The recent release of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes had me contemplating just how attached we become to certain performers bringing iconic characters to life. For those that don’t know, voice actor David Hayter played Snake, the protagonist of the Metal Gear franchise, since 1998’s Metal Gear Solid only to be replaced by 24‘s Keifer Sutherland in the latest installment. This came as a shock to many fans (myself included) as Hayter’s Snake voice was not only the most recognizable in the series, but also one of the most well known voices in the entirety of video games. I’m sure Sutherland is trying his best, but when I hear him speak, I don’t hear Snake.
Good try Mr. Sutherland, but that isn’t Snake.
This is Snake.
The longer a media franchise goes, the more attached we become to a certain interpretation of it, which includes having certain actors continue in the roles we love. However, if a franchise goes on long enough, there comes a point when characters will need to be recast, even in the most well-known roles. For example, everybody loves the original Star Trek cast, but everyone understands why they can’t reprise their roles in the new movies. Certain franchises such as Doctor Who and the James Bond films embrace this inevitability and have even turned it into a bit of a feature.
Change isn’t always bad though. Roger Craig Smith took over voicing Sonic the Hedgehog in 2010 and in my opinion is the best voice the blue blur has ever had. Rob Paulson played Raphael in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and in acknowledgement of the man’s incredible talent and as a great nod to the fans, he voices Donatello in the current Nickelodeon series. In fact, the new Turtles showed the classic series even more love by having all the original Turtles’ voice actors reunite for a cameo as the 8o’s Turtles in the recent episode, Wormquake.
Seeing this bit warms my heart ever time!
Really I could go on and on here, talking how much it meant to me that they had both Peter Cullen and Frank Welker on Transformers Prime, how Kevin Conroy should always do the voice of Batman, or how I’ve never been able to accept anybody but Harrison Ford playing Indiana Jones, but I think, gentle reader, you are savvy enough to see where I’m going with this. I understand the need for change sometimes and that everything can stay the same, but please Hollywood, understand that we the audience don’t just love the characters, but the people who bring them to life. Please realize that these properties and the people who bring them to life aren’t just money-making tools, they are beloved franchises that people love and cherish and even pass on to their young ones. So take them seriously, and don’t recast just because you can get a a bigger name. We love your stuff, and a familiar face or voice just help us love it even more.
As always, we want to hear from you. Which characters do you find only one person can/could bring to life? Have you ever found a casting change to be an improvement? If so, who? Let us know in the comments below!