Welcome to Comic Book Casting Call, a new feature here at CV where we take a look at some of our favorite stories and books from the comic book world and figure out who to cast as the main characters, if a movie was being made about them. In the inaugural edition of this feature, we're going to take a look at one of my favorite Marvel series of all time: EXILES.
In 2001, Marvel put out a book with one of the most interesting concepts they've ever tackled. The 100 issue series was called EXILES, written by Judd Winick, with art by Mike McKone. In EXILES, characters from different universes in Marvel's vast universe collection and placed them onto a team with one goal: travel to different universes and fix what's wrong, so each team member can make it back to their own world.
EXILES was one part Quantum Leap and one part Sliders. It was everything fans loved about Marvel and science-fiction, wrapped up into one amazing series where anything could happen, even the death of main characters.The first trade, Down the Rabbit Hole, covers issues #1-4 of the series, and believe it or not, the first two issues, titled "Down the Rabbit Whole/Sins of the Father" would be the prefect story to make into a feature length film.
In these two issues, we're introduced to the Exiles: Magnus, Mimic, Morph, Nocturne, Thunderbird, and Blink. The mysterious Timebroker explains the situation their in, where they have to dimension-hop in order to fix these worlds. They end up going to a beaten down world where their Tallus (an object on Blink's arm which gives them clues to what they have to accomplish) tells them they have to find "the one who will lead us. Find your greatest teacher." The team, primarily made of X-Men members, knows they have to find Charles Xavier. They quickly find him and realize he's not a good guy on this world, and the Exiles must stop Xavier and his X-Men.
Here, we'll be casting whoever we want, regardless of "star power" or who should be "top billing" or even how much these actors and actresses may or may not cost.
Magnus Lehnsherr - Keanu Reeves
The child of Magneto and Rogue has all the powers of his father but much more powerful. All that power doesn't come without its drawbacks though. He also gained a second mutation, which turns anyone he touches into metal, which kills them. To play a somber character like this, you need someone who can play it cool, Keanu Reeves. Say what you want about Reeves, but he plays a character who is out of their element incredibly well. He does great in a serious role as a character with a twinge of humor, and that's what Magnus is. He's a bit more stoic and straight-laced than some of his counterparts, and while Reeves may a bit old to play the comic book counterpart, that's fine. The team is a bit young to begin with, so putting in more of a "father figure" would round them out better on screen, especially if that character is Magnus, who already acts like he's in his 40s.
Mimic - Alexander Ludwig
This version of Mimic is a lot like the 616 version. He can mimic up to five powers of any mutant he comes across and he's a bit cocky and arrogant. Unlike his 616 counterpart, though, he stayed with the X-Men and became a hero. He needs to be played by someone young who can tap into his cockiness and that's why we picked Alexander Ludwig. Most folks will know him as Cato, the antagonist in The Hunger Games. He can play a member of a team and show leadership qualities, which is a lot like Mimic. Ludwig has the look and the acting chops to pull of this complex character.
Morph - Doug Jones
Morph may look identical to his Age of Apocalypse counterpart, but it's not him. This character is truly the comic relief of the group, but he's still comes in handy in battle. Without a doubt, this version of Morph has a really bizarre look to him, and there's one actor that always fits into those weird roles, Doug Jones. He's no stranger to playing comic book roles. He played Abe Sapien in both Hellboy films and the Silver Surfer in the Fantastic Four sequel. As for the comedy side of the character, Jones did have a bit part on the television show Comedy Bang! Bang!, so he does have some skill as there as well.
Nocturne - Chloe Moretz
Nocturne is the daughter of X-Men legend, Nightcrawler and uncontrollable mystic, Scarlet Witch, but you could probably tell from the look alone, right? She's young and cool and is the heart of the team. She's incredibly agile and acrobatic, like her father. She can also possess people for up to 12 hours and can fire "hex-bolts" at people. To play Nocturne, we picked Chloe Moretz, which most people will know as Hit-Girl from Kick Ass. She's been fantastic in everything she's been in recently, even if the film is a bit of a flop. She also really has the same type of face as Nocturne. Moretz would really round out this cast very well.
Thunderbird - Eddie Spears
Thunderbird was probably the toughest character to cast, mainly because of his size. Would this be a character that would have to be completely computer generated the whole film? We decided to go with a larger actor for this role who may not be the same size as Thunderbird, but would still measure up. Who should play this once tortured servant of Apocalypse? Hell on Wheels star Eddie Spears. It's hard to find someone that tall, muscular, and talented, let alone Native American, but Spears really fits the bill for Thunderbird, except for the bulky part, but that's fine because Spears could really nail this character.
Blink - Danai Gurira
This film needs a strong, female lead? Why not Danai Gurira? Most of you know her as Michonne from AMC's The Walking Dead. She's tough and doesn't take guff from no one. While Blink is a bit softer of the leader, since she's not chopping off people's heads with a katana, she's still an extremely strong leader for the Exiles and a person the other members look towards for guidance. Aside from that, Gurira has the look. She already has short hair and is muscular while still looking slender. Sure, we could have taken the easy route and just said Bingbing Fan should play Blink, since she's doing so in the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past, but where's the fun in that?
Timebroker - Patton Oswalt
Timebroker is a construct of the Exiles collective subconsciousness. He's the "person" that sends the Exiles on their quests. He's a lot like a dungeon master. There's no better person to play this part than actor/comedian Patton Oswalt. First, he's a nerdy guy, so it's nice for fans to see someone in their films that is also passionate about the work. Also, the Timebroker isn't a comedic character, but we think Oswalt could easily pull off this character, who is straight to the point, explanatory, and pretty serious.
Charles Xavier - Ed Harris
Xavier has a ton of mutants working for him, but we wanted to focus only on Xavier, rather than the cast of mutants behind him. This is a very different Charles Xavier than we're used to. He's evil, determined, and terrorizing. When we think of an evil character like this, no one would be better to play him than Ed Harris. He's a world class actor and looks about the same age as Xavier is in the comic. Harris can play a darker character
There you have it. That's how we'd cast an Exiles film, based off the first story in the book. Do you guys have characters from future stories in the Exiles world you'd like to cast? Let us know in the comment section below!