In the flurry of announcements of upcoming young adult film adaptations, one I have been eagerly anticipating is the announcement of an adaptation for The Lunar Chronicles, a wonderful series of fairy-tale retellings with a science fiction twist created by Marissa Meyer. Set in different locations around the world (China, France, Africa, and more), The Lunar Chronicles imagines a distant future where cyborgs, people with robot parts as enhancements or preventative measures against disease or injury, are oppressed by the government. The story follows one of these cyborgs, Linh Cinder, as she discovers she has a big role to play in the future of their society.
The Lunar Chronicles would make a fabulous movie. Its futuristic setting and fairy-tale background present an opportunity for some amazing visuals, and it could have a very diverse cast of characters as well. In addition, there’s been a real lack of edge to the live action fairy-tale adaptations we’ve gotten from Disney. Either they’ve been cookie-cutter remakes of the original (I’m looking at you, Cinderella), or they’ve simply remixed the original recipe with a few new flavors (Beauty and the Beast, say hello). The Lunar Chronicles would be able to have the original tales everyone loves, but with a special dystopian-type twist. And in today’s political climate, tales of oppression are far and few between.
Here are my ideas for the actors I would love to see cast in an adaptation of The Lunar Chronicles series!
Jing Tian as Linh Cinder
The Chinese actress has proven herself again and again in American blockbusters, and with her star turn in Pacific Rim: Uprising, she cements her position as one of the best Chinese actresses working in Hollywood today. I think she would be a perfect fit with Cinder. Cinder is a badass mechanicand Jing has proven she can handle badassery given her previous work. She would also bring some much-needed authenticity to the cast – as she actually hails from China, she would be able to provide the right flavor to the role and not seem inauthentic or disingenuous.
Ludi Lin as Prince Kaito of the Commonwealth
Cinder’s prince, her swoonworthy love interest and probably one of the best book boyfriends in recent memory (whenever Kai talks, I just want to fan myself) has got to be played by a hottie, and I can’t think of anyone hotter than this guy. The Chinese actor was just the Black Ranger in 2017’s Power Rangers remake, and he’s got a role in the DCEU’s upcoming Aquaman flick – his role hasn’t been disclosed yet, but given his work in Power Rangers, I can assure it’ll be epic. Lin is a wonderful actor with great comedic timing. He can play harsh, but there’s also a softness to him that would make him the perfect leader. I think he would make an excellent Prince Kai.
Ana de Armas as Scarlet Benoit
In the books, Scarlet is a French character with long, flowing red hair but her ethnicity is never specified. I think that Ana would make a perfect Scarlet. She was great in Blade Runner 2049, but what really sold me on this casting was her appearance in War Dogs, where she played a character very similar to how Scarlet is in the books – somewhat stubborn, but still very likable, and a warrior in her own right. Give her a red wig and a French accent, and you’ve got yourself a pretty awesome Scarlet.
Trevante Rhodes as Ze’ev “Wolf” Kelsey
Wolf may be the hottest of all the princes in the books, so who better to play him than The Gawd himself, Trevante Rhodes? A lot of us are still waiting for Trevante to score a movie role post-Moonlight. Sure, he’s got The Predator on the horizon, but to be frank that seems a bit like typecasting (I’m rooting for you to play John Stewart, Trevante!) This man is too sexy not to have a role in a big franchise, and the character of Wolf would fit him like a glove. He’s a hard, aggressive badass who seems mean at first, but is really a gentle giant with a heart of gold. It’s practically begging to be played by Trevante.
Dove Cameron as Crescent “Cress” Moon
Cress is the Rapunzel of the group, so she’s gotta be played by a white girl – and who better to play her than the daughter of Maleficent herself? I’m talking, of course, about Cameron’s now-iconic role in the Descendants and its sequel. If you’ve seen her there, you know she’d make an excellent Cress. Cress is a fangirl princess – she has a huge crush on her prince, but is too afraid to tell him. She’s scared of her own shadow, super anxious all the time, and hides in her room (So pretty much, all of us). Don’t think Cress isn’t a great character, though – she’s a fabulous hacker with the ability to sneak Cinder and the others into fortresses for missions.
Tyler Hoechlin as Carswell Thorne
The Teen Wolf star is most known for his abs (and yes, they are impressive), but he’s proven with his role as Superman on the CW’s Supergirl that he’s a pretty good actor. He can play sass and sarcasm very well and also, he’s very pretty to look at. He’d make an excellent Thorne! If you’ve read the books, you know that Thorne is a fan favorite – and that’s for a reason. He is a very sassy character who uses his wit and humor to close himself off from the world (Sound familiar?). He’s an awesome pilot and an even better companion to have around. He’s also a world-renowned criminal. Sounds juicy, eh?
Aja Naomi King as Princess Winter Hayle
Winter is my favorite of the princesses in the books. It’s not just because she’s black (Although, that is a pretty big reason); it’s also because of her wonderful kindness. Winter is mentally ill (for reasons that I can’t go into here, because they’re spoilery), but with a heart of gold – so think of Harley Quinn, but with the quips and without the villainy. Her one-liners are amazing – and even though she might be a bit off her rocker, she’s still such a sweet, capable character who is far smarter than she looks that makes her easily my favorite. Her story was my favorite to read too. We all know that Aja Naomi King is a capable and likable actress; she’d make a great Winter.
Alex Meraz as Jacin Clay
Jacin is Winter’s guardian and her love interest. In a sense, if Winter is Snow White, he’s her huntsman. They have some wonderful chemistry – before any romance, the two are friends, and that friendship is a key part of their relationship. Jacin is also a wonderful prince. He’s unswervingly loyal to Winter, following her everywhere and willing to do anything she asks of him, no matter what. He’s constantly protecting her and with her whenever she has one of her breakdowns; he is a huge help to her. Sure, we all know Alex Meraz from Twilight, but he’s proven elsewhere that he’s a very good actor who I think would do a great job balancing Jacin’s stoic, silent nature with friendship. Plus it would provide some Native representation in a major franchise, which we need badly.
And there you have it! That is my list of actors for an adaptation of The Lunar Chronicles. This series is screaming out for a film adaptation – so let’s hope it gets one sooner rather than later!
(Credit for the artwork goes to my fellow Geeks of Color team member, Britany! Thanks for making it look so awesome! You can follow her on Twitter at @britany_murphs)