Comic Book Casting: The CABLE Movie

He’s arguably the most popular progeny of a super-hero out there, but in comics he’s older than most of the heroes out there. Marvel’s Cable is one of the most popular new characters created in the past twenty-five years, and Marvel plans to put him against their biggest heroes in 2012’s Avengers: X-Sanction event series. But this half-cyborg half-mutant with a hard-on to stop his dark future has been cutting through comics both as a team player and solo star for over 20 years.

As Marvel flexes its muscles in the world of movies, Cable was one of several surprising projects that the company was wanting to translate into a movie. Given his origin is splayed out over countless comics from X-Factor to New Mutants to X-Force and his own series it might be hard to see a convincing narrative, but there’s one there just waiting to be developed.

The Concept:

The origin of Cable shown in comics is reliant on a number of different characters, but for a solo movie to work he needs to stand on his own. Add to the fact that Marvel doesn’t own the movie rights to the X-Men characters also forces movie-makers hands into making a Cable movie without mentioning his parentage. They could simply re-write it, but there’s a more elegant way to do it. The Cable movie could distance itself from his origins as the son of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor by not mentioning them by name. All it needs its some shadowy figures or perhaps a patchwork assemblage of Cable’s birthday and being spirited away to a future. The main gist that needs to come across is that he was infected by a techno-organic virus and a group from the future comes to the past to offer a way for him to survive – but only by coming to the future with them. This way, comic fans will know and appreciate the connections to the comic book origins, but those who aren’t up on their Cable 101 can get the story without knowing much more.

Once that’s overcome, the movie would take place in dueling storylines – one set in the future and one in the present day. The present day one shows Cable coming to our time to stop a cataclysmic event foretold in his future. In the future it would be building up to that event and his decision to come back to the past in the first place. It might prove complicated, but this double-narrative could show some connective threads between the two timelines that could enhance the overall story.

There are a lot of stray ideas from Cable’s convoluted origin that could be honed into a linear narrative, from the future priestesses Askani to the Zero teleportation unit and Cable’s frequent running-buddies Domino and Six Pack. I’d push Domino to the forefront as Cable’s counterpart in the present-day, and use the Askani to act as the stabilizing force in Cable’s childhood in the future. And of course the big bad of this would be Stryfe. Only until the end of the first movie would you reveal that Stryfe is a clone of Cable. Apocalypse would have a role in this, but I’d leave that to be a shadowy force similar to the Emperor in Star Wars: A New Hope for later use in future installments.

The Director:

To shepherd this time-spanning tale of a man fighting a sinister version of himself, I’d enlist the director of The Road and The Proposition, John Hillcoat. While he might not have the name recognition of other directors of the day, Hillcoat has shown a real positive track record of making movies as event flicks without sacrificing on the story. Hillcoat could steer this away from becoming a Terminator rehash and into a story about a man fighting against time to save a past he never knew.

The Cast:

Cable / Stryfe – Liam Neeson: Some people might argue Neeson is too old, but Cable was originally an older character that was de-aged unofficially by artists to look more youthful and capable… but he’s not. He’s a seasoned warrior who’s seen it all and done it all, and Liam Neeson could show that with aplomb. Forgiven the more comedic aspects of A-Team and bring in his hard edge from Taken and you’ve got the ingredients for a riveting portrayal of the prodigal son of the X-Men. And don’t forget, Neeson would also play Cable’s chief antagonist Stryfe as well.

Domino – Rachel Weisz: Domino has a certain spunkiness that has only been glimpsed in comics, but landing her in this movie as Cable’s main confidante in the present-day scenes could really turn into a scene-stealing performance. Weisz has a natural spunk that she doesn’t get to show off as much as she should, and giving her a cropped haircut, facepaint and some guns could really allow the actress to walk away with the best parts of the movie AND perhaps lead to a solo film of her own.


  1. I personal think Liam Nelson would not make a good choice for Cable just because he doesn’t have the build. I think Stephen Lang would be a better choice because the guy can be a real hard ass like he was in Avatar plus he can pack on the mass to give cable that intemidating look. I also think mainstream audiences would have a real hard time with his back story but i would love to see it .Cable is one of my personal favorite characters.

    • I get that Cable was originally designed to have a hulking build…I think we can chalk that up to Liefeld’s style moreso than anything that’s super-important to who Cable is as a character. I mean, look at his family tree — his father’s nickname is “Slim”!

      So I think Neeson would be a solid choice. Sure, he’s not a Liefeld-style hulk, but I think he can still pull off intimidating. Have you seen Taken? He was pretty badass in that one.

      And Rachel Weisz is a great actress, but (unfortunately) given Hollywood standards, she’s probably too old for the female lead in a comic book movie.

  2. I would nominate Kurt Russell for the role. And correct me if I’m wrong but doesnt FOX own every mutant related character. Especially someone as important as cable. So I don’t see Marvel making a Cable film without FOX.

    Besides, I think an X-Force film would be better. Think hard edge X-men. Cable would recruit some kids from the school to fight an upcoming war and in turn pissing Wolverine off who hunts down Cable for it. The Six Pack who are now Government Agents (Shield if Marvel Allows it) informs Wolverine that they are hunting Stryfe, a mutant terrorist who they think is Cable. A case of mistaken Identity, mutant kids becoming soldiers, x-force teams of the past and present meeting, How could this film go wrong?

  3. Umm, I know I say this a lot, but 3 words: Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

    I don’t know who would make a good Domino, but they’ll never get Rachel Weisz.

  4. Liam Neeson would be a FANTASTIC Cable from a visual stand point. However I think the whole time travel/mech tech/mutant subplots will be too confusing. From that Variety article, Black Panther and Iron Fist would be the easiest to translate. They need to reboot Daredevil too

  5. Dolph Lundgren as Cable
    Michelle Ryan as Domino (2007’s Bionic Woman)

    This cast might be easier to obtain.

  6. I’d pay to see that movie. What I’d be most interested to see is how they create the futuristic bulky weapons. I like in the comics the weapons that are the size of RPGs are basically a shotgun.

    • PLASMA shotguns.

      It’s neat that future, energy-based “advanced” weaponry aren’t as effectively lethal as projectile-based now-guns. I remember characters getting hella shot, but always getting back up (albeit with an angry expression, scorch marks and smoke plumes from the wound).

  7. Thumbs up for anything w/ Rachel Weisz.

  8. I’ve seen the Road and The Proposition and you’re right. Those movies kind of make John Hillcoat a good choice for this.

    I would feel bad for the guy if he had to make it those

  9. Rutger Hauer as Cable

    Summer Glau as Domino

  10. Liam Nesson is a great choice for Cable, his Big Gun would match his His other Big Gun

    Domino needs to be played by Angelina Jolie. I believe she has powers of luck. Also I think GW Bridger needs to be in this.

    Get the director of Hobo with a Shotgun to direct it though.