So who remembers this guy? I’m sure a lot of you do because he was a big part of our childhood television experience.
I remember watching this show faithfully on Kids WB. This was among my first animated superhero shows that really got me into superheroes. I used to watch the Christopher Reeve Superman movies (1 & 2) all of the time, I watched Batman Returns (I did not know the first Batman existed), and then of course all of the animated shows.
HE IS NOT RELATED TO BLACK LIGHTNING IN ANY WAY.
Why It Should Be A Live Action TV Show
So I’ve always loved the idea of this show being live action because it’s so relevant. Now that we have the amazing Black Lighting on The CW and the success of Black Panther, there’s even more reason for Static Shock to be a show. Virgil is a 14-year-old African-American teenager. He’s definitely an ‘everyman’ which is always a great person to look up to on television. Virgil is smart, so he can think his way out of situations and he does well in school. He’s well-known but he’s not popular by any means, he gets bullied and teased but he usually takes it in stride because at the end of the day, he has people who love him and he’s really cool for that. When he gets his powers, of course the first thing he wants to do is be like the heroes in the comics. He does the suit montage and at first he’s kind of bad at it but he learns along the way and he evolves into a great hero. Virgil is likable too. He’d be the type of lead that everyone can see themselves in because he’s just like a normal teenager.
Static Shock had a very unique roster of characters and obviously there is a lot to pull from which is why I prefer it to be a TV show instead of a movie because a movie (unless a series) limits how many characters can be introduced and used without the movie feeling bloated, or some characters not receiving the attention they deserve IE. the X-men films. Don’t get me wrong, I very much enjoy those, minus The Last Stand, but those movies either focus too much on Wolverine OR Mystique going forward that other characters that should get a strong introduction in movies, don’t because the movie wants to follow Logan or Raven. I get it, Logan’s popular and it’s Jennifer Lawrence, but honestly, Wolverine was never my favorite and Mystique is a villain, no matter how many times they try to act like she’s not. I don’t want that to happen with Static. He has a LOT of villains and most of them are teenagers who went through the same thing Virgil went through to get their powers. I would love the chance to see all of them come to life because they’re all so interesting. Well, there’s a lot of them but at the same time, there isn’t a lot of them. We see the same ones quite a bit.
Virgil Ovid Hawkins/Static (Phil LaMarr). Virgil is a high school student in Dakota City. He’s really smart, he loves comics and superheroes and he’s considered to be a bit of a nerd, which causes him to get picked on a lot. He gets involved with some gang nonsense that forced him to be on the docks one night. So, due to accidental exposure to an experimental mutagen he gains the ability to control and manipulate electromagnetism. The accidental exposure is later known as the “Big Bang” and Virgil becomes “Static”. Unlike other “Bang Babies” who were exposed to the mutagen and use their powers in bad ways, Virgil uses his powers to protect the city. Virgil is a happy-go-lucky kid, he usually finds the good in everything. He’s really intelligent and he uses his intellect to help him win against his adversaries as well. He’s the younger brother so he often has to deal with his older sister Sharon, he nags her and she nags him. He also has a close relationship with his father, but he very much misses his mother. He’s 14 so he does deal with girls, in the beginning he has a massive crush on Frieda but when he meets Daisy, they definitely develop a close friendship which transforms down the line. Phil LaMarr is the man! He does Virgil’s voice and he manages to keep the innocence about him even though he deals with some crazy stuff.
Richard “Richie” Osgood Foley/Gear (Jason Marsden). He is Virgil’s best friend and confidant. In the beginning, he’s more along the lines of the “man in the chair”, he makes gadgets for Virgil and even helps cover for him to protect his secret identity. Later, in the third season, it was learned that Richie was passively exposed to the mutagen, from Virgil which altered his brain and gave him enhanced intelligence. He was able to invent rocket-powered boots and “Backpack”, a highly intelligent multipurpose device worn on the back capable of surveillance and other semi-independent activity. With this equipment, he adopted the superhero identity “Gear” and becomes Static’s full-time partner in crime-fighting. Richie is Caucasian, and I loved the fact that he and Virgil had a strong friendship and that he was the “support” compared to the many times that the black kid was the support. But at the same time, when he became Gear, he was never treated like the sidekick. Sure, they had arguments about it, but they’re teenagers, it happens. Richie is also smart, loves comics and I always thought he was a bit more awkward then Virgil was.
Robert Hawkins (Kevin Michael Richardson). Virgil and Sharon’s dad, he runs the Freeman Community Center as the head counselor. He is a social worker and a widower. Robert strongly dislikes gangs and the destructive attitudes of most Bang Babies, but he believes that he can motivate teens to do good things, and he’s motivated himself, to counteract the bad influence of Bang Babies on other teenagers. Robert is a good father, there are times where he comes down hard on Virgil and I remember watching as a kid thinking he was being extra, but as an adult, he just wanted to protect his son. He has a great many seeds of wisdom and the episode where he finds out Virgil is Static is a lovely episode full of great father/son moments.
Sharon Hawkins (Michele Morgan). Sharon is Virgil’s older sister, she attends college but still lives at home. She volunteers at a hospital and counsels young people at the Community Center. Sharon is that typical, annoying and nagging older sister but it’s obvious that she really does care about Virgil (and vice versa). She will come to his defense quick fast and in a hurry whenever he’s in danger. After the death of their mother, Sharon took it upon herself to be the woman of the house, especially when it comes to giving out chores and cooking (which apparently she isn’t good at according to Virgil). I like Sharon though, yeah she can be very annoying, but I love when the Hawkins family has their Hawkins moments. It’s very sweet.
Adam Evans/Rubber-Band Man(Kadeem Hardison). He is a meta-human whose body structure is basically rubber. He can change his form. He is the younger brother of Static’s archenemy, Ebon. Rubber-Band Man first shows up as a tragic villain who just wants his due after a record producer stole one of his songs, but he is caught and sent to jail, only to later break out of prison. However, he decides not to become a criminal and instead have an alter-ego as a musician, date Sharon and kind of sort of, works with Static. They clashed a lot in the beginning but after a while, Virgil accepts Adam’s relationship with Sharon and they fight crime together without problem and Adam even at times becomes a brother figure to Virgil. I like Rubber-Band Man because his powers are cool, and he’s a nice guy but he still has a temper on him. He’s the character that we know could easily be a villain but chooses not to be one. I like characters like that. They’re in that grey area.
Ivan Evans/Ebon(Gary Anthony Sturgis). So Ebon is Virgil’s archenemy and Rubber-Band Man’s big brother. He the head of a large group of Bang Babies called “The Meta-Breed” and he’s the main antagonist. He is very powerful and extremely strong, probably one of the most powerful meta-humans. He is basically a living shadow. He is able to create inter-dimensional portals and can manipulate pure darkness and shadows. he can also transport others to various locations of his choice. Ebon is frankly quite scary. I think in the first two seasons though, or mainly the first one, he is at his scariest because we haven’t been introduced to other big villains yet so he really takes the cake. He’s really strong and he really puts Virgil through it. I think we got to see him one time before his powers, because I always wanted to know what he looked like lol and he just looked like some punk, so honestly his powers were probably a good thing for him lol.
Francis Stone/F-Stop/Hotstreak (Danny Cooksey). Francis was one of the gang members who was at the docks when the Big Bang happened. He was exposed to the gas and was given fire powers where he changed his name from “F-Stop” to “Hotstreak”. His powers added to his hotheadness where he is able to create fire and shoot fire blasts. At first, it seems a lot of his bullying is fueled by his crush on Frieda but let’s be real, Francis is a douchebag. He does some good things in the show, mostly in the episode where a lot of the Bang Babies are kidnapped and Hotstreak and Static manage to escape before being captured, but they work together to save the others. He has some moments but otherwise, he’s a giant bully with fire power. He was definitely one of Static’s first rivals and he probably is one of the villains who gives him a challenge every time they meet. Definitely personal in ways since they were rivals before the big bang. In the end, we don’t know if he survived because he and Ebon merged together when Ebon tried to stage a new big bang and Virgil and Richie had to fight them and blew them up, so who knows if he survived. But I enjoyed watching him.
Frieda Goren(Danica McKeller). She is one of Virgil’s friend and his first crush. Frieda is very lively, outgoing and popular at school. She is very feisty and be short-tempered, especially with bullies and impulsive. People call her “Hurricane Frieda”. She is also an active participant of the school’s newspaper. I’ve always liked Frieda, she does get pushed to wayside when Daisy joins the show but I think she would be greatly utilized if they did a live action show because I think it’s important to have a strong female who is her type of character. Plus, she was always Latina to me, so boom diverse cast as well. I read that in the original comics, she was more important and that’s what I want for her in the live action show.
Daisy Watkins (Crystal Scales). She attended Vanmoor Institute, which is an academy for the gifted and that’s where she met Virgil because they wanted to recruit him (see ya boy is a genius!) and after an event where two fellow students were culprits, she enrolls in the same school as Virgil. Daisy and Virgil create a strong friendship and she ultimately becomes the girl he crushes on.
So obviously this is my opinion of who should play some of the key roles in the show. It would be fantastic if they hired unknowns, especially for Virgil and Richie but since I’m not a casting agent, these are my picks after doing some extensive research.
Nadji Jeter as Virgil Hawkins/Static
So, I’ve seen him in a few things, of course the Grown Ups movies, he’s in Wonder which I thought he was good and likable in and he’s in The 5th Wave but that doesn’t really mean much since I thought the movie was terrible and forgettable. BUT, while I was doing the research for young black actors, he came up and I thought “ya know, I kind of like him” and compared to the other young actors I saw, he’s probably my favorite. I can see him playing the awkward Virgil, who is a nerdy teenager just trying to make it through high school while also serving some witty quips and getting the job done as Static. I can really see it. So Nadji Jeter is my top choice. I think it’s important that since Virgil does start off being 14 (they can make him 15 or 16 if they need to), I want someone who looks youthful enough that as they get older, they don’t suddenly look like a grown man. I think Nadji still has a lot of youth on his face and he’s 21 so that works. I also want the locs. He needs to have locs. There are a lot of male heroes that have a close cut, so it would nice to have Virgil with nice locs because it would be different.
Jacob Latimore. Ironically, he is also 21 but he just looks older to me. I thought he was older. It’s really because of Sleight, that I really started thinking about this. I’ve always had it in my mind but his character Bo, really reminded me of Virgil in ways that I was like “whoa”. So he’s not my first choice but I wouldn’t be upset. But again… locs.
Quincy Fouse. So, I’ve only seen him in Logan and I liked him in that, enough to make me tweet him and ask if he would play Virgil if the opportunity came. He tweeted me back and said he would! It was exciting! I could see him pulling it off, but he did say in his response, he was interested in Miles Morales, so I would be more okay with that than with Virgil but he’s still on my list.
Algee Smith. Now I haven’t seen him in anything so I can’t attest to his acting ability but I have seen him come up a lot for people’s fan casting when it comes to Virgil. I mean, I wouldn’t be upset going off of physicality but he’s also 23, so I don’t know how much room he’d have with playing a teenager.
Skyler Gisando as Richie Foley/Gear
So when it comes to Richie, he obviously has to have good chemistry with Virgil, but he also has to be able to stand on his own because he does become a hero in his own right. He creates a lot of Static’s stuff and he later makes his own tools to be “Gear”. Richie also can sometimes come off “cool” but he definitely gets bullied, just like Virgil and I think Skyler is perfect. Of course, he’s not blonde but I would be okay with that because he would be Richie so well. I can even see him being all frazzled like Richie would be. I can also see him being really jealous just like the times Richie wanted powers. I think he’d be great.
Kevin Michael Richardson as Robert Hawkins
He did the voice on the show. Enuff said.
Shanice Williams as Sharon Hawkins
So, I really wanted to find someone who looked like they could be annoying but when I came across Shanice Williams in my research, I decided she looks like she would be related to Jeter and Richardson so that works. She was great as Dorothy in The Wiz Live! and I haven’t heard anything about her since. I would love to see her on tv and I think she’d have fun as Sharon. I would dial down her nagging and make her a bit more of an independent person. She is a college student so I would like to see her go to school and be studious as well. I think Shanice would be great at trying to be the mother figure, while also thrive on her own.
Stephan James as Adam Evans/Rubber-Band Man
I think Stephan James would be a good choice because for one, he looks a bit like him AND I think he could play that complex character. Someone who starts off bad because he’s been slighted but who later becomes a hero because he wants better for himself. Plus, I think he’ll have good chemistry with Sharon and Virgil and he has maturity about him that makes him seem like he’s been doing this a while, even though he technically hasn’t lol.
Kofi Siriboe as Ivan Evans/Ebon
I mean obviously Kofi is a gorgeous man but I think he can play Ebon to a T. I’ve seen him in Kicks and he was the main villain and he was scary. He’s bad from the get go and I really think that Kofi has the charisma that Ebon needs to even recruit people over to his side. I mean, the dude has a girlfriend who is pretty much ride or die (until she gets the chance to be human again)… he has to be good with people and words. Kofi definitely can do that.
Daryl Sabara as Francis Stone/Hotstreak
So Francis or “F-Stop” at first, was kind of hard to cast. I wanted to find a ginger so when I came across Daryl Sabara, I was like “hmm…” I liked the idea but then I wasn’t sure because he has to definitely be a douche. Francis is such a bro to me that I wasn’t sure about Daryl, but a friend agreed with the idea so it was confirmed. I think he could do it. He has played mean before and I think he would have fun. I would want Francis to be a bit more than just a bully since he is such a long time antagonist for Virgil. I would like to see him have some depth and other character than just being a bad guy who likes fire. He doesn’t necessarily have to become “sympathetic” but at least where it’s not just mindless evil.
Becky G as Frieda Goren
So I think in the comics she’s Caucasian, I’m not sure, but in the show, I always thought she was Latina so in my mind, Frieda is Latina. Looking for a Latina actress who I could see with red hair, if instead of having her be a redhead, she can dye her hair red. My friend mentioned her, I wasn’t sure because she’s a power ranger, but who knows what will happen with that. But anyway, I think Becky G can be sassy like Frieda, she has a big smile and she looks like she could portray the kind of personality that would make people like her but also be afraid of her. She’s supposed to be the super popular girl who is nice, she’s friends with everyone, she is involved in all the clubs and she’s very involved in the school. It would be awesome to see Becky G do that. Plus she can mean mug like no one’s business for when the times Frieda is upset. Plus, I think she would be a great best friend to Virgil and great chemistry since he does like her for a while in the beginning. Plus, I think she’d have great chemistry with my choice for Daisy since they become best friends. I also would want her to know Virgil’s secret earlier on. In the show her role is very small, I would definitely have her have a larger and more active role.
Victoria Justice. She was my first choice because she can rock the red hair, but she can also have the darker hair. At first Frieda’s hair was more red, then when they upgraded the animation, her look changed a bit and her hair was darker. Frieda can be frazzled and all over the place and she can be intimidating which I think Victoria Justice can do. I just think she might be too old at 25, but she’s my close second choice.
Isabela Moner. I saw her and I wasn’t sure how I felt but I think she’s cute and she has the look I was thinking about for Frieda. She’s the youngest of the bunch being 16 and is basically the perfect age but ya know, it could also be a bit odd being that she isn’t technically an adult like the others. But she does have the look I was thinking of.
Jessica Sula as Daisy Watkins
So in the show, Daisy is biracial, her mother was black and her father was Asian, I think. So, I really wanted to make sure I kept that in my casting. Jessica Sula is a name I saw a lot for Frieda but I think, since I can’t really find a biracial actress that I liked, I decided that Jessica Sula would probably be a better fit for Daisy anyway. She is biracial of Asian, African and Latina descent which works for what I wanted. I think she would have great chemistry with Nadji, and since she’s practically a genius, I definitely want to show that, and give her a larger role in the show. Since it would be diverse, I want her to be seen having a family. She also has a motherly kind of personality, so I would also give her younger siblings. I haven’t seen a ton from Jessica Sula, only from Split and she was sweet for the most part. I think she would be a good fit.
As for all of the other characters, I could sit here and cast them but that’s a lot of work lol. I wanted to make sure I cast the main characters of the show. I think this group should be a good focus. Virgil and Richie are definitely the leads so I want them to get a lot of character development and growth, but since it’s a TV show, I think it would be beneficial to the other “main” characters to get arcs as well. All of the other villains, will be guest stars and reoccurring. There are a few that would require mini arc like Edwin Alva, but some would just be like lower level villains who could show up every now and then.
So I believe in the Static Shock comics, it was confirmed, or at least after the run, that Virgil and Frieda got together. Sure, that’s fine. But I think in the show, it should be Virgil and Daisy. I liked them together more anyway. When I was a kid I thought that Richie and Frieda would be cute together but ya know that’s fine lol. Daisy and Virgil meet at the smartypants institute, and they immediately click and when she comes to his school, he’s happy to see her. In the show, I would want them to really develop Daisy. Show indications that they are crushing on each other, they were comfortable with each other and it would just naturally progress. Plus, I think Jessica Sula and Nadji Jeter would have great chemistry together, they look good together. Plus, they liked a lot of the same stuff in the animated show. That’d be so great!
So Virgil’s power set is to control and manipulate electromagnetism HE IS NOT RELATED TO BLACK LIGHTNING! Anyways, that’s really cool and different. He is very resourceful with his powers, plus he has to deal with static cling a lot, so that would help with the humor. But his power allows him to fly thanks to electromagnetic levitation. He has a lot of abilities:
Amplified Electrical Aura
Electromagnetic force fields
Flight via Electromagnetic levitation