Comic Book Casting: The MOUSE GUARD Movie

Comics have given life to a variety of fantastical stories, with superheroes only just being part of that. One of the most whimsical and creative in recent memory has been David Petersen’s Mouse Guard. Published by Archaia Studios Press, Mouse Guard is about a civilization of anthropomorphic mice living a life akin to medieval times, with sword in hand to make a life for themselves in a dangerous world. The titular Mouse Guard themselves are a group of warriors banded together to act as soldiers and protectors of their brethren, and Peterson’s story shows their ongoing struggle from outside forces like snakes and other predators, as well as threats from their own kind.

Launched in 2005, Mouse Guard was quickly received as a landmark series in comics, receiving a total of three Eisner Awards so far and the title being so popular as to prompt a spin-off anthology series featuring creators hand-picked by Petersen to tell short stories. One story that everyone’s been waiting to see is a movie version of Petersen’s diminutive epic. Back in 2010 the author told CBR that they were in talks with a studio, but nothing concrete has been announced yet. But here’s how we’d do it.

The Concept:

Forget live-action — do you know how hard it is to get a mouse to hold a sword? Instead, I’d go the animated route — but not the all-too-popular CGI that we see everywhere these days. Instead I’d employ methods similiar to Henry Selick’s A Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline, blending stop-motion with computer-assisted animation to create a ground-level world to give viewers the same sense of awe that mice must get traveling in the large world.

For story, Petersen’s already got it mapped out pretty succinctly in the first volume, Fall 1152. From the pacing to the character development, it’s all there waiting to be taken advantage of by movie makers.

The Director:

It’s a no-brainer for me, both creatively and realistically, that Henry Selick should be the one to bring this to life. His track record is pretty impeccable (hey, I liked Monkeybone!), and he knows how to handle quirky material and give it a unique setting. Selick’s also in a good place to do it — in 2010, he was hired by Disney/PIXAR to create a stop-motion animation studio called Cinderbiter that he described as “a new stop-motion company whose mandate is to make great, scary films for young ‘uns with a small, tight-knit crew who watch each other’s backs.” Sounds perfect for Mouse Guard.

The Cast:

Saxon – Ezra Miller: I’d seen him in other roles, but his performance in We Need To Talk About Kevin really sealed the deal for me marking him as one of Hollywood’s up-and-coming stars. Going back to see Beware The Gonzo, he definitely has the chops and the voice to bring the young mouse Saxon to life.

Kenzie – Kevin McKidd: Although he may be the Grey’s Anatomy hearthrob now, I’ll always see McKidd as more of an action star than romantic lead. He’d bring an ideal gruffness to Kenzie that would really carry the film.

Lieam – David Tennant: Tennant played his role in Doctor Who as a bit of a carefree swashbuckler, and I see a lot of that in Peterson’s depiction of young Lieam. Tennant’s does alot of acting with his voice alone, and would be an ideal part of most any animated feature — but this one would be perfect.

Celanawe – Ian McShane: Some people might pigeonhole McShane as the obvious choice for the villain of Mouse Guard, Midnight, but McShane’s got more depth than you give him credit for — and putting him in a more heroic light would give McShane to get outside his comfort zone and deliver something unique.

Gwendolyn – Helen Mirren: Getting Helen Mirren to play this role would be a big coup, and I think she’d be a perfect compliment to the series with her voice and mannerisms.

Midnight – William H. Macy: Best known as a comedic drama actor, I’d love to see Macy play the unassuming armorer-turned-villain in this piece. Go back to films like Fargo and listen to him when he gets mad, then imagine that cranked up to 11 to play Midnight in Mouse Guard.



  1. Humans playing mice? Controversial.

  2. I’ve hardly seen a picture of Helen Mirren that doesn’t make me want to do the dirty with her, even though I’m half her age.