Just as there are big name heroes and B-list heroes, so are there big-name villains and B-list villains. No matter how much I may like Batroc the Leaper (Solo Avengers #3, which pits the villain against Hawkeye, was one of the first comics I bought with my own money), there’s no denying that the French kickboxer is B-list all the way. Maybe he’ll gain some prestige he needs to move up to the A-list by fighting Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) in the upcoming sequel Captain America: The WInter Soldier.
Latino-Review reports that UFC champion Georges St-Pierre has been cast as Batroc in the film, joining Frank Grillo as Crossbones and Toby Jones as Arnim Zola -- the announced villains of the piece. It’s a strong choice, and Marvel continues to think outside the box in regards to finding the right guy for the part. St-Pierre is the second MMA fighter cast this month in a Marvel Studios film. Dave Bautista, former WWE Superstar and fighter, landed a key role as Drax in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
Now, most Marvel fans know that Batroc rarely works alone, so the casting of St-Pierre could be the first announcement in what might end up as a trio of new bad guys. Batroc’s Brigade consists of the savate-master as the leader, with Zaran and Machete as his mercenary flunkies. Max Zaran is a weapons master and former British Secret Service agent, while Machete bears an unmistakable resemblance to the Robert Rodriguez antihero (some have speculated that Rodriguez may have been subconsciously influenced by the Marvel character). Just like Danny Trejo, the Marvel Machete is also a knife-wielding Latino with long black hair and a handlebar mustache.
Don’t be surprised if they’re the next casting leaks from the Winter Soldier production. Danny Trejo would actually make an excellent Marvel Machete so it’s too bad that Rodriguez laid claim to him first. There are any number of Brit thugs who could play Zaran -- Vinnie Jones comes to mind right away -- but the part will probably go to someone who is slightly lesser known. Interestingly, you’re not hearing the typical complaints from fans that Winter Soldier has too many characters, despite Captain America, Nick Fury, Black Widow, Falcon and S.H.I.E.L.D. on the side of good and Crossbones, Zola and now Batroc on the dark side. The upside of the shared Marvel Universe is that introductions for many of these characters have already happened, so there’ll be no time wasted just getting to the plot at hand, instead of a half-dozen origins.
There are 374 days until Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens in theaters on April 4, 2014. The Russo Brothers film stars Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan and Emily Van Camp.