Incredible news: Cartoon Network is working with Transformers producers Don Murphy and Susan Montford to bring our generation’s favorite environmentally-conscious cartoon Captain Planet to the big-screen — in a live-action movie! This was one of those shows that you realize now was incredibly cheesy, especially because it was so educational; but when you were a little kid, summoning a superhero from five magic rings to save the environment seemed nothing short of badass.
A great thing about this live-action movie is how removed it will be from the series, which ran from 1990-1996. So even though stars like Meg Ryan, Whoopi Goldberg, and LeVar Burton voiced the characters, you can have a whole new crop of actors in this reboot. Here’s our dream cast. First off, the Planeteers and the people who make them great.
Gaia – Maya Rudolph
The names even rhyme! I can easily see the SNL star playing the personification of Mother Nature: Mostly benevolent — though if it were Rudolph we’d have to see some snark — but with enough power to create a superhero and cause worldwide upheaval that makes Noah’s flood look like a spring shower.
Kwame (Earth) – Tristan Wilds
The actor, who plays Dixon on 90210, may seem like all laughs, but it was his somber role on HBO’s The Wire — and at such a young age — that reassures us that we’re making the right choice for Kwame, the grouop’s de facto leader thanks to his clearheadedness. What I think will be a challenge for any black actor in the role would be playing Kwame as from Africa (as is the case in the animated series) without falling into a stereotype.
Wheeler (Fire) – Anton Yelchin
This one came to me immediately. Yelchin’s past roles in Charlie Barker and The Beaver set him up to play the hotheaded Planeteer, who has the fight in him but actually knows very little about preserving the environment. He could bring more nuance to Wheeler, especially in being the American minority in such an international group.
Linka (Wind) – Clémence Poésy
In the Harry Potter movies, she made the prissy Fleur Delacour an actually likeable character. And if you think about it, a lot of the Linka elements already exist in Poésy’s past roles: Birds, wind, a little bit of Soviet intrigue…
Gi (Water) – Kristin Kreuk
She had her moments on Smallville; I think her Lana Lang was more convincing at the beginning than the end. But if Kreuk just pulls from those first few years of being Clark Kent’s dream girl, she can funnel that into playing a mechanical engineer with a love for dolphins.
Ma-Ti (Heart) – Avan Jogia
We joke about Ma-Ti getting the lamest power ring, but in all seriousness, you need someone with the heart to keep the team united — especially in this day and age, when global warming seems like an inevitability that we have no possible way of stopping. Jogia, who stars on Nickelodeon’s Victorious, is a bit younger than the rest of the cast, but that only enhances his “little brother” role.
Captain Planet – Ryan Reynolds
I was initially thinking of someone older, but then my boyfriend pulled this one out of a hat — and it really makes sense. For Captain Planet, you need someone with unbounded enthusiasm, clean-cut good looks, and the ability to play not quite a leader, but more the powerful tool of a group like the Planeteers. Plus, we’ve seen this guy recite the Green Lantern oath, so we know he’s legit.