Dream Casting is an imaginative look at the casting process of potential Hollywood projects based on comics and other media. This isn't just about what is being made; this is about what should be made, and who we think should be the stars.
As you've almost certainly heard by now, Disney is in talks to buy 20th Century Fox, which would allow them to acquire all of their film and TV production assets and property. Obviously, media consolidation has wide-reaching implications for our culture, but that's outside of the scope of this column. What's relevant to us here is that characters from the Fantastic Four and X-Men, previously controlled by Fox, may soon show up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is owned by Disney.
With that in mind, I'm looking at who could play new versions of some of these characters, assuming they join the Avengers movie universe. I left out Deadpool because Ryan Reynolds has so totally proven himself in that role, and because the Deadpool tone wouldn't be very compatible with the more family-friendly Avengers movies. In fact, I've focused on a small handful of X-Men who've also been Avengers, as well as one villain who deserves a place in every version of the Marvel Universe.
As far as the Fantastic Four, I've recast the team with the expectation that they'll be close allies of the Avengers. It would also be cool, in keeping with Marvel Comics history, if the movies revealed that the FF preceded the Avengers, but they've been exploring outer space or the Negative Zone for the past few years.
Daniel Radcliffe as Wolverine
I know this one's going to get some strong reactions, but I'm really not kidding. I considered Richard Armitage, since he's already voicing Wolverine for a new scripted podcast, but he's really tall, just like Hugh Jackman. Wolverine was always meant to be short, and it's about time the movies reflected that. Daniel Radcliffe is 5'5" and showed off how scruffy he can be in Jungle. He'll need to pack on some muscle, but the history of superhero movies has shown how possible that is, and Radcliffe's a very strong actor who can find a great (and new) take on Wolverine's voice that will sound nothing like Harry Potter.
Sophia Walker as Storm
I'm trying to keep these choices compatible with the MCU as it exists, and honestly several of my top picks to play Storm are already in Black Panther and one's in Thor: Ragnarok. Fortunately a friend led me to Sophia Walker, who's best known for the Carmilla web series. She has a perfect look (once you give her the white hair) and displays a mix of authority and swagger that would be perfect for Storm.
Jake Gyllenhaal as Beast
Jake Gyllenhaal (Stronger) is one of those actors who really transforms himself for a role, and I think that could extend to being blue and furry as the very first X-Man to become an Avenger.
Ralph Feinnes as Magneto
Ralph Feinnes (Spectre) is one of the all-time greatest at playing old-school villains. There just aren't that many actors working today who can give an evil speech while wearing a flowing cape and get you to take them seriously, but Feinnes absolutely can.
Stephen Merchant as Mister Fantastic
Stephen Merchant (Logan) has an innate charisma that might even make the often pompous Reed Richards likable, and his pre-stretched build will make him look unique in a crowd of superheroes.
Anna Camp as the Invisible Woman
Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect) has a kind of sunniness to her demeanor that feels different from most women in superhero movies but perfect for Sue Storm.
Max Thieriot as the Human Torch
Max Thieriot (SEAL Team) is handsome enough to play Johnny Storm and has the youthful quality he needs while also being old enough to be part of a veteran superteam.
Chris Messina as the Thing
Chris Messina (The Mindy Project) embodies a classic New York type that's not as common in movies as it once was. He has the right look for some brief scenes as Ben Grimm and the perfect voice and demeanor for the Thing.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Doctor Doom
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is known for being very handsome, but his performance on Game of Thrones has also demonstrated how great he is at embodying menace. Hide his face and he'll be terrifying.
Also, in the name of fixing the mistakes that previous Fantastic Four movies have made, keep him away from the origin of the team and don't give him weird powers. He's a European dictator with a scarred face who's a technical whiz and also might know magic. That's plenty.
Matt Bomer as the Silver Surfer
Matt Bomer (The Last Tycoon) is basically a perfect physical specimen. Place those motion capture dots close and render his real musculature in reflective silver. His soft-spoken demeanor would also make for a unique and effective take on the Silver Surfer's character.
Dennis Haysbert as Galactus
Obviously I picked Dennis Haysbert (The Dark Tower) mostly for his deep, resonant voice, which he can shade with more menace to make it sound less like an All State commercial. If he can actually physically play Galactus with the aid of special effects, that's even better. If anybody can demand respect in a giant purple helmet, it's Haysbert.