Can we expect Dakota Fanning as Sarah Connor? Lara Croft? 8 possibilities

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST
Dakota Fanning at the 14th annual Critics Choice Awards in Santa Monica, Calif., on Jan. 8. (Albert Ortega)

Dakota Fanning, the impish child actor best known for roles in SCI FI Channel's Taken and Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds, is all of a sudden growing up! Have you seen pictures of her lately?

Next appearing as a clairvoyant street urchin in Paul McGuigan's Push, Fanning—who turns 15 next month—is catching more of Hollywood's attention for a broader range of movies than ever.

As she approaches adulthood, what future sci-fi and fantasy movies can we expect to see her in?

♦Lara Croft in the rebooted Tomb Raider. She'd have to dye her hair and hit the gym, but Fanning's got the dramatic chops for the English accent. She's already been a brunette—remember 2005's Hide and Seek?—and I'm sure she can learn to ride a motorcycle.

Dakota Fanning as Sarah Connor.

♦Sarah Connor in a future Terminator reboot. Fanning hasn't played either a waitress or a paramilitary guerrilla yet, but she's eaten in restaurants and dodged gunfire in War of the Worlds, so I say close enough. Plus, she was plenty bossy in Cat in the Hat.

♦Officer Anne Lewis in the rebooted RoboCop. Fanning's never played a cop, as far as we recollect. But with her diminutive stature and spunky persona, she's perfect to take over the gum-snapping role originated by Nancy Allen in Paul Verhoeven's 1987 original. Imagine her reading of the line "Murphy, I'm a mess!"

♦Jean Grey in a future X-Men Origins movie. Taking on the role last played by Famke Janssen, Fanning's a natural: Just add red hair and stir (see image below). Fanning's already shown aptitude for playing telekinetics and psychics: She was able to hold off an entire army in Taken. And she's actually kind of a mutant already: An Oscar-caliber actor in the body of a tween.

♦Diana Prince in Wonder Woman. In a way, Fanning's been preparing for this role her entire life. She even voiced the young Diana in the animated Justice League TV series. And did we mention she's already been a brunette?

♦Nancy Thompson in a new Nightmare on Elm Street. That's the central role originally played by Heather Langenkamp. Fanning's getting to the age where her parents will actually let her see R-rated horror movies, so why not start with this reboot of one of the best? We know she can scream: See War of the Worlds.

♦Pepper Potts in Iron Man 3. Given that Marvel Studios is slowly carving away most of the original cast—Terrence Howard, Samuel L. Jackson—it's not unreasonable to expect that Gwyneth Paltrow will be next. And don't we want some fresh blood anyway? See above re: spunk.

♦Laurie Juspeczyk/Silk Spectre II in Watchmen II: The Beginning. This is purely speculative, of course. Assuming Zack Snyder's Watchmen is as big a hit as everyone hopes, there will be an inevitable sequel, and given that Alan Moore never wrote one and the movie ends on kind of an apocalyptic note (oops, spoiler!), it's not unreasonable to think they'll do a prequel, a la I Am Legend 2. So who better to play the younger Laurie than Fanning? No special abilities needed, just long brunette hair, a lithe physique for that costume and a willingness to contend with visual effects, all of which Fanning will have by the time this movie gets underway.

(Push opens Feb. 6.)

Below, Dakota as Jean Grey.