Last week, I wrote about the “Big Red Cheese”, Captain Marvel. (Who coined that bizarre nickname, anyway?) So, naturally, I have to continue by posting on the rest of the “Marvel Family” — those who I consider the main three, anyway. (Never cared much for Uncle Dudley, and the big rabbit (Hoppy) was rather silly, though the big tiger guy (Tawky Tawny) was kind of fun. And I don’t even want to talk about the “lieutenants”.) So, that leaves the Wizard and the kids. I will elaborate a little on each as I go….
Shazam, the Wizard
To begin with, Shazam’s height isn’t that important, in my opinion. Also, while he appears to be rather slim, as long as the live-action version isn’t fat, I’ll be satisfied. More importantly, whoever plays the sage, old wizard who gives Billy Batson his powers needs to be of a certain age — say, 70 and up — or, at least, be believable playing it. (I would prefer someone who actually is that age, rather than someone quite a bit younger but with makeup and/or prosthetic appliances to “age” him.) He should be able to look strong & energetic at times, yet frail — or, at least, weary — at others.
Of course, anybody can wear long, white hair and/or beard and spout mystical jargon and/or words of wisdom and encouragement. But, not everyone can sell it. There are a few actors, though, who can and some have done just that. In fact, I’ve seen the following gentlemen suggested for this role by others:
They would all be great! But, I also came up with a few more of my own for consideration:
My favorites are probably Hurt and Stewart, but I think any of them would do a wonderful job.
[Note: For sake of space (and my time), I will not attempt to give a representative summary of each of these actors’ careers. As a genre fan, I am sure they are all at least somewhat familiar to you. I have included IMDB links, as usual, though.]
Young Mary is Billy Batson’s twin sister (and, thus, the same age), though she was adopted by a wealthy family (i.e., the Bromfields) as a young child. She is equally sweet, innocent, kind-hearted, and, I think, roughly the same height as Billy. (Although, girls physically mature sooner, so she could start out a little taller.) The young actress playing her needs to be able to convincingly convey that, as well as get physically aggressive when need be. However, since she and Freddy don’t become part of the “Marvel Family” right away (and, therefore, probably in a movie sequel or second/third season of a TV series), we could probably cast someone who is (or looks) closer to 14.
Georgie Henley (5’4″,b.1995) recently turned 19, but she has a youthful look, and I think she could pass for 14 or 15. She is mostly known as the spunky “Lucy Pevensie” in the Chronicles of Narnia movies. Ariel Winter (5’1″,b.1998) is another solid candidate. In addition to being a regular on “Modern Family”, she has done genre voice work, including as “Princess/Queen Perdita” and “Carrie Kelley”/”Robin” for DC productions and on “Phineas and Ferb”. Then, there is Kiernan Shipka (5’3″,b.1999) from “Mad Men”, who reminds me a bit of Emma Watson. She also does voice work on “The Legend of Korra” and was in one episode of “Heroes”.
Captain Marvel, Jr. / CM3
“Junior” is Freddy Freeman, a young man who was injured in a fight between Captain Marvel and Captain Nazi. His grandfather died, and he was left with a “permanently crippled” leg. When powered up, he isn’t lame, but his human form will never fully heal. As I recall, this always frustrated (even angered) Freddy, so he was a little more, er,… emotional (and slightly less pure of heart?) than the other two. (Of course, he couldn’t be too unstable, or the Wizard most likely wouldn’t have agreed to grant him powers.) Other than using a cane to walk, Freddy’s normal, human form seemed to vary from slender-but-healthy to athletic. (In fact, the post-Crisis version was a jock.) Dark-haired, like Billy and Mary, but maybe a few inches taller. I think he is supposed to be a couple years or so older than the twins, so maybe (close to) 16?
Liam James (5’7″,b.1996) appeared in the movies Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem and 2012 and an episode of “Fringe”, but he was a semi-regular on “Psych” and more recently appears in “The Killing”. He has a good look for the part. Jimmy Bennett (5’7″,b.1996) has an impressive resume that includes Poseidon, 2009’s Star Trek, “No Ordinary Family”, and many other movies and TV appearances. He has a different look, but I think I can see him as Freddy. My third suggestion is Jake Short (5’5″,b.1997), who may be closest in appearance to Freddy — well, some versions, anyway. (Actually, if he was a bit younger, I’d suggest him for “Billy Batson”.) Short has been in several movies and TV shows, but most recently he has been a regular in “A.N.T. Farm” and “Mighty Med”.
Originally, Mary transformed into an adult — namely, a replica of her mother — when using the Captain Marvel powers. Later, it seems that, like Freddy, she turns into a still-teenaged looking version of herself. Since, “Mary Marvel” doesn’t appear particularly muscular, she can certainly be played by the same actress as Mary Bromfield. Not sure about Freddy and CM3. Some artists render them about the same, whereas others make sure to give the super-powered version more muscles. I suppose they could always use CGI to add or subtract muscles. (E.g., they made Chris Evans look skinny for his early appearances as Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger.)
OK, that’s enough for this post. Comments are appreciated.
* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2014.