Who Should Play Captain America?

Published 6 years ago by , Updated August 14th, 2013 at 3:52 pm,

jon hamm captain america1 Who Should Play Captain America?
Jon Hamm as Captain America (thanks to Screen Rant reader “stpau1y”)

I really should re-title this post “Who CAN Play Captain America?” Because let’s face it – we here at Screen Rant have been running these speculative pieces for awhile now, fantasy casting our favorite upcoming comic book movies (See: Lobo, Batman 3 or Fantastic Four). And while it’s all in good fun to pretend that we have control over the movie universe, so far most of these castings have primarily been about picking actors we think best correspond to our particular mental images of our favorite heroes.

That is until we arrived at this point, trying to cast the titan, the legend, an American icon and symbol: Captain America, star of Marvel’s upcoming film The First Avenger which will serve as the lead-in to Marvel’s 2011 superhero team event, The Avengers.

Suddenly the issue has become bigger than the actors or what’s been inked into the comic book pages over the years – casting Captain America is like trying to cast someone to play (and represent) the American Flag itself. Taken like that, the decision process requires a whole new set of criteria – and (unfortunately), comes with the burden of a whole lot of politics.

So who is up to the task of playing Cap?


Captain America cannot go the G.I. Joe route. There will be no scrubbing the word “America” from the title of this film like it’s some dirty word; the Captain will stay American, if for no other reason than the name “Captain World” or “Captain Continents” just sounds silly. While there have been early rumors that the WWII storyline for The First Avenger will feature an international band of heroes who cross paths with Cap (for obvious reasons of international appeal), it has been confirmed that the Star-Spangled Avenger himself will be portrayed just as we remember him on the page.

captain america bucky alex ross Who Should Play Captain America?

But who is Cap, really?

Captain America is indisputably a superhero who has transcended the page on which he was created – like Superman, like Batman. But unlike those other two heroes, Cap has achieved iconic status over the last half-Century largely without the aid of the mass media machine (no top-grossing toy lines, feature films, TV shows or video games). Even Cap’s ongoing comic book series was something of a dinosaur by the time I became a fanboy in the late 80s-90s.

No, Captain America has endured in a way that is all but extinct in this modern age where everything is YouTube archived: In people’s hearts and minds, as a symbol, more than a hero – as an ideal, more than a character. Americans who are reading this, I don’t have to tell you just how politically divided our nation has become in The New Millennium; that political civil war has raged so long and violently that at height of the upheaval (2007 leading into the 2008 election) Marvel decided to kill-off Captain America, arguably as a metaphorical declaration that American idealism (everything Cap was and stood for) was dead and gone. Of course soon after that – as is the standard in the comic book biz (and/or a sickly ironic example of the power of Hollywood) – Marvel brought Cap back (see video below). After all, who would want to see blockbuster film about a dead hero? (No disrespect to you, Deadman.)

Now, we could sit here and argue all day about the narrative tricks Marvel pulled to bring Cap back (the gun that assassinated him actually “froze him in time???”); we could debate over whether or not Cap was brought back as a symbolic gesture (Marvel Comics declaring that America has “found its way back to its “lost idealism”), or simply as a  fi$cal-minded move, designed to help build The First Avenger upon the strongest foundation possible.

But this ain’t a forum for political left-right-middle argument, my friend – this is where we geek-out over comic book stuff! Now that Cap IS back from the dead and the movie is in the pipeline, the question turns to which actor can possibly take on the monumental task of not only elevating Captain America above and beyond the wide divide of modern politics, but which leading man can make Cap a hero (and a star) to movie goers all over the world, while never losing that quintessential quality of being first and foremost one of the great American originals?

(See pg. 2 for our Captain America criteria)

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  1. Mark Valley is truly the best choice.West Point graduate. U.S. Army officer. Decorated Gulf War veteran.He looks EXACTLY like Steve Rogers and is a good actor.America's hero would be portrayed by an American hero.(They could even put that on the movie poster:-)But if you wanted to go with a “big name”.Matt Damon could do the role justice.He is physically huge in Invictus and we all know he can handle action scenes.he has the gravitas to hold his own against Robert Downey Jr. and Samuel Jackson.But I will be disapointed if he gets the role.Mark Valley has command presence and would be convincing as the leader of the Avengers.Too old??? My reply,is C-G-I:-)Seriously check out Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button or Ray Winstone in Beowulf and you can see how a little CGI could erase a few critical years from Mr. Valley's physical age.He would be a perfect Captain America.

  2. By the way,just to show how easily the ball is dropped…
    Not too long ago there was a huge controversy about Terence Howard being replaced by Don Cheadle for Ironman 2. Originally it was envisioned that after Ironman,eventually Howard would be spun off into his own franchise featuring James “Rhodey” Rhodes as War Machine.Part of this was predicated on Robert Downey's then status as a Hollywood has-been.That is why Howard was actually paid more than Downey for the first Ironman film.(That can be verfied easily.Check it out.) But Ironman became a hit beyond expectation and Downey became an A-lister.Howard soon found himself fired from the sequel.The powers that be claimed all kinds of reasons,but tipped their hand by replacing him with Don Cheadle.Instead of a tall,handsome,ladies' man/leading man type as Jim Rhodes is depicted in the comics,we get a short,unattractive,character actor who could never be a credible action hero,but is a perfect sidekick and foil.That is why Terence Howard was not replaced with Michael Ealy,Vin Diesel,Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson or Tyrese Gibson. Will Smith has been mentioned(wrongly) as a viable option to play Cap.No one has mentioned he would have been a pretty good James Rhodes.I am not a fan of Will Smith.But the Philadelphian might have jumped at the chance to play one of the few black superheros,and a superhero who also hails from the City of Brotherly Love,and he would have done well.

  3. Check out this headline:

    “Clive Owen Replaces Paul Walker in PROTECTION”

    It goes on to say… “While Production Weekly tweeted about it yesterday afternoon, Empire Online confirms that Clive Owen will replace Paul Walker in the action-thriller, Protection.”

    Maybe Paul Walker got selected, and choose not to do this movie???

  4. John Cena should play Captain America!!!!!!!!
    Cena,Cena,Cena!!! HELL YEAH BROTHER

  5. Scott Porter IS Captain America! No one would work harder, or portray this character with more honesty.

  6. Scott Porter IS Captain America. No one would work harder to bring an honest portrayal of this character.

  7. kellan lutz or taylor lautner should play captin america

  8. Why are all the Super Heroes White Dudes? America IS a melting pot you know. There is no time like the present to have an Ethnic Super Hero. There are none that I know of. Now is just a good a time as ever and my choice would be Xzibit. Its time he played a cool role. Provide the opportunity for other cultures to prove that they too have heroes among. Black President- Black Super Hero. Now digest that.

  9. Thomas Lane should play Captian America.

  10. Thomas Lane should play Captian America.

  11. Hey, Champion,

    Guess you never heard of:

    The Black Panther
    Luke Cage (aka Power Man)
    John Stewart (aka Green Lantern)
    Bishop (From X-Men)
    Cloak (of Cloak and Dagger)
    Chapel (of Youngblood)
    Static Shock (and pretty much all of DC's Milestone imprint)
    Falcon (Cap America's partner for a time)
    War Machine / Jim Rhodes

    Among MANY MANY others. I just used African (American) heroes – not even all ethnicities.

    Guess the real question is: why aren't YOU reading more “ethnic” super hero comic books? Isn't that the way to get them more exposure?

  12. Although Ben Affleck was already cast as Daredevil, I seriously think that he would make a great Captain America.

    That blue eyes,
    The height,
    The old-school swagger..