At this point, it should be considered any honor for any actor to appear in one of the Marvel movies, whether they are playing the lead or a supporting character from a flashback or two. The latter precisely describes Sterling K. Brown’s experience with the MCU, which cast him in Black Panther as Erik Killmonger’s late father N’Jobu. It is a pivotal role, but far too brief for someone of his talent and all the more reason that he should try out for the DC movies next, if you ask me.
Since landing his standout, Emmy-winning role on NBC’s hit drama This Is Us, the 44-year-old St. Louisan has only increased greatly in popularity and acclaim, but almost purely as a supporting player in films or a guest star on several TV shows. While that, in itself, may be an achievement worth celebrating, I think I speak for many fans of Sterling K. Brown (and, perhaps, even from the man himself) when I say that the time has come to give him top billing in the biggest kind of blockbuster that Hollywood can offer. Considering his time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has come and gone, the next natural step is a new of the DCEU (if Warner Bros. is still honoring that continuity, that is).
My point, essentially, is that there are many characters from the pages of DC Comics who still have yet to be given the live-action treatment on the big screen (or could, at least, use a second chance at it) and Sterling K. Brown has the talent to make them the next big thing in superhero movies. I think he may be the ideal choice for six particular characters that came to mind, starting with one man whom Clark Kent owes a debt of gratitude to.
The shocking death of Superman at the hands of Doomsday inspired a ballistics expert named John Henry Irons to don a high-tech suit of armor, construct an impenetrable sledgehammer, and adopt the Man of Steel moniker - until he shortened it to “Steel” upon Superman’s resurrection. Warner Bros. would leave Clark Kent out of their reinterpretation of the origin story for his 1997 self-titled film, starring NBA star Shaquille O’Neal in the title role, which was a colossal failure both critically and commercially. Steel is too cool a character, in my opinion, to let that film be his only big screen legacy and casting Sterling K. Brown would be the first step toward improvement… with all due respect to Shaq, that is.
You almost have to wonder, if there was a time, prior to landing the role of N’Jobu, when Sterling K. Brown wished he could have been the star of Black Panther, as I imagine many actors did before the late Chadwick Boseman took supreme ownership of the role in Captain America: Civil War. Well, if he is still interested, DC has their own feline-esque character (previously portrayed by Michael Jai White on Arrow) who started off as one of the world’s most notorious killers for League of Assassins before resisting their control and becoming a superhero. Bronze Tiger’s redemption story would make for an intriguing story film that Brown could make into something truly powerful.
If you really want to talk about power, this extra-terrestrial named Arnus (from DC’s minority-conscious Milestone Media) possesses all abilities beyond the limits of human evolution and uses them to protect Earth while waiting for its technology to catch up with his own so he can finally repair his damaged ship. It was actually Raquel Ervin who, after witnessing him using his powers, convinced him to become the superhero Icon and uses a belt derived from alien technology to become his sidekick, Rocket. Maybe Sterling K. Brown and, perhaps, fellow MCU alum Zoe Saldana would be great as that pairing.
Not to be confused with the Marvel’s Mister Fantastic is Mister Terrific, who is not nearly as flexible as the leader Fantastic Four leader, but may be much smarter. Michael Holt, who succeeded the vigilante moniker from the equally brilliant and athletic talented Terry Sloane, has even described himself as the third smartest being in the universe behind Batman and Lex Luthor - a qualification that earned him the position as chairman of the Justice Society of America until its disbandment. I would especially love to see Sterling K. Brown explore this aspect of the character, given how the upcoming Black Adam movie is apparently a jumping off point for the introduction of the JSA on the big screen.
Also known for his exceptional intelligence that has proved to be a great help to Batman is Lucius Fox, who has served as the CEO of Wayne Enterprises, Bruce Wayne’s financial manager, and supplier of certain items the billionaire uses on a more “private” basis. He was previously portrayed in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy by Morgan Freeman, but I figure a recasting might come in handy in the near future if Robert Pattinson’s Dark Knight would need any upgrades to his equipment and Sterling K. Brown might be at the perfect age for the new continuity. Plus, it would be a perfect opportunity for the live action debut of Batwing - not Batman’s plane, but the vigilante alter ego of Fox’s son, Luke.
Green Lantern (John Stewart)
I think the highest and most deserving honor that DC could offer Sterling K. Brown is the chance to play the first live-action, cinematic iteration of a character who is important, not just on a cultural level, but a generational level, as well. Despite pre-existing, iconic versions of the character such as Alan Scott or Guy Gardner, many modern audiences cite John Stewart as their first introduction to the Green Lantern, especially through the animated early 2000s Justice League series. After Ryan Reynolds’ failed attempt to bring the comic cop to the big screen in 2009 as Hal Jordan, it is about that Stewart gets his due and Brown should be at the top the potential casting list, as far as I am concerned.
What do you think? Is Sterling K. Brown perfect to play John Stewart in a future DC movie, or do you have some strange reason to believe that we have not seen the last of N’Jobu in the MCU? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check back for additional information and updates on the This Is Us actor, as well as even more hypothetical comic book movie casting sessions, here on CinemaBlend.
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Jason Wiese writes feature stories for CinemaBlend. His occupation results from years dreaming of a filmmaking career, settling on a "professional film fan" career, studying journalism at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO (where he served as Culture Editor for its student-run print and online publications), and a brief stint of reviewing movies for fun. He would later continue that side-hustle of film criticism on TikTok (@wiesewisdom), where he posts videos on a semi-weekly basis. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.