Well, technically it’s 51 and a laundry list of candidates who just missed the cut, but you get the idea. This is my first article on Moviepilot, and 50 just sounds better.
After countless hours staring at my computer screen assuring myself that I would not be driven insane by a meager blog post, I have at last completed one of the more epic fancasts you’ll ever come across.
I did my utmost to avoid double dipping with my actors; that is, including anyone on the list that has already appeared in a significant role in a comic book film. You may notice the absence of big names like Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Channing Tatum, but their in-development comic book films (Sandman and Gambit, respectively) forced their exclusion from this list. You may also note that actors like Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Denzel Washington are very much not on this list. Yes, of course we would love to see them in a comic book movie. It’s not going to happen. Let it go.
For simplicity’s sake, the list was divided into a few distinct categories, the first of which being…
On the cusp of stardom, the youngest on this list could be the future of superhero movies.
Kicking things off is the former frontrunner for Spiderman himself. O’Brien seems to have missed his window to star as everyone’s favorite web-slinger—Marvel evidently wants an actual teenager for the role—but there are plenty of characters in the Marvel or DC universes that he could portray. Having already established himself as leading man material with his starring role in the solid YA film, The Maze Runner, O’Brien appears to be a promising candidate for a comic-based gig. If you want to sign a young actor to a multi-picture deal for a role that he could truly grow with, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option than O’Brien. Nightwing, anyone?
Every fanboy’s choice for virtually every young female role, Moretz has been one of Hollywood’s hardest working actresses for over a decade, appearing in nearly 40 films at the tender age of 18. She’ll likely have her pick of comic roles for the next decade or two.
Tyler James Williams
The former star of Everybody Hates Chris had a big year in 2014, with standout performances in both The Walking Dead and the indie hit Dear White People. The 22 year old would be a strong choice for smaller roles like Firestorm or Patriot, should DC and Marvel dive deeper into their catalogue of superheroes. Plus, the dude spits HOT FIRE:
O’Shea Jackson Jr
Ice Cube’s oldest son looks set to explode in this summer’s NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton. Keep an eye out for this kid; he could be a star in the making.
The shock felt upon the discovery that Sangster is a 25 year old man—seriously, he looks like a junior in high school—is probably something that you’ll need a minute or so to get used to. His boyish looks make Sangster well-suited for a possible sidekick role, should Marvel or DC choose to go down that road.
An established actress who’s already played the lead in nearly a dozen films, Ronan could prove a natural fit in the comic book universe. This, of course, assuming that her starring role in the failed YA film The Host hasn’t put Ronan off the idea of headlining a potential franchise.
Actors Looking to Take the Next Step
Pretty self-explanatory, no?
One of the most underappreciated talents in the business, and a personal favorite, Glover is one of Hollywood’s most well-known comic book fans. Having actively campaigned for the role of Miles Morales in the past, Glover would surely be game for the right pair of tights. Here’s a clip of him flat out crushing a dramatic moment in NBC’s Community:
The acting chops that this guy displays on a weekly basis on The Walking Dead should vault him to the top of superhero lists everywhere. It may be difficult initially for some fans to see Yeun as a superhero and not the kind-hearted Glenn Rhee, but add fifteen pounds of muscle and a badass opening sequence, and all will be well.
This Friday Night Lights alum suffered through Hollywood’s version of the Mayan Apocalypse in 2012, starring in both the critically panned Battleship and the box office bomb John Carter. Clearer eyes and fuller hearts have prevailed, however, and the 34 year old looks primed for a comeback. Should Kitsch impress in the upcoming season of HBO’s True Detective, he’ll be back on DC and Marvel’s radar in no time.
Her role as Margaery Tyrell on HBO’s Game of Thrones has brought the actress worldwide recognition, as well as inclusions on many fancasts like this. While some would suggest the 33 year old is a perfect fit for Captain Marvel, her fierce look could be better suited for Hawkgirl.
Damon Wayans Jr.
Wayans recently departed Fox's New Girl for the second time, although on this occasion, it wasn’t because of contractual obligations to another show. Could a superhero role be on the horizon? Wayans should prove to be a contender for a number of roles.
The breakout star of ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat may seem a bit out of place on this list, with little to no action experience on her resume. But fighting skills can be taught, and Wu’s talent and sense of comedic timing cannot be. The 27 year old deserves a shot.
His role as Captain Ray Holt on Fox’s hit comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine has garnered a lot of attention for Braugher, but it’s his voice work in the animated feature Batman/Superman: Apocalypse that lands him on this list. His commanding portrayal of DC’s big bad Darkseid raised more than a few eyebrows, and his stern, authoritative features make him a fantastic candidate to bring the character to life on the big screen. DC will likely go with a bigger name, should they choose to include Darkseid in their movie universe, but they would be wise to give Braugher a long, hard look first.
Since exploding onto the scene in the out-of-nowhere hit Slumdog Millionaire in 2008, Patel has kept busy, with notable roles in HBO’s The Newsroom and Neill Blomkamp’s Chappie. While he may not have your classic superhero physique, Patel is a formidable 6’2, and certainly seems capable of packing on some muscle. At the very least, his surplus of charm and actual acting chops could land him a supporting role in a comic-based film.
Patel’s Slumdog Millionaire co-star is a perfect fit for Ms. Marvel. NEXT.
The 26 year old star of the upcoming Point Break remake has had a rough go of it so far in Hollywood, leaving a string of bad movies in his wake (forgive the pun.) The November Man, GI Joe: Retaliation, and The Best of Me all failed to wow, but Bracey may just be on the brink of stardom. The original Point Break launched Keanu Reeves’ action career, and the remake could do the same for Bracey. DC and Marvel would be wise to bring him in for an audition.
The breakout star of last year’s fantastically underappreciated “Dear White People,” Thompson deserves far more recognition than she has received. A highly talented actress who just so happens to look like that ^ would prove to be a worthy addition to any shared universe.
A role on Fox’s New Girl has brought Simone into the mainstream, and she would be wise to capitalize on it. She could faithfully portray a number of female roles in comic book world.
Actors and actresses that have already made their mark on Tinseltown and could be looking to set themselves up for life by donning a cape and cowl.
Winning an Oscar in 2013 and being named People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful Woman” the following year, Nyong’o has only recently exploded into the mainstream. But make no mistake, few are more prepared for a demanding superhero role than Nyong’o. Fans have often suggested her for characters like Vixen and Storm, though she may be best suited for Black Lightning’s daughter, Thunder, should DC ever roll the dice on an Outsiders movie. Nyong’o’s presence would undoubtedly elevate the status of any project she signed on for.
The human race’s wild card, it should be assumed at this point that Shia Labeouf is capable of anything*. Anything. An unlikely candidate to sign on for another franchise, Labeouf would almost certainly blow minds as a disturbed, one-off hero or villain. How did David Ayer not throw him into that massive Suicide Squad cast? And who wouldn’t line up to see him as a young Wolverine, if only just to witness a star going supernova?
*AND SO ARE YOU!
Easily one of the most perfect looking people alive, Wilde’s respectable resume is still in search of a career-defining role. She could easily pull off a strong, heroine type, but a villainous turn could be even better. Wilde would be an ideal choice for Catwoman or Elektra.
Huge roles in the Hobbit and the Fast and Furious franchises haven’t quite led to the level of recognition some may have expected for Evans, so a superhero gig could just prove to be his springboard to stardom.
Another one of Hollywood’s most underappreciated thespians, this French beauty is more deserving of a star-turning role than most. Having elevated numerous films with her presence—she made 300: Rise of an Empire somewhat watchable; now that’s an accomplishment—it’s high time Green appeared in a project worthy of her talent. At the very least, she’s proven that she can play a femme fatale role in her sleep. Would a shot at Catwoman be too much to ask of the comic gods?
Because of course Jon Snow has to be on this list. He may not know much of anything, but he can swing a sword, so that’s good for something, right?
And there's a chance he may have some time on his hands coming up...
Most recently viewed as a possible frontrunner for Ms. Marvel, Theron’s no stranger to superhero rumors. But let’s face it, she could be cast as pretty much any comic book character and the fans would eat it up. Get it done, Marvel.
Kunis remains one of my favorite actresses, despite the fact that I actually sat down and watched Jupiter Ascending. A turn as Talia al Ghul could be a strong fit.
Truly one of the great talents working today, Hardy could handle virtually any role the comic book world could conjure up. While Hardy has previously portrayed the masked super villain Bane in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, few would argue against the idea of a more heroic role for the 37 year old Brit. Having recently teased a future role as another DC character in an interview with Collider, we should expect to see more Tom Hardy badassery very soon.
Side Note: Fox will probably go younger whenever they end up recasting the role, but Tom Hardy as Wolverine would probably be pretty damn amazing.
Bryce Dallas Howard
Now that Jurassic World is officially a worldwide phenomenon, Howard should have her pick of scripts over the next year or so. And in an interview with CinemaBlend, Howard spoke enthusiastically about the idea of participating in a comic book movie, saying that she “would love to be in a Marvel film.” Though the actress briefly appeared back in 2007 as Gwen Stacy in Spiderman 3, few would argue against her inclusion in the MCU.
Obligatory Fancast Inclusions
Another category with a simple premise, these are some of Hollywood’s best and brightest. They can participate in any project they choose, but that’s not going to stop us from fancasting them in every comic role possible.
Hollywood’s most in demand actress, and hopefully my future wife, Lawrence was my personal choice for Wonder Woman before Gal Gadot scooped up the part. With her role as Mystique in the X-Men universe soon coming to an end, Lawrence would be a coup for anyone smart enough to cast her. The Hunger Games star may be hesitant to take on yet another franchise so soon, however, so this could prove to be a long shot.
Having been involved in casting rumors for almost every single member of the Justice League, Bradley Cooper’s only comic book role to date remains his now beloved take on Rocket Raccoon, or at least his voice anyway. At 40 years old, Cooper’s superhero window may be closing, though he doesn’t appear to be in any rush. With numerous commitments on the horizon, including signing on for every single movie David O. Russell will ever, ever make, Cooper appears all booked up for now. Bottom line: Unless there’s a comic book character that Cooper has a deep personal connection with, don’t expect to see him jump through hoops to sign a four picture deal with DC or Marvel anytime soon. He simply has too much going on.
No comic book movie list would be complete without this beautiful man. Even though Elba has already portrayed two comic book characters to date, appearing as Heimdall in the MCU and as, um, someone in the Ghost Rider sequel*, let’s be honest with ourselves: he’s capable of much, much more. If there’s a more perfect John Stewart Green Lantern out there, feel free to point him out.
*Not even going to pretend like I sat down and watched that movie.
Don’t hold your breath on this one. After passing on roughly half a dozen comic book roles (including Doctor Strange and the Joker, most recently) Gosling seems very hesitant to sign a multi-picture contract, a necessity in the current age of comic book films. Perhaps the right part will come along someday, but Gosling appears content working on smaller, more personal projects until then.
Having been offered the roles of both Black Widow and Peggy Carter by Marvel, Blunt seems well on her way to landing the character of her choice.
Matt Bomer and Karl Urban
These two have been put together for a few reasons. Obviously, every fanboy worth his salt knows how often these two appear in fancasts as Superman and Batman, respectively. Both are solid, accomplished actors that certainly look the part. But both appear to have seen their chance to play DC’s most iconic characters come and go, as Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck seem poised to lock these roles down for the next decade or so. Sorry nerds, it’s over. We tried.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before. ‘Charlie Hunnam would be the perfect Aquaman!...Nah, he’s Barry Allen, through and through…No way, his best role is Iron Fist*, without a doubt!’ Of course Hunnam is your ideal superhero candidate, look at him. He makes men everywhere look like wet garbage. The Pacific Rim star is as likely as anyone on this list to eventually sign up for a comic book film, and it’s simply a matter of which character he wishes to portray.
*Iron Fist? Seriously? If you’re keeping your hopes up for Hunnam to take time off his blossoming film career to take on the massive commitment of a Netflix television show, then you’re gonna be waiting for a long time.
In a fair and just world, Fillion would’ve had a crack at the superhero role of his choice long ago. There’s literally dozens he would be perfect for. The hyper-talented 44 year old star of ABC’s Castle is probably the biggest comic fan in Hollywood, which just makes things that much harder to swallow. Marvel fans who had hoped Fillion’s role in former collaborator James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy would be that of Nova himself left the theater somewhat let down. Oh, he was that big, blue alien that was in the prison scene for all of twenty seconds? Really?! AWESOME! THANKS UNIVERSE!
Of course Armie Hammer is in this category. The man who was once set to be The Dark Knight himself in George Miller’s infamous failed attempt at a Justice League movie seems to pop up in just about every fancast you see. A towering 6’5, the 28 year old seems a natural fit for a number of superhero roles, and will actually share the screen later this summer with Superman himself, Henry Cavill, in Warner Bros.’ The Man from U.N.C.L.E. A role like Shazam could soon be in the cards for Hammer.
Despite rumors that Gyllenhaal was designed in a lab to one day don a pair of superhero tights, he has somehow yet to sign on for such a film. “All I want right now is to hone my skills and become a better actor, not dream about wearing a cape,” Gyllenhaal said in an interview with Short List back in 2012. “But you never know." It may happen someday, but for now, the 34 year old appears at ease with the idea of the superhero genre passing him by.
We know, we know, he would’ve been a perfect choice for either Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent. But it ain’t happening. Maybe Hamm could take a swing at Cable?
Chastain is on record as saying that she “would love to do a superhero movie,” so this one may just be a matter of time.
Seriously, how has this guy not done a superhero flick yet? Like Chastain though, this too may only be a matter of time. Having been rumored for roles varying from Superman to Deathstroke, Manganiello’s eventual casting seems all but inevitable.
Some believe that ‘the McConaissance’ can only truly be completed with a monster comic book role, and McConaughey seems willing to take one on. When asked about the possibility of such a role by Variety, he was quoted as saying “Yeah, I’ve circled some of those. Nothing has been right for me yet. But I’m sure open to it.” Fingers firmly crossed on this one.
He could be Hal Jordan, he could end up playing Steve Trevor; most fans would be happy either way. But if those aren’t color contacts, it would probably be best for me to just give up forever.
Just for Fun
WELL IT WOULDN’T BE FUN IF I HAD TO WALK YOU THROUGH AN EXPLANATION OF WHY IT’S FUN.
Because if you’re making a movie and you can put Morgan Freeman in it, you should. End of story.
Despite being one of the great actors working today, Bardem has almost been typecast as a villain in recent years. Despite my initial reluctance to further perpetuate that, the idea of Bardem as a behind the scenes villain like Vandal Savage is too cool to let go. Savage is set to appear as the villain in the CW’s upcoming Flash spin-off “Legends of Tomorrow,” but don’t be surprised if the character proves to be too big for the small screen.
This two-time Oscar winner is in the midst of a career revival of sorts with her fan-favorite role on American Horror Story. A flashy villain role would be right in her wheelhouse.
Did anyone else get ridiculously excited when Winfrey was rumored for the role of Amanda Waller in Suicide Squad? Give this woman a juicy villain role and let her run with it.
Because he's Nic Cage and he does what he wants. Seriously though, if you can’t see Cage absolutely nailing it as a way over the top, maniacal super villain (think Jim Carrey as the Riddler) then you’re dead inside and we can never be friends. If he can pull off a Disney princess, then I think he could handle this.
This one seems crazier than it actually is. Hanks has even expressed interest, going as far as to say "…let me play a bad guy, let me play the bad guy against Batman. I'll do anything, call me. They've never asked." He may not be being completely sincere, but whatever. If a two-time Academy Award winning actor even jokes about being willing to be a comic book villain, neither DC nor Marvel should think twice. Make the call, boys.
Breaking News: Is this actual footage of a meeting between Hanks and a Warner Bros. exec? Decide for yourself:
This is one bit of dream casting that we unfortunately will never see. Barring an enormous leap forward in the field of cryopreservation, Eastwood will never be afforded an opportunity to play the comic character he was born to be: Batman. Surely Bruce Timm and Paul Dini had Eastwood in the back of their minds when they created an elderly Bruce Wayne for their animated series Batman Beyond. Eastwood as an aged, out of commission Bruce Wayne is so perfect it hurts. Sadly, at 85 years old, this will never happen. But we can always dream.
A collection of the poor souls that were deemed unworthy; welcome to the fancast graveyard.
Liam Hemsworth- Not sure what it is about Thor’s little brother, he’s simply not my cup of tea.
Joaquin Phoenix- Having balked at potentially juicy roles like Lex Luthor and Doctor Strange, one can’t help but wonder if this will ever happen. Phoenix appears disinterested.
Garrett Hedlund- A near miss for the list, Hedlund has appeared on the verge of a breakout since bursting on the scene in 2004 with roles in Troy and Friday Night Lights. It hasn’t happened yet, but he could take the next step should he impress as a young Captain Hook in this summer’s Pan.
Shailene Woodley- It simply doesn’t seem likely that Woodley would be overly eager to sign on for another franchise anytime soon.
Nikolaj Coster Waldau- Jaime Lannister himself couldn’t quite make the cut. This was a heartbreaking decision.
Rosario Dawson- Dawson would be an ideal candidate for at least 5 different heroines. Unfortunately, her recurring role on Netflix’s Daredevil series would likely prevent her from being cast in another comic project.
Gina Carano- She’s gorgeous and completely badass, so what’s the problem? Did you catch Soderbergh’s Haywire? No way Carano can pull off a character with any emotional depth whatsoever. She-Hulk, maybe. Maybe.
Rene Gube- Here’s a completely out of left field selection that just missed the cut. Caught this guy on an episode of TBS’ recently canceled series Ground Floor, and there was just something about him, I don’t really know what it was. Keep an eye out for him.
Elle Fanning- A true talent, Fanning was among the last to be cut from the list.
John Krasinski- A former front runner to lead the Avengers, Krasinski was reportedly one of the final candidates taken out of the running for Captain America.
Aubrey Plaza- An immensely talented actress that proved to be the final cut from the list.
Kristen Stewart- Stewart’s work in indie cinema over the last half decade is admirable, and deserving of far more credit than she is given. Of all of the people in this category, Stewart is the most likely to get a comic book role in my mind.
Nick Jones Jr.- Once upon a time in Hollywood, this unknown was rumored to be cameoing as John Stewart in Ryan Reynold’s Green Lantern disaster. Despite appearing to be the physical incarnation of the character, Jones Jr. has appeared in next to nothing before or since to prove his mettle as an actor to the world.
Emilia Clarke- With five seasons of awesomeness now completed, The Unburnt Mother of Dragons looks poised to expand her portfolio, though her role as Sarah Connor in the upcoming soft reboot of the Terminator franchise may tie up any downtime she’ll have in between Game of Thrones seasons.
Gemma Arterton- Arterton was a popular fan choice for the role of Wonder Woman, though she could easily appear in any number of comic roles down the line.
Scott Eastwood- An obvious up-and-comer who just so happens to be the son of the Hollywood legend that concluded this list, Eastwood has a mystery part in next year's Suicide Squad, forcing his exclusion from the list.
Alexandra Daddario- An, ahem, attention grabbing guest role in this past season of True Detective aside, Daddario’s body of work simply isn’t impressive enough to help her crack the list.