Ruby Nation

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Comic Animated Movie Fantasy Cast #1: Captain America in " Winter Soldier "

While there has yet to be a truly great direct-to-DVD Marvel or DC movie ( though the Last Frontier was pretty close ), the productions are steadily improving. Better yet, the production companies are bringing in some top-notch voice talent. In addition to the legendary voices for the characters ( Kevin Conroy for Batman, Clancy Brown for Luthor, Steve Blum for Wolverine, etc. ), we're seeing a great mix of B-List talent from TV and movies, and veteran voice actors. Who would've thought that David Boreanaz would make such a great Hal Jordan? Anyone who's seen a single episode of Bones, that's who. And the people who've watched Summer Glau on Firefly and Sarah Connor Chronicles know she'll be an excellent Supergirl. Of course, this isn't the leave out the veteran voice actors, but a solid mix of talent from diverse sources helps dispel the Animation Age Ghetto.

Since I spend a LOT of time thinking about who would voice which comic characters, both in my own readings and in my work, I've been doing fantasy voice casting for many years. The difference is, this time it's not too distant. So as I give my example voice casting list for the Winter Soldier story ( the first Ed Brubaker story with the character, and the one that immediately made me a fan of both Cap and Bru ), I feel good knowing the chance that this will appear as an OVA is closer to " slim " than " none ".

Anyway, the list...

STEVE ROGERS/CAPTAIN AMERICA: David Hayter. Hayter already played Steve Rogers in a flashback episode of X-Men Evolution, but he only had a few grunts. But he's qualified for the role because of his voice work as another legendary super-soldier-- Solid Snake of the ridiculously awesome Metal Gear Solid games. Brubaker writes Steve harder and rougher than most Captain America writers ( to his credit ), but keeps the heroic aspects of the character. If Hayter did a slightly less gravelly tone ( as he did with Naked Snake/Big Boss, Solid's clone-father, in MGS3 ), he'd be perfect for Cap.

BUCKY BARNES/WINTER SOLDIER: Yuri Lowenthal. Lowenthal has made a name for himself as the go-to guy for precocious boy heroes. He's done spunky, idealistic young men with Ben Tennyson, Iceman, and Superboy. He's also shown a darker side, as seen in his portrayal of troubled boy hero turned psychopathic man-child Sasuke in the English dub of Naruto. For Bucky Barnes, especially the twentysomething brainwashed cyborg Bucky, Lowenthal would do quite well.

FALCON/SAM WILSON: Phil LaMarr. LaMarr has a very strong hero voice, which can range from dead serious ( Samurai Jack, Green Lantern John Stewart, Vamp from Metal Gear, Hermes Conrad in a lovably uptight way ) to easy-going and jocular ( Virgil " Static " Hawkins, the Transformer Jazz, Wilt from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, the doofus Earth King from Avatar ). For Sam Wilson, unofficial heir to Bucky's sidekick mantle and the only man capable of being badass while dressing like a bird and talking to a hawk, he would do quite well.

SHARON CARTER: Tricia Helfer. A veteran actress of action heroines in both live action ( #6 from Battlestar Galactica ) and voice ( Black Cat from Spectacular Spider-Man, Boodika from the Green Lantern OVA, Sif from The Super Hero Squad Show ), Helfer could do exceptionally as Cap's on-again off-again girlfriend/ SHIELD liason. Both by being able to shoot bad guys and tell the Patriotic Super-Jesus things others wouldn't have the nerve to say to him.

NICK FURY: Paul Eiding. The Ultimates has ensured that all non-comic Furies will be played by Samuel L. Jackson or an effective imitator of Samuel L. Jackson, so picking the voice for an Ultimate-style Fury is about as difficult as breathing. For the MU Fury, I'd go with Eiding, Colonel Roy Campbell from ( again ) Metal Gear Solid as well as Grandpa Max from Ben 10. Though he has a wide vocal range, he's also master of the aged warhorse voice.

RED SKULL: Mark Hammil. Accents are tricky and can too often come across as stereotyped when voiced by English-speaking VAs, so I'm taking the Metal Gear approach of " Just Not Bothering ". Besides, Red Skull's evil has far outlasted Nazi Germany, making him his own insidious force. So who better than the master of animated villain voices-- former Luke Skywalker Mark Hammil, whose Joker voice out-evils even the late Heath Ledger, and who played the unparalleled paragon of wickedness that is Fire Lord Ozai in Avatar? It comes to my attention that he did voice the Skull in Super Hero Squad ( in an episode I didn't see ), but this isn't comedy Red Skull, but utterly depraved comic red skull.

ALEKSANDER LUKIN: Sir Ian McKellen. The master of the Cosmic Cube turned summer home for Red Skull's consciousness, Lukin is a suave but dangerous strategist, with experience as both a KGB soldier and the business oligarch head of the Kronas Corporation. Putting aside accents again, Ian McKellen could pull this off excellently-- he was a great Magneto in the X-Men movies, a menacing talking bear in the Golden Compass, and has a narrating voice that can easily shift from classy to dangerous.

CROSSBONES/BROCK RUMLOW: David Boreanaz. Boreanaz hasn't had too many VA roles, but those he's done evoked the strongest parts of his TV career. As Hal Jordan in the New Frontier, he brought the cocky competence and haunted past of Seeley Booth from Bones. As Squall Leonhart in Kingdom Hearts, he utilized the dour angst appropriate to both Squall and Angel. And for the right hand man of the Red Skull, he would bring the naked sadism of Angel's dark side, Angelus. Both are good at being bad, and both are unabashed cradle robbers, after all.

Whew! Any I forgot?


  1. Is Sin in Winter Soldier?

    Regardless, great list.

  2. Thanks. Sin is barely in Winter Soldier, only for a page or two where Crossbones steals her from a SHIELD facility in order to deprogram her ( reprogram her? ). But if she was in the story enough to matter, I'd put Alyson Hannigan as her VA; see Vamp Willow and Dark Willow for evidence as to why.

  3. Thaaaat's right, Sin doesn't really show up until the next story arc. Haven't read these in a bit.

    I'd always thought Ryan McPartlin ("Captain Awesome" of Chuck fame) would be a good live action Steve Rogers, but I don't think he's done any voice acting, so I can't say if he'd be a good fit for a project like this.

    Granted, I had similar concerns about Jensen Ackles, but "Under the Red Hood" shut me right up about that.

  4. I'd add two:

    Tasia Valenza as Natalia Romonova/Black Widow - she played Sniper Wolf under the name "Julie Monroe", so she's got espionage in her blood; &

    Peter Lurie as Crossbones; he played Vulcan Raven in MGS.

  5. Both great choices, Chris. I should have picked Lurie as Crossbones, though I didn't want to make the cast too top-heavy with MGS vets.