We are living in the generation where superhero films are a big hit — claiming critical success and smashing box offices. As for the studios who bring our favorite comic book characters to life, casting an actor or an actress to portray a certain character might be the most difficult and scathing decision for them. Some actors who were already cast in particular roles like Christian Bale as Batman, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine were some of the many favored casting choices.
However, the movie industry isn't a type of business where you can just pick one and go with it. It takes time and process to come up with the right actor for the role and it's hard to imagine that the characters we loved watching on the silver screen could have been played by a different actor, owing to the fact that we are already invested on what lies in front of our eyes.
Therefore, here's the list of the actors/actresses who were almost the comic book characters we loved today.
1. Adrien Brody as The Joker
The Joker is probably the most challenging role to take on but thanks to the remarkable performance of Heath Ledger, he proved that the character is not only the most iconic villain in the comic book history, but also in the superhero film industry.
Even so, Heath wasn't the only choice for the menacing Clown Prince of Crime, as the Academy Award Winner Adrien Brody was also considered for the part. On January 2006, Brody confirmed the circulating speculations that he was interested in playing as The Joker in the 2008 film The Dark Knight by Christopher Nolan and even rumored to be one of the final few actors for the role. However, Nolan and Warner Bros. decided to cast Heath Ledger instead.
2. Ashton Kutcher as Superman
Before we witnessed Brandon Routh soar his way as the beloved superhero in the 2006 film Superman Returns by Bryan Singer and Henry Cavill in giving a different take in the Man of Steel by Zack Snyder, Warner Bros. decided to revive Superman in the year 2002, with J.J. Abrams to pen the script and Brett Ratner to direct.
After Tim Burton's Superman: Flyby movie with Nicolas Cage as Superman didn't transpire, Abrams and Ratner came up with a reboot that could've been more comprehensive. Failing to put Josh Hartnett into the movie, Ratner then decided to go for the model-turned-actor Ashton Kutcher. Although he was the studio's favorite actor for the part, Kutcher turned down the role, causing Warner Bros. to balk over Ratner's project that eventually resulted in Ratner dropping out.
3. Channing Tatum as Thor
We already know that Tom Hiddleston did audition for Thor and brothers Liam and Chris Hemsworth battled against each other for the God of Thunder, but actor and dancer Channing Tatum was actually one of the few actors who were considered by Marvel.
The Magic Mike star was speculated to take on the role after meeting up with director Kenneth Branagh but the Irish director ended up choosing the Australian actor, Chris Hemsworth, instead. Tatum may not be destined to bear the power of Mjölnir but we can still see him taking on a comic book character as he joins the X-Men Universe as the card-throwing Gambit (though there's a lot of speculations spreading recently that he might abandon the character as well).
4. Chris Pine as Hal Jordan
The ill-fated 2011 Green Lantern movie by Martin Campbell with Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively may not be as successful as they hoped it to be, it surely gave Ryan and Blake an opportunity to be the happily married couple they are today.
Even so, if the producers has gone ahead with their original plan, Star Trek actor Chris Pine would probably be amazing as Hal Jordan. Fans need not worry though because Pine will play as Steve Trevor in the 2017 Wonder Woman film with Gal Gadot.
5. Josh Hutcherson as Spider-Man
Before he became Peeta Mellark of The Hunger Games series, Josh Hutcherson auditioned for Marc Webb's 2012 Spider-Man reboot. His audition tape was even released online and he really proved that he was adept for the role.
A lot of actors, alongside Josh Hutcherson, was considered for the role, such as Jamie Bell, Alden Ehrenreich, who will now be playing as the young Han Solo, Logan Lerman and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. It was in July 2010, when the studio confirmed that British actor Andrew Garfield would play the web-slinger.
6. Mel Gibson as Batman
Before Michael Keaton landed the role as The Caped Crusader, Warner Bros. insisted to have a well-known movie star for the 1989 Batman film and Mad Max actor Mel Gibson was actually the studios's top choice, since he was one of the hottest male actors in Hollywood at that time. However, Gibson declined the role because he was afraid of being typecast.
The studio and Tim Burton then ended up casting Keaton instead, which caused a lot of controversy among comic book fans.
7. Olga Kurylenko as Wonder Woman
On November 2013, 36-year-old French actress and model Olga Kurylenko was one of the three contenders for a lead female role in the 2016 superhero film Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice — presumed to be the character of Wonder Woman. Élodie Yung, who is now playing Elektra in the Netflix series Daredevil, was rumored to have screen-tested for the role alongside Kurylenko. It was later announced on December 2013 that Gal Gadot was cast.
It wasn't the first time Kurylenko and Gadot contended with each other for a certain role. Olga Kurylenko played Camille Montes in the 2008 James Bond film Quantum of Solace after beating out Gal Gadot in the auditions.
8. Rachael Leigh Cook as Rogue
Imagine if True Blood actress Anna Paquin didn't drop out of Tart and She's All That actress Rachael Leigh Cook didn't decline the offer, instead taking on the role of the power-stealing Rogue? Well, no offense to Paquin but it would probably be more satisfying to watch Cook joining the X-Men and fight against evil.
The American actress, model, voice artist and producer was Singer's first choice to play as Rogue in the 2000 X-Men film. However, Cook turned it down because she didn't like the idea of seeing too much CGI in the film and went on to star in the musical comedy film Josie and the Pussycats instead.
9. Sigourney Weaver as Emma Frost
Preliminary to Bryan Singer's departure from directing X-Men: The Last Stand to give way for the 2006 superhero film Superman Returns, one of the characters he wanted to introduce was Emma Frost, also known as The White Queen.
The initial plan was to bring her in as an empath villainess who could manipulate Jean Grey's emotions and later on would be joining Magneto. Having said that, after Singer decided to leave the movie, numerous directors were approached such as Darren Aronofsky, Joss Whedon, Zack Snyder and the X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn until Brett Ratner, who was also considered to direct the first X-Men film, replaced Vaughn during pre-production. Sigourney Weaver's possible appearance as Emma Frost was then scrapped from the script until January Jones took on the character in X-Men: First Class.
10. Viggo Mortensen as Wolverine
The clawed-mutant Wolverine comes in many names: James, Logan, Weapon X and of course, Hugh Jackman. It's been almost 16 years ever since Jackman was cast to play as the beloved X-Men. However, aside from Russell Crowe, who was Singer's first choice, and Dougray Scott, who was already cast for the part but then decided to back out due to scheduling conflicts, another name comes in mind who was a strand of hair close of becoming Wolverine, none other than Aragorn himself, Viggo Mortensen.
It's hard to imagine Wolverine not being played by Hugh Jackman but we can't deny the fact that with Mortensen's acting abilities and performances as the Ranger of the North only proved that the actor is also capable of taking on the character. Nevertheless, he may not have the chance to become as the regenerative clawed-mutant but the actor will surely bear the character Aragorn in his name.
Superhero films are now everywhere and a lot of actors are really up to be a part of it. But try to imagine Hugh Jackman and Robert Downey Jr. not having the chance to portray their superhero characters and couple Emily Blunt and John Krasinski became Black Widow and Captain America, respectively. Well, that's a different idea to consider as a moviegoer, but you just can't help but wonder.