Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Should Will Smith play Captain America?

There are various reports and speculation out there that Marvel is courting Will Smith to play Cap in the First Avenger: Captain America movie they plan on releasing in 2011.

Though many fans will cry sacrilege, I think it's a great idea.

Of course making Captain America a black man changes the character hugely. The movie will be set in the 1940s and there is no avoiding the fact that racial prejudice was widespread at the time.

But that opens up huge story possibilities and makes Cap’s story much more interesting. It’s pretty obvious how they could play it – being the only successful super soldier subject, a black Steve Rogers is put into the propaganda role of “Captain America” – a situation neither he nor the military is entirely comfortable with.

I think that the best Cap stories have always come from exploring the chasm between the ideals of America and the realities of the country. The dichotomy of having a black man as the symbol of America in a time of segregation illustrates that tension simply and strongly.

It also serves to heighten the conflict with the Nazis. There is a reason that the urban legend "Hitler refused to shake Jesse Owens hand during the 1936 Berlin Olympics" holds such power and continues to be repeated. A black Captain America being the perfect human specimen is a dramatic contradiction of the vile racial theories that were so integral to the Nazi ideology.

I hope the rumours are true and the negotiations with Smith work out.


  1. Hi there. Mike Sterling sent me :-)

    I'd love to see a Will Smith scenario play out as you described if only to watch the nerds twitch.

  2. Heck, name him Isaiah Bradley and have the movie remix Steve and Isaiah’s origin stories and I’d be down with it.

  3. I'd love to see Will Smith as Cap, it would allow for huge story potential as outlined above and allow a healthy distance between the comics & the films, limiting the predictable 'it's not a faithful adaptation' whine.

  4. sounds great !!!! maybe we could have brad pitt play the part of Shaft or maybe danny devito as george jefferson haha and maybe rosie odonnel can be weezi jefferson imagine the possibilities how about a new malcom x movie with george clooney in the lead role or how about a reworking of whats happening with an all white cast how unpredictable

  5. Yea I am sorry but I have to agree with the above post. He is a white dude. I absolutly love Will Smith and he prob could do it but CA is white. That would be if the did a Martin Luther King movie and cast someone like Tom Hanks. He could do it but MLKJr was black.

  6. yeah agree with the above two , the captain is white, will smith is a great actor but cmon , no thanks just would not be the same sorry. you could have ed norton in how stella got her groove back 2, see where I am going with this . CA caucasian please.

  7. Yes Steve Rogers is White, Isaiah Bradely (The Black Captain America) is black. Will Smith will play the Isaiah Bradley, not Steve Rogers. So the Whiteness of Steve Rogers shall be protected.