By AirDave 6 Comments
Batman '66 Meets Wonder Woman '77 just wrapped up. Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the ABC live action Batman series that starred Adam West and Burt Ward. 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of the ABC/CBS Wonder Woman series that starred Lynda Carter and "almost-Batman" Lyle Waggoner. Batman '66 has been rockin' the team-ups: The Green Hornet, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Steed and Mrs Peel. Next up, Legion of Super-Heroes jump in a Time Bubble and get back in time to meet the greatest hero of them all: Robin, "The Bye Wunder"!
If you haven't read Batman '66 Meets Wonder Woman '77 - I highly recommend it. I read the first five issues before seeing the new film with Gal Gadot. I get Wonder Woman now. She's the original Thor. Thor, with a dash of Steve Rogers. I understand how and why she would come to Man's World to stop Ares and end "the war to end all wars". That's what World War I was called: "the war to end war". I could see her usefulness at an end in 1918. I believe she would come back after December 7th, 1941, to end World War II.
Things would get murky and grey around the Korean War. DC: The New Frontier says that Wonder Woman does indeed "return" (we know she never left, she just fights for a different cause then.)
Sometime during the mid- to late-'60's I would think she might return. According to Batman '66 Meets Wonder Woman '77, she remains on Paradise Island; possibly through the Vietnam War. That war ended in 1975. So, what could cause her to come back in '77? Possibly an alien invasion, like in the Justice League animated series? Darkseid, maybe? Again, according to the mini-series, she comes back on the trail of Talia, and The Demon's Head. At the conclusion, she suggests to Batman that they form a League of their own. This could be the Super Friends or the 1979 Challenge of the Super-Heroes.
Since Ben Affleck's Batman and Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman bring together the Justice League this November, I would think that something could happen near the start of a Fourth Season that would bring together a Justice League '66 - even though it would probably be more likely a Late '68-Early '69 League.
Because Wizard: The Guide to Comics doesn't do "Casting Call" anymore, here are MY suggestions. I invite and welcome suggestions in the comments.
Adam West showed how it was done. He was The Bright Knight. While everyone seemed quite embarrassed by how he portrayed the character, the comics from - let's say 1946 through 1969 were quite light-hearted and campy. Neither Cesar Romero, nor the Batman writers pulled how The Joker came across out of thin air. They may have written the rogues in a generic way - sometimes confusing The Riddler, The Puzzler, Bookworm and The Joker with the same sort of modus operandi - remember that time The Joker left a clue by throwing out a Riddle? Yeah.
Let's say that Bruce IS able to coax Wonder Woman into joining his '66-ish Justice League. For you and me, it could be Lynda Carter. If we're talking a straight-up '60's era League, who better than pioneering female sitcom star Mary Tyler Moore? Star of The Dick Van Dyke Show; as well as her own self-titled dramedy. Not only did she have a short-lived variety show; she created the incredible Beth Jarrett, in Robert Redford's debut as a director, in the film Ordinary People. If a dancer like Yvonne Craig can pull off Batgirl, Moore can pull off Wonder Woman.
Let's say that Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman is out of the question. It's possible. Let's say that maybe we're leaving the door open for a sweeps three-part JLA-JSA crossover. Meredith MacRae, singer-daughter of musical legend Gordon MacRae would be perfect as the '66
Arrowverse Westverse Dinah Lance, also known as Black Canary. The mind boggles with the daydreams of who could be cast as Oliver Queen, The Green Arrow, for an archery showdown with Art Carney's The Archer.
Justice League of America #9 - The Origin of the Justice League! showed that the team was originally formed by Barry, Hal, Diana, Arthur and J'onn. Before the Wonder Woman film KILLED at the box office, I argued that Deadpool's Ryan Reynolds' Green Lantern was DC's Iron Man - the start of the DC Cinematic Universe. When that bombed, I argued that Barry Allen was DC's best hope for launching their live action universe. Along came Grant Gustin's The Flash on the CW in the Arrowverse - boom! Dennis Cole is my suggestion for the optimistic, idealistic
Forensic Expert CSI Barry Allen, The Fastest Man Alive!
Legend has it that Green Lantern, Alan Scott was modeled on actor Alan Ladd. Roy Thomas went so far as to give his full name as Alan Ladd Wellington Scott. Hal Jordan, The Greatest Green Lantern of Them All, was modeled after actor Paul Newman. Alias Smith and Jones star, Ben Murphy has that Paul Newman-esque...quality. You might have seen him recently on series like NCIS or JAG. He starred as The Gemini Man, a short-lived series about a secret agent that used a wrist watch to turn invisible for short periods of time. The series was created to replace David McCallum's more expensive The Invisible Man.
David Harewood, Carl Lumbly, Phil Morris and Dorian Harewood have all laid the groundwork for DC's First Super-Hero of Color. debuting in 1955, J'onn pre-dates T'Challa's Black Panther, Jeff Pierce's Black Lightning and
Nicholas Luke Cage's Black Power Man. None other than member of The Galileo Seven and star of Land Of The Giants, Don Marshall would be The Manhunter from Mars. He could very well be the most expensive character to bring to live action in the late '60's. A shape-shifter. legend has it that ratings-vs-revenue caused the Batman '66 series to be cancelled. It was just too expensive considering the faltering ratings.
One of Martin Milner's early roles was an episode of The Lone Ranger. He starred in Operation Pacific with John Wayne and Mister Roberts with Henry Fonda, Jack Lemmon, William Powell and James Cagney. He moved on to appearances on Dragnet with Jack Webb and the classic The Twilight Zone episode Mirror Image, before landing a starring role on Route 66 from 1960 to 1964. His next series Adam-12, ran from 1968 to 1975. Since Arthur Curry traditionally has had a WASPy appearance, Milner would be perfect.
George Reeves tragically passed away seven years before Adam West made his first appearance as Batman on January 12th 1966. Reeves died mysteriously June 16th 1959. His death has never been resolved, although there are many theories. I believe his Man of Steel is a better fit with West's Batman that Christopher Reeve's would. I would pair Reeve with Keaton and Reeves with West. In lieu of Reeves, I would suggest Denny Miller. Miller played Tarzan in '59, and starred on Wagon Train. For years he was a fixture on the small screen from Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch to The Six Million Dollar Man and Magnum, PI. For fourteen years he was The Gorton's Fisherman. Only one other actor, Mission: Impossible's Peter Lupus, played Superman between Reeves and Reeve.
So, that's who I could see as a '66 Justice League of America. What do you think? Like my suggestions, or do they suck? Got better suggestions? Fire away in the comments.