Comic Book Casting: PLANETARY TV Series

Early on in the build-up to the debut of the comic series Planetary some years ago, an editor described it as X-Files set in the landscape of super-heroes and genre fiction. Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner and the Drummer were dubbed “Archeologists of the impossible,” and over the course of ten years and 27 issues they documented a strange world that looked like ours with the imagination turned up to 11. For both writer Warren Ellis and artist John Cassaday it became one of the seminal works of their career.

With the series (finally) concluded and both creators moving on to other projects, the series is ripe for an adaptation. Planetary has been optioned for both TV and film on more than one occasion, but the development never made it’s way into production for reasons unrevealed. Maybe they needed a cast – maybe they needed us to do it for them!

The Concept:

Although some might argue that Planetary is only fit for a movie screen due to the fantasy elements and sci-fi scenarios, the story itself is more condusive for serialized television – and as we’ve seen with Lost, Fringe and Terra Nova, it can be done. Using the over-arching storyarc from the comic interspersed with stand-alone episodes that further explore the concepts glazed over in the comics, a Planetary series could be every genre fans’ wet dream. Imagine what AMC’s The Walking Dead did for horror, but with science fiction.

The Creative Masterminds:

While most people would reach for the stars and enlist an A-list movie director to flesh out this concept on TV, realistically you can’t expect that. I’d enlist two TV veterans who have a history with this kind of television: Glen Morgan & James Wong. This writing/producing duo have a string of hits from X-Files to Final Destination under their belts, as well as some short-lived memorable works like Millenium. Although Wong’s recently directed features, he could be brought in to set the tone for the series in the pilot and let Morgan handle the day-today.

In addition, I’d bring both Warren Ellis and John Cassaday on in similar capacities as Kirkman was included in The Walking Dead (if Ellis & Cassaday are up for it). Ellis has long had an interest in writing for film and television, and Cassaday went so far as directing a later episode of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse. The comic series itself could be a visual bible for the book, and Cassaday could be invaluable to help define the series look and feel.

The Cast:

Elijah Snow – Clive Owen: I know, I know…he’s a movie star. But Clive Owen got his start in British TV, and since Owen’s yet to cement himself as a lead actor able to carry a hit picture, maybe getting involved with a high-end TV product like this isn’t outside the realm of possibilities. Owen could definitely handle the brooding nature of Snow, and even his superiority complex. As for the white hair? I’d have to see it to make sure.

Jakita Wagner – Monica Raymond: Wagner is in many ways the backbone of the Planetary team, acting both as the muscle and the balance in the group’s action. For this I’d bring in the Lie To Me actress Monica Raymond, who carries herself like she could punch a tank but not without looking good in the process. She also has the mouth to stand up to Owen-as-Snow just as Jakita could.

The Drummer – Christian Kane: The enigmatic Drummer is a hard role to cast, but ultimately I’d dig into the Whedon-verse and enlist Angel alum Christian Kane. He’s currently starring in the TV series Leverage, but I’d love to see him find his way into the Planetary series. He’s in a band, so he knows rhythm.


  1. You were doing great… and then you cast Kane. No way in hell can his limited range pull that off.

    Also, I kind of imagine Drummer younger and with a higher pitched voice.

  2. Can’t John Cassaday just play Drummer?

  3. Seth Green would be the BEST Drummer.

  4. I think Emile Hirsch is a better choice for Drummer. And isn’t Snow American? He should be played by Chris Cooper.

  5. Christian Kane is an unexpected and inspired choice for Drummer, he’d be perfect in the role. Hell of a singer too, although I’m not sure that would be called upon.

  6. Elijah Snow – Kiefer Sutherland

    Jakita Wagner – Merrin Dungey

    The Drummer – Scott Grimes

    Ambrose Chase – Richard T Jones

    Randall Dowling – Colin Hanks

    Kim Suskind – Peta Wilson

    William Leather – Dax Sheppard

    Jacob Greene – Adam Baldwin

    Axel Brass – Don Johnson

    Anna Hark – Ziyi Zhang

    John Stone – John Lithgow

    Jim Wilder – Josh Randall

  7. Boy, would I love to see this as a cable TV series. Could you imagine how wild it would be to see all these events from the comic played out live? Too awesome.

    Never thought of Clive Owen, but he would probably be a good choice. I was trying to think of someone older, but not too old. I could see Harrison Ford in the part, but he’d never do it – too much of a long-term job.

    Don’t recall seeing Monica Raymond in anything, but she’s a looker.

    Seth Green FTW as The Drummer.

  8. Forgot to check back. Would LOVE Seth Green as the Drummer.

  9. Just read the series and not to dig up a very old thread but reading this I realised that for me the team would look more like

    David Morrisey as Snow

    Monica Raymond seems solid for Jakita

    And Dominic Monaghan as the Drummer

    with Mark Valley popping up as Axel Brass