People often forget that Riverdale is a comic book adaptation, but it is easy to understand why. It does not have any of the modern elements we associate TV shows based on comic books with (save being a CW hit about attractive people in strange, melodramatic situations that has spawned multiple spin-offs). Perhaps one good way to remind audiences of the series’ illustrated roots would be to cast its biggest stars as the definitive type of comic book character: superheroes.
To be fair, the characters who inspired the blockbuster drama about teens struggling with romance, family issues, and even murder are not strangers to the costumed crimefighter scene either. Archie Comics has had a few crossovers specials Marvel, DC, and even some especially bizarre meet-ups, like the Predator or the ridiculous titular storm from Sharknado. Yet, for most of its cast of younger rising stars and screen veterans alike, Riverdale remains the only comic book adaptation on their resume.
Well, as far as I am concerned it is never too late to change that. Besides, the amount of characters from the pages of Marvel, DC, and other popular publishers who have yet to receive the live action treatment (or be rebooted) is astounding and the most popular players on Riverdale might fit the bill for many of them quite smoothly. Eight notable characters for eight of these notable performers come to mind, starting with one DC hero who might not have been the choice you expected for K.J. Apa.
K.J. Apa - Elongated Man (DC)
Fans of The Flash may recall how inappropriate tweets got Hartley Sawyer fired from the role of Elongated Man, which has yet to be recast. Now, it might be a little jarring for some to see Riverdale’s actor join the cast of another CW show, but there is no doubt that K.J. Apa is a dead ringer for the detective with a stretchy alter ego, especially with Archie Andrews’ signature hair color. I imagine it would also be a more fun role to tackle than a big screen iteration of fellow DC redhead Wally West, to be honest.
Lili Reinhart - Invisible Woman (Marvel)
Speaking of dead ringers, it is clear why blonde actress Lili Reinhart was chosen to play Betty Cooper on Riverdale (in addition to her passion and charismatic presence). I believe that very triple threat of talents also makes her perfect to play Sue Storm, better known as Invisible Woman, whose return to the big screen once the Fantastic Four are inducted into the MCU is one of the most anticipated events in Hollywood right now.
Cole Sprouse - The Beyonder (Marvel)
I actually considered Cole Sprouse for Mister Fantastic as a meta reference to his on-and-off-screen romance with Lili Reinhart on Riverdale, but after realizing that was already too similar to K.J. Apa’s Elongated Man, I also discovered the couple split in 2020. So, I figured why not keep the Jughead actor on the Marvel path but in an entirely different direction as The Beyonder, who also bears a strong resemblance to the former The Suite Life of Zack and Cody star. This nearly unstoppable tyrant who is literally the human form of an entire alternate reality would also make a pretty cool successor to Thanos as the next big bad for the MCU, don’t you think?
Camila Mendes - Zatanna (DC)
Unlike Sabrina Spellman, of course, Veronica Lodge is not known to be skilled in magic in the Archie Comics and especially on Riverdale. Yet, I think that is a big reason why Camila Mendes would be up for the challenge to play powerful DC sorceress and part-time stage magician Zatanna Zatara. In fact, she might have the chance to steal that role soon enough with a Justice League Dark TV series coming to HBO Max.
Madelaine Petsch - Poison Ivy (DC)
Redheaded actress Madelaine Petsch technically already played Poison Ivy when her scandalous Riverdale character Cheryl Blossom cosplayed as the seductive Batman villain in a 2017 Halloween episode. Well, needless to say, she kind of nailed it and I would recommend that Warner Bros. accept it as an official screen test to become the plant-like humanoid for real on the big screen. I honestly cannot imagine anyone else who could make a more striking impression on Robert Pattinson’s Dark Knight or even on Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn in a future DCEU installment.
Casey Cott - Nightwing (DC)
In any case, if Poison Ivy is in town, Batman might need some help. Typically, the first one to receive a call (or ask him if he needs any first, really) is Dick Grayson, who has been in movies before, but only as Robin and not his later (and more badass) alias Nightwing, who finally received his live action debut on Season 2 of Titans. Well, I believe it is time Nightwing graduates to the big screen and Riverdale’s Kevin Keller actor Casey Cott is practically a mirror image of the young Gotham hero if you ask me.
Ashleigh Murray - Batgirl (DC)
Speaking of young Gotham heroes, Batgirl was given the live action cinematic treatment once in Batman & Robin, which was neither faithful to her origin nor remotely satisfying to most fans. The possibility of a new franchise built from Matt Reeves’ The Batman would be a second chance to make that right. With the casting of Jeffrey Wright as Barbara Gordon’s father Jim, I would say that Ashleigh Murray (Josie McCoy of Josie and the Pussycats on Riverdale and Katy Keene) may be an ideal choice.
Skeet Ulrich - Doctor Doom (Marvel)
I like to think Skeet Ulrich’s role as FP Jones, a former gang leader seeking redemption as Riverdale’s sheriff, was a bit of redemption moment for the actor, who rose to stardom as (SPOILER ALERT) the killer in Scream. However, that iconic horror movie performance convinces me that villains are his bread and butter. So, why not make him one of the most ruthless and powerful villains in the Marvel Universe, Doctor Doom?
What do you think? Is Skeet Ulrich ready to play the larger-than-life Latverian tyrant, or will you never be able to see him as anyone other than Jughead’s dad from now on? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check back for additional information and updates on the cast of Riverdale, as well as even more hypothetical comic book movie casting sessions, here on CinemaBlend.