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What would happen with a live-action ‘Undertale’?

If there’s one thing video game enthusiasts can agree on, it’s that live-action film adaptations of video games are usually pretty bad. 

While there are a few stand-out exceptions such as Detective Pikachu and the Ace Attorney movies, the bad examples vastly overshadow the few gems in the rough. Whether it be the hilariously awful Super Mario Bros. Movie or the 70 billion Resident Evil movies that keep getting made for some reason, video game movies are notorious for their low quality and complete disregard for what makes the source material work. With the infamous Sonic movie being on the horizon and a live action Monster Hunter movie that has nothing to do with the source material being in production, this trend does not seem to be dying anytime soon. 

While we’re on this dark timeline, let’s take a moment to think about what it’d be like if Undertale got the Hollywood treatment. While Toby Fox has yet to sell out his critical darling to the hands of Hollywood yet, I’d like to take a moment to think about what kind of disaster a live-action adaptation would be like.

Frisk – Finn Wolfhard

Image from IMdb

We start out with the only human character and therefore the only one who isn’t going to be an uncanny mocap abomination, Frisk. I’m gonna be honest, choosing an actor for Frisk was kinda difficult because I’m not too knowledgeable about what child actors are popular. I knew I wanted to do one of the Stranger Things or IT (2019) kids, but most of them are in their teens now and Frisk is very much a child, so I decided to go with a bit of a compromise and cast Finn Wolfhard as Frisk while aging them up to be about 14-15. As for why I chose Finn specifically, it’s mostly because he’s the most recognizable young actor I could think of. I really didn’t think much of how he’d fit Frisk’s personality because the character is a blank slate to begin with, so you could probably put any actor in their role and they’d fit just as well. Just so happens that Finn is popular enough to 

Flowey – Nicolas Cage

Image from IMDb

Now this is where the cast starts to get incredibly meme-y. For those who’ve played past the five minute mark of Undertale, Flowey is basically the game’s main antagonist in the Neutral and Pacifist routes, and is basically the only outright evil character in the game. He’s actually a pretty scary villain for a character that’s basically a cartoon flower, which is why Nicolas Cage would be the perfect casting for him. Cage is notorious for being incredibly over-the-top and hammy with his performances, and for a character that’s so not-subtle about his “kill or be killed” mentality, Cage would at least be an entertaining fit for the sinister flower. Just imagine the absolute nightmare fuel and meme potential that would come from Cage’s face being green-screened onto a realistic flower like some awful Snapchat filter. The only problem with this casting is that having a hyper-realistic Nicolas Cage flower screaming about genocide like an absolute madman is bound to traumatize any child in the theater, but honestly they’d be cowards if they didn’t go all in on Flowey.

Toriel – Kiera Knightly

Image from IMDb

Goat Mom was another character I had trouble casting at first, mainly because I couldn’t think of any good fits. Then one day I randomly started thinking about how awful Nutcracker and the Four Realms was and how Kiera Knightly really can’t catch a break between that film and the zombified corpse of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. She’s an incredibly talented actress as seen with her performances in films like Pride and Prejudice, but for some reason she keeps getting roped into bad movies. For this reason, I can see her being cast as Toriel. Also I couldn’t tell you why, but I’ve always imagined Toriel having a soft-spoken British accent in any kind of Undertale adaptation that required the characters to have voices, so I can totally see them casting a British actress for her role. Honestly, I’d rather Knightly star in actual good movies, but if her performance as the Sugar Plum Fairy is anything to go by, her take on Goat Mom will at least be entertaining.

Sans – Danny DeVito

Image from IMDb

If I’m being completely honest, Sans was definitely the easiest character to cast for this hypothetical adaptation. Danny DeVito is such a perfect fit for everyone’s favorite pun-happy meme-producing skeleton that I didn’t even have to give it much thought. Aside from his body type fitting the character well, DeVito’s comedic talent lends itself perfectly to Sans’ wit. His role as Frank Reynolds in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia alone proves that he can do the lazy comic justice. Not just that, but considering how much of a meme Sans is, casting arguably one of the most memetic actors in history would be a match made in heaven. 

As far as Sans’ role in the movie is concerned, I imagine this adaptation would be covering the pacifist run because that’s the more marketable story. However, they’re gonna want to have Sans play a bigger role in the story and do all the cool action stuff he does in the Genocide run since that’s what most people know about Undertale, so he’s probably gonna tag along with Frisk and be the wise-cracking sidekick that sometimes pulls out the Gaster Blasters and bone attacks during action scenes. Basically, just turn Sans into the 2012 Lorax to make him more marketable. Hey, after the push of getting DeVito to play Detective Pikachu didn’t pan out, getting him to voice another popular Smash character is probably the next best thing. Also, if they don’t find a way to work in an awful dubstep remix of “Megalovania,” what’s even the point?

Papyrus – Adam Sandler

Image from IMDb

Moving on to the other skelebro, this is honestly the casting that caused me the second most amount of pain because I really didn’t want to ruin my favorite character, but it makes way too much sense in terms of casting. Adam Sandler is known for playing obnoxious man-children in his movies, and Papyrus fits that eccentric child-like personality just well enough that I could see them running with it. Add that with the near inevitability of Sandler giving Paps an ear-grating voice, and you have an easy way to take one of the most charming and hilarious characters in the game and turning him into… well, your typical Adam Sander character. Which is to say, very annoying and unlikable.

Undyne – Tessa Thompson

Image from IMDb

Even as someone who doesn’t watch much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Valkyrie is one of my favorite characters in that franchise, and that’s mostly due to Tessa Thompson’s performance. She has a knack for playing strong female characters who happen to be bisexual disasters, which I personally relate to as a disaster bi myself. Considering that Undyne is an insanely powerful gay icon who can’t cook anything without burning her house down, Thompson just seems like a natural fit for the character. I honestly can’t picture anyone else playing the boulder-suplexing anime-loving fish lady quite like her. It’s honestly quite amazing that Thompson is able to fill a very specific niche and absolutely excel at it, which Undyne just so happens to fall under. Unfortunately that archetype might not live to its full potential, as seen with our next casting choice… 

Alphys – Mark Ruffalo

Image from IMDb

You know how I said that Papyrus was the casting choice that caused me the second most pain? Well this is the first, not because of the actor himself, but because of the totally realistic prospect of Hollywood straight-washing the main canon queer couple. Undyne and Alphys’ relationship is one of the best examples of LGBT representation in gaming that I can think of, but I could totally see some executive deciding that a having a lesbian couple front-in-center in a kid’s movie would be “too controversial” and deciding to make them into a straight couple, relegating any queer representation to some rando background characters and still trying to act woke about it like a lot of companies tend to do (*cough* Disney *cough*).

Though I guess if we’re gonna genderbend Alphys, I suppose the best actor to portray her would be Mr. Hulk himself. I mean, he has experience playing a green science dude and he ain’t a bad actor, so I guess you could do worse for this scenario. Plus, I guess the casting of the couple would satisfy all five Valkyrie and Hulk shippers out there, so there’s that. Honestly at this point, any potential positives would be vastly overshadowed by the grossness of straight-washing the only gay characters in the story.

Mettaton – Ryan Reynolds

Image from IMDb

There’s no denying that Mettaton is absolutely fabulous. With his charismatic personality and legs for days, it’s kind of curious how Sans ended up being the character everyone was infatuated with instead of him. And who better to play a one-liner spewing looker of a robot than Deadpool himself, Ryan Reynolds. There’s no denying that Reynolds has a natural charisma that makes his characters instantly memorable and entertaining to watch, which makes him a perfect fit for a charismatic celebrity with a massive ego. Even if Mettaton has some kind of Transformers-level overly-complicated CGI design going on, Reynolds’ performance should more than make up for it.

Asgore – Jack Black

Image from IMDb

Rounding things out with what is likely going to be one of the film’s major antagonists, we have none other than famous YouTuber Jablinski Games taking on the role of King Asgore. This is another Sans situation where this was one of the first casting choices that came to mind when writing this article. I mean once you look at them side-by-side, the casting makes absolutely perfect sense, even if Jack Black tends to be much quirkier than Asgore’s usual somber nature (not that that would matter to the producers, but I digress). Aside from that, Black seems like the most likely actor to accept a role in this film because he actually knows what an Undertale is. He’s been shown jamming out to “Megalovania” in one of his videos and was seen wearing a Sans shirt once, so I imagine he has at least a basic understanding of the source material. He definitely seems like the kind of guy that would accept the offer if he were approached for it, so at the very least we know he’d have fun with the performance. 

And that’s all I have for casting. Everyone else is either too spoiler-y to talk about or not relevant enough to the main story to bother casting. If you had a problem with my casting and think that my vision of a live-action Undertale sounds awful, then I did my job pretty well.

Sources: Byte BSU, Polygon, YouTube, Esquire

Images: IMDb

Featured Image: Katherine Simon