Yesterday, FX announced that it had ordered a pilot for the TV adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s Y: The Last Man—meaning, we’re one step closer to seeing Yorick, Agent 355, Allison Mann, the Beths, Hero, and everyone else onscreen! Obviously, this is incredibly early in the process, but seeing as I’ve been taking notes for a dream cast post since last year’s update, I figured why not play the casting game.
One note: While the majority of the characters are in their early-to-mid-20s over the course of the series, I had trouble pulling enough good options from young Hollywood. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the series ages everyone up a little bit. So, if not all of the ages match up, the point is to find actors who channel the same vibes of these characters. I wouldn’t be surprised if FX cast mostly unknowns, though it would be cool if they went the route of The Handmaid’s Tale and stocked the cast with familiar faces playing to or delightfully against type.
Minor spoilers for the series, but I imagine you wouldn’t be reading (and joining in in the comments!) if you weren’t already a fan of the series.
Yorick was a surprisingly tough nut to crack, which is ironic since various actors, including Zachary Levi, have been linked to the role for years. But with some brilliant input from Molly Templeton, I’ve landed on two options! Through his work on Supergirl, Jeremy Jordan has gone through several arcs mimicking Yorick’s emotional journey over the course of the series, while Jason Ralph plays not an aspiring magician, but a real one, in Syfy’s The Magicians.
It’s difficult to land on a single choice for this role, in part because of the many sides of 355 we see over the course of the series, but also because of the wealth of options in terms of badass black actresses who in the past few years have finally started getting the appreciation they deserve. For 355’s initial arc, kicking ass, I can think of no one better than Danai Gurira, after both The Walking Dead and Black Panther. But for a long time I’ve also envisioned The Expanse’s Dominique Tipper in the role, to bring the necessary snark and reluctant tenderness (you know, like you would have for an untrained puppy) for Yorick. Yet when I think about the softer side of the Culper Ring agent, which we get only in glimpses, my mind goes to Tessa Thompson.
Dr. Allison Mann
A badass onscreen (on Fresh Off the Boat) and off, Constance Wu is the actress who comes to mind for Allison’s prickliness, unyielding sarcasm, and the brilliance that encompasses all of it. Can you imagine anyone else delivering the above line?
Much as I enjoyed Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona Flowers, I’ve been glad to see her move away from Manic Pixie Dream Girl roles into grittier, deeper stuff where she has to justify her own existence and fight for survival from aliens, or creepy men, or both at once. That mirrors Hero’s arc, where she starts as kind of a fuckup and doesn’t immediately pull her shit together—as demonstrated by getting drawn into the Amazons—but that she learns to tap into that vulnerability in a way that’s not self-loathing but instead recognizes her own strength.
After watching Happy Death Day, I am head over heels for Jessica Rothe’s subversion of dumb blonde tropes and excellent comedic timing. If Yorick is going to spend five years tracing the globe for Beth, she damn better be worth it.
I almost cast Jessica Rothe here, because I would love to see her channel the snark as the other Beth, the former flight attendant Yorick meets in an abandoned church where decidedly unholy things happen. But Caity Lotz has long had my attention, from Legends of Tomorrow to small films like 400 Days; her steeliness matches Beth II’s survival instinct, while she can still poke fun at the absurdity of her situation.
In Daredevil season 1, Ayelet Zurer elevated what could have been a one-note character—the villain’s girlfriend—by making Vanessa a capable, nuanced character with agency in a superhero narrative. I could see her bringing that same depth to Alter, the leader of the Israeli commando force chasing Yorick across the world, who harbors her own particular obsession with the last man.
Representative Jennifer Brown
While Mary McDonnell has had roles since Battlestar Galactica, her portrayal of Laura Roslin is still a favorite. I would love to see her come in as Yorick and Hero’s mom, pulling strings from Washington while her children are off on various quests. Of course, the fact that this is where my mind went casting-wise does give some insight into Jennifer’s gray morality…
President Margaret Valentine
After watching her as eager, idealistic politician Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation, I would love to see Amy Poehler completely subvert that by playing the Secretary of Agriculture-turned-reluctant President of the United States following the death of every male politician above her. Having her advised by Mary McDonnell, considering Laura Roslin’s own unlikely ascendancy to the presidency, would be literally amazing.
Agent 355’s work buddy, who provides a very unusual intervention for Yorick in one of the series’ most memorable arcs, needs to be a master of layers, of disguises, of motivations nestled inside one another like a Russian doll. Though I’ve seen her in only bit parts on Black Mirror or movies like Ready Player One, Hannah John-Kamen is memorable in every single one.
As the leader of the Amazons, Victoria eschews trappings of heteronormative femininity yet nonetheless leads her troops with an eerie magnetism. After getting into Outlander, I keep seeing the dangerously charismatic Lotte Verbeek in the role.
A small but pivotal role that doesn’t appear until we’re solidly into the series, but mostly an opportunity for one of my favorite redheads, You’re the Worst’s Aya Cash, to make her mark in a memorable role.
Another pivotal character that Yorick and co. meet in their early travels, Sonia seems sweet, yet she and the others in her town of Marrisville are hiding something about their lives with the men gone. Anna Kendrick immediately comes to mind to play that duality.
The pirate captain who bonds with Yorick over the need for comfort and escapism in the post-plague world is a long cry from The Expanse’s Martian soldier Bobbie Draper, but I immediately saw Frankie Adams in the role.
Hat-tip to Comics Alliance for this inspired casting of Orange is the New Black’s Ruby Rose for Australian spy Rose.
Share your own dream casts in the comments! And feel free to add characters I haven’t—there are so many plum roles for women that I can’t wait to see how they cast it. In fact, here are a list of actresses I collected in my research with no particular roles in mind, but who I’d love to see make an appearance:
- Samira Wiley
- Cristin Milioti
- Gwendoline Christie
- Eva Green
- Gillian Anderson
- Ruth Wilson
- Alia Shawkat
- Claudia Black
- Tiffany Haddish
- Jameela Jamil
- Lena Waithe
- Ann Dowd
If you have any roles in mind for these ladies, I’d love to hear them!
This dream cast is only a fraction of the thought that Natalie Zutter has put into developing this series. Talk to her about all of Y’s heartbreaking moments on Twitter!