Fan Casting

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Related terms: RPF
See also: Chromatic recasting, Genderswap casting, Recasting, Photo Reference, Head Canon, Blake's 7 Avatars in Pro Books
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Fan casting (sometimes fan cast, dream casting or fantasy casting) is the practice of speculative casting, suggesting actors, characters, or other individuals to play characters without canonical real-life versions (for example, characters from a book, a cartoon, or a radio drama).

Fan casting can be to offer a clearer mental picture when reading fic or the like, or just for fun. Fanfic authors may fan cast their own original characters as well by suggesting actors to picture, and fanartists may use references or make manips using particular actors when depicting characters. Fans may also fan cast a character from a show or book as an original character in their fanwork.

An older related term is clone.

Also see coded, an older sort of RPF which slightly blurs the line between a fan's original character/s and a real life character.

See Recasting for casting characters who already have canonical live-action portrayals.

Example of Fan Casting from Non-live-action Canons

  • There are many fan castings for the book Good Omens, either suggestions for Aziraphale and Crowley in particular, or the entire cast.
  • There are several very popular fan casts for the Marauders' (Harry Potter) younger selves. This includes Ben Barnes as Sirius Black, Andrew Garfield as Remus Lupin, Timothee Chalamet as Regulus Black, Aaron Taylor-Johnson or Reiky de Valk as James Potter, Lewis Capaldi as Peter Pettigrew, Sophie Skelton as Lily Evans, Alicia Vikander as Marlene McKinnon, Sofia Bryant as Mary MacDonald.
  • Fans of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast fan cast actors to put faces to the characters' voices.
  • Dudley O'Shaughnessy‏ is a popular racebent fancast for the character of Ronan Lynch from the Young Adult series The Raven Cycle. O'Shaughnessy himself became aware of his fancast popularity and tweeted the character's name "Ronan Lynch" to his twitter in 2015.[1] The book's author, Maggie Stiefvater, explained on her tumblr that O'Shaughnessy‏ privately contacted her to ask why people keep calling him Ronan Lynch.
  • Fan casting is popular among fans of A Song of Ice and Fire, especially for historical characters from pre-series or characters excluded from the television adaption Game of Thrones.

Examples of Fan Casting OCs

  • Arguably the most famous fan cast of an OC in the recent years is George MacKay as Grant Chapman from the popular Marauders fanfiction All The Young Dudes.
  • Many of the original secondary characters in Harry/Johnny fandom were cast as popular actors of the time: Robert Redford, Paul Michael Glaser, Gary Shandy, Dustin Hoffman are a few examples
  • The editor of The Sentinel zine, Passages, writes in the editorial: "I based Carson on renowned medium John Edward... Because I "cast" my original characters with familiar actors, please note that I chose James Spader for the part of Carson."
  • From The Hunting Companion #1: "If you'd like to imagine for half a minute that this is a film, I'll give you the 'cast list' for your further entertainment! Raven -- Mr. Shaw; Bodie -- Mr. Collins; Kevin -- Rutger Hauer as seen in Ladyhawke; Feyleen -- Michelle Pfeiffer as seen in Ladyhawke; Raphael -- Mel Gibson in his youth, say around the time he made the film TIM, and add longer hair; Amber -- Michael Gothard, a cross between his appearance in Arthur of the Britons and Warrior Queen; Dominic -- Christopher Lambert as seen in the earlier parts of GREYSTOKE."
  • Turn of a Friendly Card, Achates' Quest, Sea of Solaris is a zine series with many fan casted characters, including those from The Professionals, Starsky & Hutch, Kiefer/Lou, Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Sentinel, Ladyhawke, 21 Jump Street, Miami Vice, and others.
  • In The Thief of Bagdad (1940), the original Grand Vizier Jaffar (played by Conrad Veidt) got his name and position from the historical Ja'far ibn Yahya. From the sixth installment of Snowgrouse's Of Roses Unfurling series onwards, Jaffar has a brother called Fadl "played" by Basil Rathbone, his character being an amalgamation of Rathbone's villainous swashbuckler characters and the historical Ja'far's brother, Fadl ibn Yahya.
  • The 2000 proposed zine, "SG-13," was planned to be "a PARALLEL UNIVERSE. While characters from SG-1 make cameo appearances, this is NOT about them! All characters in SG-13 have been "cast" with our favorite actors. If you enjoy The Sentinel (Jim/Blair), or Due South (Fraser/Kowalski), and are a fan of Stargate, you'll enjoy this series of novels following the adventures of our own star-tripping team. [Will include] "Nicholas Cage as Col. Asa "Buck" Buckman, Angela Bassett as Capt. Salem Jones, CaIlum Keith Rennie as Sgt. Topher McCuIlough, RAF, Michael Wincott as Dr. Andrew Tallgrass, PhD, Richard BurgI as Ronan, Paul Gross as Taleisin, Garret Maggart as Magar, featuring Don S. Davis as General Hammond."
  • Command Decision includes four characters that appear to be fan casted Bodie and Ray Doyle from The Professionals and Del Tarrant and Kerr Avon from Blake's 7, oddly something not a single fan comments on in the numerous reviews
  • Legend's End #2 includes to original characters who are fan casted from the Kiefer/Lou fandom

Fan Casting by Pro Writers

From issue #15/16 of the Nichelle Nichols newsletter, Amani:

Nichelle has sent us a rather interesting news release about the next Marion Zimmer Bradley release. No doubt Marion Zimmer Bradley is familiar to many of you as the author of the Darkover series of novels. The news release states that she has now completed a Gothic novel for the Ballentine series of Zodiac Gothics, tentatively carrying the title The Drum and the Darkness.[2]

Ms. Bradley has used our own Nichelle Nichols as the model for her heroine in the novel, "Mardee Haskell." The story is laid in Haiti. Mardee Haskell is a Leo who portrays a vigorous and definite personality instead of the usual fragile and vulnerable Gothic heroine. By profession, she is an actress. She becomes entangled in a group of people who are filming a story based on the Slave Revolt of 1781 which made Haiti the first Black republic in the New World, if not the first one in history. Mardee and two members of the motion picture company act out an ancient tragedy, which becomes a story of blood and violence.

While blocking out her novel, Ms. Bradley was watching a series of Star Trek reruns. Over several evenings, she noticed Nichelle's beauty, elegance, and exquisite diction. Ms. Bradley did not know Nichelle's astrological sign, but decided that she seemed to have the fire and vivacity of a true Leo. Actually she wasn't far off -- Nichelle's sign is really Capricorn with a strong Leo rising.

Since the story is laid in Haiti, Marcy Rudo, the editor at Ballentine Books in charge of the Zodiac Gothics had asked that the heroine of the book be black. Ms. Bradley could think of no one lovelier nor more suitable than our own Nichelle Nichols to serve as the model for her heroine. Since the novel is, in essence, a fantasy, the author found it entirely appropriate to use Nichelle's "Lt. Uhura" as her model.

Friends, isn't it interesting to see the odd peripheral ways in which Star Trek is continuing to influence people at the most unexpected times?

Also see Blake's 7 Avatars in Pro Books.



  1. ^ "Ronan Lynch" tweet by Dudley O'Shaughnessy, posted on May 1st 2015
  2. ^ This novel became "Drums of Darkness."