By Shaun Leonard
Finally… The Rock has been cast as a superhero. Or perhaps he’ll play his first silver screen villain (we’ll debate The Mummy Returns in the comments I’m sure). This would be against Dwayne Johnson’s usual type, but would surely fit his already meta-human physique. The social media superstar blew up Twitter on New Year’s Eve, confirming that he and DC Comics “will partner up and create the cool bad assery.” in 2014. The question of course is who the WWE People’s Champ will play.
Johnson has been linked to both Lobo and Black Adam in the past, though neither are real possibilities any more. Lobo would be a huge risk and it’s been reported that the Shazam movie was postponed/canned/annihilated due to concerns that Captain Marvel was too similar to the Man of Steel. So below are the top five possibilities (see – guesses) for the tights The Rock might step into.
5 – Doomsday
Johnson explicitly said 2014 was when he was going to engage in DC Comics-related assery. Batman VS Superman is the only property we’re sure is filming in 2014, suggesting that the Rock will be slotting into a role in the already full-to-bursting Man of Steel sequel. We know Lex Luthor will be showing up, but presumably there’ll be a villain in fit enough fickle to engage in fisticuffs with the Last Son of Krypton. The Rock certainly has the physique to play the monstrous killing machine, but it’s doubtful that Doomsday would be introduced in any story that doesn’t involve the death of Superman, which is unlikely to happen in Henry Cavill’s second outing as the Man of Tomorrow.
Quality of Casting: 3/10 The Rock brings a certain electricity to his performances, and his natural charisma is wasted on a character who’s just not that chatty.
Likelihood: 3/10 I think Doomsday’s going to sit in his box for a while longer yet.
4 – Darkseid
Recent reports suggest Justice League could begin filming immediately after Batman Vs Superman, so the whole top tier of the DCU is ripe for rumor mongering. However, for the Justice League to come together they’ll need to face a threat big enough that Superman can’t just murder it to death. Darkseid and the other denizens of Apokolips would surely fit that bill, but there’s a big purple-headed obstacle to introducing the wielder of the Omega Force in the DC Cinematic Universe’s first big team movie. Thanos, apparently the overarching villain of the Marvel films, is just similar enough for cries of copycat to ring out across the rooftops of the Internet. They have similar body types, and , well, Thanos loves Death and Darkseid wants the Anti-Life equation. Of course, Zack Snyder could just ignore an important part of a character’s mythos. Not that he ever would. Perish the thought.
Quality: 5/10 Johnson could play an alien warlord for sure. Whether or not he would be a believable Space Hitler is another thing altogether. If Justice League was going to go for Darkseid as a jackbooted megalomaniac, indoctrinating children into an evil militant society, I’d think that would give The Rock pause to reconsider.
Likelihood: 4/10 I think an alien invasion of some kind is likely in Justice League, but I just don’t see The Rock as an evil mastermind ordering about his Apokoliptian minions.
3 – Hawkman
If there’s one thing The Rock wants his characters to be, it’s epic. You can see the Warner Bros. brass pitching it to him now: Carter Hall, warrior from across the stars and/or from Ancient Egypt, doomed to love and lose forever. Also, he has a mace. “The cool bad assery” anyone?
Quality: 5/10 The traditional Hawkman has always seemed more stoic to me than Johnson tends to act in his bigger budget films. But his shoulder muscles are so big I’d believe it if you told me the man could fly.
Likelihood: 4/10 The Rock as DC’s answer to Thor is a nice idea, but only becomes a possibility if you put a lot of stock in the recent Denzel Washington rumors when it comes to our next candidate…
2 – Green Lantern (John Stewart)
Ryan Reynolds? He was in a superhero movie? Wait, are we counting X-Men Origins: Wolverine? Of course not. Oh! You mean Blade: Trinity. *sound of Warner Brothers Studio Execs whistling*
The Rock can play a soldier. He can play a courageous warrior. He can play a member of the Lantern Corps. If anyone can give life to a lead balloon franchise, it’s Dwayne Johnson. The dollar bills just click into place.
Quality: 7/10 The Rock comes from a military family, so he’d have the motivation and resources to give life to Stewart’s background. More importantly, Johnson’s bald and bearded look is like a freeze frame from Justice League: Unlimited.
Likelihood: 7/10 I wouldn’t be surprised if Batman VS Superman continues Man of Steel’s trend of superheroes interacting with the military. If I’m right, we could see Johnson as a soldier on the ground, showing his bravery in the thick of a superpowered fight (that, admittedly, is probably killing thousands of people). The path to the Power Ring is paved with greenbacks, so it may come down to Denzel saying yes or no.
1 – Cyborg
The origin of the Justice League has many versions, but the New 52niverse might not be the worst place to start. The most logical reason for The Rock to strap on an arm-cannon? He looks like a grown up Victor Stone. Despite Cyborg usually being younger than the other heroes, the trend for Batman and Superman has been older than usual, so why not Cyborg? Plus, the hero wouldn’t be that well known to the average moviegoer, so Johnson could put a real stamp on the live-action version of the character.
Quality: 9/10 He’s half man-mountain half-robot. This is in the very epicenter of The Rock’s wheelhouse.
Likelihood: 9/10 My money is firmly on Cyborg more than any other property I can think of. Do with that what you will.
Shaun Leonard is an Irish film, tv and comics journalist currently based in Las Vegas, NV. Follow him on Twitter @shaun_leonard if you’d like to see him layeth the smacketh down on some #candyasses. He podcasts for film and television at http://isitabicycle.com/ .