Casting The Future Of The MCU: Street Level Heroes Edition
Recently, Netflix has been clearing house of what we can call Marvel’s Street Level heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the past few months, Netflix has cancelled Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and most surprisingly, Daredevil. This must be a preemptive move for Disney to bring these heroes to their own streaming service. The characters are far to iconic to just be forgotten in the MCU. The Punisher and Jessica Jones have still seemed to have kept their heads off the chopping block, but their cancellations may be imminent. However, it seems like ABC’s Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D will be sticking around. But Disney will definitely continue telling stories about these Marvel street-level heroes. Not all of the heroes in the Marvel stables can cross the cosmos and/or save the entire world. A lot of them were written for smaller stories and lesser stakes. With the arrival of Disney+ soon, we can expect a whole new universe of Marvel Street Level heroes to open up. Here are 10 new characters that could show up with possible casting ideas.
Marc Spector is a Rabbi’s son turned boxer turned Marine, turned mercenary. When he is left for dead in Egypt and brought to a temple of the Egyptian God Khonshu, he becomes the god’s avatar on Earth. As Moon Knight, Spector dons a silvery white costume and fights crime like a divinely inspired Batman. He is often seen teaming up with The Punisher, Doctor Strange, and even the Avengers. Having this kind of dark, dissociative identity disorder Batman on screen would do the world of Marvel street level heroes well. If Marvel chose to lean on the Jewish Heritage aspect of Marc Spector, why not trying to get Jesse Eisenberg out of the DCEU? His Lex Luthor isn’t working anyway.
The origin of Christopher Powell’s Darkhawk is not too dissimilar from Peter Parker’s Spider-Man. Born in Queens, NY, Powell is a teenager that finds a mysterious amulet. Upon donning the amulet, he can transform into the powerful android Darkhawk. Like Spider-Man, Darkhawk is a Marvel street level hero who patrols New York City and fights lesser villains like the Hobgoblin. This kind of teenager version of Iron Man could fit right in with the Defenders universe. Young Queens kid? Alex Wolff would be great as Christopher Powell. Just look at how great he was in the recent Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Hereditary.
If Anna Kendrick is ever going to find her way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it would have to be as Squirrel Girl. Right? Squirrel Girl is one of the most absurd Marvel characters of all time. She is essentially a mutant with Squirrel-like abilities. She has squirrelagility, a prehensile tail, superhuman strength and speed, and claws like Wolverine. But she is a small, perky girl that can communicate with squirrels. Not only that, but she is formidable enough to defeat powerful enemies like Doctor Doom. One could only guess how Disney could incorporate such a strange character into their Marvel street level heroes projects, but it would be a riot.
Daimon Hellstrom, also known as Hellstorm, is the literal son of Satan. However, he is a hero because he grasps onto the human heritage he received from his mother. Trained in the magic arts and having Lucifer as his father, means Hellstorm is quite powerful. One could see him fitting right into Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. That show wonderfully handled Ghost Rider and his deal with the devil. Bringing Daimon Hellstrom into the fold would just make narrative sense. Ben Foster would look great as the spawn of Satan. He is no stranger to Marvel, playing Angel in X-Men: The Last Stand, but who even remembers him in that film?
Satana is the polar opposite of her brother Hellstorm. Daimon Hellstrom is the son of Satan but embraces his humanity for good. Satana rejects her humanity and embraces that of her demonic father. This makes her quite a formidable villainess and later,a complex antihero. She is often times depicted as an Earthbound succubus, engulfing the souls of her male victims. If Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. were to utilize Hellstorm as discussed before, bringing in Satana as his foil may make a lot of sense. It may be impossible due to her casting as DC’s Batwoman, but Ruby Rose would fit Satana’s role to a tee.
The Taskmaster, born in Brooklyn, NY and therefore definitely a Marvel Street Level hero, is an awesome supervillain. His powers are quite unique. Tony Masters can copy and duplicate any fighting style he comes up against. It is as if he has photographic muscle memory. Often times in the comics, the Taskmaster holds his own against the likes of Captain America and Iron Man, which is no easy feat. It has become obvious that there are not too many actors of color on these lists. One reason for that is that some of the best black actors and actresses are already cast in the MCU. However, there is no reason Tony Masters could not be African-American. Why not bring Corey Hawkins back? He had a small insignificant role in Iron Man 3 as a Navy Op, but who remembers that?
The Black Cat
Another Queens, NY native, The Black Cat is a morally ambiguous figure in the Spider-Man universe. Being that her powers simply involve incredible combat skill, she certainly qualifies as a Marvel street level character. Felicia Hardy, daughter of a famous cat burglar, had a pretty dark genesis. Being the victim of sexual assault in college inspired her to combat train in an effort to kill her rapist. When he died in a car accident, her lack of vengeance drove her to villainy. However, throughout her comic life, she was a villain, a hero, and even a love interest for Peter Parker. The Black Cat would have to be a young spitfire actress with a lot of emotional poignancy. What about Evanna Lynch, Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter universe?
The Sleepwalker is a very esoteric choice but could provide a lot of intriguing narratives in the Marvel Street Level universe. The Mindscape is a dimension in the Marvel comics where all intelligent beings have their dreams. As a sort of Dream Police, Sleepwalkers are there to protect people from nefarious evil-doers. One such Sleepwalker accidentally became trapped inside of a New York college student named Rick Sheridan. The Rick/Sleepwalker symbiosis is sort of a mystic version of Venom. The pair fight all sorts of injustices in NYC but the Sleepwalker may be the most terrifying of all Marvel heroes. The Sleepwalker visage would most likely have to be massive CGI, but how about Jay Baruchel as Rick Sheridan?
The Black Knight
Dane Whitman has a rich history with the Avengers. He is a descendant of the original Black Knight who lived during Arthurian times. His father was the supervillain Black Knight II, vanquished by Iron Man. Whitman is an incredible fighter, swordsman, and horseman. Historically, he has held his own in fights against Captain America, so he is obviously proficient. In addition to the mystical powers his sword gives him, Dane Whitman also has a degree in physics. So he is a scientific genius to boot. To have a young hero with the gravitas of an Arthurian legend? How about Taron Egerton?
To put it simply, Brother Voodoo is essentially a Haitian, Voodoo-practicing, Stephen Strange. He begins as a high-profile psychiatrist in New York, finds out his brother succumbed to a voodoo curse, and becomes a sorcerer. Talk about something very different though. Having a Marvel street level hero casting voodoo curses on people? Fantastic. Here is the final and loftiest aspiration of all these casting choices. Come on Denzel!! We need to get you into the MCU.