Another Friday, another fancast. This week, I chose to fancast the YA novel Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows. Graphics were created courtesy of one of our amazing graphic designers, Elena, who can be followed on Twitter @lacheps. The world created in this book is extremely expansive and colorful, which would make this adaptation better suited to the small screen.
Before She Ignites is centered around Mira Minkoba, a girl who is famous for having a peace treaty that is barely holding her world together named after her. Mira often suffers from severe anxiety resulting from pressure and expectations of how she should represent and promote the treaty for The Fallen Isles: Bopha, Idris, Harta, Anahera, Damyan, Darina, and Khulan. These seven islands are named after the gods of this world. Mira learns that her world is not what she thought it was when she is imprisoned in the infamous Pit, a prison that would make Alcatraz look like Disney World.
One of the most amazing things about this book is how diverse and descriptive it is with regards to its characters. This provides a lot of inspiration for who could potentially be involved if Before She Ignites was made into a television show or movie. So, without further ado, let’s get into the fancast!
First up is the main character, Mira Minkoba. In the book, Mira is from a well-to-do family and talks often about the pressure she is constantly subjected to both by them and everyone in her country to live up to the peace treaty she is named for. Mira also deals with anxiety and frequently has panic attacks throughout the story. She is a character who goes from being rather sheltered and nervous, to a fierce young woman with more strength than she could have imagined inside herself. Kylie Bunbury would be perfect for portraying this character. She has previously starred in Pitch and Twisted.
Next up is Altan. He is a Khulani warrior and prison guard in The Pit, the prison where Mira spends a majority of the book. He is, by Mira’s own description, a pretty awful guy who typically taunts and tortures her throughout the book. Altan is described as having golden brown skin that is frequently marked with a variety of cuts and bruises, a strong jaw, and perpetually narrowed brown eyes. For this character, Kendrick Sampson would be ideal. He has previously starred in The Flash and How to Get Away with Murder.
Next is Mira’s best friend Ilina. They have been close since they were children and Mira views Ilina as her sister. Ilina works on a dragon reserve with her parents and later attempts to help Mira escape captivity. Ilina is described in the book as having warm brown skin and long black hair. For this character, Teyonah Parris would be ideal. Her previous work includes starring in Mad Men and Dear White People.
Hristo is the Mira’s other best friend, bodyguard, and possible love interest. He has guarded Mira since an assassination attempt on her when she was much younger. Throughout the years, he not only served as her protector but also as a very close friend. With Ilina, he attempts to help Mira escape captivity. Hristo is described as having dark skin and being of a considerable build. Winston Duke, a recent breakout star of Marvel’s Black Panther, would be perfect for this role.
Next is someone Mira becomes quite close to in prison: Aaru. For most of the book, Aaru doesn’t speak very much, though he communicates with Mira through a form of code that involves the tapping of fingers against a hard surface. This is something that is a typical trait of people in the country he’s from. His cell is next to Mira’s, though she never gets to see him in person until nearly the end of the book. Aaru is described as being darker than Mira with black eyes, having a gaunt and stubbled covered face, and long hair. Queen Sugar‘s Kofi Siriboe would be great in this role.
Last, but certainly not least, is Gerel. She is another person Mira befriends during her time in prison, though her cell is directly across from Mira’s. She is incredibly fit and works out to pass the time. Mira follows her and grows physically stronger throughout the course of the book. Gerel is described as having deep brown skin and extremely short cut hair. For this role, Nafessa Williams of the CW’s Black Lightning would be amazing in this role.
The descriptions of these characters do not necessarily limit these characters to being portrayed by only Black actors and actresses. The thing I love about Before She Ignites is that these characters could just as easily be Latinx, Asian, or Native American. Overall, I believe this book would make an outstanding TV show possibly on Freeform.
What do you guys think? Who would you want to see cast in a television or film adaptation of Before She Ignites?