Vin Diesel at Marvel: Thanos? Ultron?
Marvel has requested a meeting with Vin Diesel. Don’t take our word for it; take Diesel’s.
The actor, who is always active on social media, posted a picture of himself flyboarding yesterday. (Yes, flyboarding is a thing; no, we don’t know what it is, either.) Underneath the picture, Diesel teased: “Marvel has requested a meeting… no idea what for… haha, you probably know better than me.” Haha, indeed! Marvel Studios didn’t have a comment on the supposed meeting — and this is when we point out that, at this point in the process, the whole idea of Vin Diesel doing anything with Marvel is predicated on a meeting that hasn’t happened yet, which technically means that it’s equally likely that Ben Affleck will reprise his role as Daredevil or that you will play Dr. Strange.
But just how crazy is this? Consider: The two highest-grossing movies of 2013 are Marvel’s Iron Man 3 and Diesel’s Fast & Furious 6. And it’s worth pointing out that the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Fast sextet aren’t as different as you might think: They’re both long-running series with tonally dissimilar tonal spinoffs that combined a disparate cast into a high-grossing team-up movie. (Fast Five = Avengers. 2 Fast 2 Furious = Thor. Agent Coulsen = Han.) And the two franchises have recently perfected the post-credits sequel-villain tease: Avengers ended with a brief look at a Death-Obsessed Purple Guy, while Furious 6 concluded with a brief visit from the Transporter.
So let’s just say, for argument’s sake, that Marvel is looking to fit Diesel into their next phase of Hollywood domination. Who would he be playing? Online gossip immediately focused right on that Avengers post-credits villain: Thanos, the super-powerful nihilist Titan who will supposedly feature in both next year’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the Avengers sequel. Diesel certainly has the build for Thanos, who’s been musclebound since the ’80s, and Diesel’s slo-mo baritone voice seems like a natural fit for the larger-than-life cosmic villain.
But let’s talk about that voice for a second. Way back in 1999, before The Fast and the Furious and Pitch Black sent Diesel down the action-hero track, he voiced the title character in The Iron Giant, the ridiculously emotional Brad Bird animated classic:
In the intervening years, Diesel’s voice has only gotten deeper and crazier; some of his line readings in Furious 6 suggest a depth charge reverberating through the bowels of a nuclear submarine. Could it be that Marvel wants him to lend his voice to a different, decidedly less lovable robot figure? Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man is currently slated for late 2015 release date. The original Ant-Man, Henry Pym, created a robot named Ultron, who became one of the Avengers’ most powerful (and awesome) villains. For some reason, I always imagined Ultron with a British accent — more Cumberbatch than Diesel, as the old saying goes — but Diesel would be an intriguing choice for the robo-villain. For similar reasons, I wonder if Marvel is looking to use the Diesel voice for a different cosmic character, like Surtur, a Thor villain. (For that matter, Diesel is practically a dead ringer for The Absorbing Man, an overlooked Thor baddie with one of the niftier powers in the Marvelverse.)
Of course, it’s worth pointing that Diesel has never really played a villainous character. But it’s difficult to see Diesel playing any of the heroes who get brought up whenever rumors fly about Marvel’s Phase 3. (The Punisher? Dr. Strange? Daredevil?) Could it be that Marvel is looking further out now, with Diesel slated to play one of the Inhumans? Or — here’s a crazy thought — supposedly, back in 2009, Marvel tried to come up with some possible film ideas for Cable, the cyborg mutant from the future. Cable’s history is tangled, and he’s usually considered an X-Men character, which would mean film rights don’t belong to Marvel right now. (Although those rights might be getting fuzzier nowadays.) Could Diesel be trying on prosthetic cyborg arms?
Post your own Diesel at Marvel theories in the comments. Keep in mind: The mere fact that this meeting might be taking place further proves that the Fast & Furious series is becoming the nexus of all action movie realities. Patton Oswalt may need up update his Avengers/Star Wars megamovie pitch.
Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich.