Some actors get lucky and hit the ground running with a cinematic blockbuster, such as Joe Manganiello, who has been around the comic book movie bush a few times already. Not only has he brought Slade Wilson (a.k.a., Deathstroke) to life in the DC movies (well, just one so far) and recently played a, supposedly, inter-dimensional homeless man in the original superhero flick Archenemy, but the Marvel movies really kickstarted his career.
Perhaps you first became acquainted with Sofia Vergara’s husband as the lycanthropic Alcide Herveaux on True Blood, as Big Dick Richie in the Magic Mike movies, or even as Marshal Eriksen’s law school classmate Brad on How I Met Your Mother. However, as some fans may recall, the now 44-year-old action star’s first real taste of Hollywood was in 2002 as Peter Parker’s high school tormenter Flash Thompson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. Based on reports of a multiverse crossover starring Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield, and Tobey Maguire supposedly in the works, Joe Manganiello’s return to said role is not entirely impossible.
Of course, that would mean stealing the spotlight back from Tony Revolori and I am sure that the actor is perfectly content with his undeniably badass DC Extended Universe character anyway. However, I am still, personally, not opposed to the idea of an actor existing in both the MCU and DCEU simultaneously, especially it means the chance of seeing Joe Manganiello playing some of the many juicy Marvel characters whom he would be pretty badass at. I have five characters for him in mind, starting with one Spidey adversary who would make Flash Thompson pee his pants.
Kraven The Hunter
To be perfectly honest, I am not the first person to recommend Joe Manganiello for the part of this incomparably skilled, Russian-born game hunter who sets his sights on Spider-Man, believing the web slinger to be the ultimate target. To be even more honest, I feel stupid for not seeing just how amazing the casting would be much earlier.
If there is one requirement that is most crucial in order to nail a portrayal of Sergei Kravinoff, the birth name of Kraven the Hunter, it is a larger than life, muscular physique under his lion-skin vest. The specific kind of physicality that I am referring to is exactly what earned Joe Manganiello the role of Deathstroke in Justice League, the ill-fated Burke in Rampage, and Joe "Grinder" Phillips for 2014's Arnold Schwarzenegger-led Sabotage - all of which are hunters in some way. Naturally, the lead of Kraven's recently announced solo movie would have to be Manganiello's next, and ultimate, target.
Werewolf By Night
Come to think of it, Joe Manganiello's experience playing a half-man, half-animal hybrid on True Blood would be even more helpful to put him in the mindset of a hunter as skilled as Kraven. Not to mention, it would also be helpful to put him in the mindset of half-man, half-animal hybrid from the Marvel Comics universe. That being said, I think I have suggestion for that is that would be more than perfect.
Transylvania-born Jack Russell is one of Marvel's most popular horror-based anti-heroes to come out of the 1970s and is commonly referred to as Werwolf By Night for his hereditary lycanthropic physiology. I understand that it may sound a little too on the money to cast Joe Manganiello as another character of the same species as his role on the hit HBO vampire drama, but this actually might be the perfect time it to happen since, believe, it or not, Moon Knight was originally conceived as Russell's enemy. That being said, how bad do you want to see him duke it out with Oscar Isaac on his upcoming Disney+ series based on the twisted superhero now?
In addition to bloodsuckers and lycanthropes, True Blood was not without its witchcraft either, which is something that Joe Manganiello obviously never got the chance to try out during his time on the series. That is actually one of the reasons why I would choose him to play Agamotto - one of Doctor Strange's Sorcerer Supreme predecessors whose "eye" is, indeed, what houses the Infinity Stone used to control time.
For one, I feel that Joe Manganiello's aforementioned physique often overshadows his acting ability and I think it would beneficial, and fun, if Marvel went against expectation and cast him as someone whose strengths do not necessarily include muscles. Plus, for a high-profile, die-hard Dungeons and Dragons player like him, a magic wielder of extremely vast and powerful ability such as the legendary Agamotto would be a dream come true.
On the other hand, it is probably inevitable that Marvel Studios would look to Joe Manganiello's muscles for inspiration of what superheroes he should play. If they must go that route, they might as well give him a character whose MCU debut is still on their to-do list as of now. However, there is more than meets the eye with the character I have in mind.
Simon Williams was just another ordinary man with an extraordinary amount of money until he was found guilty of embezzlement and, per Baron Zemo's suggestion, volunteered to undergo his experimental process to become superhuman. It literally made him one of the strongest and most powerful being in the Marvel Universe (he can fly, shapeshift, teleport, you name it), but, ironically, he would eventually resort to pacifism after suffering a mental breakdown. I think that inner vulnerability makes Wonder Man a special sort of superhero role that Joe Manganiello would be proud to take on.
However, at this moment, can you think of a greater possible honor (in terms of comic book movie casting, specifically) than following in the footsteps of an actor who redefined a classic superhero role on screen forever. I am, of course, talking about Hugh Jackman, who said goodbye to the role of Wolverine with the stunning, Oscar-nominated Logan in 2017, leaving the door open for another to inherit the claws for the MCU's official reboot of the X-Men movie franchise. Why not Joe Manganiello?
Now, once more, I should admit that this casting suggestion is not an original of mine. However, if we reroute the actor's filmography and, again, point to his portrayals of animalistic mutant creatures (True Blood), sarcastic jerks (Magic Mike and How I Met Your Mother), and stone cold badasses (all of them, really), it is clear that the choice is as solid as Adamantium.
I would fully understand anyone who disagrees with the idea of Joe Manganiello as Wolverine over the belief that the character should be retired from cinema in Hugh Jackman's presence. However, if you have another reason, I would love to hear it, as well as who among my other choices you think would be a more fitting MCU character for the Deathstroke actor or if you have any better suggestions. Plus, there are plenty more hypothetical comic book movie casting sessions on CinemaBlend to argue over, but keep an eye for them!