With Joss Whedon rumored, and then all but officially confirmed, to be director of the gigantic Marvel team-up flick, the Avengers, many sites have taken to providing their fantasy cast list. Most of these lists seem to involve casting former Whedonverse actors in every role because apparently Nathan Fillion has to be in every single Joss project from now on or something. So rather than just giving one pick for each role, I’ve chosen one Whedonverse actor and one non-Whedonverse actor for each role. Here are my picks:
DAVID TENNANT: After finishing his four-year run on Doctor Who, Tennant said he would love to work on an Avengers movie. And shockingly, he was actually referring to the Marvel Comics property and not the classic British TV series. On Doctor Who, he basically played the smartest man in the universe and playing Hank Pym is not all that different. Pym may not be the smartest man in the Marvel Universe but he’s certainly in the top five (feel free to provide your rankings for Reed Richards, Tony Stark, Pym, Bruce Banner, etc. in the comments section below). So Tennant has that genius-speak down. He had some super speed ramblings on Doctor Who that would even impress the Gilmore Girls, so delivering Whedon-speak shouldn’t be a problem. He can also do that blend of comedy and drama that Joss loves. And, frankly, not only do I want to see him work with Joss, I’d love to see him work with Edgar Wright on the Ant-man movie.
NEIL PATRICK HARRIS (Whedon Alum: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog): NPH has already played two evil geniuses (first Doogie Howser and then Dr. Horrible), so now might be a good time to play a genius who doesn’t laugh maniacally. I think at this point in his career, it’s pretty clear Neil Patrick Harris can do just about anything.
THE WASP/JANET VAN DYNE
AMY ACKER (Whedon Alum: Angel, Dollhouse): For my money, Amy Acker is the most talented actor, male or female, to appear in a Whedon project. While I loved Fred (Acker’s character on Angel), it became clear Amy was being wasted in that role after Fred transformed into Illyria. Acker’s performance as Illyria was mind-blowing. Then she started the second season of Dollhouse delivering another brilliant performance as Dr. Claire Saunders after Claire’s discovered she’s not a “real” person. I’ll admit visually Amy might not exactly fit the part. She’s probably a little too tall. But acting-wise, the girl is a powerhouse and you need an actress who can share the screen with Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, and (probably) Edward Norton. I think Amy Acker can do that.
BREA GRANT: Now, where Amy Acker may not exactly look the part, Brea Grant, on the other hand, IS the Wasp. She’s 5′ 2″, she has the pixie-ish face, and she even has the short brown hair. She’s already believably played someone with superpowers on Heroes and I think she’ll be able to handle Whedon’s trademark dialogue with ease.
WALTON GOGGINS: I will admit this is definitely my wild card pick. Casting Walton Goggins as Hawkeye would come way out of left field, but hear me out. It’s been widely speculated that these Avengers will be largely based on Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s run on The Ultimates, and Hawkeye’s storyline in that book gets really dark. And Goggins can do dark, just look at his impressive work on The Shield. The guy is one of the most interesting actors out there. He can easily do the wise-cracking one-liners that Hawkeye is known for, but he can also deliver a really intense dramatic performance. Now if you’re looking at Clint Barton from the Marvel Universe proper, Goggins doesn’t remotely look the part. But if you use The Ultimates as reference, he shaves his head, he’ll be just fine.
JAMES MARSTERS (Whedon Alum: Buffy, Angel): I think it’s fair to say Hawkeye would be classified as a snarky bad-ass. And if you’re searching the Whedon catalogue for a snarky bad-ass, the first character to come to mind is going to be Spike (played by James Marsters). When I picture my favorite scene in the second volume of The Ultimates in which Hawkeye takes out a roomful of guards using his fingernails as projectiles, I can just see James Marsters tied down in that chair telling the one man he hasn’t killed, “Shouldn’t have left my fingernails in, dummy.”
So that’s my list. I can’t see Marvel including any more characters than that, but if you’re interested in hearing which Whedonverse vets I think should play Wonder Man, Scarlet Witch, and a human Jarvis, I’d go with Enver Gjokaj, Summer Glau, and Anthony Stewart Head.