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Why The Cast Of Sky High Looks So Familiar

During the summer of 2005, at a time when the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) was still a few years from starting, a superhero movie called "Sky High" entertained adults and teens alike. The movie was released by Disney and became a modest theatrical hit at the box office, but like many initially misunderstood films, its reputation would increase as the years went by. Fast-forward to the early 2020s, and the teen comedy has become one of the most celebrated cult movies of the 2000s, with its creators eager to make a sequel at some point.

A lot of the feature's appeal after nearly 20 years has to do with the characters, led by the teenage protagonist Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano). But it's the adult actors and their past heroic performances in action movies, superhero projects, and cult classics that gave the production its nostalgia factor for adult audiences. The cast of "Sky High," combined with Mike Mitchell's engaging, acerbic direction and unique screenplay collided to create something special at a time when comic book adaptations or hero stories were few and far between. Many of the actors are bound to look familiar to viewers, and here is where you have seen them before.

Steve Stronghold/The Commander is played by veteran actor Kurt Russell

Will Stronghold's father Steve, who also masquerades as the superhero known as The Commander, is played by none other than Kurt Russell in what was a mid-2000s resurgence of his acting career. Russell got his start in the entertainment industry in the early 1960s when he was still a child. His adult acting career would take off in the early 1980s with a string of performances that situated him as both an action and anti-hero star in movies like "Escape from New York" and "The Thing," both of which were directed by John Carpenter.

Roles in "Silkwood," "Big Trouble in Little China," and "Overboard," in which he starred with his real-life partner Goldie Hawn, made him one of the most recognizable actors of the '80s. He continued to act frequently in the 1990s, and starting with "Miracle" in 2004, his career received renewed interest in the 2000s. 

When asked by Phase 9 Entertainment in 2005 what drew him to the role of The Commander in "Sky High," Russell commented, "When I read the script I thought it was really funny and I felt that the story was great. It focuses on a teenager who is dealing with the pressures of going through high school and we can all relate to that. I thought it was a good premise. But I find it interesting because the story is about superheroes, which brings in an added dimension and elevates the film."

Kelly Preston stars as Josie DeMarco-Stronghold/Jetstream

The part of Will's mother/Steve's wife Josie DeMarco-Stronghold, aka the superhero Jetstream, was played by Kelly Preston. The prolific actor starred in numerous movies across her nearly 40-year career, including 1988's "Twins," "Jerry Maguire" and "Citizen Ruth" in the 1990s, and "What a Girl Wants" and "The Last Song" in the 2000s. Although Preston tragically passed away in 2020 at the age of 57, her long professional acting experiences as a supporting and lead actor will always be around for her fans to enjoy.

Her role in "Sky High" was no doubt special to her thanks to its inventive story, but she did have some issues when it came to putting on Jetstream's costume. Speaking to Moviehole in 2005, the actor observed, "It was definitely a lot of fun to step into the boots and costume, put on the cape, and then also get to fly. We had a lot of fittings to get it to be what it was, as it was very unwieldy at first." She concluded by sharing how her outfit was essentially a rubber suit that took two people to yank into place when she wore it.

Evil Dead's Bruce Campbell is featured as Tommy Boomowski/Coach Boomer/Sonic Boom

When Bruce Campbell's name is mentioned during reviews or film discussions, it is impossible not to immediately think of his part as Ash Williams in the "Evil Dead" franchise. His role as the demon-fighting hero in "The Evil Dead," "Evil Dead II," and "Army of Darkness," (as well as a post-credit scene in the 2013 remake of the first feature) gave new meaning to combining humor, horror, action, and a smidge of comical overacting and overzealous morbid slapstick in Sam Raimi's twisted series of films.

But the horror icon has also spread his acting prowess throughout a wide range of genres when it comes to picking his jobs. One of these off-kilter performances was as Coach Boomer (real name Tommy Boomowski, super alias Sonic Boom) in "Sky High." In a 2005 panel interview with Movieweb, the actor comically poked fun at the popularity of his "Evil Dead" character when an audience member insinuated Ash Williams was somehow related to Coach Boomer.

Campbell answered by stating how it is important for him to play Ash in every part he does. His irreverent humor continued when he deadpan joked that he patterned all of his characters after the zombie-fighting protagonist. Sarcasm aside, his role as Sonic Boom and the coach was certainly different from Ash.

Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter plays Principal Powers

Another notable actor from "Sky High" for superhero fans is Lynda Carter, who played Principal Powers, the chief administrator at Sky High School. Carter is most-known for playing the title character in the 1970s "Wonder Woman" series that aired on ABC and CBS from 1975-1979. Carter's Diana Prince personified the superheroine long before Gal Gadot popularized the character in the DC "Wonder Woman" movies, and the actor would continue to branch out into other acting projects after the program ended in 1979.

Her part in "Sky High" included some callbacks to her Wonder Woman, including a tongue-in-cheek reference at the end of the movie where Principal Powers says she is not like Wonder Woman, as well as the movie being a superhero film in general. It was likely intentional on the part of the screenwriters and executives at Disney since Carter told Film Monthly that she was approached about appearing in the film a couple of years before the movie started filming. 

What is a superhero film, after all, without Lynda Carter?