Nathan Fillion recently expressed a desire to play Booster Gold. Which is perfect casting and something DC needs to jump on, immediately: Booster Gold isn’t just one of their best characters, he’s also their shot at expanding beyond the grim n’ gritty.
Make no mistake, Deadpool is something the Marvel universe desperately needs, even if he’s not technically part of Disney’s hit machine. He’s irreverent, he’s lacking in seriousness and purpose, he’s rude, he’s flawed, and he’s funny. But above all else, he’s unique at a time when that isn’t the word one might use to describe the current stable of big-screen superheroes.
Booster brings much of the same appeal to the table. Most heroes take on the mantle to protect the innocent and advance humanity. Booster Gold does it for the endorsements. Michael Jon Carter was a former promising college quarterback from the 25th century who throws a game for his jerk of a father. In exchange, he gets expelled and stuck in a security-guard job; branded a cheater, he faces a life of disrespect and worse, anonymity.
Because it’s a comic book, there’s a bunch of “ancient” technology, like flight rings, time-travel devices, and so on. So he steals it, and goes back to the 20th century to impress the rubes and get logos slapped all over his body. He even, at various points, starts a sponsored superhero team when he’s not palling around with Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle, as part of the most beloved comedy duo in comics.
Booster started out as a gag character satirizing ’80s greed and the then-nascent celebrity-tabloid culture, but over time, DC’s actually given him some dimension. Don’t get me wrong, Booster is always shallow, money-hungry, and sometimes not very bright… but for all his bluster, he does the right thing. I still remember as a kid reading The Death of Superman, being stunned as Booster, a comedy character I’d been laughing at for years, was one of the first to go up against walking genocide machine Doomsday. He got his ass kicked so thoroughly that he barely survived. And he knew it was going to happen, too; Superman’s death was history to Booster. But he went in any way, fully aware he was going to fail and possibly die in the effort.
That’s what’s great about Booster; he’s funny and he often reflects our shallower instincts, but he’s also a reflection of our ability to set aside the day-to-day B.S. and petty selfish desires when we need to. The fundamental issue DC has always faced is that their characters are essentially Gods walking the Earth. Booster’s ultimately one of us, a flawed human being, and we could use more of those on-screen in superhero movies, especially if they come with smart-ass remarks.
So, come on, DC. You’ve given us Batman and Superman going head to head. There’s no reason Booster can’t finally get his time to shine… and endorse Big Belly Burger while doing it.