Disclaimer: Ruby Dixon is the author of the Ice Planet Barbarians series, and thus owns this property. Everything I’m doing is basically fanfiction. For the sake of this project, I am pretending to be a showrunner for the Ice Planet Barbarians series (because I think it should be a TV show), and I’m making casting choices based on that. Sadly, there are no current plans for an IPB TV show, but if there were, I would really, really like to be a part of the crew. So go ahead and consider all of this content my audition for it.
A few months back I put together a fancast of a couple of the characters from the Ice Planet Barbarians books. I did this fancast for the seven romantic couples in the first arc of the story, beginning with Georgie and Vektal and ending with Josie and Haeden. That original fancast can be found here, but I’ll list out the cast again just in case:
For anyone curious about how I’m casting these characters, I’m going by a few criteria. I’m trying to stick to TV actors in their 20s to 30s who I think could play the role well. So I probably won’t include someone like Leonardo DiCaprio on the list, because 1. he’s probably always busy and 2. homeboy is a little old to be playing one of the sexy Sa-khui (not that he would have a problem shacking up with a girl in her early 20’s). I didn’t go much by appearance because in my opinion, sharing a physical characteristic with a character doesn’t necessarily mean that person could portray the character. So even though a character may be a blond in the books, doesn’t mean I cast a blond actress (though hair dye is always an option).
Sunita Mani is a very funny, pretty lady who’s appeared in “Mr. Robot” and “Glow,” though I’m recommending her because of her hilarious performance in the underrated sci-fi film “Save Yourselves!” I loved Megan’s character in the “Ice Planet Barbarian” series – when we finally get to her perspective, we meet a young woman who is still healing after a series of traumatic events. However, despite all that she’s been through, she’s still pretty cool, and she cares about the people around her. She just needs someone who can give her the time and love that she needs. As Sunita is a talented actress capable of playing a range of characters and emotions, I would love to see what she could do with Megan’s character.
This guy looks like if Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pratt had a baby and then that baby went on to star in the stupid show “Baby Daddy.” Am I just fancasting him because he’s insanely attractive? I won’t lie and say that’s not a part of it, but mainly it’s because Derek has no problem playing sweet and goofy, just like Cashol. As Cashol is a kind-hearted jokester who’s completely head-over-heels for Megan, I think his character would be in good hands with Derek.
Note: As Cashol is technically supposed to be the “ugliest” of the Sa-khui, I think a little sci-fi makeup could help us achieve that goal. Maybe give him a giant schnoz or something – I’m not picky.
Stephanie Hsu is currently dominating the screen as Joy in the critically-acclaimed film “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” She’s probably signing on to do a bunch more movies. Though for the time being, I’m fancasting her as Stacy in this TV show I hope one day comes to be. Stephanie displayed a fantastic range in “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” playing a range of characters who were fearless, vulnerable, sweet, funny, and even cruel. Stacy is by no means unkind, but she does display a complex range of emotions after Pashov’s injury. I’d like to see how she would play this character.
This cutie gave a powerhouse performance in Star Trek: Discovery as someone… well, I can’t really get into that because of spoilers, but trust me when I say he can play a hot alien and also nail the amnesia/brain injury angle.
Ariana is considered one of the most annoying characters in the books (at least to the other women) so I wanted to pick an actress who I thought could be the right kind of annoying. I think Sarah Hyland has that ability – she can be the most irritating, attention-demanding person in the room, and then also the sweetest, most adorable person you’ve ever met.
Ariana is a complex character who has a hard time adjusting to her strange new world and is only able to adjust with the help of her mate, Zolaya, and her very kind friend, Marlene. Sarah Hyland may be best known for playing the ditsy Haley Dunphy on Modern Family, but I think there’s a vulnerability that shines through in her performances, and I think she would be able to bring that to Ariana.
Zolaya is one of my favorite hunks from the books because he’s so kind, considerate, and funny! He has no problem embarrassing himself to save Ariana from humiliation and I am all about that. Thus, I want him to be played by an actor with that level of charm. Mena may only be 5’8″ (another short king), but he has a smile that could light up a room, and he has been tragically underutilized since Aladdin came out.
It’s not his fault that movie was dumb – I thought his charming performance was the best part of it. Also, Zolaya is supposed to be the worst singer in the Sa-khui tribe. Maybe that’s a sign he should be played by someone who’s definitely not a singer? (No shade to Mena, but was it impossible for Disney to give the guy a few singing lessons before putting him in front of the mic?)
Also, if you’re worried about the height thing, the actress I cast as Ariana is only 5’2″, so I think we can make this work! They’ll be cute together.
Marlene is a kind soul who is quietly confident. Marlene is unique in that she’s not afraid of Not-Hoth nor resonance, and seems to welcome this new adventure. Keana Marie is a french actress probably best known for playing Dash’s worldly ex in “Dash & Lily” (a charming Christmas show that I’ve written about before). I found Keana’s character refreshing – she was mature, considerate, and confident. She’s also not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for herself. In many ways, she was just like Marlene.
Shy, introverted Zennec. This sweet boy was not prepared to find love in the fierce Marlene, but she arrived like a shooting star and blew up his life. I love the part of the book when he learns French for her – that was an incredibly thoughtful thing to do. So it made sense that Zennec also be played by a French actor, like Sami Outalbali. Sami is best known for playing the gorgeous Rahim in “Sex Education,” so I have no doubt he can play a romantic, sexy, French-speaking man. Even if that man is a blue alien.
Nora is such a great character. She goes to great lengths to befriend lonely Asha and includes her in the group, because she’s the kind of person who cares about other people’s feelings. In addition to her kindness, Nora is also a kinky freak-in-the-sheets and likes to be chased, held down, and spanked. She’s fantastic, and she should be played by someone who can be sweet and sour.
Jenna Ushkowitz, the actress best known for playing Tina Cohen-Chang in “Glee,” would have no problem nailing both parts of this character. Jenna played my favorite character in “Glee,” but was constantly sidelined, even though she had the voice of a Disney princess and could easily nail comedic cues. On another note, Jenna Ushkowitz was born in Korea and adopted by a Catholic-American family, though her adoptive paternal grandfather was Jewish. I think it would add an interesting dimension to Nora’s character if she was the adopted daughter of a Jewish family, and Ushkowitz could play that dimension.
(For those wondering, I still think Nora should give birth to blonde twins, just because.)
For those who haven’t seen “People of Earth,” I truly pity you. Björn Gustafsson plays Don, a white alien, who has some… interesting encounters with humans on Earth. The character he plays is so sweet and innocent but also hilarious and weirdly histrionic. As Dagesh is easily the dumbest of the Sa-khui, I think he needs to be played by someone with flawless comedic timing. Björn is your guy. I highly recommend watching “People of Earth” to get an idea of his performance, and what he could bring to Dagesh.
Full disclosure: Lila is my least favorite character in the series. However, I want to like her, so I thought the best way to do that would be to cast someone incredibly cool to play her. Alaqua Cox is a deaf Native American amputee and actress who’s been killing it as “Echo” in the Hawkeye TV show. Cox is new to acting but has done a phenomenal job on that show. I can’t help but imagine her on Not-Hoth, kicking ass and fearlessly conquering the planet. Also, just look at her smile! Who could resist that face!
Some readers really love this character. In honor of those readers, I did my best to cast a hunk, and I think Darren Barnet is that hunk. This guy is really really really ridiculously good-looking.
Fuller disclosure: Maddie is one of my favorite characters in the series. She’s tough, brash, and opinionated, but she is also thoughtful and kind. She managed to alienate all of the human women in the tribe because she was upset about her sister being kidnapped and possibly assaulted by an alien (God, what a drama queen), but she also seems to suffer from low self-esteem, constantly referring to herself as “fat” and unwanted. It’s honestly sad, and it makes sense that she befriended someone she should have hated out of sheer loneliness and desperation.
Taking all of this into account I thought she could be played to perfection by K Devery Jacobs, aka the girl who’s been killing it as Elora Danan in “Reservation Dogs.” Devery is a phenomenal actress who showed an incredible range on “Reservation Dogs,” playing someone deeply hurt over the loss of her friend, while also desperate to avoid a similar fate. Fair warning, this show will probably make you cry. Devery is able to deftly portray fun, playful characters while also showing those same characters experiencing unbearable sadness. Although Devery might not seem to match the physical characteristics of Maddie, I think she would be able to play her mannerisms. Also, in one episode of “Reservation Dogs”, she has to go to IHS for stomach pains after eating nothing but spicy chips for days. I feel like Maddie would have done something like that.
On a “life is funny that way” note, I had mentally fancast her and Alaqua while back when I did my first fancast, because I was curious how the two would play off each other as siblings. Recently Devery has been cast in “Echo” with Alaqua, so it looks like we will get to see the two acting together! If they’re cast as siblings then I’m going to freak.
It took a while for me to find the right Hassen, because he’s a complicated character. He was a decent guy who screwed up badly and ruined his life in the process. Then he has to redeem himself in the eyes of someone who despises him. It’s a hard journey but one that’s worth it because he’s rewarded in the end. I wanted to find someone who I thought could show that duality.
Or, in other words, I needed a guy who looked like he would steal a woman but you would still like him. Thank God for CBS’s version of “Ghosts” and the character Thorfinn, played beautifully by Devan Chandler Long. Devan looks fearsome and brutal, which is appropriate as his character is a Viking, but he’s also hilariously awkward and kind of an idiot. I could see him going absolutely gaa-gaa for Devery’s Maddie, who would have no problem standing up to him.
Asha is a woman so beautiful she makes everyone else look like trash in comparison, so I thought she should be portrayed by someone so beautiful she makes everyone else look like trash in comparison. Jameela Jamil is probably best known for playing Tahani Al-Jamil in “The Good Place,” and she is a gorgeous tower of a human being. In addition to being a beautiful person, Jameela is an activist who is passionate and outspoken about her beliefs. I think with that in mind, she could do an incredible job portraying Asha’s strong, complex character.
Also, I think when she first makes her debut as Asha, the camera should do a slow-motion pan-up of her in full sa-khui make-up while the song “Poison” by Bell Biv DeVoe plays in the background. Kira will look upon her with a mixture of intimidation and self-consciousness. All of the other human women will look upon Asha with awe and maybe a little bit of lust.
Yep, I’m fancasting another “People of Earth” actor, but I think people will agree with me on this one because Michael Cassidy is a cutie. His character in “People of Earth” was interesting – he was a reptilian alien up to no good on Earth, but he formed a genuine attachment to his human friend. With that in mind, I think he could also portray Hemalo and the messiness of his relationship with Asha. Hemalo and Asha’s relationship is one marked by loss and misunderstanding, but watching the two of them come together was wonderful. Michael could play the kind of character who quietly loves Asha from a distance, trying to give he space she doesn’t really want, while also being one of the few people unafraid to challenge her.
Maylak is sweet, calm, and gentle. She enjoys a unique position of prestige within her tribe as she’s the only healer. Unfortunately, she has always been in conflict with her cousin, Asha, who saw her as competition for praise and attention, and that gulf has only widened as Maylak continues to live happily with her mate and children. In the series, I would like to challenge Maylak’s position just a bit by introducing a character with advanced, practical scientific knowledge. Maylak has an incredible gift, but she also doesn’t know the word for placenta, so it would be interesting if there were another person in the tribe who seemed to outmatch her (this character will be Krissy, brought back from the dead and living her best life as a veterinarian on Not-Hoth).
Karen David is a beautiful and very funny woman who dominated the screen as Princess Isabella in “Galavant.” She’s played a bunch of other roles as well, but I’ll always know her as the princess who runs directly into a solid wall in a vain attempt to escape from what looked like a creepy version of Barbie’s Princess Playhouse.
No one asked for this character casting but he’s super hot and he and Karen David would make a cute (and age-appropriate) couple. I like to imagine that Kashrem’s secretly the best hunter of the tribe but gave it all up to be a leather-worker.
Ice Planet Barbarian fans, I’m not done just yet. I think the series would greatly benefit from some LGBTQ+ representation, and so for your enjoyment, I went ahead and did some additional fancasting, complete with backstories, to show how I think that could be accomplished. The biggest change I made is one that I hope other IPB fans can get on board with: Krissy and Peg miraculously survive the crash on Not-Hoth and get their own happily ever afters.
In the meantime, what did you think of my choices? Who would you fancast in the roles?