Can you picture Marvel’s Captain America or Magic Mike as a Na’vi? It seems strange, but more than a decade ago, those casting choices came this close to happening.

While recently doing press for Alita: Battle Angel, producer and co-writer James Cameron told the Empire Magazine Podcast crew that Chris Evans was in the running for the role of human-turned-Na’vi hero Jake Sully in Avatar – a role that ultimately went to Sam Worthington instead. Also up for the role of Jake? You may wanna sit down for this… Channing Tatum.

“Chris Evans, and Sam, and Channing Tatum. That was my choice,” Cameron said. So why did the Titanic director pass on Steve Rogers and C-Tates? Cameron revealed

“I really liked Channing’s appeal. I liked Chris’ appeal. They were both great guys. But Sam had a quality of voice and a quality of intensity. Everybody did about the same on all the material through the script, except for the final speech – where [Jake] stands up and says, ‘This is our land, ride now, go as fast as the wind can carry you.’ That whole thing. I would have followed him into battle. And I wouldn’t have followed the other guys. They’ve since gone onto fantastic careers and all that, but Sam was ready. He was ready.”

Worthington totally won that casting lottery, scoring the lead role in the highest-grossing movie in the history of ever. But in some Sliding Doors-like universe, Evans is flying banshees on Pandora. Or our favorite male stripper king of Tampa is. We’d happily give folding money to either reality, honestly. At the same time, we’re still quite content with the Jake Sully we have, seeing as how we saw Avatar a fabillion times in theaters.

Cameron recently shot the two of the four planned Avatar sequels back-to-back. Avatar 2 (official title still TBD), which stars Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Kate Winslet, and Sigourney Weaver, arrives in theaters December 18, 2020.

Avatar 3 is set for release on December 17, 2021.


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