Marvel vs DC Movie Casting: Who Is Taking the Bigger Risks?

Published 1 year ago by , Updated January 17th, 2014 at 12:24 pm,

DC vs Marvel Movies Casts Casting Rumors Marvel vs DC Movie Casting: Who Is Taking the Bigger Risks?

It’s been something of a surprising year on the comic book movie front. Back at this time in 2013 none of us could have predicted that Batman and Superman would have a summer movie to rival Marvel’s Avengers 2 in 2015, or that Avengers 2 would be all about a killer robot named Ultron, let alone big-twist casting announcements like Ben Affleck as the new Batman and James Spader playing said killer robot.

Indeed, “casting” has been the main theme of the last 365 days in superhero movie news, with both Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment taking some big risks on unconventional actor picks to help catapult some obscure and/or big risk films to box office success. From Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel voicing a warrior raccoon and tree alien in Guardians of the Galaxy (respectively), to the controversy of BatAffleck and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman – to the more recent news of Paul Rudd splitting Ant-Man duties with Michael Douglas… We’re asking: Which studio is taking the wilder casting risks right now?



There’s a poll on the last page if you just want to get your vote on and start arguing in the comments. Otherwise, we’ll discuss the films individually in order of release date, according to These Rules:

  1. We are only discussing the big 2 (DCE and Marvel Studios). If we had to get into crazy casting decisions that third-party studios like Sony (Spider-Man) or Fox (X-Men) make, this whole discussion would go off the rails.
  2. We are only discussing CONFIRMED casting announcements. Again, if we opened the door to all the rumors, it’d be a doorway to madness.
  3. We are only discussing CONFIRMED movies. We’ll try to update if anything new breaks – but for now, Justice League is off the table.

At the end of the discussion, we’ll pool our findings for an overall verdict on which studio is taking the bigger risks. CLICK HERE if you just want the final verdict.


Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America 2 Official Still Photo Chris Evans Robert Redford 570x276 Marvel vs DC Movie Casting: Who Is Taking the Bigger Risks?

Release date: April 4, 2014

NEW ADDITIONS: Robert Redford, Anthony Mackie, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp

RISK ASSESSMENTCaptain America 2 is on pretty solid ground. For this political-thriller superhero sequel, Marvel added an additional splash of color to their universe (Mackie), added some recent standout character actors in supporting roles (Grillo from The Greyand VanCamp from ABC’s Revenge), as well as a heavyweight icon (Redford). Pretty smart.

With Chris Evans, ScarJo and Sam Jackson also coming back to add their star power to the mix, the Winter Soldier cast is poised to lure in any and all demographics on the chart.

OVERALL RISKLow – This is the one superhero film where nobody’s really complaining about casting. That’s a milestone of some kind.


NEXT PAGE: Space Squads & New Avengers


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  1. lol Kofi, you just couldn’t wait could you!?
    This article would’ve been better and fairer to DC if you waited a couple months for more casting news for Batman vs. Superman.
    Nevertheless, good read!

  2. I’ll reserve judgement until I see the films. However, on paper, DC/WB is taking the larger risk with casting. That said, I think Marvel is taking larger risk with their overall direction going forward – now that their top-tier characters have all been featured in films.

    Marvel’s now going to Ant-Man, GOTG, Scarlet Witch, etc and they’ve casted well, but these are unknown commodities in the public eye. DC/WB, on the other hand, is going with some unexpected casting choices, but they’re putting Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, three of the most recognized (and loved) characters in comics, in one movie.

    It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

    • Agreed.

    • It sort of all depends. Marvel is in a position to take risks with already having several successful shared-universe movies under their belt. DC on the other hand, if rumors are true and they try to toss several Justice League members into the mix, they would be putting all their eggs in one basket. And if Batman VS Super-man flops, there would be little to no chance of solo movies of DC characters.

      The way I see it, Batman VS Superman needs to be a blockbuster hit otherwise the only movies DC will be making are reboot Batman trilogies every 6 years.

    • Top- tier characters? Please. These films make them into top- tier characters.

  3. i’m looking at this through the average movie goers eyes not Comic fans

    this is tough…on one hand Bat vs. Supes sells itself but they are taking a risk with this new interpretation of Supes and Bat, plus bringing Wonder Woman out of hiding.

    Guardians i believe is a total roll of the dice for mainstream movie goers, hence the really big name cast

    i think Ant Man would have the highest odds, Cap is a even bet

    Avengers i believe has the hardest job of them all, people going into that will expect something groundbreaking

  4. Why does the inset comic book drawing of Wonder Woman have a neck like a giraffe?

    • Wow, that is really bad. I wonder if that artist still has a job?

      • I’d imagine so: that’s Adam Hughes. Bear in mind her hair’s covering her shoulders, and the curved line coming into the frame from lower right is her cleavage, so that’s certainly not all her neck above that. Here’s the original artwork:-

        • That’s her cleavage?!?!? That’s makes the drawing seem even worse in my book…I thought she was doing an over the shoulder look.

          I clicked the link and apparently on two of his pictures at least, the artist likes making her look like Mekaneck from Masters of the Universe.

          Not a fan…oh well, life goes on.

  5. Judgement reserved.

  6. What on earth do you mean by the comment ‘a splash of colour’ in reference to Anthony Mackie???? Is it because he’s black? UTTERLY DISGRACEFUL comment.

    • J. Smith,

      I took it as a nice play on words due to past conversations we’ve had on this site.

    • I know, that sounded so wrong, but disgraceful is a harsh word.

  7. I’m confident with both studios. They both know whats at stake with their films. There is a reason why Ben Affleck was cast and why Gal Gadot was cast, and we don’t know it yet. I’m excited for both studios.

    • Dear God I hope so.

  8. I want SR make a risk assessment of Marvel/DC directors and producers in the same way. For me the actors don’t matter as much as the writing and direction.

    • I disagree that the actors matter less but you are correct in that the best ensemble cast means nothing if the script is horrible and the director can’t lead them.

      I think that writing/script and the actors are on equal footing while the director is a bit less important (good actors can sometimes turn in a good performance despite bad direction). I say equal because both are dependent on each other. Without good acting to visually represent the story, the script is meaningless.

      • I can agree with you if the movie in question is a straight drama. Action oriented movies require very precise direction. If the cast of a superhero movie is excellent and the script is good then the movie can still really suck with bad direction. Timing in a action flick (like comedy) is crucial.

        Good script (dialog) + good actors + good direction = Good SH movie

    • Good Point !

  9. please change 1 vote for Marvel (NOT DC movies) –
    misread the question – BIGGEST RISK: DC Entertainment – Which Superhero Movie Studio is making the better casting decisions right now?

    please reword the question or at least put the phrase – “BIGGEST RISK: DC ENTERTAINMENT” – below the question and poll choices
    I read it as: Biggest Risk – DC – my answer YES
    Batman Vs. Superman will probably suck as bad as the past 2 Superman movies

    Marvel automatically wins by the mere fact of how many movies they’ve already produced and have in the pipeline

  10. Charlie Hunnam cast as Aquaman!!!! wheres the damn article, the news is over a hour old now

    • He just tweeted that people are jumping the gun and that he simply had a meeting with Warners. My guess is that if it is official we’ll get a press release tomorrow. I still say it’s a good choice, he’d make for a great Aqua man

      • @ dean blundell … Ur not the real dean blundell.. Aren’t u kicked off the air waves, television , and internet. Your blacklisted .. How’d u get on here. ;).

      • Is this true! If so it would be the birthday present EVER!

        Please he’s actually the one I fancast, it would be the first casting I got right!

    • Link

    • I keep hearin josh halloway & Jason momoa as aquaman.. I say go for halloway as aqua, and cast momoa as namor… Cut his hair they almost look-a-like….

    • All that I know Hunnam from is Pacific Rim, and in that he (to me) had zero charisma. Ergo, I would not cast in any lead role in anything. So hopefully he is not Aquaman.

  11. DC is making the biggest risks right now, they are making films, Marvel is making popcorn movies

    • I was waiting for a comment like this. Hilarious.

    • What’s wrong with popcorn movies ? some of us just love brainless action films. Nothing wrong with that. We pick and choose the movies we love best. I for one, still prefer Tim Burton’s Batfilms instead of Nolan’s reality crap-fest.

      • @Al.Funny you said that.The Dark Knght was on tv a couple weeks ago and I couldn’t even watch ten minutes of it and it was in it’s last 30 minutes of the film.The 89 Batman was on two nights ago and I watched it from start to finish.Don’t get me wrong I liked Nolan’s approach to make Batman different from the 90′s version,but now that we got both verions I prefer the less realistic approach.I wanna feel like im watching a good comic book movie instead of a Martin Scorcese movie.I may have spelled his last name wrong but most people know who im talking about.I hope Ben can come with a Batman that’s somewhere in the middle I guess with what they’re doing with Superman.

    • Um, Man of Steel was nothing more or less than a popcorn film.

    • XD loved that shot, DS.

    • …here we go

  12. I agree, the writers and directors have the biggest jobs and pose the biggest possible risks. For example, Michael Douglas can either work or not but it depends on how Edgar Wright handles him.
    And cmon Kofi really? ‘Splash of color..’ lmao that was kinda..yea.
    I mean adding the Falcon in the script is more along the lines with that comment than adding Mackie to the cast. And I’d personally be more upset if the Falcon was left out altogether than say, if they were to change his race ya know.

  13. If any of the rumored DC casting comes true I’d be apprehensive but out of everything that’s actually confirmed, bautista is the only one I’m hesitant about. He’s not an actor to begin with and ever since Jason Momoa was rumored to be Drax most people are going to feel like a step down. He’s too bulky too. I’m not worried about Affleck in the least and Gadot grew on me very quickly. Not worried about DC because of them at all. We’ll just have to see what else develops.

  14. I agree,DC was making alot bigger risk than Marvel.Putting too many characters into this MOS sequel was almost a bad plan.With Znyder’s poor emphasis on character development,it would surely put some of its characters flat.Plus rebooting batman after an iconic success from TDK trilogy is an additional huge challenge.There’s also WW’s first screen appearance,and if possible alot more cameos from other DC heroes.And if all this flops,Justice League will be impossible and WB will end up rebooting all those superheroes all over again.

  15. In my opinion, lesser known actors should get some spotlight also, I have no problems with who they have cast so far, ummm…except for Vin Deisel, not really a favorite of mine, it would be so much better if I didn’t know he was doing voices in GOTG, oh well…..

    • If you’ve seen Iron Giant I think you would think other wise.. he actually really fits if you look at the character depiction of groot.

  16. I’m not necessarily happy about some of the Marvel choices but in general the actors have been good. I’m most unhappy with their script choices and the direction they chose to go with many of their recent and upcoming movies.

    DC though is all up in the air. I don’t know what to make of the Batfleck and Stick Woman I’m not sold on in the least. About the only solid thing they have going is Cavill.

    • I thought Cavill was a little stiff at first but after I purchased Man of Steel and watched it a few times now I think he did a real good job.And comparing him to Reeves’ personality and charm I think most people will come off stiff at first.

  17. I agree,DC was making alot bigger risk than Marvel.Putting too many characters into this MOS sequel was almost a bad plan.With Znyder’s poor emphasis on character development,Goyer’s poor script and Nolan’s dark theme,it would surely put some of its characters flat and boring.Plus rebooting batman after an iconic success from TDK trilogy is an additional huge challenge.There’s also WW’s first screen appearance,and if possible alot more cameos from other DC heroes.And if all this flops,Justice League will be impossible and WB will end up rebooting all those superheroes all over again.

  18. I’m a big DC fan but got to admit that Whedon,Wright,Gunn >> Snyder, Goyer.

    • That isn’t anything against DC it’s something against Warner Bros.

      • Good point sir!

  19. DC is taking the bigger risk with Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot, but Ben Affleck comes with nothing but benefits

    1) He is a talented director (Batman solo or Justice League)

    2)He has some good writer and director friends (coerce them into picking up a solo movie)

    3) He is a big guy and has made a name for himself recently

    4) He’s a huge Batman fan so he will want to do something interesting with the character

    5) He will not let David Goyer and Zack Snyder smear his name so he will be interveining most likely (Chris Terrio)

    and with Gal Gadot you can’t deny that she is beautiful and that she has the potential to be a great looking Wonder Woman. She has been taking acting lessons for years so she is getting better over the years. They wouldn’t risk such a potentially big franchise if they didn’t see something special in her. She’s definitely charismatic and spunky enough to pull off Wonder Woman.

    • You’re one of the more logical people on this site, or the internet for that matter. Agreed 100%

      • compliments from deadpool NO WAY!! I try

    • Spunky? WW is not supposed to be “spunky”! An yes, she is beautiful but there are different kinds of beautiful and her’s doesn’t match WW imho.

      • Maybe spunky wasn’t the best word but it does mean Courageous and determined she’s definitely both of those

    • Lol I see what you did there “Benefits”

  20. It’s obvious so far DC is taking the biggest risks. I think though some of that might be because their characters are much higher profile than most Marvel characters. There are non-fanboys/girls who are invested in the characters of Batman and Wonderwoman because they have transcended comic books and become pop-culture icons. Naturally they are going to be scrutinized on a larger scale.

  21. Which studio is taking the bigger risk? It’s quite simple, the one who casted Ben Affleck. If his batman doesn’t work, and I honestly can’t see how it will, DC universe implodes.

  22. right now dc is taking the bigger risk if batman vs superman fails then they are screwed

  23. Lois Lane: Now if we’re done measuring d*cks…

  24. DC is taking the bigger risk because their characters are more popular than Marvels. Batman and Superman are more popular than any Marvel characters. If DC messes up Batman or Superman (I believe that they are going 100% in the right direction) they have a really big problem on their hands. I still think DC biggest risk is going to be Aquaman. He’s pretty much the laughingstock of comics thanks to jokes made by shows like Family Guy, so they have to do it right. The bottom of the ocean is a scary place, make it one. Aquaman needs to be a darker character who has no problem taking down an enemy with any means necessary. One of the things that annoys me about Marvel is that every time they have a serious moment they tell a joke. I’m not a fan of that when it comes to movies. If someone is dying, I want him/her to go out in a serious moment without telling a joke. DC does that well.

    • I agree with you the level of humor in all marvel movies is getting to be to much….I still recall scarjo in avengers making a flat joke as she jumped an alien……I was like wtf b***h just go. Also the additions of characters like darcy in thor that’s sole point is to be comic releif and one liners.

      That said I think you under estimate the appeal of aquaman. He has been a big seller in the last few years since geoff johnstook over and made his story more cohesive. They recently announced he’s getting a second ongoing seris…..which if your name isn’t batman or superman at dc is huge. Also popularity of the charCter from injustice has made people want to look at the character.

      I think dc is taking a huge risk with this team up…but finacially it will make money easily. Reason…fans of batman will see it….fans of superman willl see it….fans of ww want to see in what degree she’ll play in the film. Also naysayers who have been bashing the movie will see it if only to go and say see I told you so. But also all the buzz the movie has gotten will get people to see it. My friends who are not into comics are excited due to the fact its batman superman.

      Marvel is taking a risk by introducing an unknown character with no ties to avengers as of now..antman.he is not a name droper like spiderman,or wolvereinor hulk. It will be a risk as well for gotg due to fans percistence that a solo film is needed for all to care….will we see groots solo film….easy script….or draxx the destroyer film? A common movie goer is not aware other than a talking tree and racoon in space. Risk that could bite them for be too out there.

      • Or that risk could also turn out to be a stroke of genius, you have to look at both sides of the coin my friend and not just one side like you seem to be doing. Is GOTG a risk yes, I won’t dispute that, but there is a saying that sometimes you have to go out there and take a risk every now and than instead of staying in the same lane playing it safe and never trying to evolve and break new ground. Ant-Man is also a risky film but so what, at least their taking a risk and I can respect that. What do you want man, a company to never explore new characters and films and try to branch out more, that would make no sense unless it’s a-hem another company of course.

  25. As a black guy, I took absolutely no offence to the “splash of colour” comment in the article. It has long been established that there has a been a lack of mainstream black, hispanic or “non-white” superhero movies (or female superhero character movies for that matter).

    With regards to the casting news, I think Marvel’s approach of combining upcoming talent, established stars with some bonafide legends in the industry (Robert Redford, Glenn Close, Anthony Hopkins, Michael Douglas) can only be a good thing. If we’re entirely honest, superhero movies are a bit silly, but we find it easy to put that to one side and enjoy it for what it is if the right actors are cast in the parts.

    I think WB/DC suffer greatly in the news as it seems that they don’t have a definite long term plan. Marvel have their phases, what does DC have? Bats vs Supes (featuring Wonder Woman) and then? Maybe another movie, maybe not. Will it be Justice League?

    I know that movie studios like to keep things under wraps, but given how many poorly received announcementa/decisions DC comics made in 2013, you would think that they would want to give some semblance of knowing what they’re doing with their movieverse.

    Ah well. I’ll wait and see about DC, but as it has always been, make mine Marvel

    • I too; as an African american didn’t find anything wrong with the comment. Some of the brothers and sisters in my race are so damned sensitive.

      • I’m not black myself, but it just seemed like a weird wording choice…odd in a Screen Rant article, if nothing else.

  26. DC took the risk when they chose the Batfleck. He might have been the man behind he horrid idea of having some many characters in a film that was supposed to be a sequel to MoS. MoS deserved a better treatment than the one it is being given right now. What a conundrum the one they are creating.

  27. DC is in desperate need to take some huge risks if they really want to keep up with Marvel. This genre has only got a few years, maybe a decade of life left…even more so with two competing studios fight for casual moviegoers.

    Though I’ve always cared for DC heroes such as Supes and Bats a lot more than for Marvel properties, I’m afraid DC is FAR TOO LATE, aout 10 years to late to really turn the thing around. The thing is: casual moviegoers don’t care much about the difference between DC and Marvel, some don’t even know they are two seperate entities. For them it’s just one superhero flick after another and they will eventually grow weiry of that, no matter which casting choices any studio makes.

    But while Marvel has already established a complex universe, DC is nothing but a mess, starting from scratch although they had decades of material at their hands. At this point, I see Supes vs Bats as a moderate success but critical failure that will endanger both realms. It’ll get its fair share of attention but it is too little, too late.

  28. I’m saddened and frustrated by DC’s casting choices. Marvel is picking up superstar after superstar & DC left with the nobody’s, unknowns & the “actors” nobody thinks fit their roles. Why can’t DC get the A list superstars like Marvel?
    Is Marvel just scooping everybody that’s great in Hollywood before DC can get them, or are Marvel’s writers and directors just more desirerable to work with than DC’s?
    I don’t know what it is, but DC better get on the ball quick before nobody’s left to get, I’m losing my patience with them.

  29. DC obviously is taking bigger risks when it comes to casting. They haven’t gone for safe choices. When it comes to their cinematic universe, following up Man of Steel with a clash movie, is a stroke of genius. There are no risks here. We, fans, have been wet-dreaming about a Batman/Superman movie for decades. The creative team involved is really qualified and I feel is better than the team behind Avengers:AOU, so I don’t see why it could be called a risk.