Who could Zoe Saldana play in James Gunn’s upcoming DC Universe (DCU)?
That’s a question many were asking after the filmmaker revealed that he’s likely to hire the actors from his Guardians of the Galaxy projects in new roles over with DC Comics and Warner Bros. (WB). Their final solo movie will bring the final story for this version of the team, meaning many of them will be free from their Marvel obligations after 2023.
Earlier this month, Gunn teased that he would likely work with all of the actors from the Guardians franchise at his "other job" (DC Studios) if and when the time comes, specifically mentioning Saldana as an option for a role with DC someday.
The Direct has already explored that statement in terms of Chris Pratt’s hypothetical involvement. The man behind Star-Lord could make for a great Booster Gold, Green Arrow, or Reverse Flash—among other possibilities.
But which exact heroes or villains could Saldana crush with an opportunity?
Watching Black Adam, many fans were probably noticing one key hero absent: Hawkgirl. Usually, she’s intrinsically tied to Hawkman, who was portrayed in the film by Aldis Hodge.
It’s not inherently clear why this was the case, but it has, at the very least, left the role wide open for the taking by Zoe Saldana.
The immortal alien warrior, who is known to have been reincarnated countless times over the course of existence, has been a key part of teams like the Justice Society and Justice League.
Thankfully, it doesn’t look like James Gunn will utilize any of the mythos established by Black Adam. So the filmmaker and executive have all the freedom he could possibly want in order to hand Saldana yet another franchise-leading character to her name.
Circe is one of Wonder Woman’s most iconic villains. She is a legendary sorceress deriving from Greek mythology who has an odd penchant for creating human-animal hybrids.
She was heavily rumored to have played a part in Gal Gadot’s third outing as the hero, that is, before it was canned. But just because it's no longer happening doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for both Circe and Wonder Woman in James Gunn’s new DCU.
Zoe Zaldana could do the sorceress justice and be a big name to help draw attention to what would presumably be a relaunch for Princess Diana. Portraying Circe would also give the actress a chance to take center stage as a villain, which isn’t something she often does.
Carol Ferris/Star Sapphire
James Gunn has previously hinted that Green Lantern is a high priority when it comes to his new plans.
Usually, this means introducing Hal Jordan, and with him, it could open the door for Carol Ferris. Previously, the role was played on screen by Blake Lively in the much-lauded Green Lantern film as she teamed up with future husband and Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds.
Thankfully, Carol Ferris is far more than just a love interest. She also has a super-alter ego: Star Sapphire.
Throughout the years, the character has been both a villain and hero, which could give a complex long-term storyline for Saldana in the DC Universe. Most excitingly, her presence could help flesh out the Green Lantern mythos in the DCU by eventually establishing the Star Sapphire Corps, who wield the power of love—as Green Lanterns do for willpower.
Bleez (Red Lantern)
Speaking of fleshing out the mythos of Green Lantern and the various corps throughout the cosmos, another which could get explored would be the Red Lantern Corp, who utilizes the power of pure rage.
Like Yellow Lanterns and their mastery over fear, Red Lanterns are also a constant enemy to the Green Lanterns of the galaxy.
Usually, Bleez works as second-in-command to the usual Red Lantern leader, Atrocitus. However, she has been known to go against his leadership at points, most notably after being gifted with more independence than other Red Lantern comrades—most of whom are basically nothing more than rage zombies.
This would give Saldana the stage to play full-out villainy, potentially even getting a larger arc as she overcomes those who once led her and blaze her own hateful path through the galaxy.
Zatanna has long been a name associated with DC Comic’s live-action adventures—however, her adaptation has yet to ever come to fruition.
For an MCU reference, Zatanna is like Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange (along with Pierce Brosnan's Doctor Fate from the DCU) in that they cater to the mystical sides of the world. However, the DCU has yet to truly explore this corner of its mythos, aside from touching upon it briefly in Black Adam.
This would make the powerful Homo Magi (a sub-race of naturally magic-wielding humans) and Justice League Dark member a perfect character for James Gunn to focus on out of the gate.
If Saldana were the one to bring Zatanna to life, it would afford her the ability to embody a unique protagonist, unlike anything she’s ever done. This hero is also far different than her most well-known superhero role of Gamora, and any distance between her time in the MCU and the DCU is a good thing.
Gunn loves his unknown characters—those who exist on the fringe of comic book knowledge. Who better for one of his long-time collaborators than a New God themself: Big Barda, whose strength rivals that of Wonder Woman?
The New Gods are an entirely unique pantheon of all-power beings who are specific to the DC Universe. Among their ranks happens to also be the villainous Darkseid, so if that's the big bad James Gunn wants his DCU to build up to, bringing Saldana aboard as Barda would be an understandable move.
Though, Big Barda’s connection to Darkseid might bare just a little similarity to Gamora and Thanos–despite the absence of the adopted child dynamic.
James Gunn recently voiced his adoration for Tom King’s (who was previously involved in a now-canceled New Gods film) Miracle Man, which focused on the New Gods and its titular character, who also happens to be the love interest to Big Barda. At the very least, this suggests that those cast of characters are on the filmmaker’s mind.
Zoe Saldana's Evolving Film Career
With Gunn taking charge of the DCU, it truly is only a matter of time before Zoe Saldana joins his creative efforts over at Warner Bros.
After all, she’s in some of to biggest franchises and highest-grossing films of all time; Star Trek, the MCU, and the Avatar saga. The world of DC Comics is the obvious next step.
However, there’s always Star Wars as well. Perhaps she could play a key character in the High Republic when that era of the franchise is realized in live-action.
As for the DCU, hopefully, the details of what fans can expect will be revealed soon. Gunn previously shared how fans can expect an announcement in January, a month that has almost come and gone without any new information.
But will Zoe Saldana be among those first cast announcements?