#Superhero movies are only as good as their casting, which is why casting directors and film productions exert a lot of effort to get a film's cast perfect. When done right, certain actors become inseparable from their characters, such as Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in the #IronMan movies and Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight.
But not all casting calls are as perfect as those examples. Before the rise of the cinematic shared universe, movie studios and comic book companies had some interesting ideas as to who they thought would be perfect fits for certain heroes and villains.
Below are six of those head-scratching casting choices that could have changed the superhero movie genre if they actually made it to the big screen.
6. Marlon Wayans as Robin
If #Batman was brooding, it was up to his sidekick #Robin to lighten the mood. It's because of this logic that Warner Brothers and Tim Burton envisioned Robin to be played by Marlon Wayans - later known as Shorty in Scary Movie (2000).
Robin was actually supposed to be introduced as early as Batman Returns (1992), but the filmmakers decided to wait until Batman Forever (1995) to bring in The Boy Wonder to the Batcave. Burton left the franchise due to conflicting interests with Warner Brothers, and new director Joel Schumacher had a different idea for what Robin would be like. Wayans was replaced by Chris O' Donnell, who would go on to play Robin twice on the big screen.
Wayans admitted to Boston.com that he felt that he wasn't ready to play a big superhero back then, although he's open to the possibility of doing so at some point in the future. The comedian also bears no grudge against O' Donnell, since he still gets paid for losing the role despite not filming a single scene as Robin.
5. Jack Black as The Green Lantern
Before #DC movies became synonymous with cinematic depression, Warner Brothers once entertained the idea to transform the #GreenLantern mythos into something akin to Jim Carrey's The Mask. In that film, Jack Black would have starred as every Jack Black character ever - only now with a Green Lantern ring.
The basic premise involved a powerful ring falling into the hands of Jack Black after a convoluted mistake, and Black (a furniture store employee in the film) would use the ring for comedic hijinks. With the powers of Oa in his hands, Black summons a hot housekeeping elf for his nerdy roommate to have sex with, and he also creates an emerald condom to trap some bad guys.
Black may have wanted to play the role, but the rabid fan backlash forced Warner Brothers to pull the plug on the movie. Whatever a Jack Black as the Emerald Knight movie may have been, for many fans it would have still been better than the actual Green Lantern movie that bombed in 2011.
4. Keanu Reeves as Plastic Man
Patrick "Eel" O'Brian aka #PlasticMan is one of DC's biggest clowns, and this is a title in which the crook-turned-elastic-hero revels. Directing dynamic duo The Wachowskis were brought in to make the Plastic Man movie, then took all the joy and fun out of the story and cast the brooding Keanu Reeves in the titular role.
The #Wachowskis basically rewrote Patrick O'Brian's story for Keanu's planned movie. His version of Plastic Man was a radical environmental activist named David O'Brian who yelled at litterers. He becomes Plastic Man when an evil corporation uses him as a lab rat in their illegal experiments. He then sets out to exact vengeance on those responsible for his stretchy fate. The Wachowskis imagined an elastic Keanu pissing non-biodegradable liquid plastic, causing him to have an identity crisis and suicidal thoughts.
Just try to imagine the famously deadpan Keanu going through all of those scenes and it won't take long to imagine how strange Plastic Man may have been. The collaboration could have resulted in a needlessly-gritty retelling of a comedic character. The fact that this film failed to launch may have been all for the best.
3. Arnold Schwarzenegger as Doc Ock
There was a point in time when James Cameron was attached to direct #SpiderMan and his vision for the webslinger was truly a strange one. Not only was the script considered "too gritty" for general audiences, but Cameron's Spider-Man would have starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as the film's villain Doctor Otto Octavius, aka Doc Ock.
In the comics, Doc Ock is a brilliant scientist who can mentally control four experimental bionic tentacles melded to his back. In Cameron's movie, Schwarzenegger's Doc Ock would have been more quirky than villainous, with him spouting weird catchphrases like "Okey Dokey!" and naming all of his tentacles "Waldos." The combination of the one-liner loving #Schwarzenegger as iconic comic book villain would have been the stuff of campy, cinematic nightmares.
As proven by his turn as Mr. Freeze in Batman And Robin, it may be a better idea for Schwarzenegger to avoid comic book scientist roles at all costs. The loss of Cameron's Spider-Man represents lost potential and a missed guilty pleasure villain who was killed off before even being born.
2. Nicolas Cage as The Scarecrow
Batman And Robin (1997) was envisioned to be the start of more #Batman movies from director Joel Schumacher. The movie's follow-up was titled Batman Unchained, where the Dynamic Duo would come face to face with the fear inducing doctor Johnathan Crane, aka The Scarecrow.
For Schumacher, only #NicolasCage could bring the mad doctor to life. What makes this particular casting choice stand out are the plans Schumacher had for Cage's Scarecrow. Not only would Scarecrow have teamed up with #HarleyQuinn (played by Courtney Love), but Scarecrow's fear gas would have summoned hallucinations of every single villain Batman fought up to that point, with each villainous role being reprised by their respective actors.
Batman And Robin failed, convincing Warner Brothers to stop making Batman movies until Christopher Nolan came along. Though some would celebrate the loss of Schumacher's influence in the Batcave, this also denied people of the crazy epic that would have been Batman v Nicolas Cage.
1. Nicolas Cage as Superman
As if Nicolas Cage being offered the role of an insane Batman villain wasn't enough, Tim Burton and Warner Brothers also offered him the role of none other than the Man Of Steel, #Superman.
Burton's #SupermanLives would have focused on Superman's identity crisis, since he can't accept the fact that he's a super-powered alien from another planet. This affects his life as Clark Kent and his already strained relationship with Lois Lane, and he hopes that he's just a human being with a condition that can be diagnosed by human doctors. The movie would have ended with Superman fighting Doomsday, resulting in his death and resurrection (hence the long hair, just like in the classic DC Comics story).
In the below video, check out some test footage of Nicolas Cage in his Superman costume and the superhero movie that almost was in the below trailer for the documentary The Death of "Superman Lives"; What Happened?
This may sound weird for a Superman story, but it's exactly what one expects from a Nicolas Cage movie. Superman Lives became the stuff of legend and inspired its own documentary. Geeks all over the world have mourned the loss of Super Cage: The Movie since the first photos of the actor donning the Superman costume began to appear on the Internet.
It takes a lot of effort to properly translate a superhero comic to the big screen. As seen in these strange casting choices and tests, the first choice may not always be the best.
- Scrapped Superhero Movies That Could Have Been Amazing
- 'Spider-Man: Homecoming': News, Rumors, Release Date, Trailers & Everything You Need To Know
- DC's 'Justice League': News, Rumors, Theories, Trailers & All You Need To Know
If there's one thing we can thank these weird choices for, it's that they proved to be the stepping stones and learning experiences that producers and directors needed to perfect the art of making modern superhero movies.
Share what other weird superhero casting choices you may know of in the comments section below.