He may be the butt of every superhero joke among the masses, but Aquaman has been given new life thanks to DC Comics' company-wide 'New 52' relaunch. No longer the 'Super Friend' in spandex who talks to fish, the new and improved Arthur Curry is a tough-as-nails king in the making.
Skills to rival Superman or Wonder Woman have won him a prominent role in not only his own title, but the Justice League series as well, meaning it's more possible than ever that a big screen team-up will include Aquaman. If that's the case, who could be trusted to do the King of the seas justice in live-action?
Here are our picks for 5 Actors Who Could Play Aquaman in Justice League.
The reserved but good-natured star of Spartacus: Vengeance is one of our dark horses in the Flash race, but the casting of Liam McIntyre as Arthur Curry would make the intentions of Warner Bros. clear: this Aquaman's weapons and armor aren't for show, and is certainly not the one made famous alongside his 'Super Friends.' It's a take on the character that would surprise many, but not those familiar with the New 52 version.
Now that Geoff Johns has re-imagined the aquatic hero as one of the most brutal warriors in the world, the opportunity to make Aquaman a fighter (not just a friend to fish) in Justice League is wide open. His first meeting with the rest of the League in the comics sent a clear message that he was a ruthless warrior, and casting McIntyre would do the same.
We have no doubt that McIntyre would be up to the challenge - he's proven his abilities as a leader and combatant on a weekly basis - especially if the studio plans only to use him in a supporting role to heroes like Superman and Batman.
You don't have to look far to see that Alexander Skarsgård is at the top of many Comic-Con attendee's list of superheroes-in-waiting. With a fan-favorite role as True Blood's 'Eric Northman,' the Swedish actor has the kind of appeal to female genre fans that any studio would kill for - and the type of appeal that would go a long way in making an Aquaman movie worthwhile.
Lest we forget, Skarsgård has also proven his abilities as a physical performer, brooding killer, and not-quite-human member of society. Those are all skills and experience that would come in handy with Arthur Curry's life split between the surface-dwelling humans and the underwater kingdom (and love interest) that he can't escape.
He may not be the member of the True Blood cast most vocally campaigning for a role with DC, but a breakout role sending Skarsgård to leading-man status is coming soon. Why not give him a trident and get while the getting's good?
He is one of the few actors currently making a living out of wielding a sword and spear (and drawing audiences every time he does), so casting proven headliner Sam Worthington would be a wise move to attract action fans to the trident-wielding Aquaman's standalone adventures.
While genre fans and the Comic-Con crowd may not see Worthington as an accomplished thespian or unquestionable 'leading man' just yet, there's no denying the one thing he is: bankable. Wrath of the Titans (2012) proved that when Worthington is on hand for a blockbuster, a big box office is a sure thing. That's the kind of mass appeal that die-hard comic fans may not be hoping for, but Warner Bros. needs to count on if they're going all-in on their DC universe heroes.
Worthington's casting might make a deep, introspective look at the weight of a crown or life as a child of two races less likely, but would guarantee some crowd-pleasing action.
As one of the brightest young actors that has yet to hit both financial and critical acclaim headlining a film, Garrett Hedlund seems poised to explode if given the right opportunity. Some might argue that Tron: Legacy was exactly that, or that Tron 3 might be the success Disney hopes for; that may be the case, but it doesn't mean he wouldn't bring a youthful appeal to the Aquaman's angst.
DC and Warner Bros. would have competition, since it's no secret Disney and Marvel both have their eyes set on Hedlund for the future (previously a finalist for Captain America ), and now that Star Wars: Episode VII is a reality - potentially requiring either a young Han Solo or Han and Leia's son Jacen - his stock can only be rising.
Hedlund may be a long shot, but his performances in films like Friday Night Lights (2004) and Four Brothers (2005) convince us he'd do the part justice.
Although plenty of CW fans will demand to see Justin Hartley (Smallville) get a chance at playing Aquaman since his TV pilot, Mercy Reef, was canned, Warner Bros. has an even stronger young star in its employ. We speak of course of Jensen Ackles, one half of the dynamic duo of Supernatural.
Taking a show to its ninth season is impossible without talent and a large fan base to match, so if the studio ever plans to use existing network audiences to help a hero reach mainstream success, Aquaman needs it most. And few command viewer loyalty like Ackles.
Confidence, onscreen charisma and likability are all things that Ackles' 'Dean Winchester' has exuded for almost a decade on TV, with a bit of an edge that would help make Arthur Curry more than a walking joke. Men and women pay the same price for movie tickets, and Ackles has found fans with both; a much-needed boost to any Aquaman film would starting with a proven - and underrated - star.
That concludes our list of actors that we feel could play the solemn, deadly, and proud Arthur Curry on the big screen. As is clear from our range of choices, the actors chosen to bring Aquaman to life in a possible Justice League movie depends largely on the version of the character Warner Bros. and DC wish to take. Ridiculed heartthrob, or future king?
What are your hopes for a live-action take on Aquaman? Do you think the comics have done a solid job of making him dangerous and deadly once again, or are you hoping to see a different approach taken?
Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.
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