In the first episode of Apple TV+’s Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, viewers were introduced to Lee Shaw circa 1959, back when he was an Army lieutenant tasked with “keeping alive” researchers Dr. Keiko Mira and Bill Randa (played by Mari Yamamoto and Anders Holm) as they go MUTO hunting in Kazakhstan.
In that timeline, Lee is played by Wyatt Russell of TV’s Lodge 49 and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
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But at the end of Episode 2, in the 2015 timeline, Cate, Kentaro and May (played by Anna Sawai, Ren Watabe and Kiersey Clemons) elude a team of stooges for the mysterious Monarch organization to seek out a Colonel Lee Shaw, who lives (OK, is held captive) in Monarch’s “secure asset management facility.”
And in that timeline, Lee is played by film vet Kurt Russell — who also happens to be Wyatt Russell’s real-life pop.
The actors’ familial resemblance is pointedly clocked in an upcoming episode, where the camera near-seamlessly “dissolves” from Kurt’s face into his son’s.
How did that bit of casting kismet come to be?
“I don’t want to undersell it,” says Chris Black, who developed Monarch: LoM with Matt Fraction and serves as showrunner, “but it was kind of the normal casting process that you go through when casting a TV show or a movie, in that the script came first.
“We had developed these characters, and we were looking for the best possible actors to play them, and when Kurt and Wyatt were proposed to us as a possibility, we were like, ‘Oh my God, are you kidding?’ It was like, ‘Done! Sold!'”
Locking down that perfect bit of casting was critical, Black says, given how Lee Shaw shares a certain something in common with no less than Godzilla!
“Shaw was a unique character,” Black notes, “and obviously an important, pivotal character in the show,” being the only one “other than Godzilla that links the past with the present.”
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