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Marvel group

Written by Matthew Pejkovic

With Marvel Studios announcing they will bring their second tier characters to the big screen via a series of mid- budget productions, Matt’s Movie Reviews selects which B-list Marvel characters have the best potential on the big screen, who should play them, and which directors should be enlisted to bring these comic book titles to life.



The Black Panther

The Black Panther, or otherwise known as Prince T’Challa, is one of the few prominent superheros of colour, and was the first black character to debut in the Marvel Universe.

The leader of the fictional African nation known as Wakanda, T’Challa plays the role of both Head of State and superhero, his enhanced strength and agility making him a handful for his enemies, of which Wakanda has many thanks to its status as the home of the rare and valuable mineral vibranium (of which Captain America’s shield is made of.)

T’Challa has alligned himself with both The Avengers and The Fantastic Four, and is married to Storm of the X-Men.

If given the right direction, The Black Panther could be a taut political thriller cum action movie, with an outside threat (perhaps a vibranium starved foreign government?) poised to invade the little African nation, with T’Challa combating the forces of evil in both the corridors of power as a Head of State, and on the ground as the fierce Black Panther. Think Thirteen Days mixed with Avatar, without the token white guy to save the day.      

Two names come to mind: British thesp Chiwetel Ejifor, and burgeoning American actor Derek Luke. Both have the dramatic and action chops to play the role (and play it well), and both deserve a leading vehicle for their hard work over the years. Plus, the salary for either actor will fit in with the mid level budget Marvel is aiming for.

Chiwetel Ejiofor Derek Luke


Australian director Phillip Noyce is the only man who could do the film justice. He is a filmmaker of considerable skill, has the action thriller thing down pat (Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger) and he has worked with both Luke (Catch a Fire) and Eljifor (Salt).  



Namor The Sub-Mariner

Known as “Marvel’s First Mutant”, Namor the Submariner is an aquatic super-being who is both antihero and villain, the son of a human sea captain and princess of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, of which he is its ruler.

The character was one of the first in Marvel’s storied history, making his debut way back in 1939, and he has made regular appearances in his own and other titles since then, always staying on the outside fringe of the Marvel elite.

His clashes against the human populace who pollute his oceans has led to confrontations against many a hero, a quick temper not helping matters much.   

The current focus on global warming, coupled with an origin/coming of age tale, would be the best way to go for Namor’s first big screen outing, in where the Prince of Atlantis lashes out as the “surface dwellers” for polluting his ocean kingdom, only to find out that he is too (half) human, as an environmental revenge angle gives way to a self identity crisis story, with redemption attained at the end.  

The casting of either Prison Break stars Wentworth Miller of Dominic Purcell ticks all of the boxes: star recognition, low cost, look, and athleticism. 

Wentworth Miller Dominic Purcell

For underwater adventure it is hard to look past German director Wolfgang Peterson, whose war classic Das Boot and The Perfect Storm are two of the better ocean adventurers in their respective decades. Namor would be the perfect fit.  



Dr. Strange

Perhaps the most iconic Marvel character not to be considered a franchise player, Dr. Strange has appeared in countless comic titles (including several of his own) since his debut in the 1960s Silver Age.

There he was introduced as Stephen Strange, an egotistical first class neurosurgeon whose talents were taken away after a car crash.

His world wide search for a cure leads him to the Himalayas and under the tutalige of the Ancient One, who teaches Strange the mystic arts, and has spooked readers with his sorcery filled adventures since then.  

Film adaptations of Ghost Rider and The Punisher failed to tap into the darkness of their characters. Hopefully, Dr. Strange will not follow in the same footsteps, and instead will serve up plenty of conjuring amongst character, an origin story with a black ambience and perhaps even eccentric tone.

If Clive Owen could don the great Doctors cape it would be a coup on Marvels part, as a top character actor with name recognition inhabits the skin of one of its most colourful characters.

Clive Owen

To match the darkness needed to make it work, a director such as Alex Proyas (Dark City, The Crow) has the visual style and filmmaking chops to make a mid level budget go a long way.



Luke Cage

The character of Luke Cage first made his debut in 1974 as Marvel’s way of catching on to the Blaxploitation trend, yet he would really come into his own in the last few years as a member of the New Avengers.

A street tough sent to prison for a crime he did not commit, Cage volunteers himself for an experiment which gives him superhuman strength and the physique to boot!

Since then Cage would go on to become a hero for hire, often investigating crimes and punishing the wicked in numerous neighbourhoods, especially his native Harlem.

A movie is currently in development, yet there are no indications as to what tone and direction Marvel has in mind.

Hopefully, a character as badass as Luke Cage will get a badass movie, something of a Boyz ‘n’ the Hood meets Batman Begins, where our hero vows to rid the scum of the streets who hold his neighbourhood in their grasp. Real depictions and consequences of drug use and gang crime is a must.  

Transformers star Tyrese Gibson has shown interest in the role, and he would bring youth and name recognitions to the role.

Yet if Marvel were looking for the ultimate Luke Cage, they should look no further than Terry Crews, who after the release of ensemble muscle men actioner The Expendables, should see his stock increase significantly to headline his own film.

Tyrese Gibson Terry Crews

John Singleton (Four Brothers) has signed on to direct. Pretty good fit, if I don’t say so myself.




When Jennifer Walters is shot, her cousin Bruce Banner, aka The Hulk, gives her a gamma radiated blood transfusion, which transforms Jennifer into a green skinned Amazonian hulk, and thus christened She-Hulk.

However unlike her uncontrollable cousin, Jennifer can handle her transformation and mindless brutality is hardly an issue: even in her new state, her career as a lawyer has continued to blossom, not acting as an attorney to superheros.

She-Hulk was never a conventional comic book hero, with the "Sensation She Hulk" in particular concertrating on her professional and loves lives amidst super villain ass kicking. Thus, the movie should follow suit as an exploration into the life of a single, muscle bound, green skinned woman in the city, prime rib for superhero satire in the vein of Hancock.

Jennifer Carpenter can pull off the intelligence and wit that Jennifer Walters / She-Hulk possesses. Yet more importantly, Carpenter’s physical attributes lends herself well to a hulk out transformation.

Jennifer Carpenter

This She-Hulk movie will need a director who can juggle multiple genres. Enter David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express), a filmmaker of strong visual and character aesthetic.




The British born character of Spider-Woman has gone through many incarnations and levels of popularity since her debut in 1977.

Real name Jessica Drew, the character underwent her metamorphes at a young age, when radiation poisoning brought near fatal consequences, an injection of an experimental serum made up of irradiated spiders’ blood saving her life and giving her arachnic powers. Thus Spider-Woman was born.

Since then Spider-Woman has worked for both the good and bad guys, starting off as an assassin for the villainous organisation HYDRA, before switching over to S.H.I.E.L.D. and finally the Avengers.

Through Spider-Woman we could finally have a comic book espionage action thriller, with a brainwashed Jessica Drew playing assassin for HYDRA, before waking up to the realisation that she is one the wrong side.

Cue a double agent act, with Jessica reporting to S.H.I.E.L.D. and bringing down the terrorist organisation. Add a revenge story line involving the death of Jessica’s parents, and there is the makings of a solid action film.

Sticking to the character’s English heritage, Marvel should look no further than young rising thespian Gemma Arterton, who has proved her action chops in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

However, if it is an American alternative they are after, than Summer Glau would be a choice that will have fans happy.

Gemma Arterton Summer Glau

For such an action romp, experienced hands are needed. Len Wiseman fulfils that criteria, having directed the first two Underworld movies and the fourth instalment in the Die Hard franchise. A superhero movie of this pedigree is right up his alley.



The Kingpin

One of Marvel’s enduring villains, The Kingpin in a colossal beast of a man and lord of the criminal underworld.

He is the main nemesis of Daredevil, and also tangled with Spider-Man and The Punisher.

Michael Clarke Duncan’s turn as The Kingpin in 2003’s underrated Daredevil was good, yet had him already perched on top of the criminal underworld.

This film has to be a rise to power story, ultraviolent in its depiction of criminality and gritty in tone. After all, this is a character that has the good guys quaking in their tights. Let’s have a movie that does him justice.

Tough guys are a rare commodity these days, especially those who have the muscle to back the mouth.

Since we are working with a rise to power story, and actor is needed to both play the size and grow into the role as one of the most ruthless and intimidating villains.

Enter 6’6’’ Canadian character actor Kevin Durand. Never heard of him? After his high profile role as Little John in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, you would have. Other credits include Smokin’ Aces as a Neo-Nazi nutter, and as the Archannel Gabriel in Legion.

Kevin Durand

Dito Montiel was responsible for the gritty street mini-epic A Guide to Recognising Your Saints, and is due a larger canvas to work with. Kingpin would suit his aesthetic very well.


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