With a sequel to The Avengers officially confirmed by Marvel/Disney, comic book fans the world over will be contemplating which of the publisher’s other heroes could be added to the line-up, potentially getting their own solo movie as soon as 2014 – filling the popularly acknowledged gap in the schedule alongside Captain America 2 that summer.
Of course, we have to bear in mind that Marvel Studios do not own the film rights to characters as key to their comic book universe as Daredevil, Spider-Man, Wolverine or the Fantastic Four – all of whom have allied with or become members of the Avengers at one time or another – but with that consideration in place, here is another – perhaps final – suggestion for Marvel’s Next Avengers Film:
Captain Britain (Brian Braddock)
Why?: Although 2012 is essentially a giant PR campaign for Britain Plc, and that might not hurt the chances of getting a British superhero on the Marvel Studios radar, it’s not really any reason to launch the case for the Lionheart of Avalon, Captain Britain. No, here’s a titanic homegrown hero worthy of cinematic spectacle all on his own (maybe with a little help from his American brethren – I said a little). Sure, we have the superheroics of Fleming’s 007, but Captain Britain is a true superman, infused with mystical powers by Merlyn no less and Roma, the Lady of the Northern Skies. He’s a powerhouse, man mountain, a man who made the intellectual choice of the Amulet of Right over the Sword of Might, but who can still throw a bus through a wall and lay waste to enemies from this dimension, or any other. Of course his first name is Brian, but you can’t have everything.
Along with his superhuman strength he has enhanced reflexes, stamina and senses. He can also fly faster than the speed of sound for prolonged periods and derives his energies from the friction between dimensions, focused in a matrix centered on the British Isles.
We’ve already had a bit part Brit in Captain America: The First Avenger as one of Cap’s Hydra busting crew was none other than James Montgomery Falsworth (the future Union Jack) and that longstanding tie between the two nations would see Brian Braddock’s/Captain Britain’s adventures an easy assimilation into the wider Avengers universe. In fact it was Steve Rogers who, at a diplomatic reception honouring Britain as the first nation to defeat the Skrull invasion (see Secret Invasion – Marvel.com), offered Brian membership of the Avengers.
True, the mystical can be a tricky proposition, preventing it becoming campy and vaguely ridiculous, but as Marvel have already shown with both Thor, and The Avengers, magic and science fiction can co-exist quite happily. And in Captain Britain’s case we’re talking about old magic, and we know how dark that can get.
Story?: Like any introduction this would have to encompass Brian’s origins as Captain Britain, however I don’t see why it has to be in the normal linear fashion. With something as otherworldly as Merlyn gifting powers perhaps a drip-feed of backstory would work best. Throw Braddock into an epic story-arc and then tease out the reasons why he is who he is. Inevitably one of the best ways to do this is to add in some colleagues/side-kicks, some secondary characters who work beside him but really don’t know all his secrets.
In that regard I would enlist the UK’s foremost intelligence agency in investigating ‘weird happenings’ and supernatural threats, MI13, or as they’re also known, the Extraordinary Intelligence Service, led by agent Pete Wisdom.
One of the best, and most recent, incarnations of MI13 (and Captain Britain) was in the brilliant comic book series Captain Britain and MI13 by Paul Cornell, written in 2008-09, however a large chunk of the storyline was based on the alien Skrulls invading Earth which bears a massive resemblance to The Avengers movie. However part of that story has Wisdom releasing dark and evil magics to help defeat the threat, and once completed this darkness lays claim to Britain. Captain Britain and MI13 must then deal with the newly released evil, including a Lord of Hell, as it invades every acre of this island.
A further arc in the series introduces Dracula and a horde of vampires in ‘Vampire State’ but as great as the story in the pages of Cornell’s comic I think we’d be jumping the shark trying to put that on screen.
Origins, dark magic, a big evil Hell Lord, and a Steve Rogers handshake. Sounds like a decent place to start.
Likelihood?: In all honesty, although I would love to see Captain Britain on the big screen, I fear his particularly British focus would count against him in the Marvel expense account. There would most probably have to be the aforementioned link up with American counterparts to some degree, but hopefully not to the extent that occurred with Thor. Transplanting Brian Braddock out of his mystical homeland to America’s wide-open spaces on first try would make the very things I would love about seeing a Captain Britain movie somewhat redundant.
Still, stranger things have happened, and as Brian Braddock has a history with Black Panther’s homeland of Wakanda, perhaps we could see a bit of a T’Challa/Braddock mash-up.
Casting?: Here’s the real tricky part. Assuming that we are going to cast a native of the Isles, or at a pinch and following in the footsteps of the aforementoned 007, an Aussie, and going by Marvel’s official statistics, we would be looking for someone of some stature. Listed at 6’6″ and around 250 lbs I am at an immediate loss on the actor front. However a little poetic license can always be used in movie casting… to an extent. So essentially someone 6′+ and with enough time to put on those comic book muscles. Unfortunately last year’s most chiseled hero, Immortals’ Henry Cavill, is already on superhero duty in Man of Steel’s pantless Kryptonian tights.
There was talk/rumour in 2009 that Gerard Butler was being mentioned for a possible Captain Britain film, but personally I don’t quite see it. Perhaps riding on the coat-tails of 300 it might have worked, but now age, and The Ugly Truth count against him.
Perhaps our film-makers should go down the original Superman (and Superman Returns) route and throw open the casting for an unknown. I have no doubt that somewhere in Britain there’s an actor who can fill Braddock’s shoes, and the lack of baggage as far as previous roles are concerned would actually be a benefit. It might be easier to sell the magic and mystery with a fresh face.
[ED. David Morrissey could be a good shout, albeit with months of physical training and some visual effects wizardry! See below.]
Director?: As with the acting choice I might be inclined to chance my arm with a relative newcomer. I can perfectly understand why Marvel Studios, or any other production house, would feel safer putting their millions and characters in the hands of experienced directors like Joe Johnston or Kenneth Branagh, but as we’ve seen with the success of The Avengers a relative movie-making neophyte like Joss Whedon can produce celluloid magic. And even when going for experience, as DC did with Casino Royale’s shot-caller Martin Campbell on last year’s abortive Green Lantern, things can patently go awry.
So, throw down the gauntlet with some fresh talent like Ruairi Robinson (currently filming Last Days on Mars), J Blakeson, the man behind gripping debut The Disappearance of Alice Creed, or Kill List’s Ben Wheatley. Or, maybe just hand it to the grand-daddy of big-screen visuals Ridley Scott. Just don’t mention it to Tony.
Let us know your thoughts about a Namor movie in the comments below and check back soon as we reveal more candidates for Marvel’s Next Avengers!
If you missed them, here are our first nine entries in this series:
This article was first posted on June 13, 2012