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After appearing in the role of the male lead in a blockbuster thriller like A Quiet Place Part II as the heroic character Emmett, I think it may be time to bring Cillian Murphy back into comic book movies. As any fan of the genre should remember, the 45-year-old Irish actor turned in memorable performances in all three installments of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, but that was still a few years shy of when the superhero movies trend evolved into the dominant cultural phenomenon it is today. Thus, I suggest that Murphy make that increasingly common transition from the DC Movies into the Marvel movies and I have few recommendations of how to bring him in, including one that should not be too hard for him to wrap his head around.
As I mentioned before, Cillian Murphy had a recurring role in each of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies (most prominently in Batman Begins) as Dr. Jonathan Crane. The criminal psychiatrist, secretly a criminal himself using a toxin to literally strike fear into his enemies, is better known in DC Comics as Scarecrow. Believe it or not, there is a Marvel character of the same name who also bears a few striking similarities to the Batman villain.
Much like Jonathan Crane, Ebenezer Laughton dresses just like a lifeless doll a farmer uses to protect his crops and sends victims into a downward spiral of panic with a special chemical - the difference being he can produce this pheromone naturally thanks to superhuman enhancements. Scarecrow has also faced off against all kinds of different Marvel heroes, from Spider-Man to the X-Men, giving the character ample opportunity to pop in practically anywhere in future MCU installments. Not to mention, since Cillian Murphy has pretty already done the homework for this role, nailing the performance would be a breeze.
On the other hand, Cillian Murphy has very rarely been the kind of actor to play the same role twice (or at least a role bearing much emotional resemblance to a previous character, more accurately). In fact, given the range of personas the Golden Globe nominee has assumed throughout his career - from a transgender woman in Breakfast on Pluto to a ruthless, 20th Century English mob boss on the hit Netflix exclusive series Peaky Blinders - you could call him a bit of a chameleon…
Speaking of which, did you know that the Spider-Man villain Dmitri Nikolaievich Smerdyakov (better known as the Chameleon) is actually the half-brother of Kraven the Hunter? Knowing this, there is a pretty good chance that the character will appear in Sony’s upcoming solo movie about the ruthless hunter who will be played by former MCU actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson of Quicksilver fame. Just hook Cillian Murphy up with a decent dialect coach to perfect a Russian accent and we would have the perfect fit for the shapeshifting thief in this highly anticipated origin story.
You know, in retrospect, some of Cillian Murphy’s best work sees him playing characters from his homeland. For instance, he starred opposite just about any other famous Irish actor you could think of in the 2003 ensemble dramedy Intermission, and he played an IRA member caught up in an arms deal gone wrong in the rollicking action comedy Free Fire (also starring Captain Marvel herself, Brie Larson) in 2016. If only he could be cast in a Marvel movie as a character from the Emerald Isle, it would be a match made in Heaven.
In fact, having the actor (born in Douglas, Cork, Ireland) as the Irish-born Sean Cassidy (otherwise known as Banshee) would be a massive improvement on how the sonic screamer was portrayed in X-Men: First Class in 2011. I do not mean to say that Caleb Landry Jones’ performance was bad, but I do not approve of needlessly making the character American. While it would require taking a few liberties with his age, putting Cillian Murphy in the role for whenever the MCU brings the X-Men back onto the big screen would be the most accurate portrayal of Banshee yet.
Speaking of accuracy, I consider director Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later (starring our man of the hour, Cillian Murphy) to be the most realistic zombie movie ever made by how Alex Garland’s screenplay treats the infected as insatiably enraged, uncontrollable killers instead of flesh-eating, reanimated corpses. Actually, even before George A. Romero pioneered that interpretation, the zombie was a name for mindless drones controlled by voodoo and it was Marvel that would combine those distinctions into one of its more unlikely heroes.
With the MCU embracing more horror based characters and tones lately with the upcoming Blade reboot and Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange sequel, I think it is about time that Marvel Studios introduce the aptly named Zombie. Formerly a selfish businessman, he was killed by his gardener and resurrected by voodoo into a grotesque, undead superhero. I also think it would be interesting to see Cillian Murphy in the role so he could see from he perspective of those he fought to evade in 28 Days Later… well, I mean, not definitively, that is.
Jack The Ripper
Cillian Murphy would later play the one Rachel McAdams was desperate to evade while trapped on a late night commercial flight in Red Eye, one of director Wes Craven’s last great thrillers. One of my favorite things about Murphy’s role (a deceptively charming terrorist) is his name: Jackson Rippner. Ever since, I have been curious to see how he would play the elusive serial killer who inspired the name.
Actually Marvel Comics has a pretty intriguing interpretation of Jack the Ripper that I think would be fun to bring to the screen. Instead of just one person with a morbid fascination in human anatomy and a distaste for prostitution, the killer has actually been several parasitic creatures sent by Dormammu from the Dark Dimension that would one day be defeated by Shang-Chi. I like the idea of casting Cillian Murphy as Tom Malverne, the 19th-Century man whom the creatures would possess into committing the infamous Whitechapel murders and earn the eponymous title.
You may notice that I only recommended two heroic Marvel characters of the five listed above. Well, what can I say? The guy is really good at playing a bad guy and I cannot help but think he would thrive the best on the wrong side of justice if he joined the MCU, but if you disagree, which character do you think Cillian Murphy is best suited for?
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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