By Tevin Murphy
From the shallow waters to colorful coral reefs and the deep dark depths of the ocean there is but one true king of the seas in the comic book world and that is Aquaman. Powerful and regal with a skill set and domain far more fearsome and terrifying than most fully understand. The kind of the “fictional” king of Atlantis as well as the 7 seas Aquaman is one of comics most underrated yet badass mofos ever. Able to swim to depths that would crush most men and super powered beings, equipped with bulletproof skin, super strength, lightning fast reflexes, the ability to command and speak with ALL sea life Aquaman is one of DC comics heavy hitters. With all of that said it only makes sense that he’d have a an adversary that could be a real threat and keep him on his toes…and he has that in the form of Black Manta. Now it’s recently been revealed or highly speculated should I say that the villain in Aquaman’s James Wan directed solo film. So obviously and instantly I began to think “WHO should play Black Manta” and the wheels began to turn in my head. I first began to think about what it takes to play Black Manta and I came up with his list presence, cunning, wit, sophistication, intelligence, badassery, and a propensity for ass kicking. Here are my picks for DC comics Black Manta.
Lemme tell you brotha man is massive with a talent to match his physical stature. He’s the bees knees honestly. He can be intimidating and unleash a rage and almost quiet anger that I think is important for Manta. I’d love to see Chad standing face to face with Momoa’s equally massive Aquaman.
Now anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge supporter of actors of a certain age male and female getting roles like this. I’m a huge supporter of giving talent it’s shine and lemme tell you Ernie has talent in spades. I know a lot of people will say “he’s too old” or “he won’t be able to fight” and to that I tell you that’s what stunt doubles are for. Also don’t tell me Ernie couldn’t get buff when we got JK Simmons out here looking like Master Roshi when he bout to throw hands. I’d love to see Ernie underneath Manta’s iconic helmet. He’s talented, intimidating, and THAT VOICE!!!
Michael Jai White
Michael Jai White for the longest time was my first pick for Black Manta because let’s just be real here folks the man is the obvious choice. He has a freaking black belt, he’s intimating, his voice is pure power and aggression, and he’s capable of portraying intelligent yet fierce characters. If Michael was cast it would be a great addition and I’d be here for it but as I said earlier he would be the obvious choice and that alone would slightly disappoint me.
Michael James Shaw
My first introduction to Michael James Shaw is when he played Papa Midnite in the unfortunately canceled Constantine show on NBC and let me tell you I was not disappointed. He served smooth, suave, intelligence with the backstabbing sneaking slyness of a snake or a fox. He commanded the screen any time he was on it and you believed he could hurt you if he wanted. That’s the kind of thing I want to see brought to Manta.
I literally would’ve never had this thought had he not come out showing interest in the role. After that tweet it hit me that the man would be perfect. From his voice to his height and presence and ability to portray strong characters obsessed with something. I can honestly say that he’s one of my top front runners that I hope gets the role.
If you know me and you’ve seen my fancasts on my personal account then you know that aim all for diversity and that includes race bending and gender bending characters. I see no reason why a fierce woman that encapsulates all that Black Manta stands for can’t have a shot at the same role. With that being said Danai Gurira is one of the fiercest women in the game right now portraying one of the most badass and fiercest black women in tv history. She is fantastic at portraying intelligence and strength and an underlying heart that leads and drives her down. I could see Danai playing a badass Black Manta that stands face to face with Momoa’s Aquaman unflinching and unafraid.
Of all the actors on this list none of them and I do mean none of them have the presence that Florence Kasumba has. Earlier this year in Marvel’s Civil War Florence struck the Blerd community in the chest like a sack of bricks when she executed one of the greatest moments in cinematic comic book history. “Move or be moved” was the shot heard round the world it was the trumpets blaring announcing the arrival of a Ms. Florence Kasumba to all of us. In that one moment I saw an actor command the screen, steal the show, and fully make me believe that had Black Widow elected to be moved…..it wouldn’t have ended well for her. It’s highly speculated that Ms. Kasumba might already be in the DCEU in the Wonder Woman film, but if she isn’t I’d love nothing more than to see her bring that presence, stature, acting ability, and bad assery to the big screen as Black Manta and this is why Florence Kasumba is my #1 pick to portray Black Manta.