Maslany and Hodge next genre favorites to take on key superhero roles

Two of television’s best genre actors are soon going to be donning superhero garb for the two major comic book movie franchises.  First, earlier this month Disney+ announced Emmy-winning Orphan Black lead actress Tatiana Maslany will be expanding the realm of the Marvel Universe as She-Hulk in her own series.  Then today Black Adam star Dwayne Johnson announced Leverage co-star Aldis Hodge will be joining him to fill bring into the fold one of the last members of the classic Justice League of America to have a major series or movie role.  Hodge will play Hawkman in the Black Adam movie.  Both will be live-action shows.

If you have any doubt that Tatiana Maslany isn’t the perfect choice for any casting decision, just check out her award-winning, multi-character performance in Orphan Black, which we covered throughout its run here at borg.  Before Zoe Saldana took on the green makeup for four Marvel movies beginning with Guardians of the Galaxy, audiences might have doubted the ability for anyone to play Jennifer Walters aka She-Hulk on TV or at the movies.  In the pages of the comics, Walters is Bruce Banner’s cousin, who gets a dose of Banner’s blood after an accident.  This gives her slightly different, less overcharged reactions, but the big difference is she’s fully green–not turning back to her normal self like Banner usually did.  But Saldana has proved “going green” can be done, and Maslany, who has appeared most recently in HBO’s Perry Mason, is an exciting choice for the next superheroine.  She-Hulk isn’t expected until 2022 or later, to appear on the Disney+ streaming service.

Friday Dwayne Johnson–who will star as Black Adam in the movie of the same name about the Shazam universe anti-hero–announced a telephone call he made to Aldis Hodge, welcoming him to the role of archaeologist Carter Hall aka Hawkman (we recommend Tony S. Daniel and Philip Tan’s Savage Hawkman series, reviewed here, to get up to speed).  Hodge became famous as the tech guru on all five seasons of the spy series Leverage, after appearing in many genre staples, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, Supernatural, Castle, Star Trek: Short Treks, Black Mirror, and The Walking Dead, plus movies including two entries in the Die Hard franchise, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, Hidden Figures, and most recently in The Invisible Man.  The key challenge for the film?  Adapting those giant wings in some way that just doesn’t look silly, via CGI, practical effects, or a bit of both.  It’s expected that two more Justice Society of America characters will be cast soon for Black Adam: Doctor Fate and Cyclone.  Don’t look for Black Adam in theaters any time before December 2021.

If you’re looking for a superhero fix, you’ll need to keep waiting because of the unrelenting pandemic.  The Scarlet Witch/Vision series WandaVision is expected on Disney+ later this year.  Black Widow was pushed to May 7, 2021.  Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is slated for theatrical release on July 9, 2021, with Eternals pushed to November 5, 2021.  The Falcon and The Winter SoldierLoki and What If…? still don’t have release dates.  The next Spider-Man sequel was expected in December 2021, Thor: Love and Thunder in February 2022, and Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness was expected in March 2022, but it seems these are likely to slip a year because of the pandemic.  Hawkeye, Moon Knight, and Ms. Marvel Disney+ series will likely come later.

As for the DC Entertainment movies, Wonder Woman 1984 seems to be destined to fail at the box office with a December 2020 release, which seems as likely as not to get delayed again.  James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad has an August 2021 release, followed by The Batman on October 1, 2021, which might be possible if the pandemic is addressed in the interim.  The movie The Flash, expected to have a Michael Keaton appearance as Batman, is scheduled for June 3, 2022.  The sequel to the successful DC Zachary Levi movie Shazam!, called Shazam: Fury of the Gods, is slated for November 4, 2022.  Next on the list of eagerly anticipated projects will be the live-action Justice League Dark, which remains in development.

C.J. Bunce / Editor / borg

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