Who Should Play Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect Film?

Published 5 years ago by , Updated February 11th, 2010 at 3:26 pm,


Mass Effect 2 hasn’t even been on retail shelves for two solid weeks but has managed to sell over 2 million copies as well as rack up a hefty amount of critical acclaim.

Sure, the sequel isn’t perfect, but there’s one point we can all agree upon – the Mass Effect premise, and its relative universe, is one of the best stories out there – and by “out there” we don’t just mean within the video-game market.

There’s no denying the Mass Effect franchise has serious long-term potential. Recently, our sister site Screen Rant covered the rising interest in a Mass Effect film adaptation. With industry critics throwing the notion of Mass Effect 2 as a viable game of the year contender, it’s clear the franchise isn’t simply going to slip into hibernation until BioWare is ready to release the third title. As a result, a film adaptation seems like a pretty viable possibility.

BioWare isn’t likely to let Uwe Boll turn Mass Effect‘s rich source material into B-movie garbage – but that doesn’t mean that we, as fans of the franchise, shouldn’t encourage the developer to aim for the stars.

To that end, we’d like to present to you the top five individuals we believe should be considered for the role of Commander Shepard in the inevitable Mass Effect film. Keep in mind, our choices are not based solely on who could pull off the look (especially considering half the Commander Shepards in existence look nothing like the one BioWare slapped on the cover of the box), though that certainly was a factor. We also took into consideration individuals who could embody the difficult choices and heroic qualities that make Shepard a great protagonist – even if Shepard does dip into that “renegade” side once in awhile.

The Obvious Choice: Matthew Fox


BioWare might as well have brought Fox in when modeling the default-Shepard. Fox has accurately portrayed Jack Shepherd as he faced a number of morally ambiguous decisions (which should be familiar when playing Commander Shepard) – who to save, how much to sacrifice in order to achieve the greater good? Jack (like the Commander of the Normandy) can be a self-righteous jerk ready to give rousing speeches – even when no one is looking for one. In addition, Fox didn’t look completely ridiculous in the Speed Racer “Racer X” suit – which provides a bit of hope that the N7 armor will be an even better fit. Though, some of us are still having a difficult time forgiving him for his contribution to Vantage Point – at least Commander Shepard isn’t likely to be shouting “¡Tranquilo!”

The Renegade Choice: Dominic Purcell


Purcell may not be a mirror image of Commander Shepard, but he’s certainly got enough physical attributes in common. He can can also provide broad acting chops, having played wrongfully accused death-row inmate, Lincoln Burrows, on Prison Break for four seasons. Casting Purcell who has certainly played his fair share of bad guys (most notably Ulrich in Mission Impossible II as well as Drake in Blade: Trinity) would likely allow the filmmakers to delve a bit deeper into Shepard’s “renegade side” – upping the intensity in scenes where other actors might play it a bit nicer. That said, a few years back, Purcell gained a few personal “paragon” points when he was flagged down by a woman with a choking baby and subsequently performed CPR until paramedics arrived – saving the kid’s life.

Continue reading our choices for who should play Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect film…

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TAGS: Mass Effect 2, PC


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  1. Mark Vanderloo must be Commander Shepard, but to all hellish disappointment, he is not an actor… I even doubt that he would agree to go for his role, even if you ask him to play XD XD

    Warthington is noooooooooooooo waaaaaaaaaaay for this role. He looks like a marine jar-head jackass, which likes to smoke dope, eventhough, he has a positive face expression! Shepard is the commander, and his actor must have a serious, trustworthy face of a VETERAN soldier! I think Russel Crowe… I also place Vigo Mortensen… No, he does not look like Shepard, but the way he acts and is present in Lord of the Rings. Just don’t insult me before you read the next sentence. Guys, really, compare the acting of Aragorn (Vigo Mortensen) in the Lord of the Rings, to the “acting”, face expressions, and actions of Shepard in Mass Effect. Very very similar movements, bland and serious, + kind, trustworthy, man face! Especially watch the scene where he talks to Frodo in the end of the 1st part! I also think if you shave him bold with his beard, he might look well!

  2. To be honest I think that most of the film is gonna be cgi and etc.that means Shepard would most likely be the model he is in the game

  3. First off, while I absolutely love Jennifer Hale’s performance, if we’re all being realistic, Hollywood is going to go with a male Shepard. Not because it’s better, or because it’s the way Bioware markets the game, but because that’s just how Hollywood works.

    Second, I seriously doubt they will have any trouble getting Seth Green to play Joker. The only way I see them not snagging him to play Joker is if he is so busy that he can’t go poo by himself.

    Third, according to the timeline, Shepard is 29 is of Mass Effect 1 and 32 as of Mass Effect 2, so some of those suggestions for actors are a bit too old. *

    And lastly, as far as a personal preference, I have a few ideas.
    For a male Shepard, I would pick:
    Sean Patrick Flannery (Boondock Saints)
    Sam Worthington (decent acting ability and a close look)
    Jeremy Renner (Hurt Locker, amazing acting)
    Chris O’Donnell (NCIS: Los Angeles)
    Callum Blue (Smallville, Dead Like Me, etc)
    …And James Franco (let’s face it, he could pull off the paragon and renegade sides, and pull off the wiseass part too, plus we all know his acting is top notch)
    ……Oh and also Ryan Reynolds because, well… he’s Deadpool!

    For a female Shepard, I would pick:
    Daniela Ruah (NCIS: LA) or Cote de Pablo (NCIS) (both good actresses in my opinion and tough)
    Ashley Greene (Alice from Twilight series) (yes i watched it shut up, she was the only semi-redeemable actor/actress from those movies, but she’s short enough to do it)
    Kate Winslet (not a physical match but an amazing actress)
    Evangeline Lily (LOST)

    Anyway, those are just some ideas.

    * Regarding the timeline of the Mass Effect Series, we actually never know for sure what age Commander Shepard is, though it is generally accepted that he is 29 or 30 in ME1. Again, this is not clear, because while April 11th, 2154 is stated to be Shepard’s birthday, there are no exact dates given on the occurrences of ME1 or ME2, only that they start in 2183 with the Eden Prime War (which concludes supposedly in 2183) and ends with Shepard’s “death” in 2184. But then it sort of skips around the issue of dates, but says that the events of ME2 supposedly all occur in January of 2185. However, if you consider the DLC, the timeline gets even further messed up, as the events of the Shadow Broker DLC occur between August and December of 2185 (which would make Shepard 32). Then, we get the Arrival DLC, which supposedly occurs sometime in 2186, which would make him 33.

    Source: http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Timeline

  4. imo i think idris elba would be a good Shepard

  5. Fox for sure.

    I’m sick of limeys being brought in to play North American characters. I have sensitive ears and can detect their crappy attempts at our accents so it’s incredibly annoying listening to them.

    Not to mention, the idea of having them play as American icons like Superman, Batman etc is just plain insulting. Don’t even think about taking Commander Shepard.

  6. @E71
    ‘Not to mention, the idea of having them play as American icons like Superman, Batman etc is just plain insulting. Don’t even think about taking Commander Shepard.’
    Commander Shepard isn’t an American icon. Bioware is canadian, so all rights to creation go to them, plus the initial part of ME3 takes place in Vancouver, canada, suggesting some relation between Shepard/the Alliance and Canada.
    And, no offense, ‘your sensitive ears’ is just a load of BS. You’re just a bigot. I’m actually medically diagnosed with hypersensitive hearing, and I notice no such issues.
    Besides, If I listed all the British stuff Yanks have ruined, I’d be here all day. Red Dwarf, Life on Mars and soon-to-be Sherlock, to name but a few.

  7. Mads Mikkelsen


  8. Dean from the SciFy show “Supernatural” could also be an option … albeit not as deep of an actor as Urban… who I personally think would be a best choice… especially because of his performance in The Chronicles of Riddick.

  9. @Ash

    thank you, Shep is Canadian, as proven by Mark Meer and Jennifer Hale, the voice actors for MaleShep and FemShep (who are also both Canadian).

    I personally dont care who plays Shepard in the film as long as its a good actor who looks the part and is dedicated to it, I dont really care where the actor is from.

  10. Logan Marshall-Green

    When watching Prometheus i was sure he was the Model for shepard…

  11. I want a black shepard.

  12. Mark Meer! Mark Meer! He looks like Comm. Shep if you shave his head. AND HIS DID THE VOICE FOR SHEPARD! so he looks AND sounds like him! PERFECT FIT!

  13. None of the actors listed are suitable. While they ae suitable for a single movie, it must be noted that this is a franchise, not a single movie. In truth, it shouldn’t even be a movie, it should be an HBO mini-series…but then HlgBtO would force the makers to play up sex in general and especially gay sex…ala Game of Thrones. It would ruin the Scifi side of it with too much sex stuff.

    Anyway, the deal is, if this movie does well, they might end up making several movies. Expect 2 to 3 years between releases. Thus anyone playing Cdr Shepard needs to be no older than bout 30right now because he is likely to be 33 to 36 by the time the movie wraps filming. He would likely be late 30s to early 40s by the time the 2nd movie is released, and late 30s to mid 40s by the time the 3rd movie is released. If they do about 5 or 6 movies which is really how many it would take to do the story justice. So in the interest of the actor actually looking an appropriate age by the final film, he needs to be about 30 or younger…maybe no younger than 25 at this point in time. Then he would be late 20s to early 30s, portraying a mid 30’s Shepard at the start.

    So what actor between 25 and 30 do we know that could play this part and do it justice?

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