It's been something of a surprising year on the comic book movie front. Back at this time in 2013 none of us could have predicted that Batman and Superman would have a summer movie to rival Marvel's Avengers 2 in 2015, or that Avengers 2 would be all about a killer robot named Ultron, let alone big-twist casting announcements like Ben Affleck as the new Batman and James Spader playing said killer robot.
Indeed, "casting" has been the main theme of the last 365 days in superhero movie news, with both Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment taking some big risks on unconventional actor picks to help catapult some obscure and/or big risk films to box office success. From Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel voicing a warrior raccoon and tree alien in Guardians of the Galaxy (respectively), to the controversy of BatAffleck and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman - to the more recent news of Paul Rudd splitting Ant-Man duties with Michael Douglas... We're asking: Which studio is taking the wilder casting risks right now?
There's a poll on the last page if you just want to get your vote on and start arguing in the comments. Otherwise, we'll discuss the films individually in order of release date, according to These Rules:
- We are only discussing the big 2 (DCE and Marvel Studios). If we had to get into crazy casting decisions that third-party studios like Sony (Spider-Man) or Fox (X-Men) make, this whole discussion would go off the rails.
- We are only discussing CONFIRMED casting announcements. Again, if we opened the door to all the rumors, it'd be a doorway to madness.
- We are only discussing CONFIRMED movies. We'll try to update if anything new breaks - but for now, Justice League is off the table.
At the end of the discussion, we'll pool our findings for an overall verdict on which studio is taking the bigger risks. CLICK HERE if you just want the final verdict.
Release date: April 4, 2014
NEW ADDITIONS: Robert Redford, Anthony Mackie, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp
RISK ASSESSMENT: Captain America 2 is on pretty solid ground. For this political-thriller superhero sequel, Marvel added an additional splash of color to their universe (Mackie), added some recent standout character actors in supporting roles (Grillo from The Grey, and VanCamp from ABC's Revenge), as well as a heavyweight icon (Redford). Pretty smart.
With Chris Evans, ScarJo and Sam Jackson also coming back to add their star power to the mix, the Winter Soldier cast is poised to lure in any and all demographics on the chart.
OVERALL RISK: Low - This is the one superhero film where nobody's really complaining about casting. That's a milestone of some kind.