Dream Casting: Jack Kirby's Kamandi

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Aug 31, 2017, 9:57 PM EDT (Updated)

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.

August 28 was the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jack Kirby. As you probably know, Kirby was perhaps the greatest comic book artist of all time. He co-created Captain America with Joe Simon, as well as co-creating Iron Man, Thor, Black Panther, the Fantastic Four, and many other Marvel characters with Stan Lee. He went on to do solo work as a writer-artist, creating the New Gods, Mister Miracle, OMAC, and the Demon for DC in the early 1970s.

Also during that period, he wrote and drew a comic called Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth. Inspired by the Planet of the Apes films, Kamandi is a young man who emerges from a bunker years after something he calls the Great Disaster, and finds a world where a wide variety of humanoid animals rule a chaotic Earth, while surviving humans are either mutants or mute savages.

This is the kind of epic that would make for a fantastic television series, and in memory of Jack Kirby, I've put together some thoughts on who should star in such a thing.

Austin Butler as Kamandi.jpg

Austin Butler as Kamandi

Admittedly, Butler is already the star of a post-apocalyptic sci-fi/fantasy series, The Chronicles of Shannara, but he'd make such a perfect Kamandi that I'm willing to overlook it. On that show he has elf ears, but on Kamandi he'd be human and wear jorts, so the two would be easy to tell apart.

Danny Glover as Doctor Canus.jpg

Danny Glover as Doctor Canus

Glover (The Royal Tenenbaums) has a wonderful balance of warmth and gruffness, which is exactly what grandfatherly scientist Doctor Canus needs.

Wentworth Miller as Ben Boxer.jpg

Wentworth Miller as Ben Boxer

Ben is a radioactive mutant, but he's a very handsome one. If that's not a part for Wentworth Miller (Legends of Tomorrow), I don't know what is.

Ingrid Bolsø Berdal as Tuftan.jpg

Ingrid Bolsø Berdal as Tuftan

In the comic, Tuftan is a male character, the Prince of the Tiger Kingdom. But if this is going to work for modern audiences, we desperately need more female characters. And if you're looking for a badass warrior tiger princess, the Snake Woman from Westworld seems pretty ideal.

Charles Dance as Caesar.jpg

Charles Dance as Caesar

Caesar is Tuftan's father, the King of the Tigers. Dance brought a regal ferocity to the role of Tywin Lannister on Game of Thrones, and I'd love to see him do similar stuff ... but as a big orange cat.

Camila Mendes as Flower.jpg

Camila Mendes as Flower

To address the obvious: Yes, the TV version of Flower will wear a top. I get what Kirby was trying to do in depicting the primitive state of humanity, but you just can't count on real hair to stay exactly where you want it to the way you can in a comic. Mendes has been doing great work as Riverdale's Veronica, and she'd do an an equally great job as the first character who shows that there's still humanity as we know it among the brutal remnants of the human race.

Steven Yeun as Renzi.jpg

Steven Yeun as Renzi

Yeun gained a fan following from his work on The Walking Dead, and he can probably help bring a little more character to Renzi, Ben's fellow mutant. In the comic, there's also a third mutant, Steve, but I left him out because he's even more of a cipher. I would vote for making the third mutant a new female character.

Nick Offerman as Sultin.jpg

Nick Offerman as Sultin

Sultin is a very deliberate, thoughtful character, despite being deeply prejudiced against humans. Nick Offerman (Parks & Recreation) has built his career playing interesting and sometimes likable jerks, and he also seems like he'd make a great lion.

Kenneth Branagh as Captain Pypar.jpg

Kenneth Branagh as Captain Pypar

The whole joke of Pypar is that he's an over-the-top parody of an English military man, who is also a literal bulldog. Branagh (Dunkirk) can simultaneously play that for comedy while also making the character seem more real than he ever did in the comic.

Stephen Farrelly as Bull Bantam.jpg

Sheamus as Bull Bantam

Sheamus (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows) is a pro wrestler who's taken up acting, so he can certainly handle the role of a brutal and intimidating pit fighter.

Comic Book Artist Jack Kirby in 2 Minutes

Want to learn more about the King? Here's Jack Kirby in two minutes!

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