‘captain america’ leading ladies: sizing up the contenders

Peggy Carter? She’s so 1940s. For Steve Rogers‘ next girlfriend, the star-spangled superhero has his eye on a considerably more modern gal — five of them, actually.

A short-list of actresses reportedly up for the female lead in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” emerged this week, a group that’s filled with names that should be very familiar to fans of “Game of Thrones,” “Community” and more. For the sake of the uninitiated, we cobbled together a breakdown of who these actresses are, why they would be a great fit for “Captain America,” and some of the drawbacks of their possible Marvel courtship.

Alison Brie
Best Known As: Doe-eyed college student Annie Edison on “Community,” and well-meaning housewife Trudy Campbell on “Mad Men.”

Pros: Shows don’t get any more tonally different than “Community” and “Mad Men,” proving Brie’s ability to make you laugh and cry with equal measure. Her rapport with “Cap” directors Joe and Anthony Russo doesn’t hurt her odds here, either.

Cons: If “Winter Soldier” means less Annie and Trudy, then that’s a sacrifice we’re not excited to make.

Emilia Clarke
Best Known As: Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, the Unburnt, Mother of Dragons, khaleesi to Drogo’s riders and (exiled) queen of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.

Pros: The English actress is easily one of the breakout performers on “Game of Thrones,” and deserves to bring all of her fiery talent to a major movie role like “Captain America.”

Cons: As with Brie, Clarke’s work on “Thrones” comes first and foremost in our hearts. Fire cannot kill a dragon, but an overbooked schedule might do the trick.

Jessica Brown Findlay
Best Known As: Lady Sybil Crawley, later Branson, the third daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham, and one hell of a nurse, on “Downton Abbey.”

Pros: Sound of mind and sure of heart, Findlay’s performance on “Downton” is one that you could easily see Steve Rogers falling for. If the role she’s being courted for is the rumored Sharon Carter, descendant of Peggy, all the better; of the group, Findlay most closely resembles “First Avenger” actress Hayley Atwell.

Cons: Hard to think of any, frankly. Findlay is a great choice for the role.

Teresa Palmer
Best Known As: Number Six, one of the nine surviving Loriens secretly living on Earth, in the sci-fi action flick “I Am Number Four.”

Pros: Palmer’s star is very much on the rise, what with “Number Four” behind her and a highly awaited turn as the lead in “Warm Bodies,” based on Isaac Marion’s zombie romance novel, on the way. On looks alone, Palmer is a dead ringer for the Sharon Carter of comic book lore.

Cons: She was one of the highlights of “Number Four,” but that’s not saying much. Simply put, Palmer isn’t the most exciting choice of the five listed actresses. Perhaps we’d whistle a different tune if “Warm Bodies” was already out, but as it stands, she’s not our favorite for the “Cap” role.

Imogen Poots
Best Known As: Perhaps the least recognizable name on this list, Poots’ credits include genre favorites “28 Weeks Later” and “V For Vendetta.”

Pros: That lack of star power could work wonders; as she’s not immediately associated with any hot pop culture properties at the moment like others on the list, fans might have an easier time getting lost in her “Cap” character. Also in Poots’ favor: she’s the only one of these actresses that was mentioned on Marvel’s original short list. Clearly, the House of Ideas has a good feeling about this one.

Cons: Like Palmer, she’s not quite as exciting a choice as Brie, Clarke or Findlay, simply due to her current level of exposure (or relative lack thereof). Still, this could well be the breakout role to cement this young actress’ place in blockbuster history.

Which of the “Captain America” contenders is YOUR favourite? Let us know in the comments below!