A Geek can dream: Dwayne Johnson could be playing a Greek demigod or an alien bounty hunter next but I think he was born to play another famous comic book alien. Johnson is in talks to play Hercules based on Radical Publishing’s Hercules The Thracian Wars and Lobo of DC Comics.
After reading Wolverine and the X-Men #13 it came to me how Johnson would be perfect as Gladiator, the ultimate Shi’ar warrior turned Emperor. I don’t want to spoil the ending of that issue so I’ll go back in time.
I was a young geek when I first marveled at Gladiator and the Shi’ar Imperial Guard. Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin had already blown my mind with what would become the Dark Phoenix Saga. As I opened Uncanny X-Men #137 to see my favorite heroes on a Shi’ar spacecraft surrounded by Empress Lilandra and her Imperial Guard. This elite squadron of warriors was led by a muscle-bound alien with mohawk. Gladiator (real name Kallark) is a Strontian warrior created by Claremont and Dave Cockrum. Strontians have the capacity for incredible strength and various powers as long as they are completely devoted to a sole purpose. Kind of a Zen Superman.
Gladiator has fought with and against the X-Men to protect the universe from the Phoenix. Emperor Kallark now leads the Shi’ar Empire and his son is at Wolverine’s school – protected by Warbird. The Phoenix is back on Earth. Gladiator and his Shi’ar army arrived to save his son and take on the Phoenix Five in a cosmic throwdown.
Only the Marvel editors know the final fate of Gladiator after this week’s Avengers vs X-Men tie-in but the Marvel Universe would not be as amazing without him in it.
Given the cosmic direction Marvel movies are going maybe we’ll see the Shi’ar Empire in an Avengers sequel or the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Dwayne Johnson has the powerhouse body and presence to portray one of the coolest aliens to grace comic books and may be it’s worth considerating a Gladiator series and solo movie. Thanks for reading the casting dream of a devoted geek.