FANCAST- Defenders of the Earth
So, how would the classic 80s show look on the big screen?
DEFENDERS OF THE EARTH
So, I attempt to bring you a fancast based on yet another classic 80s cartoon show- Defenders of the Earth. At various times, I wanted to do a Phantom fancast, a Flash Gordon fancast... but in the end, I decided on this one. Of course, it isn’t Avengers by any stretch of imagination. But, what can I say, I like doing these hitherto lesser done fancasts. For my previous fancasts, look under “SEE ALSO”.
So here we go-
PLOT SYNPOPSIS FOR THE MOVIE:
*Author notes- Starts something like how the cartoon show started.*
When Flash Gordon, his wife Dale Arden and his 15 year old son Rick finally embark on a return to Earth from the planet Mongo, they are ambushed by the forces of Ming the Merciless. Dale sacrifices herself to help her husband and son escape.
EARTH: FIVE YEARS LATER
*Author Notes- I am looking at a more ‘realistic’ version of the team. Unlike in the cartoons, it is not set too far into the future- maybe 2019 or something, which is odd as I was just recently watching Blade Runner.*
World famous billionaire magician Mandrake is performing at [some stadium] when Flash Gordon’s spaceship crash lands. Mandrake passes it off as a trick and then makes the spaceship disappear when the authorities arrive and arranges it to be airlifted to his island home of Xanadu. Flash Gordon is welcomed by Mandrake’s friend Lothar, his son L.J and Kshin, an orphaned boy who has been adopted by Mandrake. There Mandrake and the others learn of Ming the Merciless from who poses an imminent threat to Earth.
Elsewhere, the apparently disappearing space shuttle ( Flash’s) and more extraterrestrial activity detected by the Magellan Telescope at the far end of the solar system has the world governments in chaos, but none more so than the United Nations . Chief Task Co-ordinator Diana Palmer has visitors from far away who could be more than useful – her husband, Christopher Walker, and daughter, Jedda. *AUTHOR’S NOTES- I’d love Walker being portrayed in a dark trenchcoat with a hat when he’s not in his iconic suit.*
As a favour to his wife, he visits Mandrake, who is an old acquaintance but the relationship has turned sour due to heretofore unknown factors. These stalwarts put their differences aside and join forces against the Merciless Ming to thwart his attack- to defend Earth!
Now for the casting.
1. The Phantom
"I swear to devote my life to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty, and injustice, in all their forms, and my sons and their sons shall follow me"
The Oath of the Skull had been taken so many centuries ago. But The Phantom still walked the Earth. Not having any superpowers, he relies on weapon skills, martial arts, physical strength, wits and most importantly a fearsome reputation, to strike terror into his enemies and defeat them.
Watched him on Lost and Speed Racer. He is a versatile actor but hasn’t had a major film role yet (Alex Cross would change that I guess). I can totally see him as the Phantom, especially the slightly older but still physically peaking version needed here.
AS SEEN IN- Speed Racer, Lost (TV Series).
2. Mandrake the Magician
His magic is based on hypnosis and illusion. Frequently, Mandrake "gestures hypnotically", and his subjects see illusions. He is a master manipulator. Of course, he’s also a billionaire and has Lothar for a friend. He owns an island off the Atlantic Sea named Xanadu which would act as their base of operations as the film progresses.
To be honest, Rhys Meyers was my initial pick till I realized he did not fulfil the age criteria. Then saw MrMurdock’s fancast and was sold to the idea that Burke could play Mandrake. Not a huge fan of the Twilight movies but I have watched a couple and he played his role well. Also liked him in Drive Angry. Most importantly, he looks the part.
AS SEEN IN- Twilight Franchise, Drive Angry, 24 (TV Series).
3. Flash Gordon
Yale Graduate... Pro Polo player... Legendary Space Adventurer! Flash Gordon has done it all. The film will portray Flash a tad older than the solo series, who is returning to Earth after all his adventures in Mongo and other planets.
What can I say- in most of his roles, he is cocky, full of himself, yet has all the good intentions- Flash Gordon written all over. He also looks like how I’d imagine an older Flash to be.
AS SEEN IN- The Mentalist (TV Series), The Devil Wears Prada.
Lothar is Mandrake's best friend and crimefighting companion. Mandrake first met Lothar during his travels in Africa. Lothar was "Prince of the Seven Nations", a mighty federation of jungle tribes; but forbore to become king and instead followed Mandrake on his world travels. Lothar is often referred to as "the strongest man in the world". He is also an able mechanic and master tactician.
At the offset, I did not take this one from MrMurdock. Simmons was always my favourite to play the role. He is an award winning actor and will add more than just brawn to the role.
AS SEEN IN- NYPD Blue (TV Series), Spartacus (TV Series).
5. Rick Gordon
Richard is an impulsive computer genius and the son of Flash Gordon. At the beginning of the film is 15-16 years old. Grows to be around 20 thereafter.
Impulsive is the main word isn’t it? I could see him fit into the character personality wise. Was good in ‘In Time’, which incidentally was taken from a Mandrake plot.
AS SEEN IN- I am Number Four, In Time.
This isn’t that big a role but as good as he was in ‘We Bought a Zoo’ he should do a proper job of it.
AS SEEN IN- We Bought a Zoo, Supernatural (TV Series).
6. Jedda Walker
The daughter of the Phantom. There is an underlying theme of attraction between Rick and Jedda.
She is garnering a bit of a rep as a scream queen with her horror movies. But she is an educated actress and is good enough for the role.
AS SEEN IN- Crazies, Friday the 13th.
Short for 'Lothar Jr.', L.J. is the street-wise martial arts expert son of Lothar, and becomes Rick's best friend.
Michael B. Jordan
I recently watched Chronicle and i think he did a very good job and was the best of the three acting-wise. This role would be the next step in his evolution, I guess.
AS SEEN IN- Chronicle, Red Tails.
Kshin is an orphaned boy adopted by Mandrake and trained as his apprentice. As the youngster of the group, he is anxious to prove his worth.
Brandon Soo Hoo
How many young Asian actors do you know who are this talented?
AS SEEN IN- Tropic Thunder, GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra.
9. Ming the Merciless
He is the evil overlord who rules the Planet Mongo and is Flash Gordon’s arch enemy. After Flash Gordon escapes Mongo, he tracks his ship to Earth and prepares an invasion.
He is one of the most intense actors I have seen. And I love how he portrays his villainous roles on screen. Contrary to popular notion, Ming is not Asian. Mandarin is Asian because he was born in China and belongs to Ghenghis Khan’s bloodline and all that. But Ming is an Alien being having nothing to do with the continent of Asia. Rourke could really make the ‘Merciless’ in Ming’s name count!
AS SEEN IN- Iron Man 2, Sin City, Immortals
Son and heir apparent to Ming’s Empire. Despises his father as much as he despises Flash Gordon. Develops a liking for Jedda and looks to make her his queen when he eventually ascends to the Thone.
I was looking for a particular type of actor who could play the ‘strife with one’s own self’ type of character and Theon Greyjoy came to mind.
AS SEEN IN-Game of Thrones (TV Series).
11. Dale Arden/ Dynax
Sweetheart/ Wife of Flash Gordon and mother of Rick who is slain by Ming at the beginning as she helps Flash and Rick escape. Her “psyche” which is extracted thereafter by Ming to find Earth, is thereafter used to make the super computer at the Defenders’ base.
She could do the role, given she won’t have much screen time, and being a fantastic voice actor, could thereafter voice for Dynax.
AS SEEN IN- You Don't Mess with the Zohan, Thundercats (voice).
The Phantom’s wife and Chief Task Co-ordinator at the UN.
No particular reason why I chose her. I was basically looking for a middle aged, but still attractive looking woman. The role isn’t very big on screen time, so she could probably do it. One thing that did cross my mind however is the fact that Kristy Swanson played Diana Palmer in the, albeit disastrous, Phantom movie and also played Buffy. Charisma is yet another Buffy alum, I guess.
AS SEEN IN- The Expendables, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV Series).
Guran is The Phantom’s best friend and the Chief of the Forest Tribes. He should appear in flashbacks narrating (with voiceover) ‘Old Jungle Sayings’ about The Phantom which will outline Phantom’s acts. For example, on The Phantom’s first screen appearance, the voiceover would be like “When the jungle sleeps, The Phantom Wakes”.
In a fight scene, The Phantom comes straight up against one of the henchman, who freezes in fear.” [voiceover]Better to stare into the tiger's eyes than into the cold eyes of the angry Phantom.”
One of the scenes could have The Phantom move extraordinarily quick to evade and attack and then beat the enemy. “[voiceover]Great cat is quick, the Phantom is quicker.”
I’m getting carried away with this. You get me, right?
Charles S. Dutton
As you may have realised, again not a very big role. But Charles Dutton has had a career worth of good roles and will do the role justice.
AS SEEN IN- Rudy, Alien 3.
14. Hans Zarkov
Eccentric genius scientist who half-kidnaps Flash and Dale on his experimental rocket ship which thereafter lands in Mongo. He is seen in flashbacks as Flash is telling his story to the others.
Honestly, the only criteria was an old Russian actor. That I remembered the supremely talented Baskin is just luck (and a lot of Google-ing).
AS SEEN IN- Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Spiderman 3, Angels and Demons.
That’s it, folks.
I do hope you like it. Comments and constructive criticism welcome. I am working on a couple more classic cartoons. Hope to bring them forward soon enough. Unless of course, this particular one is a disaster and I’m advised never to cast again!
FANCAST- Masters of the Universe
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