The moment Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) finally appeared on Supergirl this season, all bets were off as to which DC characters could make their way onto the CW’s Arrowverse. Number one on that list has to be Bruce Wayne/Batman. Fans have been clamoring for and asking if good ‘ol Bats will be making an appearance in any of the DC shows? Considering many Batman characters (e.g. Ra’s al Ghul) and elements have found their way onto Arrow, and Supergirl has dropped various Batman/Gotham hints, having Bruce and his alter-ego make an appearance seems plausible.
While Fox has the kid version of Bruce in Gotham and the DCEU has Ben Affleck donning the cowl, The CW could turn to producer Greg Berlanti to find a way to create its version of the iconic character. Whether we find Bruce on Earth-38 (Supergirl) or Earth-1 (Arrow, The Flash), his inclusion into the Arrowverse would be exciting. Bruce would probably be used in similar manner to Hoechlin’s Superman, in a supporting, guest star role. Batman won’t be getting his own show on The CW.
If Bruce Wayne/Batman makes an appearance in future crossover events, just who will step into his shoes? Our Batman would be mature and older than Oliver Queen, and a caliber of actor who would actually take a CW role. With that as our starting point, here are 15 Actors Who Could Play Bruce Wayne/Batman in the Arrowverse.
15. BRANT DAUGHERTY
You may not know the name, but Brant Daugherty does have that Bruce Wayne look: he could pass for a billionaire playboy, while moonlighting as a masked vigilante with a brooding stare.
Best known for his role of Noel Kahn on Freeform’s Pretty Little Liars, Brant’s filmography consists of Days of Our Lives and some TV movies, so he’d be tackling the role with a clean slate. That fresh face factor is something The CW loves and has proven to be successful with, having gone with Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin as leads for their respective shows. Prior to becoming superheroes, both were guest-star guys with bit roles here and there on various TV series.
At 31, Brant is on the younger spectrum of the age-range for our Batman, but we’re confident he has the range and presence to more than hold his own with Amell, Gustin and the rest of the Arrowverse heroes. He also appeared on Dancing with the Stars, which is a bonus for him since The CW likes their heroes with singing and dancing backgrounds like Gustin, Melissa Benoist, and Caity Lotz.
14. TOM WELLING
You have to love the twist of a former Superman playing Batman. The choice is almost too good to pass up. If a feature film Superman like Brandon Routh can become The Atom, why can’t Tom Welling become The Bat?
We all know that Welling gained a large fan following and praise for his portrayal of Clark Kent on the long running series, Smallville. Not only is the show one of The CW’s greatest successes but it paved the way for the current Arrowverse. Since the series wrapped up in 2011, Tom has kept a relatively low profile with small roles in movies like Draft Day. Now at 39 years-of-age, Welling’s appearance has changed from how we remember him as young Clark. Gone is the clean cut look, replaced with a scruffy beard and a short haircut that has a good amount of silver mixed in. This mature look, along with his former “Super” role, would instantly give Tom a seasoned veteran position amongst the new group of heroes we currently have. That experience is what no other actor on this list brings to the role of Bruce Wayne.
13. WES BENTLEY
“I did always want to play Batman. I liked Batman because he had no super powers.” That’s what Wes Bentley told Larry King back in a 2015 interview. Not only does the actor want to play Batman but back before Ben Affleck landed the part in the DCEU, Christopher Nolan apparently suggested Wes for the role, having worked with him in Interstellar. With his breakout role in American Beauty in 1999, Bentley’s promising acting career languished after a publicized, dark personal battle with drugs. Now on the path of recovery, that experience could help him bring the dark edginess needed for the role of the Dark Knight.
While his career has been mostly in features, with films like The Hunger Games and Pete’s Dragon, Wes has recently appeared on TV in American Horror Story. The chance of finally getting to play Bruce Wayne/Batman in a guest role capacity, should be enough to entice Wes to make his way onto the Arrowverse. With a piercing eyes, classic leading man features and at 38-years-old, Wes looks the part for our Batman. Bringing with him an air of danger, he’s certainly capable of delivering unhinged energy to play the dual personas.
12. TAHMOH PENIKETT
We’re sure many of you are Battlestar Galactica fans so this choice is right up your alley! Probably best known as playing Karl “Helo” Agathon in Battlestar, Tahmoh Penikett certainly has geek cred, having built himself a nice niche in genre with additional roles in Supernatural (playing Gadreel/Ezekiel), Dollhouse and Continuum. With that type of resume it’s no wonder Comic Con crowds want to see more of the actor, possibly in a superhero capacity.
Tahmoh isn’t a stranger to the Arrowverse having already guest starred in an episode of Arrow as Nick Salvati, right-hand-man to mob boss Frank Bertinelli (father of Helena Bertinelli). While that role as a baddie was a one-off, it put Tahmoh on Greg Berlanti’s radar, leaving the door open for bigger parts on the DC shows. So why Tahmoh for Bruce/Batman? At 6’2”, he has the size and the look to play an imposing and athletic version of the crime fighter, which not many actors can pull off – considering most are tiny in person. The physicality that Tahmoh brings to a role, as we saw with Helo, can help show off Batman’s fighting skills and make him a badass on the small screen.
11. NATHAN FILLION
We get it. This is a bit of a click-bait cheat considering Nathan’s name is dropped whenever there’s an opening for a superhero role. Whether it be Green Lantern, Superman, Batman or just about any other spandex clad character, geeks all over want to see Nathan Fillion as a comic book hero. So far, the closest he’s gotten is having voiced Green Lantern in a few direct-to-video movies. He’ll also be dabbling in the comic book space with a role in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
While some of you could argue that Nathan is too old (45) to be Batman in the Arrowverse, how cool would it be for him to play a smug and brash Bruce Wayne?! Add a touch of dark to his Richard Castle (Castle) character and that gives us a preview of what he has to offer as Bruce. That first meeting between him and Oliver Queen or Barry Allen at a fancy party, would bring smiles to many faces. If Berlanti chooses to only have Bruce Wayne sans the black costume, then Fillion would be a fun option. As Nathan told EW back in 2013, “I think I’d make an excellent Bruce Wayne; I think I’d make a terrible Batman.”
10. JAMES BADGE DALE
His name might not a ring a bell for you but you’ve certainly seen his face in countless movies and TV shows. A true character actor, James Badge Dale is a bit of a chameleon changing his appearance and mannerisms for every role he plays. On the features side he’s appeared in films like World War Z, 13 Hours and Iron Man 3. For TV he’s been in 24, Rubicon, and basically the entire CSI franchise. He’s on the cusp of being a well-known actor just needing that one key role to really push him over the top. Playing Bruce Wayne would definitely achieve that and some, while giving the Arrowverse fans an intense and powerful hero.
At first glance the 38-year-old may not have that imposing physical stature but if you watched 13 Hours, the guy got into fighting shape, packing on an extra 20 pounds of muscle to play a Navy SEAL. No matter the size of his role, that type of commitment is what fans love to see and know that he’ll bring to Bruce/Batman. Acting wise, there’s no question Dale can hit a homerun as he brings a certain gravitas, infusing his roles with realism and depth.
9. DAVE ANNABLE
If a casting agent is looking to book a role for a show, more often than not they turn to Dave Annable, as the guy’s been everywhere on TV. From Brothers & Sisters, to 666 Park Avenue, Heartbeat, and The Mick, Dave’s that utility actor that brings a stability to a role and show. While he tends to play doctors a lot, Dave has the talent to give us an interesting take on Gotham’s most famous and favorite playboy. His strength as an actor would really help build the character of Bruce, not only with the party boy aspect but also the struggle and pain Bruce deals with daily with his dual personas.
With a filmography that lacks action roles, fans might gripe that Dave can’t deliver the physicality of being Batman, but let’s be real, as we know a stunt person will be doing the majority of the action. He’s set to appear in Temple, an action-horror film alongside Wesley Snipes and WWE star Seth Rollins, so that could help change some opinions as well. Overall, one can certainly see Dave working with Stephen Amell or Melissa Benoist in a scene, defining the kind of Bruce Wayne that lives in The CW world.
8. AIDAN TURNER
Most of the heavy-hitter superheroes nowadays are played by foreigners. Christian Bale as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Tom Holland as Spider-Man and Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, just to name a few. Why not continue that trend on the small screen and book Aidan Turner as the new Bruce Wayne/Batman?! The 33-year-old Irish actor is known to most fanboy/fangirl’s for parts in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy and for originating the role of Mitchell on Being Human.
Spending his time between features or period BBC TV show’s like Poldark, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities to see him coming to The CW in a limited capacity, to play such a popular character. One look at Aidan and he certainly has the tall, dark and mysterious qualities one would expect an actor to have to play Bruce. Not only does he look the part but Turner’s got the acting chops to really create the first true commanding and serious Batman for TV (sorry Adam West). Maybe it’s the foreign touch, but Aidan also has a level of sleek elegance, which would be a cool factor to add to an already layered character.
7. ENVER GJOKAJ
If you’re wondering if Enver Gjokaj walks with a limp, he doesn’t. It’s called acting. He had to incorporate the limp for his role as Agent Daniel Sousa on Marvel’s Agent Carter. As a love interest to Peggy Carter, Enver wasn’t a superhero like Captain America, but he was a strong and noble man that didn’t let his handicap stop him from using his combat skills or show off some impressive detective work. Both of those traits would work well as Bruce/Batman in the Arrowverse.
With Agent Carter set in the ‘1940s, Enver has that old-time Hollywood actor look thanks to the suits and fashions he wore on the show. That style along with his chiseled features and dark black hair, makes him appear as if Bruce Wayne had just jumped off the comic book pages. A Bruce Wayne timeless appearance instantly sells the notion of him as the hero on The CW shows. On Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse, Gjokaj had to assume various identities for missions, giving him another useful skill for the complexities of Mr. Wayne, in order to bring him to life. With the cancellation of Agent Carter last year, he’s available for the job!
6. SAM WITWER
Sam Witwer is a fanboy living the ultimate dream of playing some famous characters. His geek credentials are just ridiculous. He was on Battlestar Galactica; he played Doomsday on Smallville; he provided the voice of Galen Marek/Starkiller in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video games; he does the voice of Darth Maul on Star Wars Rebels; and he played a vampire on the remake of Being Human. I can continue listing genre friendly roles, but you get the idea. The 39-year-old actor hasn’t been on any of the Arrowverse shows yet, but at the rate he’s going, that will probably change soon.
If he’s going to add another DC character to his already impressive resume, it might as well be Batman. He has the look, right age and experience to easily slide into the world inhabited by TV heroes Arrow, Flash and Supergirl. As we’ve stated before, the chances of seeing Batman donning the full costume on The CW are slim, but having a battle-ready Bruce Wayne assisting the other heroes would be enough to satisfy our appetites. Sam’s even gone on Twitter to have fun with fan art and suggestions as him as the Caped Crusader. We wouldn’t be surprised if Sam’s already on a shortlist of actors that The CW wants to bring into the fold.
5. DYLAN BRUCE
Moving into the Top 5, now we’re in the cream of the crop of Batman talent. One look at Dylan Bruce and you can figure out why he’s on this list. He’s already got part of the name; just put him in a tux and he’s Bruce Wayne. Plus, that defined chin of his would look great with a cowl. Clone Club members love this pick considering how popular he was on the hit sci-fi show, Orphan Black. There he played the mysterious but deadly, Paul Dierden, an undercover soldier sent to monitor one of the clones played by Tatiana Maslany. His character was a master of deception, fighting, brooding, and wooing the ladies. Needless to say Batman would approve.
An added bonus for Dylan is that he’s already appeared on various episodes of Arrow before. His role of attorney Adam Donner was below-the-radar considering he didn’t partake in any of the crime fighting or action scenes. That minor role wouldn’t confuse or interfere with him returning to that world as Bruce Wayne. Since Paul died on Orphan Black and his run on Heroes Reborn ended with the show, Dylan is a very real option if The CW comes calling.
4. BRETT DALTON
This selection would fall under the category, Marvel’s loss equals DC’s gain, right? Love him or hate him, the character of Grant Ward on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., took us through a complete character spectrum that was enjoyable. He started off as a good guy with S.H.I.E.L.D. but then turned on them revealing he’s HYDRA, before ultimately dying and coming back to life as the evil Inhuman Hive. Such a unique role allowed Brett Dalton to show off his acting skills and the various shades he can give a character.
Brett’s got the perfect comic book stats: 34-years-old, 6’2” with a muscular solid physique that embodies the character of Bruce and his alter-ego. He’s shown that he has the ability to play a dark character with a troubled past, that can easily flip the switch and be charming and likeable. Brett doesn’t even need to wear the full Bat costume to exude menace and fear. Sans costume, you believe that he’s more than capable of cleaning up the streets of Gotham, possessing some serious fighting skills. No longer on Marvel’s show, his appeal and recognition with the superhero audience makes him a very enticing addition to the Arrowverse.
3. DAVID BOREANAZ
Rumor has it that his name was in the mix to play Batman when Christopher Nolan was looking to cast the role for Batman Begins. How real that possibility was, we’ll never know but David Boreanaz deserves some serious consideration to play Bats for The CW. With his long running series Bones wrapping things up this year, Boreanaz looks ready to tackle a new role and he can’t find a more-high profile TV gig than playing Bruce Wayne. Next to Nathan Fillion, David is one of the better known and popular names on this list. Having built a loyal fan following with his role of Angel first on Buffy the Vampire Slayer then on his own series, Boreanaz seems tailored made to make the smooth transition to the Arrowverse.
Boreanaz is a young looking 47, so having him appear as the Gotham vigilante in a future crossover event works, as his on-screen presence and experience plays well with the current crop of CW actors. The actor always exudes cool, so with that smooth voice we can imagine a first meeting when he introduces himself as Bruce Wayne to Oliver Queen, which will make many a fanboy/girl squeal in joy!
2. ANSON MOUNT
Just like Boreanaz and a few guys on this list, Anson Mount’s name has been linked with casting rumors associated with Batman in the past. Back when Zack Snyder was searching for the right man to play opposite Henry Cavill’s Superman, Anson emerged as a favorite. Things didn’t go his way obviously but the Hell on Wheels actor is basically the spitting image of the Bruce Wayne we see in the comics. You can even make a case that he has the same eyes and jawline of Bruce in Batman: The Animated Series (sans the long hair and beard as Cullen Bohannon).
Getting Anson to guest star as Bruce in the Arrowverse would be a coup for The CW and the producers. He’s garnered respect and praise as Cullen on Hell on Wheels and he’s also carved out some nice parts in action-thrillers like Non-Stop and Safe. Now with the AMC series over, he might be looking for larger roles in movies but being a fan of Batman could get him to commit. As he’s stated in the past: “It’s flattering to be considered as someone who can even begin to approach this role. I read comics growing up and Batman was one of my favorites.
1. EION BAILEY
Topping off our wish-list in the number one spot is 40-year-old Eion Bailey. While Christian Bale gave us a Bruce Wayne & Batman combo that some consider the best interpretation of the character(s), in an alternate universe we’d be talking about Eion instead of Bale. That’s how close Eion Bailey came to getting cast instead of Christian as the hero in Batman Begins. You can scour the web or just click here to see Eion’s screentest for Christopher Nolan. In it he not only plays Bruce but he also wears the Batman costume, giving us a taste of what could have been. Even though he didn’t get the part, we’d think he’d be a fantastic Batman for the Arrowverse.
With a recurring role on Once Upon a Time and with various roles on TV shows like Ray Donovan, Eion’s been busy but still hasn’t gotten that breakout role he would have had playing “The World’s Greatest Detective.” Getting the chance to wear the cape and cowl or at the very least, wear a nice suit as Bruce, would be a satisfying conclusion for Bailey. Being the elder statesman of the DC TV hero, Bailey’s version of Bruce/Batman could be a defining version that’s on par with what we’ve seen in the feature films.