If there was one series that I want to see adapted for the small screen, it’s The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.
The Dresden Files is one of the more popular fantasy series currently being published, and a favorite of mine. The stories center around Harry Dresden, a wizard working as a private investigator in Chicago. The stories are a melding of detective stories, fantasy and horror. Dresden deals with all manner of cases involving everything from organized crime, to vampires and demons and even a certain curse involving a baseball team and a goat. All through the series, starting from the first book, Storm Front, Jim Butcher lays the groundwork for a truly epic tale. Not to be overshadowed by the story, Jim Butcher puts a lot of work into the characters. In the middle of fighting whatever horror the characters are facing, their personalities shine. This leads to touching, hilarious and at times heartbreaking moments. Leaving out immortals and beings hundreds of years old, the characters are dynamic. After everything they go through, they change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. The changes are never superfluous though. They makes sense considering the characters journey.
The work that Jim Butcher puts into the characters makes it hard to imagine the perfect cast. The actors and actresses would have to portray characters that have been developed over the course of, at the time of this article, seventeen novels. They would need to embody these characters, otherwise the fans might not accept them.
Luckily, I can pick a cast without any pressure!
Before I dive in, I want to set some ground rules for myself.
- Minimal spoilers. One of the joys of reading The Dresden Files is pealing back the layers of secrets regarding each character. When I list my choice for a character, I’ll be mentioning the reasons why I choose that actor or actress, but won’t go into too many details that would spoil things for those that haven’t read the series.
- I’m more focused on their ability to portray the character than them matching the physical description, but that is a factor in some of my choices.
- This is a fan/dream cast. There is no such thing as a budget. Because if a Dresden Files show with this cast ever saw the light of day, it would need money. I’m talking Amazon Prime Middle Earth show money.
- This is nowhere near a full cast list. That would be crazy for me to attempt. I’m shooting for some of the main characters and villains, along with the occasional secondary character if an idea comes to me.
I’ve taken enough of your time. Let’s dive right in.
Harry Dresden- Zachary Levi
This was one of the hardest to choose. I racked my brain for this, spoke with Digression Girl for her input, and even search online for ideas. Most fan casts have either Nathan Fillion or Keanu Reeves in the roll. I just don’t see either. I love both actors, but don’t think they would work. Digression Girl’s suggestions for James Marsters and Paul Blackthorne were great, and I bounced those ideas around my head for a bit. But I thought of other roles for them. Then I thought, who can pull of a character that struggles with his own failings, is gallant but flawed, sarcastic, self-deprecating and is also a complete nerd? I immediately thought of Chuck and Zach Levi. Zach Levi played Chuck for years and that roll had a lot of the same characteristics of Dresden. His other rolls in shows like Marvelous Ms. Maisel and Heroes Reborn show additional depth.
Bob The Skull – James Marsters
I said I had him in mind for someone else. Marsters is well known as Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. What some might not know, is he also narrates the Dresden Files audiobooks and has several voice acting rolls. He’s already familiar with the universe, and has experience voicing other characters. Marsters as the voice of an often lecherous and sarcastic spirit of knowledge would be perfect.
Susan Rodriguez – Stephanie Beatriz
Susan is a tough reporter that will get in anyone’s face for a story. Harry’s, the police, vampires, anyone. Beatriz has experience with that type of roll as Rosa Diaz in Brooklyn 99 where she plays a tough cop. She also shows her range on that show as it tackles serious issues in between the laughs.
Karrin Murphy – Katie Sackhoff
Karrin is a character that could kick almost anyone’s butt at the drop of a hat. Which also describes Katie Sackhoff. She could easily step into this roll and make it her own. This is one of the instances of the actress not quite matching the characters physical description. Karrin is listed at 5′ while Sachoff is taller. But not so much taller that it makes the difference hard to ignore.
Ebenezer McCoy – Jim Beaver
Ebenezer McCoy is Dresden’s mentor. He’s harsh, short, stocky, and a bit of a redneck. That fits Jim Beaver’s roll as Bobby in Supernatural to a T. I have to be honest, when I was reading the books and Ebenezer is chastising Harry I expected him to exclaim “Idjit” or “Balls” a few times.
Michael Carpenter – Henry Cavil
Charity Carpenter – Anna Torv
I had a hard time thinking of the right person to play Charity. Then I remembered Anna Torv in Fringe. She portrayed Special Agent Olivia Dunham as a character with a lot of compassion who won’t back down.
Molly Carpenter – Sadie Sink
Molly and Max from Stranger Things have a lot in common. Both are incredibly sarcastic, have conflicted family loves (though for vastly different reasons) and can turn on the intensity when needed.
Sanya – Henry Simmons
Sanya has a dry sense of humor that compliments his understated philosophy and personal faith. Which also describes Simmons portrayal of Mack on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Waldo Butters – Daniel Radcliffe
If Steve Buscemi was younger, he would be my first choice. Buscemi fits the general physical description and quirky mannerisms. Radcliffe is close physically, and his more recent roles (like Miracle Workers) have him portraying an awkward goof.
Detective Carmichael – Donal Logue
When I first read the Dresden Files I immediately pictured Harvey Bullock and heard the characters voice from Batman: The Animated Series. I also thought Donal Logue would be perfect for Harvey Bullock even before he joined the cast of Gotham.
Nicodemus – Mark Sheppard
He has shown that he can go from charming and cordial to pure chewing the scene menace. From Crowley in Supernatural, Badger in Firefly and roles in Battlestar Galactica and White Collar he has the credentials. I can also imagine his guttural delivery as he yells at Harry. On a side note, when Mark Sheppard starts screaming and snarling at people he sounds a lot like his dad, William Morgan Sheppard.
Thomas Raith – Matt Bomer
Matt Bomer made a name for himself playing charming and debonair characters. He was a super-spy in Chuck and con-artist/art thief/forger in White Collar. His combination of charm and looks make him perfect for Raith.
John Marcone – Richard Burgi
Burgi has the physical presence to play the head of the Chicago Mafia. Every roll I’ve ever seen him in has him playing disreputable and intimidating characters.
McAnally – Paul Blackthorne
The owner of McAnnal’s Pub is described as tall, gangly and has an understated personality. Paul Blackthorne fits the physical description and can easily pull off a character that says more with grunts and body language than most people do with words.
Maeve – Aubrey Plaza
Aubrey Plaza always plays quirky characters. She has her own personality that shows in her rolls. She has also shown the ability to portray completely crazy and manipulative characters as she showed in Legion.
Mab – Angelina Jolie
Titania – Cate Blanchett
When I read Tatiana’s parts, I kept thinking about Galadrial in the Lord of the Rings movies.
Mother Summer and Mother Winter – Maggie Smith and Helen Mirren
I was imagining Maggie Smith as Summer and Helen Mirren as Winter, but both of them could easily handle these characters.
Toot Toot – Seth Rogan
I’m not a fan of Seth Rogan’s acting, but something about him performing Toot’s tantrums strikes me as hilarious.
Justin DuMorne – James Marsters
Since we have Marsters as a voice only roll, I wanted to use him again as a live roll. For this one, he’d have to channel Spike from season 2 of Buffy. When he was cruel, manipulative and just nasty.
This is my fan-cast for The Dresden Files. There are some obvious characters I didn’t cast, but I wanted to touch on some of the major players in the series. Others I left out either because I couldn’t think of an actor or actress, and some I have ideas for but thought his was getting a little long.
I hope you like these choices. What do you think? Who would you want in a Dresden files show?