SPOILER WARNING: This article contains a spoiler for "X-Men: Days of Future Past," currently in theaters.
Last week, reports surfaced that Marvel Studios had finally found their Thanos. Academy Award-nominee Josh Brolin appears set to play the purple-hued, cosmic villain in this summer's upcoming "Guardians of the Galaxy," with a rumored appearance in next summer's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and the subsequent third "Avengers" film.
That casting coup got us thinking about who should fill the skull-crushing boots of Marvel's other major villain poised to make his big-screen debut: Apocalypse, in Fox's aptly titled 2016 sequel, "X-Men: Apocalypse." As with Thanos, this article assumes that the actor who played Apocalypse in the "X-Men: Days of Future Past" post-credits scene -- Brendan Pedder -- won't be in the role when the character makes his presence fully felt.
Brolin's casting raises the bar, and let's hope Fox can clear it with whomever they lock down for the role. What big-name actors should the studio put atop their shortlist? Here are our picks.
Fans already love him as Heimdall in Marvel's "Thor" films, and they'd certainly find even more to like about the one-time "The Wire" bad guy as Apocalypse.
Barring any contractual restrictions in his Marvel Studio's deal, Elba would bring the appropriate level of gravitas and menace to Fox's 2016 tentpole. Even better, the casting could finally give the X-Men their best big-screen foe since William Stryker -- and that role took three actors to fill!
While he's been rumored to have ties to projects brewing from Warner Bros. and DC Comics, The Rock and Marvel -- particularly the X-Men -- feel like a no-brainer. While the "Fast Six" star obviously has the character's physique and towering presence, let's hope he would be able to beef up his acting prowess in order to best service the worst bad guy in X-Men history.
Hold on. Hear us out!
The X-Men series has always carried its films on the backs of very "serious" actors -- three Oscar-winners and counting. With that standard in mind, Crowe could do for the film what he did for "Man of Steel" and really class it up. Hugh Jackman's ties to his "Les Misérables" co-star wouldn't hurt in courting the Oscar-winner, should the studio go that route, and since they're likely going to motion capture Apocalypse anyway, it would be easy to see Fox pull a Thanos/Brolin and have Crowe serve as the voice for mutantkind's doom.
We know the guy can do villains in his sleep -- just see "Casino Royale" and NBC's excellent "Hannibal." We also know that he isn't averse to comic book movies, as he was once set to go up against Thor in last fall's "The Dark World," only dropping out due to his aforementioned "Hannibal" gig.
Apocalypse needs to be played by someone who can be both frightening and sympathetic, which Mikkelsen does effortlessly on the small screen. Let's hope Fox gives him the chance to do it on the big one.
Perlman's gruff voice and intimidating screen presence are perfectly suited for the mutant master of evolution. Should the producers opt to take the physical make-up effect route in bringing the character to life, few would look as fittingly bad-ass as Hellboy himself, and tnd the Comic-Con International crowd would eat this casting up. Fox could definitely do worse, but it would have a hard time finding anyone better.
"X-Men: Apocalypse" is scheduled for release on May 27, 2016.