Despite the fact that it is a year and a half away, Joss Whedon’s The Avengers is already under intense scrutiny from both fans and the media alike. Any time one of the stars of the film is seen speaking with another actor, or a producer, or perhaps a Starbucks employee, the rumor mill goes absolutely berserk and stories begin to fly. For the record, the Wasp has not not officially been listed in the film, neither has Hank Pym, but that hasn’t stopped dozens of stories with potential casting news on each character.
So when an actual tidbit of casting news is released, God helps us all. In an interview with Jimmy Fallon, Samuel L. Jackson discussed his role as Nick Fury, The Avengers, as well as the upcoming Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor. If you wish to remain absolutely spoiler free, avert your gaze.
Jackson has confirmed that he is about to film brief scenes in both Captain America and Thor, although he did not know how the scenes would appear (both Iron Men films had scenes after the credits that teased other Marvel films). Jackson has a nine picture deal with Marvel Studios, and two of those commitments were met in the first two Iron Men films. The interview seems to suggest that he will appear in the upcoming Marvel films in a situation where he will invite the title characters to join The Avengers team. He also confirmed that The Avengers will begin filming in April.
Of larger note is that auditions have begun to fill the role of Nick Fury’s sidekick who will be Fury all the time, according to Jackson. He did not go into further detail, but fans of the comics can likely offer a few guesses as to who the character will be.
The role will no doubt be hotly sought after from Hollywood’s up-and-comers, and due to the budget constraints and the star power already confirmed for the film, you can expect an actress that may be well known in some circles but not a major star (i.e. not an expensive star).
The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that four actresses are among the early contenders, with one having already been dubbed the early frontrunner. Then names being bandided about are: Jessica Lucas (The Covenant, Melrose Place), Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother, The Slammin’ Salmon), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, the upcoming The Thing), and Morena Baccarin (Firefly, V).
The role involves a nine-picture option, so the actress cast would almost certainly appear in multiple Marvel Studios movies as the same character.
Although there may be many more names added to the list, Baccarin may have the edge, at least so far. Whedon has made it a habit of trying to work with the same people on multiple projects, and with Baccarin, who appeared in Whedon’s Firefly, already said to have been approached, it may come down to Whedon sticking with an actress he knows. Another strong contender on name recognition alone may be Winstead, who earned massive geek cred as Romona Flowers in last year’s Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.
More actresses will likely be asked to audition, but right now the important question facing the internet fan base is this—who will she play! There is a chance that the role may introduce a pre-Avengers Janet Van Dyne/The Wasp, which would open up several potential plots in future films. It could also be S.H.I.E.L.D. operative and potential Captain America love interest, Sharon Carter. If the script stays close to the Ultimates story, from which the idea of an African-American Nick Fury originated, then it may be Carol Danvers, another S.H.I.E.L.D. operative, or perhaps they will stick closer to the regular continuity and cast one-time S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Maria Hill.
Let the speculation begin! Who do you think Fury’s sidekick will be, and who will land the role?