I think I speak for a reasonable portion of the internet when I say I am both incredibly excited and super wary about the idea of a Raven Cycle TV show. How will they get it right? Will there be actual teenagers on the show? What if it turns into The Vampire Diaries, but with Welsh kings and psychics? (Don’t get me wrong: I love TVD, but this is a whole different can of worms.) Readers have really, really, really strong feelings about the characters in Maggie Stiefvater’s novels, and there’s simply no way one show can meet everyone’s casting requirements.
That said, the minute this news went out, I started trying to figure out who should play our Raven Boys, our psychics, and our Blue. I’ve got some ideas. Maybe you’ve got some too?
One caveat: I’m mostly talking about just the characters appearing in book one, The Raven Boys, for simplicity’s sake!
Sixteen. Doomed to kill her true love, maybe. Spiky black hair, messily clipped out of her face. Attitude. Petite. Blue is the only girl in the main teen cast, and I cannot pick just one actress for her. So, three options:
Hailee Steinfeld: Scrappy in just the right ways. She can look stunning, but she mostly looks like a very normal attractive young person, which is just right for Blue.
Hayley Law: Fair warning: I love Riverdale and am going to borrow its actors for this dreamcast more than once. Law is underused as Val, one of the Pussycats and sometimes dater-of-Archie; she combined a wide-eyed, open-hearted spirit with a take-no-shit attitude, and you’d need both, growing up in a house full of psychics.
Brianna Hildebrand: Negasonic Teenage Warhead was one of the best things about Deadpool, and after that movie, she’s plenty practiced at being the eye-rolling lone girl in a gaggle of dudes.
Richard Campbell Gansey II
The perfect wealthy family scion, obsessed with a dead Welsh king, deathly allergic to wasps, basically in love with his car. With apologies to the person on Twitter who wanted to cast this lad as Adam, now that I have seen Froy Gutierrez as Gansey, I cannot unsee it. Gansey is also referred to as “presidential,” and this is the face of a young man who is going to grow up to be on some kind of Buzzfeed’s 25 Presidents You Didn’t Know Were Hot Once list. You’d hate him, were he not so handsome, and nice, and that’s Gansey. He’s got charisma to spare.
Another idea that I cannot unsee: Dylan Minnette as Adam. He has a terrible father; he comes from no money and is not at home in the wealthy halls of Aglionby Academy, but fights, quietly, for everything he’s got. Minnette has one of those faces that looks like he’s practiced holding it in a surly, defensive expression, though his natural neutral face is something gentler.
Option two is the freckled, expressive Cameron Boyce, who I have never personally seen in anything, but 100% has the face to show Adam’s complicated feelings about the world he lives in and the guys he runs with.
The hardest bit of casting, and arguably the character about which people have the strongest opinions. I have yet to find the perfect Ronan, honestly. Ronan is prickly, violent, ferocious, loyal, confrontational, smarter than he lets on. His family is beyond complicated, and Ronan, as angry as he is, as unlikely as he is to mince words, is deeply compassionate. He feels things, but he doesn’t want to talk about those feelings. In my head he is sometimes like a sharper-featured Renton from Trainspotting, but we cannot, sadly, age Ewan McGregor backwards.
Dylan Minnette could also work for Ronan, but something about his face makes him a better Adam. John Boyega is a bit old for the role, but as Moses in Attack the Block, he had the contained intensity that Ronan needs.
Square-jawed Colton Haynes looks the part, but has definitively aged out of the Ronan Lynch bracket. In a pinch, he can play the elder Lynch brother, Declan.
Noah [last name redacted]
Noah is … complicated. He “always seemed a little grubby,” a little unkempt; he is—for reasons I’d best not get into for fear of spoilers—the oddest, the least defined, of the Raven Boys. I always imagined him as a little fragile, a little off, and in that regard, either Kodi Smit-McPhee or Ezra Miller (everyone’s favorite problem child) would work. But then there’s David Mazouz, who plays a young Bruce Wayne in Gotham, and who, in every image, has a face that’s both entirely still and entirely expectant.
Blue’s mom is sort of the leader of 300 Fox Way, kind of? At least I think it’s her house. Her role in book one is limited, but Maura’s story gets more complicated as things go on. She’s not that old, as a mom—even Blue thinks that about her mother, who’s in her mid to late 30s. And for a young mom with a lively psychic business and a story of her own, Rashida Jones would be perfect. Runner-ups are Marisol Nichols, currently playing a young mom full of secrets on Riverdale, and Lena Headey, who would be glorious in tattered jeans, yelling at Blue to go to school already, and warning her not to kiss anyone.
Maura’s half sister, Neeve is rather more famous as a psychic, with a website and TV readings and several books to her name—books on which she appears with an unnerving stare. The ageless, intimidating Adina Porter, currently appearing as the warrior Indra on The 100, is perfect.
Perceptive, sympathetic, talented, no-bullshit Calla has a smile that is described as “positively fiendish” at least once, which calls for Thandie Newton. Or Ruth Negga, who needs to fit in here somewhere.
Evanna Lynch. I know: I’m typecasting our drifty, blonde, oddly dressed psychic, but I couldn’t resist. She sometimes says random things that don’t seem to make sense, but she also advises Blue how not to break her thumb when making a fist. You shouldn’t underestimate her.
Orla is Blue’s older cousin, but she’s not that much older. She’s the closest thing Blue has to a sibling. I’d like to see Dominique Tipper having a little bit of fun with this part.
The unfortunately named Whelk is a young teacher, seven years out of school, with more than a few secrets. He looks young but has a lot going on, and could handily be played by Cole Sprouse, who’s 25 but makes such a convincing high school student on Riverdale.
This was a tough one. None of these Blues or Ronans are quite right, and I hope unknowns fill both those roles. Who would you cast?