The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been successful since the introduction of Iron Man in 2008. Since then, they have released countless money-making blockbusters and have created a superhero universe never before seen on screen. The DC Extended Universe has attempted to create the same type of dynamic, but they are off to a rocky start.
While Man of Steel received decent reviews from fans, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice was seen as a complicated, jumbled up mess. Suicide Squad came along with poor reviews and just made matters worse for the DCEU. Gal Gadot’s portrayal of Wonder Woman has helped, with her film Wonder Woman being the most successful of he DCEU movies so far. It seems that just can’t quite find their footing apart from that movie.
The MCU found its footing a long time ago and has been running nonstop ever since. The actors who portray the beloved Marvel characters have their superhero roles down and know how to play their characters to their best potential. While the actors in the DC films certainly look the part, the characterization and chemistry isn’t always there. Some of the Marvel actors could help out with that. Here are 20 MCU Actors Who Could Save The DCEU (And The Characters They Should Play).
20 Jeff Bridges as Darkseid
In Justice League, Steppenwolf was the main antagonist, but there were hints in Batman V. Superman that fans could see Darkseid appear in future films. Fans immediately took to the internet to voice their opinions on who should play the iconic DC villain and there rumors of Jeff Bridges being cast in the role quickly appeared.
The actor already has some experience in the comic book world. Bridges played the villain Iron Monger all the way back in 2008’s Iron Man. His character, Obadiah Stane, was a business partner and eventual foe of Tony Stark. He was intelligent, manipulative, and dangerous. Bridges loved playing the character so much he didn’t want him to pass in the film. He enjoyed playing a villain in a superhero film so much, it would make sense for him to do another one as Darkseid.
Darkseid is incredibly intimidating and his commanding voice and presence are a major part of that. Bridges has always had the ability to hold everyone’s attention on screen. While the character will be comprised almost entirely of CGI, his voice would encapsulate the hardened presence audiences expect from the villain. The actor would be a welcome addition to the DCEU.
19 Chris Hemsworth as Green Arrow
Green Arrow is a main character of the Justice League, so it’s only a matter of time before he is added into the DCEU. Stephen Amell has been portraying the character on the CW show Arrow for a few years now, but it’s likely a different actor will be selected for the big screen.
A lot of fans are pushing for Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam to play the masked archer. As far as MCU actors go, while Chris Hemsworth is the perfect Thor, he has the look to play Oliver Queen.
If he kept his short hair from Thor: Ragnarok and grew his beard out, he would definitely look the part.
Hemsworth is an expert when it comes to playing a superhero. He has the commanding presence the Green Arrow requires when he’s intimidating villains, but is also able to be funny and add comedic relief on screen. Oliver Queen has a great sense of humor, and although it’s been lost a bit in Arrow, fans would love to see him show a little more wit in the DCEU. It’s been clear in the Thor films that Hemsworth can make people laugh. It would be interesting to see him wield a bow and arrow rather than a hammer.
18 Michael B. Jordan as Aqualad
While Aqualad isn’t the best known character to casual supporters of DC, fans of the comics are very familiar with Aquaman’s young sidekick. He’s present in the comics and a big part of the show Young Justice. He would make a perfect addition to the solo Aquaman film DC intends to release.
Michael B. Jordan would be a great choice to play the hero. He certainly isn’t afraid to be a part of major superhero films. While he didn’t get great reviews as the Human Torch in Fantastic Four, he just played the role of Killmonger in the successful Marvel fim Black Panther and fans praised his performance. Killmonger is calculating, persistent, and strong, all traits of Aqualad. Both characters are also great leaders. Aqualad would be much younger than the main heroes audiences have seen in the DCEU so far, making Jordan the perfect age to play him.
Some fans have already mentally cast Jordan in the role. His MCU character didn’t make it to the end of Black Panther, so the actor may be available to take on yet another comic book role. He would be a fantastic Aqualad. Could a Young Justice movie be in his future?
17 Kurt Russell as Commissioner Gordon
Commissioner Gordon has been portrayed in so many ways it’s hard to keep track. A lot of Batman fans are familiar with Gary Oldman’s performance in The Dark Knight films, where others love seeing young Gordon played by Ben McKenzie on the show. Currently, the role is occupied by J.K. Simmons, but he was only briefly in Justice League, but we have trouble seeing him in any comic book role other than J. Jonah Jameson.
Kurt Russell actually almost got the Dark Knight role over Gary Oldman. Supposedly, Christopher Nolan originally planned to make Oldman a villain and had Russell in mind for the iconic police commissioner, but that’s obviously not what happened. Russell did, however, finally land a superhero role, just for Marvel rather than DC. He played Starlord’s father as well as villain, Ego, in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The character didn’t last to the end of the film, however, quickly ending his superhero film experience.
The actor is already familiar with the formula of a superhero film and was almost chosen by Nolan himself to play Gordon once before. He’s of the right age as well. Clearly, he would be a great choice to come over to the DCEU and play the commissioner alongside Affleck’s Batman.
16 Rachael Taylor as Killer Frost
Killer Frost has appeared in DC comics since the late 1970s, but has been popularized by Danielle Panabaker’s portrayal of the icey character, who goes by Caitlin Snow, in the CW’s The Flash. While she’s been playing the character for a while, it’s likely that a different actress would be selected if they ever brought her to the big screen.
Actress Rachael Taylor would be a great MCU actress to switch over and play Killer Frost in the DCEU. She currently stars in the Netflix/Marvel show Jessica Jones, in which she plays Jessica’s best friend and ally Trish Walker. It’s clear through her work on that show that she knows how to kick butt. Her character undergoes intense self-defense training and knows how to hold her own in a fight. She helps Jones take down her enemy, Kilgrave.
Whoever plays Killer Frost needs to have that same physical toughness as Trish, as well as embody a cold exterior when needed.
Taylor plays Trish as headstrong and determined, and Frost is as well. Not only can Taylor play those character traits, she is also beautiful and blonde, the same look Killer Frost would most likely have if she was introduced in the DCEU.
15 Idris Elba as Martian Manhunter
Martian Manhunter is a major part of the Justice League in the comics as well as animated DC shows and films. When the announcement of the film Justice League came out, many fans were disappointed that such a key member wouldn’t be making an appearance. While he wasn’t in this particular film, it’s very likely he will eventually be added to the DCEU.
Manhunter is already an established character on the CW show Supergirl. J’onn J’onzz is played by David Harewood and just like the other DC television show actors, it’s likely someone else would play him for a DCEU film. Some fans have been pushing for Thor actor Idris Elba to play the part of their favorite Martian.
Elba played the role of Heimdall in the Thor films, but his time as the character unfortunately came to an end in Avengers: Infinity War thanks to Thanos. His Marvel character was heroic, powerful, and intelligent, all qualities that Martian Manhunter must posses. Elba also looks the part, standing at a muscular six feet and three inches. He is certainly an accomplished actor and would bring a lot of charisma and intelligence to the screen as J’onn J’onzz, which the DCEU desperately needs as they go forward.
14 Tom Holland as Kid Flash
Tom Holland has been considered to be the best cinematic Spider-Man to date by a lot of fans. He’s innocent, carefree, and a bit awkward--all quintessential traits to a young Peter Parker. Stan Lee has even voiced his approval for the actor’s portrayal of his performance.
The DC comics character Wally West has a lot of similar characteristics to Peter Parker, particularly the Kid Flash from Young Justice.
Wally is essentially the class clown of the team and is always cracking jokes, a lot like Peter does while he’s fighting bad guys and he’s slightly impulsive, like when Peter made the choice to stay on the ship in Infinity War. They are both really young and energetic, learning how to properly do their job as they go.
The two characters are similar to the point that the same actor could play them both really well, although the same actor rarely gets to play two major superheros, particularly in different universes. If the DCEU ever introduced Kid Flash, Holland would be a perfect candidate for the role. Just give him some red hair dye and he’s good to go. Of course, he’s locked in as Spider-Man with Marvel, but if he played Kid Flash he could easily help save the DCEU.
13 Zoe Saldana as Catwoman
Zoe Saldana is a sci-fi and fantasy movie queen. She’s been in Avatar, Star Trek, and Guardians of the Galaxy. It seems she loves being involved in complicated, fantastical plots and the DCEU would be no exception. While it’s unlikely she could ever be in the DCEU since her time as Gamora in the MCU, she would make a fantastic Catwoman.
Catwoman has to have a certain physical appeal and Saldana has it. In Star Trek, she turns the heads of both Captain Kirk and Spock. The fierceness and strength she showed as Gamora is the same toughness that Catwoman needs to possess. Both characters had difficult childhoods that ultimately made them stronger. Saldana has a way of presenting a no-nonsense attitude on screen that would be perfect for playing Selina Kyle.
Saldana is used to playing characters who have both a good and bad side. The moral ambiguity she showed as Gamora in the first Guardians film exemplifies it. That glimmer of bad amongst all her good qualities is the kind of complicated dynamic Catwoman needs to have. Now that Thanos got rid of Gamora, Saldana can slide over the DCEU and play the seductive cat burglar fans know and love.
12 Tom Hiddleston as The Riddler
Tom Hiddleston is known for playing quite the joker. His Marvel character, Loki, has been making fans laugh since his appearance in the first Thor film. The character is always up to something sneaky and enjoys a good prank.
The DC character the Riddler has a lot of similar qualities to Loki. While he isn’t a trickster with a god-complex, he does enjoy a trick or two. Both characters have a playful personality and enjoy toying with those around them.
The Riddler is a bit more diabolical than the Loki is by the later films in the MCU, but the actor could easily play both characters.
Hiddleston himself is a bit of a goofball is loves to giggle. Not only that, but he sure looks good in a suit. Throw a few question marks on it and he’s the perfect Riddler.
Some fans have also noticed Hiddleston bears a strong resemblance to the Riddler from the Adam West Batman series in the 1960s, Frank Gorshin. The two even share a similar laugh. Could it be fate? Now that Loki has passed on in the MCU, it seems Hiddleston may be out of work. The DCEU could pick him up as one of Batman’s most iconic villains.
11 Karen Gillan as Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy is one of Batman’s biggest villains, as she’s been around since the 1960s. She often appears alongside her best friends and sometimes-partner, Harley Quinn. Since fans saw a live-action version of Harley in Suicide Squad, they have been begging to see Ivy make an appearance in the DCEU. Reportedly, the red-head will make her big screen DCEU appearance in the highly anticipated Gotham City Sirens.
It’s rumored that Megan Fox may be playing Ivy, but it hasn’t been confirmed. Fans aren’t too excited about that particular speculation. However, the MCU has their very own red-head who could play the villainess. Karen Gillan plays Nebula, one of the daughters of Thanos, in Guardians of the Galaxy. While Gillan looks much different in her Nebula get up than in real life, she certainly could look the part of Ivy with her fiery hair and compelling presence.
Gillan appeared in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and proved she can rock the seductive look that Poison Ivy typically has. During her time as Amy Pond on Doctor Who, she proved she could play a strong-willed and compassionate character, and Ivy definitely shows both qualities when it comes to plant-life. Just give Gillan a green outfit and wrap her and plants and she would look just like the eco-terrorist.
10 Lupita Nyong'o as Vixen
Lupita Nyong’o has been praised for her role in the MCU’s Black Panther. She played Nakia, a Wakandan spy and T’Challa’s love interest. She was recently nominated in this year’s BET awards for Best Actress for playing Nakia. While she certainly makes a fantastic Wakandan spy, she would be a perfect Vixen in the DCEU.
Vixen is a DC comics character created in the 1980s. She has since appeared in animated shows and films as well as CW's Legends of Tomorrow. Vixen has always been an African warrior, so it’s key that she is played by a person of color. The addition of the character to the DCEU would contribute to the diversity and inclusion that fans are asking for in the superhero genre, particularly since Black Panther did so well as the box office. Nyong’o has been vocal about needing more women and people of color in Hollywood blockbusters.
She’s the right age to play the hero and looks the part. Vixen is in touch with animals and nature, and Nyong’o has the compassionate and sweet nature to play that believably. As seen as Black Panther, she also has the fierceness needed to play such an tough warrior.
9 Corey Stoll as Mr. Freeze
Corey Stoll knows how to play a fantastic villain, as he proved he has what it takes to be a compelling bad guy in Marvel’s Ant-Man. His character Darren Cross was extremely intelligent, calculating, and cold. The actor believes that “the villain needs to be scary” and he certainly knows how to accomplish that.
He would also be quite scary as the DC villain Mr. Freeze. He’s a very versatile actor as well as a big comic book fan. Whoever plays Mr. Freeze needs to have the ability to be extremely intimidating while harboring an inner turmoil over his love for his wife. Stoll played a complicated alcoholic in the show House Of Cards and showed how he can play an intense inner conflict as Peter Russo. He had a gauge of right and wrong but would often make bad decisions. Both his House of Cards character and Ant-Man character showed intense ambition. All of these qualities would need to be present if Mr. Freeze was added to the DCEU.
Mr. Freeze was played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie Batman & Robin, but his performance was considered laughable. The entire movie was a mess. Hopefully, if the villian does appear in the DCEU, he will be redeemed by the actor who plays him. Stoll would be a great choice.
8 Don Cheadle as Lucius Fox
Lucius Fox is a staple character of the Batman comics. He’s up there on the same level as Alfred in when it comes to the importance to the caped crusader’s ability to fight crime. Without Fox, Bruce Wayne would have a much more difficult time acquiring his crime-fighting equipment as well as financing it. Morgan Freeman saw a lot of success while playing him in The Dark Knight films and Chris Chalk currently plays a young version of him on the show Gotham.
Don Cheadle would make a great addition to the list of live-action versions of the character.
Right now he stars as James Rhodes, also known as War Machine, in the Avengers franchise. As “Rhodey”, he shows extreme loyalty and professionalism, two qualities Lucius Fox also possesses. He often finds himself struggling to balance his responsibilities at work with his friendship with Iron Man. Fox too finds himself stuck between his career and Batman, at times.
Cheadle is a little older than Affleck, making him the a believable age to play Fox across from Batman in the DCEU. While he’s definitely locked into a contract with Marvel Studios, he would play a great Fox if he were ever given the opportunity.
7 Evangeline Lily as Batwoman
Batwoman hasn’t always been the most well-known hero in DC outside of the comics, but that’s all about to change. The masked heroine is headed to the Arrowverse to make her live-action debut. Contrary to what some people think, she isn’t the same as Batgirl. Kate Kane is an entirely separate character and she’s an important part of the Bat-Family as well as an important hero to the LGBTQ+ community. She would be a great addition to the DCEU.
While there’s been no such announcement for the character in regards to the big screen, fan casts are already circulating. If any MCU actress switched over the play the part of Batwoman, it would have to be Evangeline Lilly. Lilly currently plays The Wasp, also known as Hope Pym, who was first seen in Ant-Man. Like Batwoman, she has no metahuman abilities but rather uses technology and intelligence to fight crime. It seems most likely that Batwoman would be around Batman’s age, making Lilly the perfect age to play the character across from Affleck’s Batman.
Lilly is able to evoke the toughness and no-nonsense attitude to go with Batwoman’s personality. Kane is also known to be very beautiful, even garnering attention from Nightwing despite being interested in women, and Lilly certainly has the looks and charm to accomplish that.
6 Krysten Ritter as Zatanna
It’s hard to imagine Krysten Ritter as anyone other than Jessica Jones. Since her show Jessica Jones first aired in 2015, the actress has received nothing but praise for her portrayal of the hardened detective. Her character always has a simmering anger just under the surface balanced with the charisma needed to make her a likable hero.
While she’s locked in with Marvel for good, it could be argued that Ritter would make a great Zatanna in the DC Universe. Zatanna Zatara is one of the most powerful and well-known magic users in DC comics. It would be interesting to see Ritter try and play a character who is a more bubbly and adores being in the spotlight. While she is definitely a much different type of hero than Jessica Jones, the two do have some similar characteristics that would make Ritter good candidate for playing Zatanna.
Both characters have rebellious tendencies and have jeopardized close relationships by using questionable methods. Jones never listens to what anyone else tells her to do, and Zatanna will, at times, use the ends to justify the means as long as she ends up ultimately saving the day. They also both are emotionally fragile characters, although Jones rarely lets people see that side of her. Zatanna has issues with her father that haunt her while Jones is haunted by her past with Kilgrave.
5 Elizabeth Olsen as Barbara Gordon
Ever since DC announced they are making a Batgirl film, fans have been going crazy trying to figure out who is going to be cast as Barbara Gordon. There’s been a lot of controversy around the film because of Joss Whedon’s previous involvement and as soon as they announce casting, comic book message boards will most likely break out into chaos.
Elizabeth Olsen has been busy playing Scarlet Witch in the MCU, but if she weren’t, she would be an interesting candidate for the part of Barbara Gordon.
Her time as Scarlet Witch has definitely proved she can pull of the red hair essential to playing Batgirl. Both characters are fairly young and are still learning from their experiences fighting crime, so Olsen is around the right age mark. It’s easy to imagine her putting on Batgirl’s cowl and looking the part.
Looking the part isn’t the only thing to playing a superhero, though. Olsen would also be able to embody key characteristics of Batgirl. Scarlet Witch becomes a very compassionate hero after joining the Avengers, even falling for Vision, and Batgirl needs to have a similar big heart when she comes to the DCEU. Much like Scarlet Witch tries to put her life ahead of Visions in Infinity War, Barbara Gordon is often willing to sacrifice herself in order to save her father.
4 Bradley Cooper as Green Lantern/Hal Jordan
When Justice League was first announced, fans were very disappointed than Green Lantern wasn’t going to be a founding member in the film. In the comics, he is critical to the development of the superhero team. It’s been made clear he will eventually be appearing in the DCEU, he just wasn’t in that particular film. There have been hundreds of casting suggestions thrown at DC from fans, whether they use Hal Jordan or John Stewart.
A lot of fans have pushed Bradley Cooper’s name into the running, despite his contract with Marvel. He currently voices the feisty raccoon Rocket from the Guardians of the Galaxy films. He would be the right age to play the hero and has the brown hair and handsome face to pull off Hal Jordan’s look.
Hal Jordan has a tendency to be a little arrogant and reckless, much like Cooper’s Marvel character Rocket. The actor also showed some arrogance when he was in the Hangover films. Cooper can also pull of the “ladies man” character type and Hal has been known to romance quite a few women. Who knows, Cooper has been in the running for Green Lantern before. It’s possible he could be up for the part again, if they can work something out with Marvel.
3 Scarlett Johansson as Black Canary
Black Canary has been a big part of the Justice League in the comics for years. She’s been thrust into the spotlight in the Arrowverse, although it's been a bit complicated. The first Black Canary on Arrow was Sara Lance, played by Caity Lotz. Katie Cassidy was the second actress on Arrow to play the hero, although her character Laurel passed. Currently, Dinah Drake is playing Canary on the show. It’s unclear what direction the DCEU will take with the character, but there are rumors she’ll be joining the universe soon.
Actress Katheryn Winnick has been dropping hints she’ll be playing Black Canary on the big screen, but it hasn’t been confirmed. While she’s a bit busy with the MCU, Scarlett Johansson has the potential to be a great Black Canary. She currently play the popular assassin-turned-hero Black Widow in the Avengers franchise.
Canary and Black Widow have really similar costuming, so it’s easy to picture Johansson in the role.
Just dye her hair blonde and she looks the part. She already knows how to fight like a hero and is trained in hand to hand stage combat. Canary is confident and is good at reading people, much like Black Widow. Johansson has experience playing similar heroes and would be perfect for the role.
2 Sebastian Stan as The Red Hood
The Red Hood, also known as Jason Todd, has appeared in countless fan casts since the announcement of the start of the DCEU. Jason Todd is a major member of the Bat-Family and with the announcement of a Nightwing film, people are expecting him to eventually make an appearance as well.
While actors like Jensen Ackles and Kit Harrington have been suggested by quite a few fans, Sebastian Stan would be a great choice for the role if he wasn’t locked in to a Marvel contract. He currently plays Bucky Barnes, also known as the Winter Soldier. He first appeared all the way back in Captain America: The First Avenger, although he didn’t have his metal arm back then.
The two characters have a lot of similarities. Jason was Batman’s sidekick while Bucky was essentially Captain America’s, and each of them passed away and came back to life as antagonists. Stan would certainly know how to play that angle. He’s also around the age that Jason would be in the current DCEU timeline. While Bucky was brainwashed and is back to being a good guy in the MCU, Jason is a bit darker and more morally ambiguous, and it would be interesting to see Stan try to delve deeper into that side of his acting.
1 Zendaya as Starfire
Everyone was surprised to find out that Zendaya’s character in Spider-Man: Homecoming is actually the new MJ. While the producers have tried to say the reveal didn’t mean anything, it’s hard to believe they would say that and not have her become Peter’s love interest. It seems she will be even more important in the MCU than fans originally anticipated and they can’t wait to see more of her in the sequel.
However, Zendaya actually has some unique ties to the DC Universe. When the video game Injustice 2 first came out, people noticed Starfire looked a lot like the actress. Zendaya herself called the creators out. While it’s likely it’s just a coincidence, she wouldn’t make for a bad Starfire. Clearly, she has the looks for it. Starfire would also be fairly young and cheerful, so the actress would be a solid choice. She could be a part of the live-action Teen Titans movie fans have been asking for.
It’s highly unlikely Zendaya will be leaving the MCU anytime soon, particularly because they are owned by Disney and she’s had ties to them since her time of the Disney Channel show Shake It Up, but it’s hard to believe the video game design wasn’t a sign she should switch to the DCEU.
Which of these would you like to see most? Let us know in the comments!