Reprint: Stacy’s Comic Casting Couch – JUSTICE LEAGUE

Like my Star Wars 30 year Gap series, I had planned on doing more of my Comics Casting Couch articles as well. I have drafts of several, most of which have been marked for development in the real world, but this one is a favorite. 

I wrote this one in February of 2013, prior to the release of the MAN OF STEEL movie in June of that year.At the time,  Warner Brothers & DC were denying a unified DC Movie Universe. I, like many others, thought that was a missed opportunity and quickly wrote up my pitch for a Justice League movie. It introduces the idea of multiple heroes to the world and even uses the much aligned Man of Steel movie as a jumping point. Now, of course, we know now that Warner Brothers has decided to make their SUPERMAN V BATMAN movie (or BATMAN V SUPERMAN, whatever) and attempt to develop a unified series of movies, but I was pretty proud of the fact that I had worked this up quite a while before they admitted to that. I even cast a currently popular wrestler/actor for a major part, before James Gunn!

Let me know what you all think. Here it is, copied and pasted from an old blog, with only a few grammatical changes: STACY’S COMIC CASTING COUCH – THE JUSTICE LEAGUE

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Hello out there world! It’s the return of the Stacy’s Comics Casting Couch! And this week, we cast, THE JUSTICE LEAGUE!

Justice League TitleThe concept is simple, you have the greatest heroes in the world, band together to combat threats that no one hero could handle alone. Over the years, in various incarnations, these heroes have dealt with everything from alien invasion, inter-dimensional invasion, temporal invasion and even invasion from within. They defeated countless foes and saved untold lives, but there is one villain that they have never defeated… HOLLYWOOD.

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The Story

As we start out excursion in a new DC Universe based movie, the only super powered hero the world has ever know is the alien being known as Superman. After the turmoil and destruction of his initial appearance, people slowly began to feel safer actual to warm up to the idea of a Superman. World peace looked like it was finally within our grasps. But all hope is dashed when Superman turns on the people he swore to protect. Cities are destroyed; people left homeless and lives shattered. He gives no reason for his actions as he spreads destruction in his wake, he simply becomes a force of nature. No one individual can stop him, so it is time for a League to rise and take a stand.

The Main Characters

Henry Caville as Superman

Henry Caville as Superman

Superman has turned against the Earth. Now a mute, emotionless force of nature that is feared by all who stand in his way, he has begun to systematically take out the world’s infrastructure. What could have caused this change, and what connection does the strange star shaped growth on his back have with his current actions?

If we decide that the new Superman movie coming out this year is the beginning of the new series of DC inter-connected movies, let’s keep some continuity from the get go and have the actor who plays him be familiar. We are not really sure how Henry Caville will be as Superman when the movie is released*, but let’s all send good vibes that it will be something to build a universe on.

Eric Bana as Batman

Eric Bana as Batman

From the depths of a secret underground network, a dark knight of justice watches events unfold as the world’s protector turns against it. He has no name, only a description given to him by the cowardly criminals he vanquishes, Batman. Until now he has focused on keeping the city of Gotham in some semblance of order, but now the actions of an alien threaten to topple everything he has worked to accomplish. He sets his contingency plan into motion and contacts his agents; it’s time to go to work.

While I think that using Superman as part of the new interconnect movies is great, I don’t think the Dark Knight series should be used. Let’s start fresh with a new Batman that is a myth to the world at large. Instead of being a loner, he has placed himself at the head of a group of non-powered heroes who stay in the shadows to help the common man. While Superman may relatively new to the public, this Batman has been in the shadows for years fighting crime, undetected. Let’s go with an actor who has several comic and sci-fi films under his belt, and I think that Eric Bana could knock this one out of the batpark. For more mystery, let’s make him Dick Grayson and give hints that Bruce Wayne has disappeared, setting up a plot thread to be picked up in a future film.

DB Woodside as John Stewart

D.B. Woodside as Green Lantern

The threat of a Kryptonian gone mad is not something that goes unnoticed in the grand scheme of things, and with the interstellar repercussions that could erupt The Guardians of the Universe have sent their own investigator to find out the cause: Green Lantern John Stewart.  Drafted into the Corps after being captured by insurgents while deployed in Iraq, he has been away from his home world for over a decade. Now he comes back to defend it, but is he ready for all that he finds?

I think the same stipulation I put on the Dark Knight movies should apply to the Green Lantern movie; recast and start over, heck, you could even make mention that the regular Green Lantern is detained fighting the space pirate Kan-Ja-Ro if leaving the door open for a Ryan Reynold’s Hal Jordan is really necessary. D. B. Woodside has the look to play John Stewart, and has played in unbelievable settings in the past (Buffy The Vampire Slayer).

Cat Zingano as Wonder Woman

Cat Zingano as Wonder Woman

As Superman continues his rampage across the world, he runs across a small island nation hidden by highly advanced technology in the Mediterranean Sea called Themiscyra. The Themiscyra military see him as a threat and attack. After a short battle, Superman has left the island in ruins. Even their highly advanced society could not stand against a mad Kryptonian. Acknowledging that their people cannot recover without help, Queen Hippolyta decides to reveal her people to the world. She sends her daughter, the Amazonian Princess Diana, to the United Nations to ask for help. But while she addresses the U.N., the villain reveals himself and forces her to take up arms to save no only her people, but civilization as we know it.

Wonder Woman is TOUGH to cast. Many of the actresses who are qualified can’t bulk up enough to pull it off. My first thought here was Olga Kurylenko from Quantam of Solace, but I just am not sure she could manage the physicality of the role. So for this one, I am going strictly for the build and looks; Cat Zingo has proven herself a fighter in mixed-martial arts ring, so she has the power needed to amaze us as Wonder Woman.

Tristan Wild as Cyborg

Tristan Wilds as Cyborg

Victor Stone was a promising young quarterback for the Gotham County High School football team. While visiting his parent, scientists at S.T.A.R. Labs in Gotham, he was injured in a horrible explosion. Under ordinary circumstances, he would have died, but his parents acted quickly and used equipment at the lab to stabilize him till an ambulance arrived.  While their son was on the verge of death in the hospital, the Stones were told that they had been fired from their positions with S.T.A.R. for the misappropriation of lab equipment, i.e. the very items that saved their son’s life. Word got out and a mysterious benefactor offered to pay all current and subsequent medical bills. The Stones were also hired on to Wayne Enterprises to work the R&R division. Using their new resources, they began to replace their son’s destroyed body with new advanced cybernetic parts. Victor becomes involved with rescue efforts after one of Superman’s rampages, and he is seen as a hero. The media name him Cyborg, and the Batman clandestinely recruits him for his anti-Superman task force.

Tristan Wilds may not be a name known to the general public, but he made waves during his time on the HBO series The Wire. He later went on to more main stream television roles and worked with George Lucas on his World War II movie, RED TAILS. While he has turned more toward music as of late, I still think he would make a Cyborg that would explode off the screen.

Dave Bautista as Starro

Dave Bautista as Starro The Conqueror

Through the Batman and Green Lantern’s investigation, it becomes evident that Superman has been possessed by a Starro, an alien that latches on to their prey and relays control of said prey through a central hive-mind. Normally, millions of the small, star like creatures are dropped on planets from orbit, but once the presence of a Kryptonian was confirmed, their ruler, who goes by the proper name Starro the Conqueror, decided that he wanted to take control directly. He eventually realizes that he is unable to influence enough control over Superman to use him indefinitely and decides to cast his starro creatures out to form his army. He positions his star-shaped ship over the state of Kansas and prepares to meet the super powered beings that have banded against him in mortal combat.

The idea of recreating the cover to Brave and The Bold #28 is super tempting. In fact, it might be possible to have them heroes fight a giant Starro just like that. Once it has been defeated, then the hive mind aspect comes into play and “The Conqueror” appears, having possessed a powerful alien being years before. While the “mini-boss”  Starro fight would draw on the classic cover B&B cover, the big boss fight would show a Starro closer to his appearance in the 2009 R.E.B.E.L.S. series. Strap a giant flesh-colored star to the chest of Dave Bautista, and you have Cobi from R.E.B.E.L.S. Vol. 2 #5.

The Supporting Cast

Outside of the main heroes mentioned above, you have several heroes that emerge from the shadows, either part of the Batman’s network or gifted individuals that realize they have to act. Most can be done as cameos, a great chance to have some fan eye-candy, but a few take a slightly larger role.

Cary Elwes as Green Arrow

As one of the Batman’s secret operatives, Green Arrow could be shown fighting Starro’s spore driven army in Seattle or Star City.  Cary Elwes is the actor I have ALWAYS wanted to play Green Arrow. Just get him back into shape from his Princess Bride Days.

Jason Lee as The Flash

I know that everyone has hung their hat on Ryan Reynolds for playing a Flash role, and I to think he would be a great wise cracking Wally, but I also think that Jason Lee is underappreciated as an actor. His Barry Allen, late of Central City CSI, could not only figure out how to combat the starro possessed public, but implement that solution at super speed and free everyone at once.

David Ogden Stiers and Dolph Lundgren as Martian Manhunter

Okay, hear me out on this one! Yes, David Ogden Stier is a nod to the Justice League television pilot, but I don’t want to see him painted green! He’s a great actor, so he can play John Jones, private eye. When he transforms to a form closer to his own, we get a green Dolph Lundgren or that type with appropriate forehead prosthetic and one of the more current costumes.

There are many other cameos that could be done. You could have Zatanna protecting a cruise ship from possessed passengers and then have one of the starros be blasted off, sink below the waves, and show Aquaman and the Aquafamily protecting Atlantis.  Imagine a Hawkman and Hawkwoman flying over New Orleans and saving people from starro spore infected Mardi Gras revelers. So much potential!

Shooting Notes

Start off the film with a flash back and a situation (possibly from the new movie) that would give a starro spore a chance to graft to Superman. Begin showing Batman as a shadowed figure behind a computer directing other street-level heroes; maybe even have him be an Oracle type figure (that could be passed off later as he takes a more direct hand in the battle) and then he gathers his troops to battle Superman (yes, Grayson could have Kryptonite, maybe even a Kryptonite tipped arrow) but he is stopped from finishing Superman off by Green Lantern. Cue initial distrust & obligatory fight scene, Green Lantern against every street-level hero that is appropriate, and they realize that Starro the Conqueror is actually responsible. When they approach Starro the Conqueror’s base, they are aided by Wonder Woman, fresh from the attack on the U.N. (flown in by an Air Force pilot named Steve Trevor). They succeed in freeing Superman, but then have to face a monstrous Cobi/Starro. After defeating him and telling him to spread the word that the Earth is off-limits to cosmic conquistadors, they set up a network to contact each other again if they are ever needed. BONUS: An after credits scene of could include a blonde haired G. Gordon Godfrey reporting on the events of the movie, trying to paint the heroes in a bad light. While in his dressing room after going off the air, he activates a boom tube, returns to Apokolips and telling an imposing Darkseid that the Anti-Life Equation is on Earth.

If done right, a Justice League movie could be as big and serve as a root for other DC movies. Moving the focus away from Superman and Batman onto other heroes helps deal with the overpower issue, and the global scale of the attack gives cameo opportunities to practically any character.

But, as always, I won’t hold my breath until Hollywood (or DC Comics) comes knocking!

Thanks for reading!

Stacy Baugher

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