There was a time when being cast in a superhero movie was “beneath” actors of a certain class. Superhero movies were looked down on as childish affairs that only low level actors partake in.
Now, we live in an era where some of Hollywood’s top elite actors are chomping at the bit to participate in superhero movies. This point feels doubly true when we look at the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The MCU is home to the most highly regarded and respected A-list actors– some of which are Oscar winners and nominees– that include Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, Forest Whittaker, Benicio Del Toro, Angela Bassett, Glenn Close, etc. Most actors would not want to be seen in a Marvel movie, but now are all happily participating in them.
Nowadays, it is not so much shocking that they are in Marvel movies, but it is shocking that some of these actors were almost cast in movies for the DC Extended Universe.
That’s right, some of these actors were either offered, considered, auditioned, or briefly cast in big roles for what many people consider to be MCU’s competition. If not the new DCEU, some of these actors were almost cast in much older DC Comics movie adaptations.
With that said, here are the 15 MCU Actors Who Almost Had Roles In DC Movies.
15. Josh Brolin – Batman
Josh Brolin currently has a couple big roles in Marvel movies. He will soon appear on the big screen playing Cable in the upcoming Deadpool sequel. Also, of course, he has been playing Thanos for the MCU ever since The Avengers.
Interestingly enough, Brolin almost added yet another major comic book character to his résumé not too long ago. When Warner Bros. still needed a Batman for Batman v Superman, Brolin was personally offered the role.
He had a private meeting with Zack Snyder on the matter and, as Brolin explained in an interview, they agreed that Brolin wouldn’t be right for the role.
One of the reasons was that Brolin wasn’t concerned with playing a role where he was a “cool” character that was always “looking back over [his] shoulder and saying that one line everyone’s going to remember.”
14. Cobie Smulders – Wonder Woman
Cobie Smulders is remembered best for playing fan favorite Robin from How I Met Your Mother, but many of us seem to forget that she was a superhero in her own right for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While she has only appeared in a small handful of Marvel movies, she has done so under the guise of special S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill. This was enough to fuel rumors in 2013 that Smulders was attached to play the DCEU’s Wonder Woman.
Years later, it was discovered that these may have been more than rumors when Joss Whedon admitted that if he was directing Wonder Woman, he’d have chosen Smulders to play the titular character.
13. Tom Hardy – Rick Flag
Tom Hardy’s addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is downright confusing. It’s been reported that his role as the titular character of the upcoming Venom movie will be something separate from the MCU, but at the same time, it has been reported that the MCU’s own Tom Holland will reprise his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man for the movie.
Thus it’s confusing until we actually see the movie. One thing that is not confusing, however, is the fact that Tom Hardy was nearly apart of the DCEU.
He was originally cast in the role of Rick Flag for the Suicide Squad movie. As he explained in an interview with Collider, Hardy had to drop out of the role due to scheduling conflicts despite being a big fan of the script.
12. Sam Rockwell – The Joker
A while back, when The Dark Knight was still in the earliest stages of development, Warner Bros. had a long list of actors who they wanted to play The Joker.
One of these actors happened to be Sam Rockwell. After spending much of his career playing stark raving mad lunatics, we can see why Warner Bros. had him in mind for The Joker.
While we are not sure if he actually auditioned for the role, it was reported by numerous sources that Rockwell was at least considered for the part. The role ultimately went to Heath Ledger, whose performance earned him a posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
11. Scarlett Johansson – Lois Lane
When Bryan Singer was preparing to revive the Superman franchise for the big screen, a plethora of actresses were considered for the role of Lois Lane. One of them was Scarlett Johannson.
From the offset, Johannson had some stiff competition on her hands, as she was in the running for the role alongside actresses like Catherine Zeta-Jones, Claire Danes, Elisha Cuthbert, Jennifer Lopez, Keri Russell, and even Beyoncé.
Ultimately, the role would go to Kate Bosworth. This worked out for the best, as Johannson still managed to get the role of a lifetime years later once she was cast as Black Widow for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now, Black Widow is due to get her very own solo film.
10. Robert Redford – Superman
Robert Redford never had a presence in superhero movies until he played the villain in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but when he was much younger, Robert Redford nearly played a character who many people would call the superhero of superheroes: Superman.
Back when Warner Bros. was still looking for an actor to play the title role of their 1978 comic book adaptation, they offered the role to Redford. However, Redford was quick to decline the part.
It wasn’t that Redford did not want to play the part. Instead, negotiations for the part fell through. Redford tried to convince the studio to give him a certain amount of money and when the studio expressed that Redford’s price was way too high, he walked away from the offer altogether.
9. Scott Adkins – Batman
Scott Adkins may not be a huge name out there in Hollywood, but he certainly has a familiar face. Action fans should recognize him of his part in The Expendables 2, as well as his role as Lucian in the MCU’s Doctor Strange and his role as Weapon XI (aka the version of Deadpool with his mouth sewn shut) in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
After years of playing supervillains and henchmen, the real life martial artists had plans to play a superhero in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Adkins auditioned for the part of Bruce Wayne and Batman.
8. Elodie Yung – Wonder Woman
Elodie Yung is best recognized for playing Elektra on Marvel’s Netflix series extension of their Cinematic Universe, Daredevil. Long before she took on that role, she auditioned for the role of Wonder Woman.
In fact, she was one of the three finalists in the running for the part beside Olga Kurylenko — the Bond Girl from Quantum of Solace — and, of course, the winner of the part, Gal Gadot.
Had things turned out slightly differently, we would have no problem buying Yung as a potential Wonder Woman. While the character of Elektra is vastly different from that of Wonder Woman, Elektra is quite the challenging part and demands a lot from the actress playing her.
7. Bradley Cooper – Green Lantern
For many fans, Bradley Cooper lending his voice to Rocket Raccoon for the MCU has been long overdue, as many have wanted to see him involved in a superhero project.
It all started back when he was one of the many actors who auditioned for the part of the Green Lantern in the late 2000s. The role went on to be played by Ryan Reynolds.
On The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, Cooper stated that he might have lost the part because he kept doing the Batman voice when he screen tested for Green Lantern, likely turning off casting agents.
6. Michael B. Jordan – Cyborg
Michael B. Jordan proved to be the standout actor among the cast of Black Panther when he played sympathetic villain Erik Killmonger. Just about everybody knows that before Michael B. Jordan even joined the MCU, he appeared as the The Human Torch for FOX’s 2015 Fantastic Four.
However, what many don’t know is that Michael B. Jordan was once inches away from playing Cyborg in the DCEU. When Zack Snyder was developing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, he spoke with Michael B. Jordan privately to discuss the role of Cyborg.
5. Sylvester Stallone – Superman
After coming fresh off the heels of the success of the 1977 Oscar Best Picture winner Rocky, Sylvester Stallone had had ambitions to appear as Superman for Warner Bros.’s then-upcoming project.
Richard Donner once admitted in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that when Stallone called Warner Bros. up about playing the part, he knew right off the bat that Stallone would not be a good fit for the role.
Still, he met in person with Stallone to discuss the role and tried his best to let him down gently. “I tried to be nice and say ‘This is wrong.’ I liked Stallone; he turned out to be a nice guy,” Donner explained. Decades later, Stallone joined the MCU as Stakar Ogord in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
4. Matt Damon – Two Face
Matt Damon had a surprising and rather odd introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with his cameo in Thor: Ragnarok, in which he portrayed Loki for the Asgardian play documenting the “death” of The Trickster.
There were a few times in his career when Damon almost had a significant role in a superhero movie, rather than a cameo. In an interview with Peter Travers, Damon revealed that he was offered the part of Daredevil, but despite being a big fan of the character growing up, he turned it down because he did not like the script or know the director.
On the DC side of the field, Damon confirmed in an interview with MTV that he was up for the role of Harvey Dent/Two Face for The Dark Knight. However, he had a scheduling conflict and therefore lost the part to Aaron Eckhart.
3. Rachel McAdams – Lois Lane
Warner Bros. was originally hoping to snag Rachel McAdams for the DCEU, starting with a role as Lois Lane in Man of Steel. Among all of the actors who were considered for the role, McAdams was reportedly one of the very top names on Warner Bros.’s wish list.
The role ultimately went to Amy Adams. This would not be the first time that McAdams almost landed a big role in a superhero movie, though.
She was reportedly offered the part of Pepper Potts for Iron Man before it went to Gwyneth Paltrow, but for some reason, McAdams turned the part down.
2. Kurt Russell – Commissioner Gordon
Back in his heyday, Kurt Russell was once in the running to play Batman on the big screen. Following Michael Keaton’s departure from the franchise and Joel Schumacher’s entry into it as director, Russell was considered for the part in Batman Forever before it went to Val Kilmer.
Following the disastrous flop of Batman & Robin, George Clooney departed from the title role and there were whisper going around that Russell was in talks to replace him.
This time, he was speculated to appear in a fifth Batman movie with Scarecrow as the villain. All plans for a fifth Batman film were left in limbo and then discarded, however, until Batman Begins went into development.
1. Jaimie Alexander – Wonder Woman
Despite playing Lady Sif for the MCU’s Thor, Jaimie Alexander confirmed in 2013 that she was approached by and had been in talks with DC about possibly appearing in “a role” for Batman v Superman.
Alexander neglected to mention exactly what role she was in talks with the studio for, but the news came out during a sensitive time — when DC was still looking for someone to play Wonder Woman for their DC Extended Universe.
Years later, Alexander finally did admit that she was considered to play Wonder Woman before she lost the role to Gal Gadot. Alexander was not disappointed about not getting the part, though, as she already had a contract with Marvel at the time.
Can you think of any other MCU actors who nearly had roles in DC movies? Sound off in the comment section!
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