Consider these non-traditional casting changes to follow the Doctor's lead

The first female Doctor Who. A black Gunslinger. More diversity in the Marvel universe. Non-traditional casting is having a bit of a moment in some high-profile film and TV projects. Here are a few more suggestions we'd love to see to keep this going.

'The fans have lived through so many changes. This is only a new, different one,' says female Doctor Who

The first female Doctor Who. A black Gunslinger. Non-traditional casting is having a bit of a moment in high-profile film and TV projects. (BBC Studios/Associated Press)

Today's prevailing mantra in TV and film is that nostalgia rules — but there's definitely nothing wrong with shaking up a long-running franchise.

After more than 50 years and a dozen quirky male Time Lords, actress Jodie Whittaker was named the 13th Doctor Who, capturing one of sci-fi TV's most coveted leading roles and immediately acknowledging the expected outrage from one segment of the fan base.  

"Doctor Who represents everything that's exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one — not a fearful one," Whittaker said in an interview with the BBC.

Over the years, the sci-fi and fantasy genres have had some terrific instances of non-traditional casting, from Katee Sackhoff as the rebooted Battlestar Galactica's Starbuck to Idris Elba as the originally Clint Eastwood-inspired Gunslinger in next month's The Dark Tower.

Even the problematic Marvel cinematic universe has started to catch up to the regularly remixed and more representative comic book world, with the forthcoming Black Panther and the latest Spider-Man offering a refreshing — and much more accurate — take on casting and diversity.

Here are a few new casting suggestions to revive enduring franchises.

Bond. Jane Bond. 

James Bond producers are making a "female-driven" thriller starring Gossip Girl's Blake Lively, so might that mean changes for the 007 franchise itself? Though there's speculation Daniel Craig will return as Ian Fleming's iconic secret agent, rebooting with a female lead would reinvigorate the character.

There's something delicious about recasting the famous ladies' man as an actual lady. Of course, the new Bond would need the same moxie — and look smashing in formal wear. Enter Gillian Anderson, one of the web's leading candidates. The X-Files star has already shown her steely-eyed screen presence. Other innovative casting suggestions include the aforementioned Idris Elba as well as Ruth Negga, but Anderson herself seems have considered the potential game-changing gig.

Star Trek boldly goes...

Gene Rodenberry's beloved space saga has always centred on a crew of interstellar explorers, united by principles like equality and co-operation. Despite the whinging of some so-called fans over TV's upcoming Star Trek Discovery, we're hoping a gay Sulu was only the start.

We hope the pioneering franchise that's always revolved around tolerance and understanding (and has previously dabbled with gender-fluid alien races) will continue to boldly go where few have gone before, including toward a diverse central cast that includes trans as well as gay characters.

A 21st century Indiana Jones

Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford have promised to bring back the heroic professor for a 2019 installment, but if ever there was a franchise that need to make amends, it's Indy. True to its pulp roots, the first few films were littered with shallow stereotypes: adventurous archeologist taming turban-clad villains, Westerner marvels/recoils at exotic customs, and of course who could forget Short Round

But rather than bring back the 77-year-old Ford, why not pass the bullwhip onto someone with perhaps an actual connection to the cultures being explored. Our suggestion: The Night Of and Rogue One's Riz Ahmed. Like Ford, he can pull off self-deprecating humour and rock a fedora with ease. 

A next gen Magnum P.I.

Currently in development, a 2.0 version of Magnum P.I. has serious potential. Gorgeous Honolulu + private investigator hijinks + a spotlight on the daughter of '80's badass Thomas Magnum = the makings of a terrific new series. Couple that with the fact that — if you're going by canon — Lily "Tommy" Magnum would be of mixed heritage, this could be a much-needed opportunity to spotlight an actress with an Asian background. (Take that, Hawaii 5.0!). Plus, there's no lack of talent to choose from: Maggie Q, Olivia Munn, Jessica Henwick, Elodie Young, Sonoya Mizuno and on and on...

Yippee ki-yay, Ms. McClane 

Let's be honest, the last good Die Hard film hit theatres in 1990. Nobody needs to see Bruce Willis mutter his way through another instalment. But with Michelle Rodriguez threatening to walk away from the Fast and Furious franchise for lack of screen time, we think it's time for the Girlfight star to go solo as the new Joan McClane. Like Willis, Rodriguez has shown a knack for one-liners, convincingly kicking ass and looking awesome in an undershirt.


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