I imagine there may be some Ryan Gosling fans who have wondered when he will make his superhero movies debut, but, as far as I am concerned, his chivalrous, mysterious, brightly costumed role in the striking 2011 Neo-noir thriller, Drive, is what helped him cross that off of his bucket list.
Even so, however, I will admit that it would be pretty cool to see the Canadian, two-time Academy Award nominee appear in the Marvel movies, which could have become a reality if he had taken the studio’s reported offer to play Doctor Strange in 2014, before the role eventually went to Benedict Cumberbatch. Luckily, there are several other characters ripped from the comics whom we believe Gosling is an even better choice to play, including one he is actually sort of doing the homework for as we speak.
Despite many dark roles he'd be known for later, it may come as a surprise that some of Ryan Gosling’s earliest gigs were on horror TV shows Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark?, and the classic monster movie-inspired family film Frankenstein and Me, which makes him ideal for Blumhouse’s upcoming Wolfman remake by Leigh Whannell.
His horror-centric background could also make him an ideal choice to play Jack Russell, a lycanthropic superhero who was originally introduced into Marvel Comics as a Moon Knight villain in the early 1970s. Since Moon Knight is getting his own installment of Disney+’s exclusive Marvel TV shows and horror is becoming more prevalent in the MCU with the Blade reboot and upcoming Doctor Strange sequel, now be might the perfect time for Werewolf to get his time in the spotlight in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Another early Ryan Gosling role was the title character of Young Hercules (a prequel to the hit series starring Kevin Sorbo as the grown-up, half-mortal Son of Zeus), which only ran from 1998 to 1999, robbing Gosling the opportunity to play the grown-up Son of Zeus himself.
Marvel Studios could be Gosling’s ticket to fulfill that destiny if they incorporate the Marvel Comics iteration of the mythological figure into the MCU, which is not only possible (given Russell Crowe’s casting as Zeus in Thor: Love and Thunder), but a fun idea altogether, especially to see him and Chris Hemsworth’s Thor bicker over their godliness. Considering the fact that Gosling has openly talked about how proud he is of his work on Young Hercules, Hercules genuinely seems like a Marvel movie role he would be willing to say yes to if offered.
In the later years of his career as he got more famous, Ryan Gosling became, ironically, more interested in sticking to smaller roles, but has made some notable attempts to star in blockbusters, such as the Oscar-winning epic Blade Runner 2049 in 2017.
Without giving too much away, Denis Villeneuve’s astonishing sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi classic stars Gosling as K, an artificially created being called a Replicant who begins to suspect that he could be human after all, which is somewhat a reversal of the origins of Dynamic Man - an android introduced in Marvel Comics in 1940 who initially believed he was a human (but one with superpowers) at “birth.” His is a fascinating story that could make for an interesting retelling in the MCU, made even better with Gosling’s charm and signature stoicism if cast in the role.
While Blade Runner 2049 proves Ryan Gosling is willing to try the sci-fi genre, I am curious if he'd be willing to upgrade to cosmic levels. Reason being, the Hollywood heartthrob's charming personality, good looks, and skilled presence as a leading action hero make him the perfect candidate to play Richard Rider, who became the sole surviving member of the Nova Corps, acquired the collective powers of his fallen brethren, and put himself on a one-man mission to seek justice in the galaxy under the name “Nova.”
Fans have been waiting for this beloved cosmic hero to appear in the MCU for years and, because it has not yet been confirmed that he will debut in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, to me, that just means Gosling still has time to set up a meeting with James Gunn to discuss his chances.
Of course, if Ryan Gosling did play Nova, it would not be his first space movie, having played Neil Armstrong in First Man, director Damien Chazelle’s revealing biopic about the legendary astronaut. The role saw him effectively juggle two different personas: one of a cautious and progressively minded devotee of science and a family man whose work often gets in the way of his social skills - both of which describe Reed Richards, who actually became the very flexible crimefighter known as Mister Fantastic after he was exposed to cosmic rays during a fateful trip into outer space.
With the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot in development, the leading member of Marvel Comics’ first superhero family is one of the most sought after roles in Hollywood right now, and I think Gosling’s performance as the first man to walk on the Moon could be considered a winning audition tape.
When looking for Marvel characters that might have something in common with Ryan Gosling’s character from Drive (known only as The Driver), I did not expect to find one with the exact same name. Existing in an alternate, dystopian reality within the Marvel Multiverse, this anonymous, partially cybernetic human worked for the Mutant Underground Support Engine (or MUSE) as a getaway driver for and protector of mutants suffering a genocidal event at the hands of the government.
If not just for the chance to see Marvel’s X-Men: 2099 comic book arc make it to the big screen, the chance for Gosling to pay some subtle tribute to one of his best known and beloved characters in one of Hollywood’s best known and beloved franchises is good enough reason for me to want to see this casting happen.
As a huge fan of Drive, I am still willing to admit that there is probably a better chance of Ryan Gosling being cast as in the DC movies as another version of Batman. (I mean, never say never, right?) However, that being said, we should not rule out the actor’s potential future as a Marvel star, which begs the question, which Marvel Comics character is he truly the best choice to play?