I have been a fan of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman for well over twenty years now. Especially a fan of their Dragonlance Saga. They’ve crafted a world so deep and intricate that it’s easy to lose yourself in for hours at a time. I’ve wanted a movie about this series for about as long as I’ve been reading it. Unfortunately we got one, but we don’t talk about that. Now, after we have seen so many good fantasy movies it is way over due to discuss a Dragonlance movie again. Especially after the news that Joe Manganiello is working on an adaptation.
This all leads me to a total geek discussion my wife and I had the other night about who should play the companions. I personally liked our ideas so much that we thought it would be fun to share it with you all. While a big screen film would be cool I’d more likely vote for a multi-episode series on Netflix before anything else. So, without too much more babbling here is our idea of a great cast for a Dragonlance movie.
Tanis Half-Elven is the linchpin of the group in this series. He’s the reluctant leader they all look up to. He is expressive, brooding sometimes, and humorous at others. He would need to be played by an actor we know can fill all of those roles. Travis Fimmel, who played Ragnar Lothbrok in Vikings, is that actor. Many scenes in the show were acted out with his eyes and facial expressions alone. He was able to convey anger, hope, despair, and sorrow without a single word. Tanis is a quiet man, but full of emotions. That emotion would have to show on screen for this character to come out honestly. Travis was also in Warcraft: The Beginning, but we won’t hold that against him. There was many more obstacles in that movie than anyone’s acting ability. He’s a relatively new actor, and while we would want some power names in the film, we will want some skilled new blood as well.
With Travis we’d just need the trimmed beard, longish red hair, and his expressive face and eyes will do the rest. It’s hard to imagine that from this picture, but if you’ve seen Vikings you know the guy can act with just a few looks.
Flint Fireforge is the sort of father/grandfather figure for the companions. He is grouchy, unaware of his own humor, and stubborn. While amazing costuming and effects were used to make dwarves for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit series there’s no better actor who also happens to be of the perfect stature. Hell, I put Peter Dinklage in the list with the great actors we have today. His work in Game of Thrones especially has been fantastic. I also loved him in Knights of Badassdom. He can pull of dry, grouchy humor. He can certainly act, and he would look great with Flint’s gray beard and griffon mane helm (it’s not horse hair dammit).
Tasslehoff Burrfoot; yes, that’s right, a girl. Hear me out though. I’m not saying to change Tas into a girl by any stretch of the imagination. Much like casting children to play children over the course of filming a long series (see Game of Thrones), children age. Boys do so more dramatically in some cases. They go through huge growth spurts, and suddenly your 11 year old character is being played by a 6 foot teenager with a voice to match. If you cast a boy to play Tas, and made it through filming Dragons of Autumn Twilight without him growing up you’re unlikely to get the other two books done before he looks like an adult. So, a girl…in this case a woman who isn’t likely to change as much, already has a youthful face, and can probably pull off the mischievous kender. With the right hair and costuming Maisie would look like the flighty borrower with ease.
Sturm Brightblade is the tragic hero of the Dragonlance Saga. He’s the honor and moral center of this good versus evil tale. I’m not sure what part, if any, Joe has in mind for himself in his script but I think he’d be perfect for Sturm. He has the body of a swordsman, and can pull off the serious and stern countenance of our beloved knight. I’m not sure how the long handlebar mustaches will look on Joe, but the rest of the character would look pretty awesome on him. Sturm needs to be stoic, intense, and a commanding presence when the time is right. Having seen Joe’s other work I think he can pull that off quite well. Even if it isn’t Joe’s script that eventually gets made, I think he’d be the choice for me. I like the guy, he seems like a decent sort, which makes him easier to like on screen and Sturm’s story won’t work if the viewer doesn’t like him.
Goldmoon is described in the books as beautiful (beauty almost rivaling the elves), caring, strong, and compassionate. When I thought of recent actresses that I felt would fit the bill Katheryn Winnick from Vikings came to mind. Her portrayal of Lagertha has to be one of the best female characters on TV currently. She’s commanding, honorable, strong, motherly, and charming all at once. Katheryn is beautiful, and as seen in the History Channel show she can pull off the rough and primitive look with ease. The plainsmen of Abanasinia are a blend of Native American and perhaps early Germanic peoples so she should be a good fit. She even has the hair so that’s a plus. With the proper costuming, and the right guy to play Riverwind Katheryn would fit the bill as one of the central characters to the story of the Heroes of the Lance. Goldmoon is the spiritual and morally compassionate center of the group, and also the prophetic stranger so Katheryn will need to channel that compassion and commanding nature she uses in Vikings. While not exactly a leader she is certainly a voice of authority among the companions.
Riverwind is strong, tall, muscular and handsome. He’s dour, judgmental, and quiet. Staunchly loyal to his friends, and suspicious of strangers. To me there’s few actors now that can pull off this character, but Jason Momoa comes to mind. Jason won’t have to go quite to the extreme he did with Kal Drogo in Game of Thrones, but both characters are along a similar theme. In the books Riverwind is often one of those characters who you forget is there. He’s quiet, but plays a big role in the story. I think in the screen adaptation he will have to be played by a very eye-catching actor, and I’m confident enough in my sexuality to admit that Jason is a good-looking dude. Even standing quietly among the other characters you won’t likely forget that he’s there. We all know he looks good in leather and can swing a sword as well so he’s already set there.
Laurana, the spoiled brat turned general goes through such a profound change over the series she’ll need to be portrayed by someone with a talent for that range. I think Saoirse Ronan from The Lovely Bones has that range. Her youthful elfin features and body type will easily fit the look of the elven princess. This character enters the story as quite literally a spoiled brat with an irrational crush on Tanis. She stumbles into the real world from the shelter of her father’s house and the protected forests of her people and finds that to survive she has to quickly grow up. Before long she is looked to as a leader within the group and eventually stands up to those who had underestimated her. In the end she becomes a leader in the forces of good, and bears witness to one of the most tragic scenes in the series. About half way through the trilogy she becomes a central figure in the story and integral to the success of the forces arrayed against Takhisis and her dragon armies.
Fizban is technically not one of the Heroes of the Lance, but his part in the story is important. He also has to be played by someone with incredible range. The actor will have to go from befuddled and confused to commanding and omnipotent at the drop of a floppy hat. When he’s humorous he has to appear as if he’s the only one not in on the joke. Those of you who know the books know what I mean, and I don’t want to ruin it for those who don’t. To put it simply, Fizban is a character that is both in, and outside the story, and he has to be acted in such a way that the character doesn’t seem to know it. It can’t come off as a wink and nod to the audience, or as a comedic role that’s too silly. While Fizban is an old wizard, he also has to appear both ageless and ancient. He has to have young eyes, a terrible and powerful voice, and a personality that can fade into the background and also step forward and take control of the scene. Seeing Benedict’s work on Sherlock it’s easy to imagine him filling that role.
Kitiara uth Matar is also not officially one of the companions, but she’s tied directly to several of the Heroes. She is the older sister of Raistlin and Caramon Majere and former lover of Tanis Half-Elven. We wracked our brains over this one. She needs to be played by a pretty actress who can play serious, mean, cynical and tough. She has to command troops and fight in armor. Anyone who has seen Orphan Black knows that Tatiana Maslany has a whole host of characters inside that head of hers. If she can bring a little bit of Sarah Manning, Beth Childs, and even Helena to the role of Kitiara we’ll have a great show on our hands.
Kitiara is a source of contention for all of the companions at one point or another. She’s a love interest of Tanis, and source of jealousy for Laurana. Adversary for Sturm, and eventually Tanis, as well as sibling to the twins. She’s a former friend of them all, and in this series their enemy. The importance of her role means she needs as much consideration in casting as any of the others.
Tika Waylan is the young barmaid that is thrust into the adventure through her association with the companions. She is a typical barmaid trope that becomes so much more as the story progresses. Initially she wants to learn to be the kind of warrior the others are, strapping on her mismatched armor and sword that’s more of a threat to her friends than the enemy. Through her adventures she finds she’s a better combatant with her shield, and a frying pan than the old short sword she picked up. Her love of Caramon grows, which causes the large man a great deal of stress as he tries to balance his love for her with his loyalty to Raistlin. While she doesn’t play a huge part in the story, she is a steady one through the whole story. I think visually Kate Mara would make the perfect Tika, and I like her as an actress. She’d be a great addition to round out the group.
Caramon Majere is, as Raistlin puts it, one half of the same person that are the Majere twins. Caramon got all the strength and health that Raistlin lacks. Caramon is tall, strong, handsome, and skilled with a plethora of weapons. He is innocent in a way, despite his experience as a warrior and mercenary. He is caring, loyal to a fault, and devoted to his brother despite the constant abuse he receives from the wizard. Caramon needs to be believable as a truly good heart in a dark world. Liam Hemsworth has proven himself in a handful of films now. He’s tall, broad, and good-looking which fits the description of Caramon pretty well. We know he can do caring and loyal, and with some weight training he should be able to fill out a suit of armor pretty well. Caramon is like the groups big dumb teddy bear, but we find out that he is in fact smarter than he looks. He sees and understands more than it appears at first and will make decisions that will cause ripples through his life long after the events of this series.
Raistlin Majere is probably one of the most popular characters of the series. He plays a huge role in the books, and in many stories to come. This character needs to be done perfectly to pull off the whole series. No only will his magic have to be convincing, so too will his illness, mood, and slow descent into evil. Raistlin is cold, intelligent, arrogant and ambitious. Zachary Quinto in both American Horror Story and Star Trek shows a fantastic range. In Heroes he played a soulless villain to perfection so we know he can do this wizard justice. After he dons the gold skin, red (or black) robes and hourglass eyes the transformation should be pretty solid. This is my favorite character so I want to see him done right for me as much as I do for the series.
So this rounds out our list. Of course there are other great characters like Theros Ironfeld, Gilthanas, Silvara and many of the knights that need to be played by good actors and actresses. A great voice will be needed for Lord Soth, and Sigourney Weaver would be fantastic to play Takhisis. We could go on for hours casting each character in the trilogy but I think we have the most important ones already set. So let me know what you think. Can you think of anyone better to fit these roles?