Let’s Handicap the Captain Marvel Casting Field

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For all the buzz swirling around Marvel Cinematic Universe chapters like Black Panther or Doctor Strange (or Agent Carter), the Marvel movie under the most scrutiny is the March 8, 2019 release of Captain Marvel.

As the first female-led superhero blockbuster announced by Marvel, the attention it has received has been unrivaled. Every casting rumor or addition has been met with a wave of discussion one way or another. The long stretches of not-news have also been noted by pundits and fans alike.

The film itself is a ways away but it’s sounding like Marvel is a going to introduce Carol Danvers in the first Infinity War chapter in 2018 so casting the role is starting to be important.

As Cindy mentioned earlier, this year’s Best Actress Oscar winner, Brie Larson, was reported by Variety to be in early negotiations to play Carol Danvers, which makes her the official frontrunner. These negotiations can turn on their heads quickly. Remember the reports where both Johnny Depp and Joaquin Phoenix were both signed, sealed and delivered to play Doctor Strange before the role ultimately went to Benedict Cumberbatch?

With that in mind, let’s handicap the field of actresses who have been rumored and/or dream-casted to play the title role in Captain Marvel.

Brie Larson

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Notable Resume: Won an Oscar for Room, won our hearts in Short Term 12 and had roles in Trainwreck, 21 Jump Street, Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World and had her breakout role in United States of Tara.

Case For: Did we mention she has an Oscar? Larson is as hot of a name as there is out there right now and she’s only 26, which puts her in the prime of a superhero acting career. Her acting background has a lot of variety (she even played a friend of mine once) and, not for nothing, she appears to fit that good actor, better person personality profile Marvel has a knack for finding (Chris Evans, Chris Pratt, RDJ, etc.).

Case Against: The one hole in her resume is a lack of action. The closest she’s come to a major fight scene in a movie is being in the background of one of the battles in Scott Pilgrim. Her personal style and posture doesn’t exactly scream “tough as nails military type,” either.

Odds of Being Carol Danvers: It’s obvious she is Marvel’s real first choice for the part. Marvel Studios honcho Kevin Feige might be privy to some Kong: Skull Island dailies that allay the fears about her lack of action movie experience. Negotiations are still early so let’s set the line at 3-to-1.

Emily Blunt

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Notable Resume: She’s kicked ass in Edge of Tomorrow and Sicario, sang in Into the Woods and first came to our attention in The Devil Wears Prada.

Case For: She has been on Marvel’s radar for a while because she was one of the finalists to play Black Widow and Peggy Carter. This would be a perfect way for Marvel to bring her into the fold. She’s shown she can effectively handle a gun, sword and power armor on the big screen. Her comedic roles show she can handle the light touch that is important to the Marvel movie experience.

Case Against: She’d be in her mid-30s by the time Captain Marvel came out, which would limit the window they have to use her in the role. Given her wide ranging acting career, might not want to get locked into a multi-movie deal. After Edge of Tomorrow, Blunt may have blockbuster action out of her system.

Odds of Being Carol Danvers: With a couple of near-misses with Marvel and growing action resume, it’s difficult not to mention Blunt’s name in serious connection with this role (and she’d be good). 5 to 1

Natalie Dormer

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Notable Resume: She’s the scheming Queen Margaery on Game of Thrones. She has the military look and action background from the last two Hunger Games chapters. She’s also had notable roles on CBS’ Elementary and Showtime’s The Tudors.

Case For: Another actress who (when blonde) just looks the part. Plus she’s already a part of the MCU as the sultry blonde who gave Steve a kiss in Captain America: First Avenger. It could set up a great, “You look familiar”/”Yeah, my grandmother told a great story about you” exchange between Steve and Carol.

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Case Against: For all her showy roles and accolades, Dormer has yet to carry a film or series on her own, which may be some cause for concern. She’s already in her mid-30s, which may cause casting directors to be cautious.

Odds of Being Carol Danvers: Despite her natural Resting Bitch Face going a long way toward giving the character an intimidating edge, her lack of experience carrying a movie hurts her chances for the lead, but makes her a strong contender for the villain. 15 to 1.

Katee Sackhoff

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Notable Resume: Currently in Netflix’s Longmire, was all tough in a couple of Riddick movies, is the voice of Bitch Pudding on Robot Chicken and will forever be remembered as Kara “Starbuck” Thrace in the Battlestar Galactica series on ScyFy.

Case For: She looks, fights and intimidates like Carol Danvers. If you loved Kara on BSG, then you wholeheartedly believe this role is tailor made for Sackhoff.

Case Against: Sackhoff isn’t always the most consistent performer. Sometimes she’s as free and natural as anyone and then there are other times when she comes across as acting so hard it’s painful to watch.

Odds of Being Carol Danvers: Despite Carol Danvers and Kara Thrace pretty much being the same character and Sackhoff’s love of the character, it’s hard to see Marvel pulling the trigger with her. Five years ago, this would have been a slam dunk now she’s a 25-to-1 shot.

Yvonne Strahovski

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Notable Resume: Her biggest role to date was the NBC action series Chuck. She’s also had notable runs on 24: Live Another Day and Dexter.

Case For: The Aussie actress is tall, blonde and fit, which makes her a dead ringer for the character as she’s drawn in the comics. Thanks to her experience on Chuck, there would be no questions that Strahovski would be able to tackle the physical demands of a superhero role.

Case Against: She’s been in a few movies that wanted to be big, but missed the mark (looking at you, I, Frankenstein). At this point, she’s pretty well pegged as a TV actress, which is a tough label to shake once it’s been slapped on you.

Odds of Being Carol Danvers: Despite Strahovski being the overwhelming choice of many folks around here, it’s difficult to see Marvel going out on a limb with this movie. 50-1.

Alicia Vikander

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Notable Resume: Had an amazing 1-2 punch in 2015 of The Danish Girl (for which she won the Supporting Actress Oscar) and Ex-Machina. She has also been in Man From UNCLE and Seventh Son.

Case For: Another intriguing name that was mentioned this spring. She has the possibility of being a breakout movie star and is in the age range Marvel is most likely looking for. With her work in Ex-Machina and Seventh Son, she’s more than familiar with the kind of technical challenges common with big action movies. Also, if the script calls for dancing, she’s got it covered.

Case Against: Doesn’t quite have the physical presence the character demands. Her first attempt at being a part of a franchise-ish movie (Man From U.N.C.L.E.) didn’t go all that well, so she might decide to focus on movies that could win her more Oscars rather than do summer popcorn fare.

Odds of Being Carol Danvers: She’s earned some “It Girl” street cred thanks to her 2015 output. I’d say she’d be a big longshot, but is enough like Larson that she could Marvel’s second choice if things with the current favorite break down – 20 to 1.

Ronda Rousey

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Notable Resume: You’ve seen her in the octagon (not the Chuck Norris movie, but the actual MMA fighting pits), a panned hosting of SNL and bit parts in The Expendables 3, Furious 7 and the Entourage movie.

Case For: Looks like a soldier and has obvious fighting skills. She’s has actively campaigned for the role and has no small amount of charisma.

Case Against: The Redwood Forest is less wooden than Ronda Rousey in front of a camera.

Odds of Being Carol Danvers: Rousey was a much discussed possibility for a hot minute because of her look and her backstory. Then Rousey lost her first pro MMA fight and the shine fell off her star in a big way. If this Road House remake ever makes it to the screen and does well, it might make things different for Rousey, but Marvel isn’t going to use a $175-plus million movie to allow Rousey to work out her method. 1,000 to 1.

Craig Wack

For a weekly discussion of comic book TV shows please join Craig Wack and Tatiana Torres for the Agents of GEEK podcast updated every Friday and now on iTunes

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