Welcome to Cast Party, the feature that imagines a world with even more live action comic book adaptations than we currently have, and comes up with arguably the best casting suggestions you’re ever going to find for the movies and shows we wish could exist.
This week I'm doing something a little different. With the DC movie universe expanding, all the talk about Suicide Squad, and the recent announcement that Black Manta will be in the Aquaman movie, I've been thinking about the future of DC supervillains on screen.
We've also been doing this fun DC Supervillain Draft, and that's got me thinking in particular about the Legion of Doom, who originated in the Challenge of the Superfriends cartoon, and what an interesting collection of classic DC villains they are. So I decided to cast the Legion of Doom.
I'm not saying they should get their own movie, although I think they could probably carry one. Mostly I just wanted to use them to think about who should play the DC villains in whichever movie they show up in. For those who have already appeared, like Lex Luthor, I'd rather make my own choices than subscribe to what Zack Snyder has given us on screen. So just for fun, in whatever context you choose to imagine it, here's my ideal Legion of Doom.
Giancarlo Esposito as Lex Luthor
Nobody's better than Esposito at playing cool, calculating, highly intelligent villains. And that's what Lex Luthor should be.
If you shave Wood's head, it's only going to make his striking blue eyes even more prominent. And if you paint him green, he's really going to look like an alien. Factor in his quirky acting style, and he's guaranteed to be a great Brainiac.
Michael Kenneth Williams as Black Manta
Williams played one of the greatest TV characters of the 21st Century on The Wire, but no role he's had since then has used his talents quite so well. He could be a phenomenal Black Manta, all cold intelligence and hatred.
I think you have to bring more than a little camp to a villain who's drawn to look like David Niven, and Cumming is just the actor to do that.
Robbie Coltrane as Toyman
I went with the classic Toyman rather than the shortlived version who was in the original Legion. I like the idea of the perpetually cuddly Coltrane being evil. Harry Potter fans will never see it coming.
Peter Capaldi as Scarecrow
I understand why the Scarecrow was portrayed as a younger man in the Dark Knight trilogy, but I like imagining an older, bitter Jonathan Crane, and Capaldi could get really creepy with it.
Charlyne Yi as the Riddler
Okay, this might be the strangest choice I've ever made. But I'm bored by the idea of another goofy white guy playing the Riddler. Nobody will ever live up to Frank Gorshin anyway, and it least Yi will bring something fresh and interesting to the role.
Glenn Jacobs as Solomon Grundy
Do I even need to explain this? Jacobs, aka Kane, is huge, and has decades of experiences lumbering around being creepy. Paint him white and you're pretty much there.
I haven't been doing the "obligatory wrestler" bit in this column recently, but I'm making up for it with two this time. Lynch has the physique (and the bright orange hair) for Giganta, and the sense of humor to get into such a goofy role.
Bob Odenkirk as Gorilla Grodd
I think Grodd, especially on a team, is more fun the more than he talks. And I love the idea of him being frustrated by what he sees as the inferior humans around him. So I cast the actor who's always been the best at expressing frustration.
I think I've said multiple times that Rivera is perfect to play one comics' many feline women, so I'm sticking with that here. Give her the claws and she can handle the snarl on her own.
Wentworth Miller as Captain Cold
Yes, I said that I wasn't sticking with the previous casting for any of these characters, but I'm making an exception here. Who but Miller could ever make people care about Leonard Snart? He owns the role, and I can't bring myself to kick him out of it.
Something about Henry Cavill just makes me think he'd be perfect to play a flawed and imperfect version of Superman.