The Long Road To 'Captain America' Casting

Captain AmericaThe path to casting "The First Avenger: Captain America" has been filled with plenty of rumors and speculation with varying degrees of fan support, but today's report on five potential "Captain America" contenders is certainly one of the most provocative of the bunch.

Currently, it's unclear whether one of these young actors will wield the shield as Steve Rogers — but at the very least, these would-be superheroes are in good company, as there has been an abundance of actors both popular and unknown connected to Captain America over the years.

Casual campaigning has been a common thread amongst actors hoping for the iconic Marvel role. "One Tree Hill" actor Rob Buckley stated his affinity for the role just weeks ago. "Twilight" star Kellan Lutz, a near-miss for "Conan," tossed his name into the ring last year. even "Torchwood" leading man John Barrowman declared his interest, but was skeptical of his chances.

Other stars have had their names ascribed to Steve Rogers whether they liked it or not. Matthew McConaughey, a long-mentioned contender, said that the role sounds "fun" and wrestler John Cena described his potential involvement as "a pretty cool rumor." Will Smith, however, practically laughed off the idea of playing the Marvel icon when it was suggested by a fellow actor.

Age and nationality have become hot-button issues for fans when it comes to casting Cap. Some have argued that Rogers can't be played by an older actor, presumably taking dead-ringers Aaron Eckhart and Mark Valley out of the running. Others have said that he must be played by an American actor, which would put an end to Sam Worthington and Alexander Skarsgård's chances.

Personally, I've advocated for actors both young and old, stateside and abroad, in my "Secret Identity" column. To date, Skarsgård is my favorite choice for the role.

Ultimately, the final decision is entirely in the hands of Joe Johnston and Marvel Studios. It sounds like they have their choices in mind, and unsurprisingly, none of them are listed above. When the movie hits theaters in 2012, we'll know once and for all whether the right actor was selected. For now, it's best to just stay patient — it seems that a decision is coming, and it's coming soon.

Tell us who you think will win the part of Captain America in the comments section and on Twitter!