The divide between Marvel and DC isn’t a sacred one any longer. Comic book artists, writers, and editors regularly cross it, and no one bats an eyelid at any movement nowadays.
In the cinema world, actors aren’t averse to swapping allegiances, either. In fact, we just saw Michael Keaton, a former and wildly popular Batman, portray a Marvel villain in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Additionally, Laurence Fishburne (Perry White in the DCEU) has jumped ship to the MCU, as he’s set to appear as Bill Foster in Ant-Man and the Wasp. It’s hardly breaking news, really.
As more superhero properties get added to the ever-growing list of films in production, it’s likely we’ll see even more actors continue to migrate between DC and Marvel. What’s interesting is to note that the DC actors who almost made the move into the MCU. For various reasons, the respective castings didn’t happen – and that’s what we’re here to explore.
In hindsight, some of these castings might’ve been good and refreshing, while others were completely wrong and we should thank the filmmakers for making the right choice.
With that said, let’s not waste any more time. Here are the 15 DC Actors Who Almost Played Characters In The MCU.
15. Joel Kinnaman (Thor)
Before Chris Hemsworth secured the role of Marvel’s God of Thunder, Altered Carbon and Suicide Squad star Joel Kinnaman was in the running along with Hemsworth’s younger brother, Liam. In fact, Kinnaman revealed afterwards that he was quite close to getting the part.
Things didn’t turn out too bad for Kinnaman, though, as he was cast as the titular character in 2014’s RoboCop and then as Rick Flag in Suicide Squad.
While none of these movies are remembered as iconic (or sensational), they’re big roles nonetheless for an upcomer.
The Swedish-born actor has seen his stock rise in Hollywood in recent years, and he continues to move in a positive trajectory. He might not have played Thor, but we think everyone’s okay with that in retrospect.
14. Jared Leto (Doctor Strange)
Doctor Strange director, Scott Derrickson, confirmed that Benedict Cumberbatch was always the only choice for the role of Dr. Stephen Strange. However, when scheduling conflicts arose and Cumberbatch declined the part, Derrickson was forced to explore other options.
He met with a host of other actors, including Joaquin Phoenix, Ryan Gosling, and Jared Leto. Derrickson, though, never clicked with any of them and Marvel ended up pushing back the release date so that Cumberbatch could play the role.
Leto, of course, went on to portray the Joker in the much-maligned Suicide Squad. His depiction of the Clown Prince of Crime was certainly a major talking point, and remains so to this day. Time will tell if he’s able to redeem himself as this character in the near future.
13. Jason Momoa (Drax)
In rather unsurprising news, Jason Momoa was approached to play Drax the Destroyer in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
Momoa turned down the part, though.
“I think it’s perfectly cast. Dave [Bautista] is perfect for that role, for Drax. It didn’t really fit in my time because I’ve done so many things where I don’t say much and I’m colored up and I have my shirt off again. I made a conscious choice to turn down some movies that were action-based to direct Road to Paloma so people could see that side,” he said to Zap2It.
12. Patrick Wilson (Paxton)
Did you know that Patrick Wilson was actually cast as Paxton in 2015’s Ant-Man? Sadly, he was forced to leave the production after a scheduling conflict arose and the role went to Bobby Cannavale.
Truth be told, we’re happy that it happened the way it did. An actor of Wilson’s caliber deserves a much bigger role in the MCU, and not a small part . Heck, why has no one considered Wilson for the role of Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic yet?
Wilson has history with DC movies, having appeared as Dan Breiberg/Nite Owl II in Watchmen and voicing the President of the USA in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. His next role with the franchise will be even bigger as he plays the role of Orm Marius/Ocean Master in Aquaman.
11. Amber Heard (Captain Marvel)
Long before Amber Heard received the call to play Mera in the DCEU, her name had been mooted around for various roles in the MCU. Many dream fan castings had her pinned as the ideal choice to play Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel.
Obviously that part went to Oscar winner Brie Larson, but you can bet your bottom dollar that Heard was one of the names thrown around in casting discussions.
What probably ended up costing her the opportunity was the fact that she was already cast as Mera by the time that Captain Marvel was decided.
10. Will Smith (Captain America)
There was a long list of names attached to the lead role in Captain America: The First Avenger – and there were even more actors who auditioned for the coveted part. Interestingly, one of the biggest names suggested was Will Smith’s.
This story began when actor Derek Luke told MTV that he’d heard Smith had been offered the role of Cap. The news mill went into overdrive and there were many for and against this sensational casting – we’ll let you guess what the naysayers’ biggest gripe was.
At the end of the day, Luke’s intel proved to be false as Chris Evans took hold of the shield. Judging by Suicide Squad‘s largely negative reception, we do wonder if Smith has any regrets about not becoming Captain America instead of Deadshot.
9. Dwayne Johnson (Drax)
If you need a hulking, muscular, bald man, look no further than Dwayne Johnson – hence it comes as no surprise that he was at one stage considered for the role of Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy.
The truth is that Johnson was already too much of a big star for the part.
Drax isn’t one of the main members of the Guardians and it’s unlikely that Johnson would accept a smaller role when he’s already a leading man in Hollywood.
Johnson has been confirmed as Black Adam in the DCEU; although, we have no indication of when (or if) he’ll appear on screen. We really do hope this happens and doesn’t become one of those projects that fails to comes to fruition and or sits in development hell forever.
8. Gary Oldman (Hank Pym)
Gary Oldman will always be remembered for his remarkable turn as Jim Gordon in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Not only did he provide us with one of the best performances of his career, but he also added some much-needed sheen to Batman’s GCPD ally.
After the trilogy came to an end, comic book movie filmmakers must’ve been rubbing their hands and hoping that he’d sign up to their respective franchise. Reportedly, Oldman was considered for the role of Hank Pym (the original Ant-Man) in Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man, but the part went to Michael Douglas.
When asked by People about a potential role in the MCU, Oldman said, “Marvel hasn’t called me. But now that you mentioned it, if they’re tuning in, my son wants me to!”
7. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Ant-Man)
Speaking of Ant-Man, Paul Rudd wasn’t the only choice for the lead role.
In fact, Rudd was considered alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt (John Blake in The Dark Knight Rises).
Variety reported that serious discussions took place between the studio and actors.
Speaking to the French division of HuffPost, Levitt said, “There is always a lot of rumors around these projects and so far it is still only discussions. I am always very transparent when it comes to my role and my career. I’m usually the first to speak and communicate with my fans if something happens. If you hear nothing from me, they are just rumors,” Levitt said.
6. Jim Carrey (Loki)
Tom Hiddleston wasn’t originally interested in playing Loki, and actually auditioned for the part of Thor (do yourself a favor and check out his audition tape online). Thus, there were a handful of actors who were in line for the coveted role of the God of Mischief in 2011’s Thor.
One of the big star names supposedly considered was Jim Carrey (who had worn a mask belonging to Loki in The Mask). While none of the parties publicly commented on this, it’s entirely believable that Carrey’s name was mentioned at some point in early discussions.
Despite Carrey’s obvious comedic talents, we still feel that Hiddleston was perfect as Loki and can’t imagine anyone else in the role. In fact, you could argue he’s a major reason for Thor’s success in the MCU.
5. Jensen Ackles (Hawkeye)
So, as the story goes, Supernatural‘s Jensen Ackles auditioned for the role of Captain America. Marvel, though, thought that Chris Evans was the right guy for the job but took a liking to Ackles.
As a result, he was offered the part of Clint Barton/Hawkeye instead.
Ackles turned it down, citing scheduling conflicts. It does sound like a dubious excuse, though, since he’d surely have the same scheduling conflicts if he’d gotten the Cap role.
Ackles did get a chance to portray a comic book character – albeit in a different way – as he voiced Jason Todd/Red Hood in the animated film Batman: Under the Red Hood. His performance is so revered that fans have championed for him to play the character in a live-action film.
4. Morena Baccarin (Agent Hill)
Morena Baccarin is becoming quite the actress in the comic book genre. She’s voiced several characters in the animated world, played Wade Wilson’s number-one lady in Deadpool, and can be seen on Gotham as Dr. Leslie Thompkins.
In fact, it’s the latter role that led to her meeting her now-husband, Ben McKenzie, with whom she has a child. On the show, Baccarin’s Thompkins and McKenzie’s Gordon are on-and-off-again lovers, so this love affair spilled over to the real world.
Things were almost different for Baccarin, though, as she was one of the actresses considered for the part of Agent Maria Hill. This shouldn’t be surprising considering that The Avengers director, Joss Whedon, had worked with Baccarin before on his TV series Firefly. As we all know, this casting didn’t happen and the part went to Cobie Smulders.
3. Mark Hamill (Vulture)
Mark Hamill has voiced many popular comic book characters; however, his most definitive and famous voice role was that of the Joker.
While he’ll always be seen as Luke Skywalker to fans, his voice will be synonymous with the Ace of Knaves.
Speaking to Rotten Tomatoes at the D23 Expo, Hamill revealed which Marvel character he had an eye on playing before. “I don’t want to jeopardize any potential roles I might have in a future Marvel film. I had my fingers crossed that Michael Keaton would turn down the Vulture but darn it. There’s not a lot of villainous roles for senior citizens so I had my eyes on the Vulture.”
2. Arnold Schwarzenegger (Thanos)
“Ice to meet you.” As much as Batman & Robin sucked, you cannot deny that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze had the best lines and puns. He had a good time, and no one can blame him for the movie being what it was.
Since then, Schwarzenegger has been mooted to play several comic book characters, including Darkseid and even Thanos.
At a DragonCon, Jim Starlin – co-creator of the Mad Titan – set tongues wagging when he gave his opinion on Schwarzenegger as Thanos. “There were rumors going around that Arnold Schwarzenegger was going to be tapped for it, which at first I thought was a bad idea, but then I caught him in the news since his post-cancer treatment and he has Thanos’ voice. He has this real gravelly voice and he would probably work well. Couldn’t think of anybody else I’d throw out off the top of my head.”
1. Billy Crudup (Hulk)
Technically, this one is cheating because Billy Crudup was supposed to be a part of Ang Lee’s Hulk, which predates the MCU. However, considering the deal that Marvel has with Universal Pictures regarding the character, we’ll ask you to play along here.
Before Eric Bana was cast as Bruce Banner/Hulk, Lee wanted Crudup for the part – and he was attached to it for some time before dropping out.
In fact, there’s even concept art available of Crudup as the Hulk, which looks pretty ridiculous if you ask us.
While Crudup didn’t take the Marvel role, he ended up portraying Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen and Henry Allen in Justice League. There are rumors that he’ll be back for Flashpoint – that’s if the project ever gets going.
Are there any other DC actors who almost appeared in the MCU? Let us know in the comments section!
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