Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Will Smith as Captain America?

What do you think?


  1. I think it could work, depending on what the movie is about and when it takes place.

    Because if it takes place in the modern day, then I'm all for it, but if it takes place during WWII then I think it would only make sense if he were playing Isaiah Bradley, and I'm not sure they would put Bradley in the movie in the first place.

    On the other hand, there were black soldiers during WWII and a black Captain America would be better at sticking it to the Nazis than an Aryan Captain America would.

  2. Anonymous9:49 AM

    Kind of cool. Only possible problem might be his lack of bulk.

    Otherwise, I think he could do a pretty awesome job.

  3. Anonymous9:49 AM

    Interestingly enough, Bart Sears version of Captain America (from Captain America and The Falcon) always looked sort of African American. It would certainly be an interesting twist, particularly if the film featured him as Steve Rogers and not Isaiah Bradley. However, methinks the geekboys would explode the very moment this was confirmed.

  4. Anonymous10:00 AM

    On one hand, I think I'd really like it if the stereotypical "archetypal American" was a black dude instead of a white dude.

    On the other hand, I kind of have a hard time imagining a movie version making it to the screen that's so superficially different from the comic book counterpart. Last time something like this happened Spider-Man got spike-arms or something and then had to make Satan fix it.

  5. Not happening now, but it would not be a viable choice. It reeks of a studio casting the most popular star in the world, and not someone correct for the role. Tom Cruise as Iron Man? Nope, Downey worked. There would be nothing progressive about a studio looking to make money, and not cast correctly. Smith would have made a better Stark than Rogers, serious Fresh Prince never feels right.

  6. I agree that it would work in a modern setting. I mean, the US military is made up of mostly non white Americans (especiall the grunts) so it would proably be more realistic...

    If they are going to use the marvel origin and bring him into the future from the WWII than get a white actor...

    I think getting a guy who is from 65 years in the past would be better story material and especially how he'd have to cope with the modern world and modern conflicts etc...


  7. Personally, I'm getting tired of Will Smith as "the only black guy who can do science fiction/ superhero characters." Call him "Crossover Man." The superhero who isn't white, but white people will go see in the movies.

    Yes, he was great in Independence Day, and very good in lots of other stuff, but the lesson of Will Smith should be "scifi/ fantasy is not just a vehicle for white men." Instead, the lesson appears to be "scifi/fantasy is just a vehicle for white men and the Crossover Man."

    Captain America certainly doesn't have to be a white man, but if he isn't going to be, Crossover Man is certainly a very uncreative choice.

  8. great
    and Brad Pitt can play the Black Panther

  9. Fanboy meltdown in 3... 2... 1...

    I don't see a problem with Smith as Rogers. It would bring a interesting twist to the origin by blending Roger's with Bradley's. They may have to lose the Captain America as source of inspiration during WWII due to the socio-political attitudes of a large portion of whites during that period. But being a black man out of time would really highlight the changes of over sixty years (similar to Richard in The 4400).

  10. I think it could work, if they made it a period piece. Let's say they make 3 or so Captain America films. Have Rogers be in the first film. Than for the second, you flashback and the show the legacy of the super-soldier serum.

    probably won't happen that way.

  11. This would open up a LOT of issues, I think, and not just for today's fanboys; people who grew up reading the character but later discarded comics might have a mixed reaction, to say the least. On the other hand, one could say, "Well, it worked for Nick Fury, right?"

  12. Sure, why not? Then we can have Brad Pitt play Luke Cage! I mean, if a character's skin color doesn't matter, why not?

  13. I just think back to how they were going to make Robin African-American in the first series of Batman films -- to the point where I think they actually sculpted one of the figures to reflect it. Of course -- pulled.

    I think it would be fine to have Smith as Cap. I do think that Smith is overused and overexposed. But he has that blockbuster quality.

  14. Anonymous12:15 PM


    Yeah. He's well cut, but not beefy. Even in Ali, he was muscular, but he wasn't...I don't know...wide the way Cap's been drawn.

    Not saying it's a deal-breaker. Minor problem. They can pad the suit or something.

    Overall it seems like it'd work. It's actually one of the least offensive blockbuster choices I've heard for a comic book character. Head and shoulders over Nicolas Cage for Superman or Jack Black for Green Lantern.

  15. Why stop there? Let's make him gay and female, while they're at it.

    "I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!"

  16. Doesn't work for me. He doesn't have that ability to make him believe he's anyone but Wil Smith. The cool thing about Downey is that you forgot he was Downey and bought him as Tony Stark.

    I don't think Smith can do that.

  17. I'm all for it. Shake us up.

  18. Better than Matthew McConaughey, but not actually good. I can't see Smith doing another super-hero movie anytime soon, either.

    Chiwetel Ejiofor is my pick for Black Panther. He could be okay as Cap, if they're going that way. Same goes for Denzel. Presence means more to me than bulk.

  19. Like others have said, if it's WWII I don't see the American government with that mindset making a black man their symbol of freedom. It would kind of negate a need for Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech in 20 years.

    And while realistic in idea, I kinda never liked the Bradley retcon to the legend. I feel it adds an unneccessary taint to the story. Yes I can see it happening, yes I admit it's logical, but I always liked the idea that an idealistic young man got his chance to protect democracy because a German scientist realized his country was doing wrong. I also liked this one story I know I read somewhere that Captain America was supposed to be a German secret weapon gone wrong, which is why they picked the blonde-haired blue-eyed Rogers in the first place.

    Now, set in the 20th Century to fight the war on terror, I can see a black Cap. We're progressive enough to acknowledge white doesn't equal America. Especially with Obama running for office, it makes sense.

  20. On the idea of Captain America originating in/prior to World War II and being black: Not only not a problem but actually potentially very realistic. Keep in mind that Steve Rogers was supposed to the first of many super soldiers if not for the death Dr. Erskine.

    So, who would be the most likely people to receive an incredibly dangerous, entirely experimental procedure first during that time period? Well, you could ask those involved in the Tuskegee syphilis experiments in the 1930s, but the answer is obvious: In the America of the 1930s and 1940s, it wouldn't surprise me at all if such experiments wouldn't be conducted first on black Americans.

    I don't know if Will Smith is a great choice, likeable and bankable though he may be (on second thought, yeah, he's probably a great choice). But, I think choosing a black actor to play the part - and writing the movie to reflect the above (perhaps he operated mostly in secret with a fake white Cap doing publicity?) - could make Captain America an even more compelling character.

  21. Anonymous4:27 PM

    How I think it could work, with Will Smith as Captain America...

    Soldiers in the 1940s see a chiseled Steve Rogers Captain America in the newsreel footage. But that's all a propaganda ploy.

    The real Captain America is Will Smith. And he wears a full face mask, to hide from the world that America's patriotic hero wouldn't even be allowed on the front lines alongside white soldiers because of his race.

    History records that Steve Rogers was Captain America. He disappears in the mid-1940s.

    It's now the early 21st century.

    In the Arctic, a man wearing the Captain America uniform is found encased in ice. Everyone believes that it's the blond-haired Captain America.

    They don't know what to think when it turns out that it's Will Smith.

    Here's a twist. Steve Rogers is Will Smith's name. The man everyone thinks is Steve Rogers is actually named Irving or something.

    So, you have the conflict between the myth of the white Steve Rogers and the reality of the black Steve Rogers, while at the same time Steve Rogers has to acclimate to a world where he's just a guy.

    You could even have a scene where Steve Rogers goes to meet Irving, who's now in his mid-90's. He's in a nursing home. He feels guilty, because he's carried the secret that he wasn't really Captain America, the lost symbol of America, for so long, and he feels like he hasn't lived up to Steve Rogers' example.

    There are some interesting possibilities that are opened up by using Will Smith as Captain America, if the World War II origin is kept intact. It would certainly be intriguing, and I think it could potentially be very powerful.

  22. That last part sounds interesting...I might have to rethink my feelings on it.....

  23. wow people are really freaking out because of the colour of his skin? hooray progress!

    if they're going the ironman, light slightly humourous action flick, then i think will smith would work nicely.

  24. Aaron, the opposite argument is also true... If you've got a serum that could potentially create the first in a series of Super-Soldiers, and you're a racist, would you really chance a "Negro" being the first known super-human? When there are plenty of Irish, Italians, and Jews who are "almost white" to use as fodder? Sure, it's an abhorrent train of thought, but in that headspace, it makes more sense not to test on black Americans. There's a world of difference between injecting people with syphilis and pelting them with Vita-Rays, y'know? It's why "Truth" never worked for me.

  25. I don't have a problem with a black Captain America per se but, everything Will Smith touches turns to diarrhea.

    I vote no!

  26. I honestly haven't heard one actor put up for Cap so far who's run true for me as a fan, but I just gotta agree with Frank of there: Chiwetel Ejiofor would make a freaking amazing Black Panther. Heck yes.

  27. First Nick Fury black, now Steve Rogers, obluesly i have tell that´s right, i don´t want be racist.

    But, why not Brad Pitt like Captain American?

  28. Anonymous1:02 PM

    Whiteness is not intrinsic to Captain America in the same way that being black is intrinsic to Black Panther and Luke Cage. "America"-ness is intrinsic to Captain America, and honestly, overhauling Captain America on the big screen as a black guy maybe doesn't just make perfect sense, but it's also exactly the right move.

    It's worked before, although for different reasons. Nick Fury's being gradually replaced in the mythology by Sam Jackson Nick Fury.

  29. tiggerallyn, that's a great twist. I'd pay to see that.

  30. For a while, Captain America was somewhat interesting, but I have frankly found him to be uninteresting character.

    But I likes Tigger's twist (though The American Way series had the hidden black hero), but it's not something Marvel would do. It's one thing to make the Rawhide Kid gay . . . . :)

  31. Hmm... I was going to say, "Awww....hell no" but that's already been used elsewhere, and I can see the possibility...

    A period piece? Well, if you use the Tuskeegee angle, him being the last one that worked, with the Nazis killing the scientist as soon as the process is proven successful... yeah, I could see it. Add a prologue where we see the skinny Rogers watching a newsreel of Jesse Owens at the Berlin Olympics. Then you enlist him in the Army and have him be a cook. In action, he's fully clothed. As a soldier, he takes shit from the "regular" army.

    Want to add more heft to the story? Add the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. (Google it.) Maybe even have them (with Cap) liberate Dachau.

    You could even turn the story by having a company of soldiers discover his ethnicity (but not identity) and having them realize that even though Cap is a negro, his heart and actions show him to be an American. (risky... could be cliche.)

    His bulk? Go rent "Ali".

    So long as he has no participation in the production of the movie, I have no qualms about Smith acting in a Captain America movie.

    If not that, then I want to see a superhero movie where you think the guy's white, but at the end, he's black.

  32. I don't really like Will Smith as an actor. Personally, I can't separate anything he does from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and I honestly don't think we need to see Cap shilling the products long and hard like we saw in I, Product Placement. You know what I'm saying?

    I don't really like the Truth: Red, White, and Black because of the tainting of a character. The book itself was terrible because it just flipped things. The white characters were universally terrible people in the way non-whites are in deliberately racist pieces. The army is depicted as killing thousands of black men on American soil. Nobody really got built up by that story, as far as I'm concerned. There were real black men and women who have stories that could have been told, instead of something that presaged Reginald Hudlin's 'white = evil' Black Panther run.

    Priest, in the Crew, wrote about how Captain America was a white icon when Josiah X felt conflicted about using the powers he had and wearing his father's costume. I doubt that's any less true now than when Mr. Priest wrote it. Plus, if you go Tuskegee angle, you're not going to get the backing from any of the armed forces (even in Michael Bay's Transformers, they had to fight for the Air Force's cooperation because they were worried about how it would look to have Starscream looking like America's newest fighter jet).

    I don't think Denzel Washington would be right for the role, though that might just be me only ever seeing him in cop roles like Training Day, Inside Man, or The Siege. I could see Denzel doing Fury, easy.

    I'd rather have Vin Diesel or the Rock as Captain America.

    And what would you do about Bucky?

    "wow people are really freaking out because of the colour of his skin?"

    There was also a fuss about Michael Clark Duncan playing the Kingpin in Daredevil. People were also, I believe, upset about Bullseye being Irish, so there's at least an element of the typical fanboy resistance to any sort of change to the characters.