My post on The Avengers will go up next week, but before that, I hope you'll forgive me as I indulge in my inner geek and talk about semi-obscure comic book characters. Actually, given the levels of geekdom in the online media, not to mention in Hollywood studios, I should probably stop thinking of comics this way. I mean, in recent years, we've seen movies based on some pretty unlikely properties: Scott Pilgrim, Constantine, The Losers, A History of Violence - not to mention The Walking Dead on TV. Regardless of quality, it's assuring to know that Hollywood is investing in more than just superheroes.
But for those of us of a certain generation, we first discovered comics through Marvel and DC superheroes. (For younger people, manga - Japanese comics - are the thing now.) The Avengers was one of my favorite comics for a long time, and like the X-Men, they've had a wide variety of characters over their half-century of publication. Here are a handful that I'd love to see make the jump to the big screen:
- The Wasp. At one point she was gonna be in this movie, but it didn't happen. The Wasp is one of the original Avengers, and when I started reading the comic, she was beginning a crucial transition from ditzy, one-dimensional, stereotypical female to a more well-rounded, competent and confident hero who would go on to be one of the greatest team leaders - without losing her femininity and becoming grim and gritty and dark. Chances are she'll wind up in the Ant-Man movie (she and Ant-Man are an item), if they ever get it off the ground. I've always liked her, and as one of Marvel's first ladies, she deserves some respect. Who I'd cast: Elizabeth Banks. She radiates the perkiness and spunk that would work perfectly for the character.
- The Vision. Another long-time Avenger, I would like to see a theoretical movie version of him that either avoids the "artificial intelligence learns the meaning of humanity" angle or finds a new way to approach it. He's a "synthozoid," which is not quite an android, nor is it a robot. That's definitely something that should get explored, since that's relatively unique in sci-fi movies. He has ties to Ant-Man (and to a lesser degree, the Wasp), as well as another Avenger, Wonder Man, which could either be used or not, I don't care, but he would make for an excellent addition to the cast if long-time villain Ultron, another AI, is used for the sequel. Who I'd cast: I dunno. Gerard Butler?
- The Scarlet Witch. Can't have Vision without her. They were married for a very long time in the comics, but I think they might've broken up recently. Comics marriages tend to be as fleeting as Hollywood ones, most of the time, except of course for Reed and Sue Richards of the Fantastic Four - they're like the Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward of superhero comics. The Scarlet Witch is a mutant, however, so Fox may want to stake a claim on her (and her brother Quicksilver) at some point, but I hope not. Her powers are a bit hard to define - it used to be simply altering probability, but now she's become a full-fledged witch, I think (it's been awhile since I've read the comics), so I would pick one or the other and stick to it for the film version. Who I'd cast: Um... Not sure. Preferably someone European, since she's from Eastern Europe. I'd like her to have an accent at least (still kinda disappointed that the Black Widow doesn't have one).
- Firestar. Speaking on behalf of everyone who ever watched Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends growing up, I think this would be awesome, but again, there's that fear that Fox would claim her for the X-franchise (I'm surprised they haven't already). Not every mutant needs to be an X-Man or an X-villain or whatever. She could fill the role of the youngster still learning how to use her powers and learning through interacting with the rest of the team. (And no, we can do without her boyfriend Justice.) Who I'd cast: Jennifer Lawrence would be perfect, but she's a little busy with a franchise of her own. How about Elizabeth Olsen?
- Captain Marvel. This will never happen, but a fan can dream: she's actually gone by several different code-names, but she debuted as Captain Marvel (no, she didn't yell "Shazam!"; that's somebody else). She probably wouldn't go by this name if she appeared in an Avengers movie, but that's how I still think of her. Anyway, she's a New Orleans naval officer with vast energy-based powers. She led the team for awhile, but in recent years, she's been written wildly inconsistently (but then, what superhero hasn't at some point?). I've always loved her too; during her first few years as an Avenger she was part of some epic storylines, and I'd totally geek out if somebody found a part for her. Who I'd cast: Gabrielle Union.
Now I know you've got some dream choices of your own, so don't be shy; let's see 'em. Oh, and by the way, I'd be remiss if I failed to mention that today is Free Comic Book Day, so if you liked the Avengers movie, take a visit to your local comic book shop today and take home some freebies.
'Avengers' will be a fanboy's dream come true