The big-screen superhero universe has expanded to such cosmic levels over the last decade it seems virtually impossible that there are any Hollywood stars that have yet to enter it. But there are, in fact, still a handful of well-knowns who haven’t had the pleasure of donning a latex costume, fighting the bad guys and acting out an increasingly convoluted back story.
Of course, some may not be interested in doing so, but there are many still angling for an invitation. A few have already received offers only to have other work commitments rule them out of contention, some have foolishly passed on the opportunity only to regret it later on, while others have actively campaigned to strap on a pair few tights and fight the bad guys -- to no avail. From multiple Oscar winners and modern movie legends to sitcom stars and sex symbols, here are 15 major names who are hoping for a letter from Marvel or DC to drop through their mailbox in the near future.
15 Tyrese Gibson
Few have lobbied for a superhero role more than Tyrese Gibson. Despite the disappointing commercial and critical response to 2011’s Green Lantern, the model-turned-actor has continually stated his ambitions to take over the lead role in the proposed 2020 reboot. In fact, Gibson posted so many fan-made Photoshopped images featuring himself in the famous green suit on his social media pages that Warner Bros. reportedly gave him a ticking off for making it look as though he’d already been given the part (though he did manage to score a meeting, so there's that).
If Tyrese’s full-on approach ultimately proves to be a hindrance, then many of his Fast and Furious co-stars will leave him feeling even greener with envy. Dwayne Johnson will reportedly play the villainous Black Adam in Shazam, Gal Gadot has already shown up as Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, while Vin Diesel will once again voice Groot in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy sequel.
14 Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves has already enjoyed a brief spell in the DC Comics world, but his titular role in 2005’s Constantine was more anti-hero than superhero, and the seemingly ageless actor admits he still has ambitions of starring as a costumed crime-fighter. Sadly, for Reeves it seems unlikely that he’ll get the chance to portray the two particular iconic characters he has in mind.
In an interview with Moviefone, the star admitted that he always wanted to play Wolverine, a part which, of course, has now become synonymous with Hugh Jackman. And in further evidence that Reeves dreams big, the actor also revealed he’d liked to have followed in the footsteps of Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale and now Ben Affleck by taking on the role of the Caped Crusader. But apparently not one to dwell on such matters, Reeves is still happy to continue “just enjoying them as an audience” instead.
13 Tom Hanks
His surprise appearance in the video for Carly Rae Jepsen’s “I Really Like You” last year proves that Tom Hanks is pretty much game for anything, and the two-time Oscar winner has already expressed an interest in adding a superhero movie to his impressive and increasingly eclectic resume. But despite his status as one of Hollywood’s most bankable and talented stars, the comic book studio bigwigs have so far refrained from giving him the opportunity to do so.
However, the ultimate Mr. Nice Guy isn’t particularly interested in being the man who saves the day, or the guy on the sidelines barking out orders. Instead, in an interview with Showbiz 411, Hanks pleaded: “Let me play the bad guy against Batman. I’ll do anything, call me. They’ve never asked. God, I want to throw a shield at somebody. And I don’t want to play the guy in the suit who tells the superheroes what’s going on. I want to get in there.”
There's no shortage of Bat-villains left to utilize, of course, and if he's serious, an actor of Hanks' caliber should have no trouble at all landing a big bad role in a comic book film.
12 Kristen Stewart
Considering how miserable she and co-star Robert Pattinson looked while filming the Twilight saga, you may have thought that Kristen Stewart would want to give any other blockbuster series a wide berth. Indeed, since the vampire saga came to an end in 2012, the star has focused largely on either indie fare (American Ultra, Camp X-Ray), Cannes festival favorites (Clouds of Sils Maria, Café Society) or Oscar bait (Still Alice, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk) to largely successful, if under the radar, effect.
However, Stewart told Yahoo Movies that she wouldn’t be averse to joining the Marvel Universe, and one of its franchises in particular. “I love watching those movies. I would love to show people that I can do more than just be Kristen Stewart in a different movie, in a different circumstance. I’m sure I could get on board with Captain America, you know what I mean? It would just have to be the right thing.”
11 Eddie Redmayne
You also might expect Eddie Redmayne, a thespian renowned for appearing in dramatic period fare such as My Week with Marilyn, The Danish Girl and of course, The Theory of Everything, to have been deterred from stepping outside his comfort zone considering the disaster that occurred when he last did so. Indeed, in a film which was plagued with problems from start to finish, the British actor’s ridiculously hammy performance as the villainous Balem Abrasax was widely viewed as Jupiter Ascending’s nadir.
But perhaps keen to prove that he can in fact let his hair down without causing unintentional fits of laughter, the Academy Award winner has admitted to MTV he would like to join his real-life friends in the comic book universe. “I think those Marvel films like The Avengers – Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hiddleston are pals and they look like they have quite a lot of fun on there, so perhaps I could play some sort of weird English baddie.”
10 Joe Manganiello
Of course, Joe Manganiello has already had a brush with the superhero world, having used his impressive imposing physique to play school bully Flash Thompson in the first and third installments of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. But he’s yet to take center stage in one – although he very nearly beat out Henry Cavill for the role of Superman in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel.
Considering how deadly serious the film was, perhaps it was for the best that Manganiello lost out on the part. Indeed, although the star would like to add to his list of comic book entries, he told MTV that he wants to avoid your average cookie-cutter blockbuster: “There’s so many superhero projects out there that it’s almost like they’re becoming normal. So I want to do one that just flips it on its head and makes it crazy. I want to make the Fight Club of superhero movies.”
9 Nicole Kidman
As with Manganiello, Nicole Kidman has also enjoyed a taste of the comic book world in a less physically-demanding role, albeit over 20 years ago. Indeed, the Aussie actress was one of the best things about 1995’s Batman Forever as the Caped Crusader’s love interest, Dr. Chase Meridian. But when it came to the big action sequences, the star had do little more than play the clichéd damsel in distress, something which she admits she was frustrated with at the time.
“I remember going, I wish had more of a role, though. It's great being the girl in the Batman movie... But I'm an actor and you go, `Gosh I want more to do. I would still love to do some sort of superhero movie where I get to do the cool stuff.” Anyone who saw her tranquilizer gun-shooting, knife-throwing, ceiling-hanging display as the villainous Millicent Clyde in Paddington will know that Kidman is more than capable of such a challenge.
8 Emily Blunt
Emily Blunt also proved that she can play the action hero when she teamed up with Kidman’s ex-husband Tom Cruise in the highly underrated Edge of Tomorrow. And the British actress has discussed her desire to repeat the feat in a superhero movie several times, telling New York Magazine she would like to star in one that would “scare the bejesus out of her,” and mentioning to Vulture that she was extremely flattered to be linked with the role of Captain Marvel in the 2018 first female-led Marvel movie.
If Blunt’s schedule hadn’t been so busy over the past few years, she may have actually had her choice of comic book adventures. Due to other work commitments, the star was forced to turn down the roles of both Black Widow in Iron Man 2 (which eventually went to Scarlett Johansson) and Peggy Carter in Captain America (which was given to Hayley Atwell).
7 Al Pacino
The prospect of an actor as revered as Al Pacino starring in something as crowd-pleasing as a superhero movie back in the '70s would have been unthinkable. But as with his closest contemporary, Robert De Niro, the New Yorker’s 21st Century filmography is littered with so many questionable career choices (see Simone, Gigli, 88 Minutes, Righteous Kill and Jack and Jill just to name a few) that few could believe that a Marvel or DC film would now be beneath him.
Having raved about 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy to press at the Venice Film Festival, describing it as “the most entertaining, inventive, beautiful film,” Pacino had already made it clear that he is open to appearing in similar fare. And during an appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, the star revealed that following a meeting with Marvel Studio President Kevin Feige, such an idea may soon become reality.
6 Jessica Chastain
Jessica Chastain may be a two-time Oscar nominee thanks to her performances in The Help and Zero Dark Thirty, but she certainly isn’t a stranger to the odd blockbuster either. Interstellar, The Martian and The Huntsman: Winter’s War are just some of the box-office hits the redhead has appeared in since bursting on the scene in the late '00s, and Iron Man 3 would have been on that list had it not been for prior work commitments.
Indeed, having been forced to turn down the part of scientist Maya Hansen that eventually went to Rebecca Hall, Chastain seems more determined than ever to grace a superhero film, albeit with certain requirements: “The problem is, if I do a superhero movie, I don’t want to be the girlfriend. I don’t want to be the daughter. I want to wear a f***ing cool costume with a scar on my face, with fight scenes. That’s what I’d love.”
A one-time rumored frontrunner for the Captain Marvel role (as well as a personal favorite of ours to play DC's Queen Mera), Chastain's involvement in a superhero film could be just a matter of time.
5 Bryce Dallas Howard
Chastain may well end up battling for the role of Captain Marvel with her The Help co-star and uncanny lookalike Bryce Dallas Howard. The daughter of director Ron Howard appeared delighted during an interview with Cinema Blend when her name was mentioned in the same breath as the role: “Oh my God, will you write that? Will you write that please? Yes, let’s start a campaign now. That would be rad!”
Howard has plenty of experience in the action realm, having starred in the likes of Terminator Salvation, The Twilight Saga and of course Jurassic World, where despite being lumbered with high heels, she more than matched leading man Chris Pratt. The actress also played Gwen Stacy, the lab partner Peter strings along to make Mary Jane jealous, in Spider-Man 3, but would hopefully have more to do than play the other woman were she ever to grace another comic book flick.
4 Ronda Rousey
The role of Captain Marvel looks like being one of the most hotly-contested in years, and Blunt, Chastain and Dallas Howard face their toughest (literal) competition in the form of former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey. When asked which superhero character she would like to portray during a Reddit AMA in 2015, the mixed martial arts hero-turned-actress revealed that although many of her favorites have already been taken, she still has her eye on Marvel’s biggest female hero.
Rousey, of course, has already made the transition from the ring to the big screen look effortless with roles in The Expendables, Furious 7 and Entourage, and will soon be seen as a leading lady for the first time in the remake of ‘80s favorite Road House. And the star’s Captain Marvel talk has already inspired numerous budding artists to visualize what Rousey would look like in Carol Danvers’ colorful jumpsuit.
3 Terry Crews
The distinct lack of African-American superheroes has been well documented, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Terry Crews is just one of many hoping to improve the situation. The former NFL footballer has already proved his action chops in The Expendables series and has since thrown his hat into the ring for not just one, but two specific comic book roles.
Unfortunately for Crews, he’s already missed the boat on one of his dream roles, namely that of Luke Cage which instead went to Mike Colter. But there’s still hope for his second should the Fantastic Four get another big-screen venture: “You know who else I’d like to play? The Silver Surfer. I always LOVED him – I thought I had the build, the body, I could get on that surfboard, and if they ever do a live-action version of Silver Surfer, I think that would be perfect for me.”
2 Megan Fox
Megan Fox and the comic book genre haven’t previously made great bedfellows. In 2009, she dismissed rumors that she would be the new Wonder Woman in no uncertain terms: “Wonder Woman is a lame superhero… She flies around in her invisible jet and her weaponry is a lasso that makes you tell the truth. I just don’t get it. Somebody has a big challenge on their hands whoever takes that role but I don’t want to do it.”
Then came her appearances as Tallulah Black and April O’Neill in the much maligned Jonah Hex and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies. But despite all this, Fox still seems determined to play a superhero, and one in particular that has yet to make it to the big screen, telling E!: “There’s a comic book called Gen 13 that they need to make into a movie. There are three female ass-kicking superheroes. That’s an opportunity to put three super-hot, awesome badass girls in a movie, and I imagine it would be so lucrative.”
1 Norman Reedus
Prolific actor Norman Reedus has starred in over 50 movies since making his cinematic debut in 1997, but apart from a minor part as Scud in 2002’s Blade II and a voice role in 2013 animation Iron Man: Rise of Technovore, his big-screen resume is largely free of anything superhero. However, the man best known for playing Daryl Dixon in comic book adaptation The Walking Dead is certainly keen on changing all that.
“Hell yeah. It would be a blast. Do I get a skull face that’s on fire and all that stuff? F*** yeah, I’m down.” That was Reedus’ rather enthusiastic response when asked by Uproxx whether he would be interested in taking on the role of vigilante Johnny Blaze in a Ghost Rider reboot. A keen motorcycle enthusiast who even hosts his biker show on AMC, Reedus could possibly be the perfect choice to fill Nicolas Cage’s shoes.
Which of these actors do you most want to see in a superhero movie? Which of them do you want to stay far, far away form the genre? Let us know in the comments.