While thinking about the potential for a new Fantastic Four movie, I had a sudden epiphany:  One of the biggest problems with casting any superhero movie (aside from the fact that nearly every superhero flick ends up being a Batman story, regardless of the appropriateness of the tone, or the strange rule that all the costumes these days are made of textured rubber like a basketball) is one of age.  Witness the 2004 FF film, where Reed Richards was in his mid-30s, but love interest Susan Storm was played by an actress of 24.  The recent Wonder Woman pilot featured an actress who was 27, but didn’t carry much of the maturity that one would expect from the Princess of Themiscyra.  Yvonne Craig was 30 years old when she took on the role of Batgirl back in the day, and the lovely Dianna Rigg was nearly the same age as Mrs. Peel in 1965.  With the role of the Invisble Woman seemingly up for grabs again, I started to wonder which 22 year-old will get the gig this time, and whether we’ll see someone like Mila Kunis in the role of Wonder Woman in the upcoming Justice League movie.

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) knows it’s never polite to ask a lady’s age, but wonders about perceptions of youth, asking:  How old do you think the Invisible Woman is “supposed” to be?  What about Wonder Woman?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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10 Comments

  1. December 9, 2012 at 12:15 pm — Reply

    I think the problem arises when the age discrepancy between the male and female is jarring. Reed in the FF looked way to old to be into Sue, it had a pervy older guy vibe about it. The age of actors (at least their physical appearance) needs to be close to give the illusion that they would be romantically involved. I’m not saying May/December romances don’t happen, but the general populace doesn’t seem drawn to them in movies.

    They could take an Ultimate FF approach and make them early 20’s with Ben being a few years older and Johnny being a few years younger. Optimally I’d like to see a Reed & Sue 20-24, Ben 24-28 and Johnny 18-21.

  2. Arbor Day
    December 9, 2012 at 1:14 pm — Reply

    Depends on which versions their going with.

    For Susan, if they went with the classic 50’s ingénue type, I don’t see the problem with her being 30 with a 40 year old Reed. It’d make any sequels they did with Namor work in a love triangle. Her character has always been defined as a girl vs woman story for me. Pairing her with an older man, and putting her around an age where her friends are getting married, both sort of reinforce that aspect.

    Wonder Woman can work at almost any age though, due to magic, and they can always use the clay origin story. More important for her though is looking fit.

  3. Josh "Spaceboot" Treleaven
    December 9, 2012 at 1:56 pm — Reply

    I could see Wonder Woman being played by Madonna in 2013.

  4. tidge
    December 9, 2012 at 2:37 pm — Reply

    Invisible Girl: I think the only way to make “Invisible Girl” work with a 22-yr-old (or younger) is to treat the story as a period piece set in the 1960’s..a la ‘First Class’. I could easily see a ~20 year old in this type of role.

    Invisible Woman: For a more modern take, I think the character has to be old enough to have *emotional* maturity to carry the role of the glue of the F4. In order for the character to have both the science background and have had enough emotional experiences to know where she wants to fir in the dynamic, I’d put her age at no less than 28, with the upper limit defined (unfortunately) by her narrative role in a love triangle or as a mother.

    Wonder Woman: As long as the story is shaped around the age of the character, I would accept any treatment of the character from 16 to 60+. I believe studios would be a little creeped out making an obvious under-aged heroine, and would probably be unwilling to showcase a near senior-citizen busting heads…but now that we are getting movies that feel like comics, I want to see a major motion picture actually challenge some of the more ingrained aspects of the genre, using a recognizable character.

  5. Oldcomicfan
    December 9, 2012 at 3:48 pm — Reply

    Linda Carter was a bit too old for Wonder Woman in my opinion – her only assets were what were underneath the Double W. Of course, I was a kid at the time that show was on TV, but watching Linda Carter was a bit like seeing your own mother playing WW (only with a better rack). I think the role is best played by an 18-20 year old. Batgirl should be played by a teenager, and, if I remember my Fantastic Four history correctly, before the accident, Reed was a College professor, and Sue was one of his students, so a twenty or thirty year gap in age would be expected, but since if memory serves me correct, she was a graduate student, so that would make her mid-20s. All these comments about a pervy old guy sound like the gripes of young men who couldn’t get a date with some dish who preferred somebody more mature and stable who doesn’t live in his parents basement reading comic books. It’s not like Reed Richards had set his sights on Hit Girl, after all.

    • December 9, 2012 at 8:45 pm — Reply

      Well, I suppose mileage varies, but it’s worth nothing that Lynda Carter was 23 when she started playing Wonder Woman…

  6. December 9, 2012 at 5:45 pm — Reply

    Social awkward professors marry their grad students more often you would think. So to me I would say its believable about he’s near 40 and she’s in her lat 20’s early 30’s. As to the age of the actress I would say better to have some a bit older someone how has lived a bit, but based on 70+ years of tv and film i expect the person that is cast as Sue Storm or Wonder Woman to be 25 max

  7. Chris
    December 9, 2012 at 6:31 pm — Reply

    I picture both Sue and Wonder Woman to be in their early to mid-thirties. Wonder Woman probably closer to the mid-thirties. The problem with actors and actresses nowadays is that you could have someone in their early thirties but they appear to be in their twenties. Just look at a show like Vampire Diaries where you have twenty something’s playing high schoolers.

  8. Shush
    December 9, 2012 at 11:35 pm — Reply

    I definitely see Wonder Woman being in her mid-thirties. The problem this has for casting an actor that age is consideration for any hypothetical sequels. I wouldn’t want to discriminate against a lady for her age, but it does happens. A female actor at the height of her popularity in her thirties may find her appeal has waned when she’s playing the same role when she enters her forties after two sequels.

    With that in mind, the trend for casting an actor would be for someone younger.

    The Invisible Woman I see as being about 30.

    Batgirl? Since that character came up, the hypothetical actor would almost definitely be college age to start with, and the advantage going to someone that was actually a gymnast. Or possibly a dancer.

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