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Nicolas Cage as Luke Cage? Twitter tackles Gail Simone’s bad Marvel casting challenge

By Benjamin Bullard
Nicolas Cage

Part of Marvel’s movie genius is indisputably its pitch-perfect pairing of comic book heroes with actors who portray them so strongly that they come to seem inseparable from the fictional characters. From Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark to Zoe Saldana as Gamora, much of the MCU’s success rests atop its inspired casting choices.

Picking the right person for the part has become such a reliable part of the overall MCU formula that it’s become the target for its own joke. Prolific comics writer Gail Simone (Birds of Prey, Batgirl, Deadpool) took to Twitter recently to riff on Marvel’s casting magic with a very different sort of dream casting idea: What if the studio intentionally made the worst possible acting choices at every turn?

If you guessed the responses would be beyond hilarious, then Excelsior! You get how this game works. Reacting to Simone’s simple setup question — “Name a @marvel character, then pick the worst possible actor choice to play them” — Twitter had a field day. Here’s a curated sampling of some of the best responses:

Rowan Atkinson as Doctor Strange? Carrot Top as Medusa? Jack Black as Captain America? Nicolas Cage as Luke Cage? Hey, some of these guys may be experienced pros who’d fit just fine into the right Marvel role. (It’s not as if Cage doesn’t have experience in that arena, for instance.) But this game isn’t asking for bad actors … just bad matches. And as you can tell, Twitter delivered.

We’ve gotta admit, now that this idea is out in the wild, it’s almost a shame we won’t get to see Christopher Walken as Thanos. Isn’t there some money in the Marvel movie budget for an alternate-universe, comic-relief flick where everything is so-bad-it’s-good on purpose? If we ever get an X-Men / Fantastic Four crossover where Will Ferrell gets to play the Thing alongside Matthew Broderick’s Wolverine, we’d so be there.

Don’t let Twitter have all the fun, though — and while we’re at it, why limit the game to just Marvel? Whom would you pick as your worst MCU match-ups? What about nominating some intentional casting misfires for the DC universe … or even Star Wars? Whatever corner of the sci-fi galaxy you choose, let us know in the comments how you’d hilariously ruin a movie with impeccably terrible, perfectly awful, delightfully wrong casting.