CBS recently announced plans for an NCIS prequel series centering on a younger Gibbs, leading fans to speculate on who should play the role. The beloved character Leroy Jethro Gibbs from the tried and true procedural, NCIS, is getting a prequel series set in 1991. Titled NCIS: Origins, the show will take us back to Gibbs’ early days as a newly minted special agent at Camp Pendleton.
Hardcore NCIS fans might pine for Mark Harmon to simply play the younger Gibbs in the prequel. However, the CGI de-aging technology used in films like The Irishman would simply be cost-prohibitive. Besides, while Harmon won’t be starring, he will be returning to narrate and executive-produce.
Of course, there’s a clear choice already baked into the show’s history. Harmon’s son, Sean Harmon, already has played a young Gibbs on NCIS in past years. Unfortunately, Sean won’t be reprising the role for Origins. However, the show was reportedly his concept, and he will be producing alongside his dad.
Things to Consider in Casting a Younger Gibbs for the ‘NCIS’ Prequel
That means the casting is currently underway for an entirely fresh face to play a younger Gibbs in the NCIS prequel series. The first thing to consider is the character’s age in 1991. While Mark Harmon himself was born in 1951, we’d wager the character was born closer to 1960, making Gibbs in his early 30s in ’91.
This means the actor taking on the role of the younger Gibbs in the NCIS prequel series should be between 30 and 35. While the lazy impulse would be to sweep in with a traditional TV actor, we’d argue otherwise. Established police procedurals have a history of anchoring their shows with A-list actors looking for a more balanced Homelife. Heavy hitters like Gary Sinise, Ted Danson, and Laurence Fishburne have all committed to TV police shows in the past. There’s no reason to believe a new NCIS would struggle to find an established or rising film actor as its lead.
Some Actors Perfect for the Younger Gibbs in the ‘NCIS’ Prequel
Liam Hemsworth should be first and foremost who the casting director should be headhunting for a younger Gibbs. Yes, he’s set to play the lead in the fourth season of The Witcher, but hear us out. He has that squeaky-clean look most CBS leads have, but he’s imposing enough to throw his weight around when needed. Though Hemsworth has certainly appeared in huge films like The Hunger Games, headlining a series like NCIS: Origins would be a real feather in his cap. Plus, he’s played military-themed characters in the past, such as in The Expendables 2.
Another obvious choice would be Patrick Schwarzenegger. Not only does he favor a young Harmon, but he has burned in name recognition. He’s also established some serious acting chops and range in Amazon’s Gen V and the indie thriller Daniel Isn’t Real. Schwarzenegger also has a lot of natural charisma, as showcased in the below appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show.
Perhaps our biggest wildcard pick would be Andrew Garfield. Though he’s a hair too old at 40, he can certainly play as though he were in his early 30s. He has humor and pathos in spades to carry a show. Garfield recently won a lot of goodwill by reprising his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home. It seems folks are rooting for the actor to score a big win, and landing the lead in NCIS: Origins fits the bill. Plus, if Origins ever does a musical episode, Garfield is your man!
Rounding out our list is an actor currently appearing in a TV series, Jack Quaid. Currently, Quaid appears on the satirical superhero show, The Boys. However, the show only drops eight episodes a season, meaning he’d have plenty of time to lead Origins. He’s the right age and generally favors a young Mark Harmon. Plus, he might want to try a more grounded role after appearing in a lot of genre fare like The Boys and 2022’s Scream. Plus, as you can see below, Quaid knows his way around a set…
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