Who Will Play Captain America?

We assess 8 actors rumoured for the shield...


The man: Leonardo DiCaprio

The rumour: June 2008. Latino Review reports that Marvel has the Departed star on its wish list as a possible Cap, but sensibly qualifies the story with the knowledge that no formal discussions have taken place.

Why he could wield the shield: He’s got the square-jawed, chiselly look and he could probably develop the body to go along with it.

If not, they can do wonderful things with muscle suits. And he’s a big star – just the sort of name Marvel would love to boost the franchise.

Why he’s not right: Despite Robert Downey Jr committing to Iron Man and a rack of other projects, we doubt there’s any way DiCaprio would be up for a multi-film contract - which is what Marvel would demand (see: Samuel L Jackson).

And we’re not sure DiCaprio’s quite traditionally heroic for such an iconic comic-book character.[Page-break]


The man: John Cena

The rumour: March 2009. While putting the lie to earlier rumours he was linked to the part, wrestler-turned-action man John Cena pitches MTV (and Marvel) on the idea...

“If you guys are listening over at Marvel, that is a pretty cool rumour. I’m extremely patriotic, I was a captain of the football team once, so I think it works out. I think I’m your man.”

Why he could wield the shield: Well, he has the muscles... Plus, he’s likely to be more affordable than some of the other names on this list and has a built-in fanbase from his grappling days.

Why he’s not right: We’ve seen him act. He can handle the stunt stuff, but if he has to match wits with the likes of Downey Jr and (maybe) Ed Norton, he’d look like an amateur.[Page-break]


The man: Channing Tatum

The rumour: April 2009. Tatum – who is already well versed in heroic matters, thanks to GI Joe – tells MTV, “I would love to talk about it!”

Why he could wield the shield: He has the build and he’s slowly maturing into a decent actor, though we doubt the script would give him much of a chance to prove that.

But more subtle work in films like Stop Loss suggest he'll put in a decent, homespun performance, which seems right for the Cap's alter ego Steve Rogers. And like Cena, he'd be cheap.

Why he’s not right: Not quite A-list enough yet. Marvel is likely looking for someone who can handle both the heroics and bring some real awareness to the character.

Also, he's up against our next candidate...[Page-break]


The man: Will Smith

The rumour: September 2008. MTV talks to Derek Luke...

“I heard they offered Will Smith Captain America,” says he. “Just shows you how times have changed.”

Why he could wield the shield: One of America’s biggest stars? With charm to spare? Yes and yes.

And, obviously, he'd be the ideal Cap' for Obama's America.

Why he’s not right: Well, he doesn’t want the job, for a start - he’s long since shot down the rumour. And he’s already got one superhero franchise bubbling away (Hancock).

And like Leo, we’re pretty sure there’s no way he’d agree to a multi-pic contract.[Page-break]


The man: John Barrowman

The rumour: July 2008. Superhero Hype catches up with Mr Torchwood and asks him if he wants the part. He admits it’s his favourite superhero, to boot.

Why he could wield the shield: He’s certainly got the sparkle and decent acting chops to back it up.

Still, since when has Barrowman admitting he likes something gotten him a part? Oh, wait… that'll be Captain Jack in Dr Who.

Why he’s not right: He’s just not a big enough name, despite his sci-fi following thanks to Who/Torchwood.

Still, Marvel might consider the pre-sold, geeky fanbase and go with a (slightly) cheaper option with relatively light previous-role baggage.[Page-break]


The man: Mark Valley

The rumour: November 2008. Comics website Newsarama holds a poll and Valley, currently to be seen on JJ Abrams’ TV series Fringe (well, occasionally), scores a win.

Why he could wield the shield: As Newsarama points out, Valley certainly bears the closest resemblance to Steve Rogers.

Plus, work on the likes of Boston Public and the late, lamented Keen Eddie prove he’s got the acting skills.

Why he’s not right: Mark who? Like Barrowman, the notoriously conservative Marvel would be taking a big risk in casting a relative film unknown in one of their biggest franchises. [Page-break]


The man: Aaron Eckhart

The rumour: July 2005. Website Imagine Casting (along with a whole host of web board comments before and after) pins Eckhart as a possible Cap.

Why he could wield the shield: That chin, for one thing. It practically screams superhero.

And he’s at the right level of fame for the role – not a huge expensive star, but plenty famous after The Dark Knight.

Why he’s not right:The Dark Knight’s exposure as a soiled urban saviour might play against him.

The tragedy of Two-Face to glittering, squeaky-clean cultural icon might be too much of a leap.[Page-break]


The man: Dwayne Johnson

The rumour: June 2008. The gang at io9 suggest him as a reaction to the Leo casting speculation.

Why he could wield the shield: Out of all the former wrestlers who’ve moved to acting, he’s proved the most adaptable.

Plus, he wouldn’t have to bother with a muscle suit to fill the Cap’s outfit.

Why he’s not right: Aside from some spiteful web board knee-jerks about his race, he’s likely too busy to want to sign his life away to Marvel.

Also, the ex-Rock is developing a bit of a B-movie rep and the studio will want to aim higher.

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    • mightymick

      Apr 15th 2009, 9:33

      John Cena and The Rock? Eff Off!

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    • sowasred2012

      Apr 15th 2009, 10:36

      I've been banging the drum for this guy for about a year now, and I know nobody is gonna know he is, he's never even seen the A-list, let alone being on it - but for the love of God, go check out Jericho and tell me Brad Beyer, who plays Stanley, wouldn't be PERFECT for Cap. He's got the all American thing down pat, the physique is there, the look is there, plus, his demeanour generally fits the required pleasant-and-charming-to-a-point-but-would-go-through-you-for-a-shortcut-if-you-p****d-him-off-ness that anyone playing Cap should have.

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    • sirius23

      Apr 15th 2009, 12:17

      Matt Dammon surely. He's got the box office status, he can act and do action well and he looks like cap. the end

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    • weirdr0b0t

      Apr 15th 2009, 12:57

      what about Josh Hartnett, after Lucky Number Slevin I think he could pull it off. Plus All American down to a tee and has the cheap but Box Office Pull that Marvel would like. And would probably jump at a Multi film tie in with the Avengers coming up

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    • aelmo1

      Apr 15th 2009, 13:30

      Alexander skarsgard! Watch generation kill if you need proof! Scratch that, watch generation kill for the fact its complete awsomeness haha and then watch it again to see how good this guy would be for cap! Also, I like the idea of Damon but I just picture him as to short for a cap outfit (I don't know why) also he's already got bourne 4 on the horizon, cap is gonna need to start moving pretty soon! Maybe a stretch.....but wot about Ryan Reynolds?

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    • pez463

      Apr 15th 2009, 18:54

      Aaron Eckart would be good.

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    • Gladiatory2k

      Apr 16th 2009, 1:05

      Alexander skarsgard would make a good thor so he would fill those shoes. I think if G.I. Joe launches as well as transformers did, Channing Tatum's stock will sky rocket.

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    • mikem

      Apr 16th 2009, 15:33

      Why not "paul Walker"? He as the look and build of "steve rogers/Capt America. and he can be a serious actor: see "Running scared", to show he could carry off the role, of, Capt America. MikeM.

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    • mightymick

      Apr 16th 2009, 17:15

      Two words: Nathan Fillion.

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    • fineyboy

      Apr 16th 2009, 18:16

      completly agree mightymick nathan fillion is the perfect captain america

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    • rorschach

      Apr 16th 2009, 21:02

      Never thought of Fillion..always saw him as Green Lantern. But maybe... Of all the pics iv heard my vote goes to Eckhart

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    • photoflash

      Apr 16th 2009, 21:21

      Yes...Nathan Fillion Or Even Mark Ruffalo...

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    • ashley.russell

      Apr 16th 2009, 21:33

      Mark Valley was in Boston Legal, not 'Boston Public', just to be pedantic. Nathan Fillion would actually be pretty good I guess, I'm not a fan of the captain myself, I can't see it interesting anyone other than americans and internationals who were already fans of the comic.

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    • bettybanner

      Apr 17th 2009, 0:39

      I'm with Patrick Wilson all the way. I don't think him already being in Watchmen would impede that, since it's so far departed from Captain America in my opinion.

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    • Ballstothewall

      Apr 17th 2009, 11:07

      I've always imagined Brad Pitt filling the role. Expensive yes, but he looks the part has the acting credentials and would give it an edge. Cap isn't a 2D character he isn't all squeaky clean and Pitt could give him that edge.

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    • weirdr0b0t

      Apr 17th 2009, 14:59

      brad pitt would be too old and to be honest, as a massive fillion fan, i wouldn't like to see Nathan Fillion as Captain America, he is just to cool for it!! I do like the idea of Aaron Eckhart though, he has the jaw for it, and probably wouldnt mind a multi film tie in

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    • Amezzeray

      Apr 17th 2009, 16:42

      2 words: NATHAN. FILLION!!!!

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    • whereistheline

      Apr 17th 2009, 16:59

      None of the ones involved in this article, I can't think of anyone I would want to play Capt America.

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    • gazw24

      Apr 17th 2009, 18:20

      How about Ryan Reynolds? Not a huge fan of his or anything, but think he could do it. And do it well.

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