Comic book movies have crossed over into every subgenre—action-adventure, film noir, Shakespearean epic—but we have yet to experience a decent comic book movie musical. Which is such a shame, because there are so many talented people already in the comic book world who could lend their pipes
We’re profiling some of the amazing folks in comic book movies and shows who would be amazing in a full-scale comic book musical, or any musical, for that matter. Of course, we can’t forget the talented Melissa Benoist and Grant Gustin—who performed some extra duties in 2017's musical episodes of The Flash (though we expected a lot more singing from that one!)—but there’s a whole lot more potential out there.
Here, we tried to avoid some of the standard entries, like Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson. I get it, they’ve had music careers and released albums. But they’ve already had their time in the sun. We need to look at the future of the MCU and the DC Universe to find our crop of singing stars.
Simu Liu is one of the newest stars in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, playing Shang-Chi in the upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. But he’s also got some solid pipes, doing regular jam sessions with AJ Rafael and performing the opening number at 2019's Character Media Unforgettable Gala.
He’s played Hank Williams, singing pirates, and so many others. Marvel’s Loki series is practically begging to become a musical extravaganza.
Supergirl’s big break was actually on Glee, and she’s continued her singing talents through musical crossovers on The Flash. Sadly it’s her last season as Superman’s cousin, but I’m sure there’s plenty more in her future.
The Handmaid’s Tale star, who’s set to appear in Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, is a classically trained theater actor who started out as a jazz musician. He’s the kind of actor who keeps surprising us with how versatile he is.
Zoe Saldana has a beautiful voice that would shine in a musical. While the actress faced criticism—and later apologized—for playing legendary singer Nina Simone over issues of colorism, Saldana used her own singing voice for the role. I’ve chosen to highlight this tiny snippet of her belting it out during a Gamora makeup session.
Hold up: You’re telling me the evil merman dude from Aquaman is a Broadway performer with the voice of an angel(fish)? How did I not know this?
Mahershala Ali is poised to become our newest vampire hunter in Marvel’s Blade, but the actor got his start as a rapper. Performing as Prince Ali, he had a promising career but eventually moved into television and movies. He’s still got the talent to return anytime he wants.
The Doctor Who and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle star is also a very skilled singer—both in English and Gaelic—who performed a bit on Selfie and has done some improvised numbers on talk shows.
I’m sure I’m going to get a lot of people yelling at me for not including Hawkeye in this list. It’s because I don’t want to. Instead, I’m featuring Supernatural’s Jensen Ackles, who’s joining Amazon Studios’ The Boys for season three. Much like the Eye of Hawk, Ackles has that Springsteen-esque vibe that would work in a rock opera—only without being, you know, that guy.
Black Panther’s Lupita Nyong’o has performed a few times as her rapper alter ego, Troublemaker. Although it’s only been for fun so far, there have been a lot of people clamoring to get her on stage for real. She’s even been name-checked by Beyoncé! (Side note: Her co-star Chadwick Boseman was also an incredible musical performer, another reason his loss is still heartbreaking.)
Another Glee graduate, The Flash’s Grant Gustin has melted our hearts by promising to come running home to us in his musical crossover with Supergirl. He’s also made a name for himself on Broadway, co-starring in the revival tour of West Side Story. Seems there’s nothing this speedy boy can’t do.
The Mantis actress doesn’t have a vast vocalist career to her name but has demonstrated her skills as a soprano, singing in her native French in a series of short internet videos and guesting on a track by Louis Ronan Choisy. She’s someone I’d like to hear more from in the future.
Florence Pugh may very well be a big part of the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward, which makes it a good thing that she’s a wonderful singer and guitarist! Most of her performances available online are from when she was younger, but talent like that never really leaves you.
Yes, I know he played a villain but just give me this one, please. Have you heard him sing?
Hailee Steinfeld, who provided the voice of Gwen Stacy in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, is also rumored to be playing the part of Kate Bishop in the Hawkeye TV show on Disney+. This actress is a force to be reckoned with. Not only has she starred in Bumblebee and Dickinson, but she’s also got a successful music career with hits like “Love Myself” and “Back to Life.”
It’s sometimes weird to think of the overly buff “superhero who’s actually a child” as anything other than, well, that but Zachary Levi is a multifaceted performer. He showed off his pipes as Eugene Fitzgerald in Disney’s Tangled and the Tangled: Before Ever After TV series on Disney+.
Brie Larson, the current Captain Marvel, started off as a teen pop star with hits like “She Said” (which I will still jam to, I don’t care what anybody says). She’s since put those days long behind her, but I’d personally love to hear her belt out Avril Lavigne-style once again. Of course, we can’t forget her time covering Metric’s “Black Sheep” when she played the Clash at Demonhead’s lead singer Envy Adams in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
Anthony Head, who famously played Giles on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has yet to make an appearance in a live-action comic book movie or series—but can you imagine just how incredible that would be? Especially if it was a musical? All you have to do is hear his performance in Repo: The Genetic Opera to know he’d relish every scene he was in. Ooh, I can just imagine him and Ewan McGregor in a duet. I just got goosebumps.
Ashley Park’s time has come. The Broadway actress blew up after playing one of the Plastics in Tina Fey’s Mean Girls musical. Since then, she stole the spotlight in the otherwise unremarkable Netflix series Emily in Paris. If Marvel or DC don’t pick her up soon for one of their upcoming films, they’re losing out on the next big thing. I mean, come on, just listen.
Tom Holland is a skilled dancer who got famous playing Billy Elliot in the London musical of the same name. He can carry a tune too. But you know I’m going to feature his Rihanna lip-sync performance. I don’t care that he’s not actually singing in it. This video is a gift I am bestowing once again upon the world. Your day is now a little bit better because of it. You’re welcome.
For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.