I Cast: Justice League of America

Any fanboy (or girl) worth their salt is already well informed of the rumors surrounding the Justice League of America movie. JLA’s traditional line-up, collectively known as “The Big Seven,” consists of the big hitters of DC’s comic universe – Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter and Aquaman (stop snickering, he’s not as lame as everyone thinks he is). As a movie, this has the potential to be more than huge, more than massive, bigger than any genre movie that’s come before it. There are people everywhere willing to give up their first born for a JLA movie done right. Unfortunately, the chances of Hollywood getting it right is 50/50 at best and the aforementioned rumors aren’t inspiring much in the way of confidence in me. So, to help make myself feel better, I’ve decided to put my two-cents in on the cast. Let’s get to it, shall we?

I’m going to start with the least regarded of The Big Seven. Generally dismissed as “that guy who talks to fish,” this would be a great opportunity to give Aquaman the profile boost he so desperately needs. I really like the way he was portrayed in the Justice League animated series so, for the movie, I’d like him to follow a similar arc. Initially less haughty and more clean-cut than his animated counterpart (he was raised by humans, after all), in subsequent movies we’d see a much darker side of Arthur after his hand gets chopped off in a big battle so we’d need someone who can be both charming and intimidating. To that end, I’ve chosen Daniel Goddard – also known as TV’s Beastmaster – as my Aquaman. Not only can he play all the personality nuances needed, he has extensive fight scene/stunt experience and I’m sure he won’t mind running around in a form-fitting costume. It’d certainly cover more than that loin cloth he used to sport. My backup choice would be Ryan McPartlin (Captain Awesome on Chuck) – I’ve only seen him act like a goofball but I’m sure he can be serious.

Martian Manhunter
For our favorite shape-shifting, super-strong, sometimes intangible, fire vulnerable extra-terrestrial, we need someone who can play both the green-hued, pointy headed Martian Manhunter and his human alter ego of John Jones, police detective. The actor also has to have a voice of substance. No stranger to prosthetic make-up and possessor of one of the most distinctive voices in sci-fi, I want Michael Dorn (aka Worf from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine) for my Manhunter. Sure, all the time in the make-up chair sucks but at least this time Dorn’ll be able to to do some scenes looking like himself. Or, if he’s not available, there’s always Neal McDonough (Tin Man, Boomtown, Band of Brothers). Though his voice isn’t as booming as Dorn’s, there’s still something very distinctive about it and McDonough has proven himself to be more than capable of bringing the necessary layers to the role.

The Flash
It depends on which Flash you have. If you’re going origin story, it should technically be Barry Allen (especially with the Teen Titans movie they’re supposedly developing). But if they’re just jumping in with the League already formed, there’s no reason it can’t be the current Fastest Man Alive, Wally West. Adam Brody is rumored to have the part. He’s fine but…eh. I’m just not buying it yet. Ever since reports started rolling out about the supposedly still in development David Goyer helmed Flash movie, I can’t get Ryan Reynolds out of my head. And not just because he looked so good shirtless in Blade: Trinity. Between the wise-cracking that he’s so good at and the holy-crap-you’re-creeping-me-out intensity he brought to the Amityville Horror remake, I think he’d be perfect for Wally.

Green Lantern
Again, it depends on which GL you’re going with. The founding JLA member is Hal Jordan but I have no problem with a little revisionist history and them going with John Stewart (plus they’reĀ  working on a stand alone GL movie and I’m sure they want to keep them separate). Common, who allegedly has the part, is an excellent choice. I’d also say Michael Ealy (Darwyn Al Sayeed on Sleeper Cell, Barbershop) or Leonard Roberts (DL on Heroes, Riley’s doomed Initiative buddy Forrest on Buffy). Ealy because I think he’d bring a good vibe the part, plus you’d save a fortune on contacts and post effects for his eyes, and Roberts because he’s never really been able to flourish in the big parts he’s already played. This would definitely make up for his crappy treatment in the sci-fi genre.

Casting for “The Big Three” (Supes along with Bats and Wonder Woman) is always the most difficult because they are the most iconic not only of the League, but of the whole DCU. For most people, Christopher Reeve is the end all be all for Superman which is why I have to stick with Brandon Routh to reprise the role. Despite Superman Returns not exactly being what I was hoping it to be, Routh did a great job portraying the three aspects of the character: bumbling reporter, larger than life hero, and the real man. It also helps that Brandon not only looks a lot like Reeve, but he actually sounds like him too (which trips me out to no end). A lot of people might be rallying around Tom Welling to take on the role (because Warner Bros. probably doesn’t want to burn one of Routh’s contractual movies on JLA). My only problem with this is that he’s so connected to Smallville, which is so painfully out of sync with the DC canon at this point, I’m afraid his presence would cause some confusion for the uninitiated.

Right now it’s extremely hard to think of someone other than Christian Bale to play Bats since he so thoroughly owns the role. Ideally, he’d be in the movie but that just ain’t happening so we need a new guy. Short of getting a complete unknown, it’s hard to think of suitable replacements. I’ve always liked Steve Bacic (Andromeda, Flash Gordon) and I bet he’d do a good job but he’s not my final answer. For the Mantle of Bat I’m going with Channing Tatum. Okay, before you start booing let me explain why. On the acting, anyone who’s seen even a piece of A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints can see that he’s not just a pretty boy and actually has some chops. As for the physical side, Tatum has a stature and jawline that would really work with the cape and cowl and he and Brandon Routh are basically the same age. And it doesn’t hurt that he’d make an uber-hot Bruce Wayne.

Wonder Woman
I saved everyone’s favorite Amazon for last because I personally think this bit of casting is the most fraught with peril. Wonder Woman means as much to as many people as Superman does, to some even more. Without Wonder Woman, there’d be no Xena, no Buffy, no Alias. For this reason, Linda Carter will always be the patron saint of butt-kicking chicks everywhere. An Aussie by the name of Megan Gale is rumored to be donning the tiara and bracelets. She certainly looks the part but I’ve never heard of her and have no idea of her acting capability, so I give her hesitant approval. To suggest someone I’m more familiar with, I’m going with Sarah Lancaster who plays Ellie Bartowski on Chuck. She has a very Linda Carter thing about her and she’s tall enough that you won’t have to stick her in 4-inch boots to make her seem more statuesque. And, as a related aside, they should totally cast Carter as Hippolyta, the Amazon Queen.

Alright, those are my thoughts for the moment – and I have every right to change my opinions at any time. What do you guys you think? Did I hit the mark or do you have a better suggestion?

About Tamara Brooks

A few things I wondered about as a kid: Why didn't Wonder Woman punch more bad guys in the face on the tv show?; How does Superman flying around the Earth turn back time?; Could someone really catch bullets with their teeth?; Why didn't the liquid bits of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man cause 3rd degree burns on whoever it landed on? Because melted marshmallow is up there with molten hot lava.