Michael Turner's FATHOM - The Animated Movie

Michael Turner's FATHOM - The Animated Movie

A fancast featuring the late, great Turner's watery creation.

By FlixMentallo21 - Jun 07, 2013 09:06 PM EST
Filed Under: Fathom

Who's ready to hit the surf, dudes and dudettes???

Recently, while perusing the graphic novel section of my campus library, I came upon the first TPB of a series that I have often glimpsed and read about, but never actually read--until now. That series: the legendary gone-too-soon writer/artist Michael Turner's "Fathom", which debuted under the Top Cow Productions imprint of Image Comics in 1998.

"Fathom" (not to be confused with the 1967 spy spoof movie with Raquel Welch) tells the story of marine biologist Aspen Matthews, a young woman whose past is shrouded in mystery until the manifestation of her power over water. (A lot of info courtesy of the dreaded Wiki.)

"Fathom begins as the cruise ship Paradise arrives in San Diego 10 years after it was reported to have disappeared. A military quarantine is established to cross-examine the crew and passengers; however, no one on board knew that they had been missing. Compounding the mystery was a girl discovered by the crew while the Paradise was still at sea. The girl could only remember that her name was Aspen. Aspen is taken from the ship by a vacationing naval officer, Captain Matthews, who adopts her and raises her as his own. Aspen has a strange attraction to water, and spends much of her youth swimming, eventually making the US Olympic team for the 1988 Seoul games. She wins the gold, but has her medal taken away after she gives an abnormal response to a drug test. Afterwards, Aspen attends UC San Diego and receives a degree in Marine Biology. She is then invited to study at a top-secret underwater science facility known as the DMD, or Deep Marine Discovery. The DMD is a joint project between the United States and Japan. The facility was built over a strange underwater craft of unknown origin which both nations study to determine its origin. However, the Americans and Japanese no longer trust each other and rely on an intermediary named Cannon Hawke to share research data. Aspen is also introduced to a mysterious man who somehow entered the DMD and requested to be placed into a tube filled with water. He requires no air, leading the DMD to deduce that, despite his appearance, he is not human.
A US Navy test pilot named Chance Calloway is testing an experimental amphibious fighter plane for Admiral Maylander, who heads Naval Intelligence. Maylander is also the man who oversaw the quarantine of the Paradise. Chance's wingman is killed by a craft resembling the one at the DMD. Violating orders Chance pursues the craft, first in the air and then underwater. Disobeying orders, he fires a torpedo at the craft only to have it dissolve into the water before the torpedo reaches its target. Without a target, the torpedo locks onto the generator at the DMD and destroys it, severely damaging the facility. Before she drowns, Aspen is rescued by the man in the tube who springs to life and attempts to take her with him. He begins to dissolve into the water, just like the alien craft, and Aspen begins to dissolve as well. Naval rescue teams arrive and the man flees: Aspen is rescued, but not before Calloway sees her in a half-dissolved form. He goes AWOL to try to find Aspen and figure out what he saw. He eventually finds Aspen, who cannot explain her abilities. Before she can find out any more, she is abducted by government personnel and brought to Killian who is held in the DMD. He tells Aspen that she is a member of a race of aquatic humanoids called the Blue who possess the ability to control water.
Aspen enters the world of the Blue with Killian training her to be a warrior. Aspen has unique powers, even for the Blue, and Killian tricks her into helping him create an enormous weapon. This weapon, later called the "Blue Sun", is a huge ball of energy out in space powered by three underwater stations on Earth. Killian intends to use this weapon to drill a hole in the Earth's crust at a place known to the Blue as Chanarnay, or the "Valley of Stairs". This hole would drain much of the world's oceans although the purpose is not fully known except to Killian.
Before Killian can accomplish this Aspen is convinced by her new friend Kyla to leave Killian and escape with Cannon Hawke, a member of the Blue himself, who has been following Aspen for years to prevent Killian from using her to activate the Blue Sun. Kyla is an agent of Cannon's who was placed into Killian's group to collect intelligence on him. Killian nonetheless manages to get his plan in motion but not before Kyla reveals herself to Killian and helps Aspen escape, dying in the process. Aspen, Cannon and Chance follow Killian to Chanarnay where Cannon fights Killian to buy time for Aspen to stop the Blue Sun. Cannon is wounded and Killian throws Aspen into a light beam and thinks he has killed her. Aspen in fact has gained near god-like abilities from the raw energy of the beam. She then kills Killian and destroys the beam."

After reading that first volume, I now saw why the series was so popular with readers, and can all the while appreciate the contributions Michael Turner gave to comic books as a medium. I really thought the story was greatly told, and that the visuals were just beyond beautiful.

I'm sure many here have followed the developments with regards to the attempted film adaptation, sometimes with Megan Fox as the lead; nothing much surfaces (pun intended) after that.

"Fathom's popularity and originality led to it getting a green light in 2002 as a feature film. The film was to be made by director James Cameron and his production company Lightstorm Entertainment; but nothing developed. In the past, Fathom had been considered as an animated film by Top Cow Productions and Fox Studios, but that also fell through."

It was seeing mention of it being an animated movie that led me to come up with this fancast--but withOUT Megan Fox. Let's face it, she's got a pretty face, but she ought to be shipped off to jolly old England for some theater training. Perhaps then she could be taken seriously.

Anyway, here's how I envision an animated (direct-to-DVD) adaptation of Michael Turner's masterpiece:
-DVD cover art by Image (and Top Cow) founder Marc Silvestri (who did the foreward to the original 2001 first TPB printing).
-Voice direction by Andrea Romano.
-Directed by Lauren Montgomery.
-Art/character designs/animation style by the same team who worked on 2009's "Superman/Batman: Apocalypse" (itself based on a story drawn by Turner). I mean, just take a look at this production art of Supergirl from that movie:

Tell me THAT couldn't work for a Fathom animated film.
-Before the credits role, a small mention is made: "Dedicated to the memory of Michael Turner."

With that, let's get on to the meat of this fancast--the voice cast:

+Main Characters

-Mila Kunis as the voice of Aspen Matthews

I told ya I wasn't using Fox. I honestly think Kunis has the better voice for the character (not to mention that for some reason, Aspen looks a bit like her).
"Aspen is a Blue/Black hybrid before being adopted by humans (which were unaware of her non-human origins). She eventually became a marine biologist. Aspen has discovered her origins and struggles to find a sense of normalcy while dealing with warlike leaders and conspiracies. Because of her mixed heritage, she finds that she has larger control over water than regular Blue."

-Justin Hartley as the voice of Chance Calloway

Okay, with this, that will have had Hartley (figuratively) playing a comic character from DC, Marvel (in my Dark Phoenix Saga fancast), and one independent. This guy just seems like a character Hartley could voice easily.
"A fighter pilot in the US Navy and Aspen's boyfriend." His callsign is Joker, since he seemed to not take Navy protocol seriously. He feels great remorse over his actions in the destruction of the DMD.

-Ian Anthony Dale as the voice of Cannon Hawke

Dale played such a cool character on Hawaii Five-O (before he and Grace Park's characters left in the season finale this year), so I thought he'd have a great enough voice for this cool customer.
"Watched over Aspen during her tentative earlier years and later aided her during her adventures. He is the commander of the Elite Council Defense Strike Force; the intelligence organization of the Blue."

-Callum Blue as the voice of Killian

No kidding what role Blue played that inspired this casting--think Zod by way of an undersea He-Man with Zardoz's fashion sense. (And of course, his voice could easily convey Killian's arrogance and calculating nature.)
"A rogue Blue leader and ardent enemy of mankind. He formed a dissident organization and manipulated Aspen for his own ends."

-Chris Cooper as the voice of Admiral James Maylander

Had he not passed away a while back, I would've cast the underrated Charles Napier, but Cooper's got his own distinctive set of pipes that he was a good alternative choice.
"An admiral in the US Navy and considers the Blue a threat to both the USA and to mankind."

+Secondary Characters

-Allison Mack as the voice of Tyler Kincaid

Her experience with comic-based media led me to cast her for this part.
"Aspen's roommate and a television news anchor."

-Janice Kawaye as the voice of Akiko Nigata

Kawaye's a veteran of voiceover, and of course as a plus, speaks fluent Japanese.
"Cannon's personal assistant and friend."

-Travis Willingham as the voice of Chris Calloway

Willingham's played military-types before, as evidenced by his turn as Guile from Street Fighter.
Chris is Chance's older brother, who due to his nearsightedness couldn't become a pilot, so he became a Naval Intelligence agent instead.

-Kelly Hu as the voice of Kyla

Hu's been on a real voiceover roll as of late, so picking her for this character was pretty easy--just think Karai (in the new TMNT) and Cheshire (in Young Justice), except with more H2O. Plus, it's fitting that most of the action of the story takes place in Hawaii, since Hu herself was born in Honolulu.
Kyla is the right-hand woman of Killian, and Cannon's mole within the dissident organization.

-Khary Payton as the voice of Taras

No surprise as to why I picked Payton, what with him having played a water warrior in the form of the Kaldur'ahm.
"A male "Arctic Blue" warrior, and Killian's lieutenant."

-Sam Riegel as the voice of Finn

When I was reading Finn's lines in the comic, for some reason I pictured Riegel's take on Donatello from the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.
"Finn is the brother of Aspen Matthews. When they were children they left their home beneath the sea after witnessing the murder of their parents. The ship they left in was destroyed but Aspen made it to safety. What happened to Finn is unsure, but he ended up unable to revert to his flesh form. The Blue are able to turn from flesh and bone to water and back again, often using this to escape danger, but Finn was trapped in his water body and can't make himself whole again."

-Dorian Harewood as the voice of Dr. Alexander Jarvis

Harewood's got a long and diverse VA resume, especially in the comic book character department. Off the top of my head, among his credits include War Machine in the Marvel Animated Universe, Lt. Frank Darling and R. Richard Richards on the short-lived Savage Dragon cartoon, Martian Manhunter on "The Batman", Ron Troupe on "Superman: The Animated Series" and Jax in "Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm".
Dr. Jarvis heads the DMD facility that Aspen finds herself working at, and later is revealed to be working with Killian.

-Seth Green as the voice of Jack

Green I imagine could pull of Jack's smarmy attitude throughout the time he appears in the story (which isn't that long...). It may be a cameo, but it will be a decent one.
Jack is Aspen's ex-boyfriend who ends up working with her at the DMD. The entire time, he's trying to rekindle their relationship and make up for what went wrong.

Additional Voices
-James Sie
-Tara Strong
-Doug Erholtz
-Michael McConnohie
-Yuri Lowenthal
-T'Keyah Keymah

And that means the tide is now out, everyone out of the water. Thanks for hangin' ten with me on this one, and now, dudes and dudettes, beach bums and sand dweebs--DICK DALE AND STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN:

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FlixMentallo21 - 6/7/2013, 9:38 PM
I feel the same with regards to those who left even earlier--people like Mark Gruenwald, Mike Wieringo, and one of my favorite artists, Mike Parobeck.
PeterBenjaminParker - 6/7/2013, 10:56 PM
I've never read the original comics, but I find it quite humorous how you're voice actors look exactly like their characters lol
FlixMentallo21 - 6/7/2013, 11:00 PM
Not all of them exactly....
PeterBenjaminParker - 6/8/2013, 12:39 AM

Okay, maybe not EXACTLY, but pretty damn close. Ian Anthony Dale and Chris Cooper to name a couple.
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