monk… Huh. Darryn may just be onto something here.

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But who would he play that really suits his strong points? Especially, since he does his best work when he is a slightly annoying man-child?

Well, Marvel is about to introduce the world to Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), respectively the second and first heroes to go by the name of Ant-Man. They weren’t the greatest though. And by greatest, I mean hilariously douchiest. I’m of course talking about Eric O’Grady aka the Irredeemable Ant-Man.

O’Grady was a low-level SHIELD agent who stumbles across Hank Pym’s latest Ant-Man suit, and so does the same thing most ex-frat boys in dead end jobs would do: Steals it so that he can spy on Ms. Marvel showering. Seriously. Against his immoral and totally lazy plans though, he keeps getting roped in into actually being a hero though, much to his annoyance. Which actually sounds perfect for Sean William Scott!

Last Updated: July 16, 2015

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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