Comic Book Casting: The LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES Movie

Legion_of_Super-Heroes_II_07You’re a fanboy. Argue all you might at the moniker, if you like comics so much you’re reading a comic website about them then you’re a fanboy. And that’s okay. So are the Legion of Super-Heroes.

First introduced back in 1958 as a superhero fan club from the 30th Century that idolized the heroic age of DC in the 20th Century, they’ve grown to become their own pantheon in their own times. And while in comics they sometimes get overshadowed whenever Superboy, Supergirl or Superman come to their time period, it’s a potent squad and concept that could easily become a movie phenomenon.

How? Glad you asked.

The Concept:

Although most comic concepts are repeatedly pulled back to retell their origins, the Legion of Super-Heroes don’t often get that liberty. Yes, it’s been done before — but it’s interesting at how when DC rebooted their comics with “New 52” they didn’t. But beneath the years, decades and centuries of time, the root concept is something worth excavating and celebrating.

As I said, when they first showed up in comics back in 1958 they were part of a self-professed “super-hero fan club”, traveling back to the 20th Century to see their idols up close and personal. For a Legion of Super-Heroes movie, I’d show those gushing cape nerds in their time period with their interests far removed from life in the 30th century. Mark Waid and Barry Kitson’s 2004 Legion of Super-Heroes revamp did some of this, showing an outside world that is heavy-handed and Orwellian with the Legion attempting to rebel against that by tying their hopes and ambitions to stories of superheroes from a bygone era 1000 years before they were born.

I would avoid having them time travel to the present day just yet, instead showing this brash quartet of would-be heroes organizing under the Legion name (and only being half-serious), but thrust into a society-changing movement rebelling against their culture. At first it’s just fun and celebrity-type exploits, but then it gets serious.

In terms of style, this is teenage angst and rebellion. Reverently irreverent — reverent to the bygone age of superheroes but irreverent to the status quo in the 30th century .

The Director:

For me, one of the biggest drawbacks to the Green Lantern movie was the outer space moments that robbed Hal of the personal connection to the story (and the viewer), but be that as it may Legion of Super-Heroes must work ONLY in that arms-length distance. To do that, I’d enlist Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer. His last film Gangster Squad didn’t quite pan out at the box office, but his promise from Zombieland is still there and waiting to be capitalized on.

For Legion of Super-Heroes, I’d use Fleischer to capture that irreverent reverence to superheroes I mentioned earlier, making this super-hero revival look authentic but also full of cracks of youthful exuberance. That, and a massive special effects budget.

The Cast:

Cosmic Boy / Rokk Krinn – Alden Ehrenreich: Forgive me, but isn’t “Rokk Krinn” one of the most bad-ass names in comics? I think the team can use their superhero names in a joking manner, but I’d mainly go by their real names — especially when it’s Rokk. Back off my tangent, I’d love to have Beautiful Creatures‘ Alden Ehrenreich, who previously starred in Francis Ford Coppola’s Tetro. He can be that leader-type the role needs, but also isn’t a one-note type that some heroes like this fall into.

Saturn Girl / Imra Ardeen – Mia Wasikowska: Arguably the most accomplished of all the LOSH when they start, and so is Mia. Mia got her big break starring in Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland, but what made her ideal for this role for me was in The Kids Are All Right. She’s not your traditional leading lady for an action movie, and that’s just one of a number of reasons why she’s right for this role.

Lightning Lad / Garth Ranzz – Thomas McDonell: Garth’s a hard role to play; he’s the hothead of the group, but he’s  much more than. So for casting someone to play a young Garth and potentially on through his more trying years, I chose Dark Shadows‘ Thomas McDonell. His most expansive role was in the Disney flick Prom, and I think he has more than he’s letting on. His hair color might need some sorting out, but in every other category he’s aces for this role.

Brainiac 5 / Querl Dox – Jack Gleeson: The original Brainiac never quite jelled for me, but I absolutely love Querl Dox. And to see this role brought to live I’d pick Game of Thrones’ impetuous prince Jack Gleeson. It might be hard for someone to see Gleeson as anything more than Prince Joffrey, but I think he’d be the sleeper hit of the movie.



  1. Joffrey as Brainiac… Brilliant.

    I love the fact that he comes with the baggage of Joffrey role for the viewers as mentioned in the article… A similar viral response to how Brainiac 5 is judged with the history of the other Brainiacs. Rationally they’re not related, but emotionally you’re just wired to hate his guts.

  2. Y’know, I wasn’t really sold on this movie until I read the article. The director of “Zombieland” on something like this is an interesting choice, but if both movies had the same uncouth humor then i’m convinced. I like the casting of Jack Gleeson as Brainic 5, perfect choice. The others I’m less familiar with, but I can’t see why they’re not good as well. To me, this might be the best vehicle for the JL movie. DC has not had a team movie yet, and has struggled to get heroes besides Batman and Supes successful film franchaises. The Legion has the benefit of starting out as a team, and not a bunch of solo heroes banding together to form a team. The Legion is the heroes, the heroes are the Legion. If it does well, then maybe some kind of time-travel (Marvel’s ahead again tho) movie showing the forming of the League or something close to that. I don’t want to put all my bets on “Man of Steel” to be the vehicle for a JL movie with the track record of DC movies so far. Legion seems like a good back-up plan. Of course the main goal should be to make a good movie.

  3. I’d like to see a DC Animation adaption of (DnA) Legion Lost. I think with a few cosmetic tweaks it would make a great movie.