It’s no secret that video game movies have been more miss than hit. The annals of modern film history are filled with notorious busts that attempted to cash in on the fandoms of gamers. No-brainers like Doom and Hitman are stripped of everything that made them great and reduced to poorly conceived efforts that fail to live up to their namesakes. And don’t even get us started on what happened with Super Mario Brothers.
Still, that hasn’t stopped film studios from trying. The crossover market between gamers and movie lovers is wide enough that the hint of a game’s popularity is enough to fill the eyes of movie executives with dollar signs. This summer’s Warcraft might just spur a resurgence of game movies if it’s successful and Hollywood has plenty to work with if they ever figure out how to do it right. Metroid, for example, has long been a series that fans have wanted to see on the big screen. Now, at least one heavyweight has expressed interest in suiting up as Samus Aran.
Actually, it was a Bantamweight. In a recent interview with Gamespot, former UFC Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey suggested her willingness to take on the role of Samus, should a Metroid film ever get off the ground. In addition to expressing her love for gaming in general, Rousey spoke highly of the character, telling Gamespot:
“I've always wanted to be Samus. That would be badass. I love how people found out later that it was a hot chick on the inside…I hope they make a movie out of that.”
Rousey has, in recent years, parlayed her success in the ring into a burgeoning career as an actress, starring in Furious 7 and The Expendables 3. While she’s had success in action movies, we’re forced to wonder if she’s got the chops to pull off a character with as much depth and as much history as Samus Aran. Anyone who steps into the suit will have to have the charisma to carry the narrative more or less on their own - and while Rousey has (no surprise) proven that she can handle an action scene well, she hasn’t quite proven herself as a leading lady either.
She certainly looks the part, however, and there can be no doubt that she’s got all the ass-kicking ability Samus needs, which in theory could take her far. But she’s far from the only female badass capable of pulling off the role, and as fandom culture has proven time and again, the wrong casting choices can make or break a movie with its base.
With so much lore to pull from, there are a lot of ways a Metroid movie could work. It could, for example, focus on a younger Samus just getting started on her career as an alien slaying badass. A youthful Aran could explore her roots, taking place before her battle with Mother Brain even. Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass) would be an interesting choice as an early day Samus, setting up a series that eventually flows into her adventures as featured in the games. Or they could cull directly from the existing series, portraying an experienced space marine in the battle of her life. For this route, a slightly older actress like Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy) or Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad) could bring the kind of depth the character needs to shine on the big screen.
It might also be interesting to explore an older Samus, perhaps pulled from retirement after a new enemy emerges to threaten humanity. Here, they could pull from all over the lore, creating a new story that nods to the entirety of Samus’s history. Someone like Uma Thurman (Kill Bill), Ali Larter (Heroes), or even Julianne Moore (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay) could work well if this, admittedly risky, route is taken.
While this is all speculative, and there’s no way of knowing whether a Metroid movie could happen anytime soon anyway, the demand for big screen Samus has been rising for years, reaching a fever pitch in the last few months. Back in August, Nintendo suggested they were looking at bringing their franchises to the big screen. Several months later, Rainfall Films released an 11 minute fan film based on Metroid, “The Sky Calls”, to much acclaim online. At this point, the tide seems to be moving in Metroid’s favor - and if Rousey’s interest starts moving some gears, then all the more power to her.
We'll let you know if (when?) a Metroid film adaptation enters development.