It looks like the Man of Steel is coming back to the small screen this fall. When CBS moved their freshman series Supergirl from their flagship channel over to The CW (a network co-owned by Warner Bros.), series star Melissa Benoist assured fans that the show will remain the same; that no drastic changes would occur. However, it looks like there will be at least one noticeable change. The CW announced on Monday that Superman will be properly featured in the first two episodes of their new superhero series, which stars Benoist as the eponymous hero.
Since the network’s DC TV Universe and Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe remain separated, it’s unlikely that Superman will be played by Batman v Superman star Henry Cavill. Instead, The CW is looking to cast another actor as Superman, someone presumably in their mid-30s since the Supergirl pilot episode revealed that Kara had been lost in the Phantom Zone for 24 years. And going by that timeline, if Kara is in her mid-20s then Clark Kent should be in his mid-to-late 30s. Keeping that in mind, we thought: Who should play Superman?
Here are 12 Actors Who Could Play Superman In Supergirl.
12. Brandon Routh
When Ratner’s Superman project fell through and ended up being reworked by Bryan Singer, the former X-Men director opted to replace Matt Bomer, Brett Ratner’s choice to play Superman in the aborted Superman: Flyby, with Brandon Routh. Now, while Superman Returns wasn’t a massive success, Routh’s depiction of the Man of Steel was remarkably similar to Christopher Reeve’s version, as well as the type of Superman depicted thus far on Supergirl.
The obvious hurdle with casting Routh as Superman, though, is that he’s already part of The CW’s Arrowverse, having been playing Ray Palmer/The Atom on Arrow, The Flash, and now Legends of Tomorrow — three shows that currently exist in a parallel universe to Supergirl. And unlike what The Flash did, with John Wesley Shipp playing both Henry Allen and Jay Garrick (the first Flash), Superman is an alien from Krypton, which means he doesn’t have a human doppelganger.
But with some creative writing, we’re sure the writers can come up with something. After all, weirder things have happened. It would be a nice nod to an almost-forgotten movie. Plus, Routh really is the spitting image of Christopher Reeve.
11. Ian Somerhalder
Ian Somerhalder may have gotten his big break on Lost as Boone Carlyle, but it’s his role as Damon Salvatore on The CW’s The Vampire Diaries that has propelled him into stardom. He’s developed a significant following playing the immortal vampire, a role which has garnered him several Teen Choice and People’s Choice Awards.
Since the network has made it a habit of recycling actors for various shows (e.g. Peyton List and Shantel VanSanten), it’s not inconceivable to think that Somerhalder could hop over to The CW’s new superhero show, Supergirl, for a brief appearance as Superman. He’s certainly got enough of the looks and demeanor of Clark Kent to pull it off, and he’d only be needed for two episodes, which shouldn’t affect his commitment to The Vampire Diaries.
10. Chris Wood
Chris Wood is one of the younger and more relatively unknown actors on this list, having starred in various recurring roles on shows such as The Carrie Diaries and The Vampire Diaries, though he recently landed a leading role as police officer Jake Riley in The CW’s limited series Containment, based on the Belgian series Cordon.
With Wood’s stint on Containment coming to an end, the network may be looking to get the actor in another role on another one of their shows, possibly Supergirl. With the network’s glaring casting criteria, it would be simpler for them to use an actor who’s already working with them on another series, especially if the role in question is small. While no one will say playing Superman is a small role, he is currently scheduled to appear in just a handful of episodes.
9. Brett Dalton
It’s become increasingly more common to see an actor switch from starring in a Marvel property to a DC property, and vice versa, so it wouldn’t be so far-fetched to see Brett Dalton appear as Superman on Supergirl.
Dalton’s run on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. came to end when his character, HYDRA agent-turned-Inhuman-villain Grant Ward/HIVE, was killed in the season three finale, which means he’s likely looking for another gig right now. And after playing the villain for three seasons, it would be a welcome change to see Dalton play a hero, an iconic one at that.
At age 33, Dalton not only has the physique and looks to play Superman, but he also has the acting chops. And considering that Dalton has already played a character in a comic book show before, it’s possible he’d consider doing it again.
8. Gabriel Macht
Before taking on the role of Harvey Specter in the USA Network legal drama Suits, Gabriel Macht was most well-known for starring as Denny Colt in the 2008 movie The Spirit, based on the crime-fighting character of the same name, and written and directed by comic book legend Frank Miller. Though The Spirit was a critical and commercial failure, having been called one of the worst movies ever made, Macht’s performance earned him a cult following, which has only increased in members in the years since.
With Macht having already played a DC Comics character, of sorts, perhaps he’d be interested in making the jump to one of the more iconic DC Comics characters, Superman. If he is cast in the role, Macht would be joining his Suits co-star Patrick J. Adams, who appeared in the season 1 finale of Legends of Tomorrow as Justice Society of America member Rex Tyler aka Hourman.
7. Ian Harding
Like a few other actors on this list, Ian Harding is an unknown actor to everyone who doesn’t watch his show, Pretty Little Liars. That’s not to say he isn’t a good actor; in fact, the Freeform (formerly ABC Family) series has garnered him a substantial fan base as well as six consecutive Teen Choice Awards — and the people who vote in that award ceremony are typically the audience The CW caters to.
Harding may not be the first name that comes to mind when thinking about casting Superman, but there’s no denying he has a distinct resemblance to the Kryptonian. While he is currently tied up as a series regular on Pretty Little Liars as English-teacher-turned-professor Ezra Fitzgerald, considering that the series is a midseason show (premiering in summer and winter), Harding would theoretically be available to do a small role for Supergirl, which premieres in the fall.
6. Chris Zylka
Chris Zylka is another somewhat unknown actor, someone who deserves a chance in a major role, and playing Superman just might be it. After playing Flash Thompson in Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man movies, Zylka landed a central role in HBO’s The Leftovers, as the devout believer-turned-preacher Tom Garvey.
Anyone who has seen The Leftovers will know that Zylka is truly an astounding actor. His performance in the season 2 episode “Off Ramp” particularly demonstrates his range. In addition looking the part (and being in the right age range), if Zylka could utilize those acting chops as Superman come this fall, then Supergirl would be off to a great start on its new network.
5. Matt Lanter
From 2009 to 2013, Matt Lanter famously played Liam Court on The CW’s 90210, which makes him an ideal candidate for the network to hire as Superman in Supergirl (as mentioned a few times, the network likes to recycle its actors). While his role in the 90210 remake is most recognizable role, geeks will recall him from his days voicing Anakin Skywalker on Cartoon Network’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars and later Darth Vader on Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels.
Along with his many Star Wars credits, Lanter voiced Aquaman in last year’s direct-to-video movie Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, and is even part of the main voice cast for Disney XD’s Ultimate Spider-Man animated series. All of his voice acting roles in addition to his live-action roles cultivates into an impressive resume, one that would make Lanter the ideal candidate to play Superman come this fall. He’s even got the looks of the Man of Steel.
4. Justin Hartley
Justin Hartley famously played Oliver Queen/Green Arrow on The WB’s (later The CW’s) Smallville, which depicted a young Clark Kent maturing into Superman. Hartley was originally cast as Arthur Curry/Aquaman in the TV pilot Aquaman by Smallville creators Al Gough and Miles Millar — but when the pilot fell through, Gough and Millar liked Hartley enough to bring him over to Smallville as the Green Arrow.
Though he hasn’t delved in any other comic book projects since Smallville ended in 2011, if there was any role to bring him back into the fold, it’s playing Superman on Supergirl. However, his status as a series regular on The Young and the Restless may prevent him from taking on what could potentially be a demanding role, but we’re sure something could be worked out for a few episodes.
3. D.J. Cotrona
While DC Comics fans are finally getting a live-action Justice League movie next November, almost ten years ago, legendary director George Miller was attached to helm his own version, Justice League: Mortal. Unfortunately, the project — which would have seen Armie Hammer as Batman, D.J. Cotrona as Superman, Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, Adam Brody as The Flash, Santiago Cabrera as Aquaman, and Common as Green Lantern — fell through.
Miller and the cast are continuously asked about it and reflect on the movie’s cancellation ’till this very day. In fact, the movie is currently getting a documentary focusing on “what might have been.” In 2013, Cotrona reflected on the project, saying, “It was a damn shame that we didn’t get to finish that. I promise you that it would have been amazing. It would have been incredible.” While Cotrona’s only major role to-date was playing Flint in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, if he was good enough to play Superman for Miller, then he’s good enough for us.
2. Matt Bomer
Unlike Cotrona, Matt Bomer has actually played Superman before, though not in live-action. Bomer voiced the Kryptonian in the 2013 animated movie Superman: Unbound, a direct-to-video adaptation of Geoff Johns’ 2008 comic book story arc Superman: Brainiac. Like Cotrona, however, Bomer was once cast as Superman, though the movie never went into production.
In 2003, Brett Ratner cast Bomer as Clark Kent/Superman in his project, Superman: Flyby. Interestingly enough, Ratner left the project to direct X-Men: The Last Stand while X-Men director Bryan Signer left the X-Men franchise to direct Superman Returns, a retooled version of Superman: Flyby. Because of this shakeup, Bomer lost his chance to don the red cape in live-action, and was replaced by the afore-mentioned Brandon Routh.
Since Bomer already voiced Superman and was once cast as the character (though the project never got to filming), that’s more than enough evidence to convince us that he’d be a great Superman on the small screen. Plus, he got his start on television and routinely returns for small roles in shows such as Glee and American Horror Story, so we know there’s a chance he’d accept an offer to star in Supergirl.
1. Tom Welling
While the majority of people consider Christopher Reeve to be the definitive Superman, there are those that prefer Tom Welling — and with good reason. Welling played Clark Kent for a whopping ten years on The WB’s (later CW’s) Smallville. Ever since Supergirl debuted, Welling has repeatedly been asked if he would cameo as the Man of Steel in the series. While he hasn’t said yes, he hasn’t said no, either. And if there’s anyone that deserves the chance, it’s Tom Welling.
Throughout the series’ entire run, Welling never once wore the iconic Superman costume (that one scene in the series finale doesn’t count), while Melissa Benoist received her Supergirl costume halfway through the pilot episode. Welling not only deserves the opportunity to don the red cape, but also to fly, something he unknowingly did once throughout all ten seasons. It seems like Welling’s incarnation of the Kryptonian had more in common with Superboy; it’s high time he ditches The Blur and assumes the title of Superman.
Who else could be cast as Superman? Let us know in the comments!