With the legendary Willem Dafoe joining the highly anticipated Justice League, speculation has already begun as to which character he could possibly be playing. A talent as large and diverse as Willem Dafoe one does not simply cast him as some throwaway character. So far, the only hint as to what we can expect from his role comes from The Hollywood Reporter who are saying that he will portray a good guy in the film. As of right now we can assume that this is reliable, but don't be too surprised if he ends up becoming one of the antagonists of the film. With all of that said, let's take a good look at some possible characters Willem Dafoe could be portraying on the big screen when Justice League hits screens in 2017.
Dr. Fate is a mixture between Kent Nelson, the man under the helmet, and the ancient spirit of Nabu the Wise. Nelson trains for decades in the art of sorcery and magic, and becomes even more powerful when donning the helmet of Nabu. By the time Justice League comes out we'll have seen Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman which will both undoubtedly have the use of magic in them. With the introduction of magic into the DCEU it isn't farfetched to think that Justice League could introduce one of the most powerful sorcerers in all of DC. Willem Dafoe fits the characteristics of Kent Nelson, and is just strange enough to play both Nabu and Kent Nelson.
Willem Dafoe often acts with a grandiose and larger than life persona, so it wouldn't be too hard to imagine him as the spirit of vengeance. Whether Willem Dafoe would be Jim Corrigan or one of the other people to become the Spectre is a different story, but he could easily pull off this incredibly powerful being. The Spectre often pulls strings from behind the scenes and isn't usually as physical as other heroes. This would help keep Dafoe from having to do too much strenuous activity as well as give him plenty of room to create a layered, basically omnipotent being.
While Metron has been described as a bit in between good and evil, he is still the only exception on this list if we are to believe that Willem Dafoe will indeed play a hero. Metron is often shown to be a complex and eccentric character who is consumed by his own power. Dafoe is no stranger to portraying a character with such characteristics, and would be able to bring to life this important character. With the DCEU headed towards large and cosmic threats, it wouldn't be stretch to think that they could introduce Metron and his famous Mobius Chair.
Martian Manhunter is quickly becoming a fan favorite role for Willem Dafoe, and while I actually think it's very unlikely that this is who he'd be portraying, I have to admit that it would be pretty great. I don't think Dafoe has the physicality or age to portray J'onn J'onzz, but he does have one major thing in common with the character: his ability to morph. Like J'onn J'onzz, Willem Dafoe is known for completely shape-shifting to fit a role. Personally, I'd prefer WB and DC to get black actor to portray the Martian Manhunter, but I would be completely on board for a Willem Dafoe Martian Manhunter.
Highfather is a massively important role for the DCEU, considering Darkseid's impending doom. As the leader of the New Gods and the main nemesis for Darkseid, it is obvious to think we will soon see Highfather make his presence known in the DCEU. As a peaceful and mild mannered god, Highfather could be a great fit for Willem Dafoe as most audiences haven't seen the calmer more nuanced side of his acting abilities. Again, it would also supply Willem dafoe with a large enough role without requiring as much physicality as other possible roles. Personally, I hope this is the role we see Willem Dafoe inhabit because I think he could knock it out of the park, as well as bring a seriousness to the often campy New Gods.
There obviously dozens of characters that Willem Dafoe could possibly be portraying in the upcoming Justice League, and when set photos start coming out, we will know more. For now, these are the characters I think he would suit best. Truly, with a talent like Willem Dafoe, he could portray any number of characters and still do an amazing job, so we'll just have to wait and see which character he turns out to be!