Casting roles for television shows or movies usually require multiple auditions for actors. The process is time-consuming for all involved, and sometimes the final decision isn’t always the right choice. While the actor can nail the audition, they might bungle the role they were chosen for. Reasons for poor performances range from bad writing to the actor being unprepared for the part to bad acting. The performer can only do so much with the dialogue and direction they’re given, and a poorly-developed character isn’t their fault. But occasionally, the actor or actress simply isn’t right for the role and botches the character badly enough to need recasting.
There are plenty of superhero TV shows to choose from right now, with even more on the way. Networks are giving fans great quantities of heroes and villains, and that should make many viewers happy. But with that quantity comes an increased cast of characters, and a higher chance of picking the wrong actor for a superhero role.
This list takes fan and critics’ reaction to specific characters in superhero TV shows to inform you which roles would be best served with a new actor’s transformation. Would a replacement actor playing the character improve the show? As you read through, form your opinion and let us know in the comments.
Here’s 15 Ongoing Superhero TV Roles That Badly Need to be Recast.
15 Lauren Strucker (The Gifted)
You might know Natalie Alyn Lynn’s name from her roles as Silver St. Cloud in Gotham and Dana Caldwell in The Goldbergs. In The Gifted she plays Lauren Strucker, one of the main “perfect” kids who can create force fields. Lynn has played the same type of teenager for years, and her role in The Gifted is very similar. Except she has a superpower.
Lynn’s portrayal of Lauren Strucker has been called wooden and amateurish. Even though she’s not the only actor who struggles in the show, Lynn stands out the most. A small amount of blame goes to the writing, but when the scene calls for emotion or believable action moves, Lynn labors to give the character any individualism. Maybe with more acting experience, she could pull off Lauren Strucker, but for now, it would be best to switch her out.
14 Harold Meachum (Iron Fist)
Stars from Iron Fist land four spots on this list because the show has been brutally panned, and the choice of actors doesn’t help. David Wenham plays Harold Meachum, who co-founded Rand Enterprises with Danny’s parents. Meachum was partners with the parents when they died. Meachum doesn’t have an elaborate personality, which can cause some actors to not understand the motivations of the character they play. Wenham appears to have this problem when on screen.
One of the biggest criticism of Wenham was that he affected strange mannerisms for the character that didn’t fit the personality. Plus, he’s a powerful leader for the business, but when it came to his kids Joy and Ward, he simply became a typical, nagging dad. Wenham has stated that between the character and the kids, it’s “complex.” But that’s not the feeling viewers get when watching Wenham/Meachum interact with his children.
13 13. Killer Frost (The Flash)
Danielle Panabaker plays Caitlin Snow, who is also known as Killer Frost. The character has regularly appeared in all seasons of The Flash and in seasons two and three of Legends of Tomorrow. Panabaker also took Snow/Frost to Arrow and Supergirl. Caitlin Snow works in Central City at S.T.A.R. Labs and eventually meets her evil opposite Killer Frost from Earth-2.
The actress has been in one other superheroe role, which was in Sky High. Much of her TV experience revolves around television films and minor parts in single episodes for a variety of sitcoms. While she’s popular among teens and fans of Hallmark, Disney, or ABC Family movies, maybe it’s time to switch Panabaker out. She's a great Caitlin Snow, but as Killer Frost, her anger is forced, and some lines are not delivered well.
12 Harvey Bullock (Gotham)
Donal Logue plays Harvey Bullock, a bend-the-rules detective on Gotham. Logue had a great chance to make Bullock one of the best, lesser-known characters in the show. Harvey Bullock has never been in a live-action Batman TV show or movie, so Logue could have been as impressive or unenthusiastic at his choosing.
On most of the TV shows he’s been in (like Copper, Life, and Grounded for Life), Logue has done well in securing multiple-episode stretches. He’s funny and dynamic, but doesn’t seem to pull that experience into a strong Harvey Bullock. As the second season approached, Logue has avoided finding a groove to the character, playing him stiffly. Lines meant to be humorous get forced out.
Also, the chemistry between Logue and co-star Ben McKenzie has wained in later seasons. Getting a replacement for Logue might bring new life to Harvey Bullock.
11 Kendra/Hawkgirl (Legends of Tomorrow)
Ciara Renee played Kendra Saunders, also known as Hawkgirl. Although Renee has departed Legends of Tomorrow as a regular, it’s still possible for her to return in a guest role. However, it’s time to either let the character make a full, graceful exit or recast Kendra completely.
The writers didn’t even know if Renee and her counterpart Falk Hentschel (who played Hawkman - keep reading) would have a major presence in season two. When it was time to develop stories, the writers had difficulties thinking up plots for them, so showrunner Marc Guggenheim said “they needed some time off.” Which is for the better, as Renee and Hentschel have poor on-screen chemistry.If Guggenheim decides to bring the characters back in any capacity, he should think about at least recasting her.
10 Ward Meachum (Iron Fist)
The second Iron Fist actor to make this list is Tom Pelphrey as Ward Meachum. Ward is the son of Harold Meachum, the co-partner of Rand Industries. The actor’s main claim to his stardom is his long-running role on Guiding Light and his short stint on As The World Turns. It’s perhaps with that experience he gives Ward Meachum a simple portrayal.
In later episodes of Iron Fist's first season, Ward is written with a stronger presence, but it’s too late for Pelphrey to make the same adjustment. Though the writing is better for the character, Pelphrey still plays him as a soap opera character. While season 2 of Iron Fist is in development, Ward could be recast.
9 Thea Queen (Arrow)
Thea Queen (also known as Speedy) from Arrow is played by Willa Holland. The reason Holland should be recast is actually not a fault of hers. The blame is on the writers, showrunners, and executive producer. The character is written so superficially that Holland clearly has issues grasping a solid foundation season after season.
One season, Thea is a bratty sister, then a villain, then a proficient martial artist. All of a sudden she’s Green Arrow’s sidekick, Speedy. And soon, she changes careers completely by becoming Oliver’s Chief of Staff. It’s a lot for an actress to handle since there’s no chance for her to give Thea Queen/Speedy a proper tribute.
Holland’s contract isn’t what it was in the first seasons: she’s been featured less as the series goes on. It might be time for Holland to move on for her own sake.
8 Will Simpson (Jessica Jones)
Australian actor Wil Traval plays Will Simpson in the popular Netflix superhero TV show Jessica Jones. The story and most of the cast is lauded in Jessica Jones, but Traval should be replaced to give Will Simpson the proper due. As far as looks, Traval as Simpson is nearly spot on. Traval has stated that Simpson “has good intentions, but they’re clouded by his demons.” This indicates a multi-layered, complex character that needs a seasoned actor.
Traval plays the role in a mediocre way. He’s not atrocious, but he’s not outstanding. Some fans feel that there’s much more to Simpson than Traval is giving them. With the show nearly airing its second season, it might be too late for Traval to impress viewers when the eventual third season starts filming.
7 Carter/Hawkman (Legends of Tomorrow)
The other half of the “Hawk” couple from Legends of Tomorrow is Carter Hall/Hawkman, played by Falk Hentschel. As previously mentioned, Hawkman and Hawkgirl had signifcantly less screen time in season two. Even before that, the romantic feelings between them were lackluster, despite the decent writing given to the two characters.
If it’s time to recast Ciara Renee, then the role of Hawkman must also be recast, even if the characters are appearing as guest roles. Showrunner Marc Guggenheim has teased that future versions of Hawkman are a possibility. When the character is ready to come back in, the change in story would be the perfect time to replace Henstchel and Renee. Let a new actor and actress bond to make the “Hawk” couple’s love believable.
6 Joy Meachum (Iron Fist)
Jessica Stroup plays Joy Meachum in Iron Fist, the daughter of Harold Meachum. Joy shows characteristics pulled right from any reality show about rich kids. She’s born to wealth, having had everything handed to her. She only works for Rand because it was placed in her father’s will.
Not having to really work for anything, Joy Meachum is a character with no depth. Stroup plays Joy with no conviction even when there’s a good opportunity for her to make Joy a memorable character.
The show tries too hard to connect viewers to New York City, but the writing makes it difficult to get pulled into the city. Joy Meachum and her brother Ward are essentially cardboard cutouts of the Trump children, and are performed by Stroup and Pelphrey with even less excitement.
5 Fish Mooney (Gotham)
Sometimes an actor or actress plays a character so overly-cliched that it might be a better idea to completely remove the character. Or a character is so bad that you question the need for them in the first place. Fish Mooney is one such character, and Jada Pinkett Smith is one such actress. Smith is not a terrible actress in general, but with Fish Mooney there is no opportunity to shine.
Fish Mooney is a character created specifically for Gotham. She's not an inspired character: corny dialogue, superpowers gained for plot convenience, and typical gangster attitude. The showrunners keep teasing us by killing Mooney, which keeps the focus on more powerful plotlines, but then they resurrect her. Let’s hope it doesn’t keep happening - or if it does, she's played by a new actress.
4 Vandal Savage (Legends of Tomorrow)
Casper Crump plays Vandal Savage in Legends of Tomorrow, but many fans don’t find him terrifying or menacing enough to play Savage. He has no screen presence, giving off a comical vibe instead of a threatening one. It’s almost as if Crump found one emotion for Savage and just ran with it every time he appeared on screen. Or Crump didn’t understand the motivations written into the script and story and went off on his own.
Now would be a good time to recast Vandal Savage. The character’s origins changed too much for fans’ taste, and getting a new actor would give the writers a chance to show viewers a better version of the character. That way, the show can stick with one consistent backstory and ongoing plot for Savage.
3 Willis Stryker (Luke Cage)
Luke Cage premiered to strong reviews and continues to receive praise as one of the better Marvel superhero TV shows. Some fans love the first half of the season, but not the second half, which is when Harvey comes in as Willis Stryker (or Diamondback). For the most part, the main actors perform well, despite some inconsistent and predictable dialogue. However, Harvey plays Stryker even more predictably.
Harvey admits he hasn’t read the Luke Cage comics (though he is a fan of comics in general), so all his preparation stemmed from working with the showrunner, Cheo Hodari Coker. They wanted a modern take on Willis Stryker. This could have hurt Harvey, as they essentially created a new character.
Replacing Harvey with someone more familiar with Stryker/Diamondback to speak up against the modern ideas from Coker would likely benefit the show.
2 Nico Minoru (Runaways)
Runaways is a Hulu show about children of villains that need to stop their parents from wreaking havoc on the world. The source material was created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona. Reviews are mostly good, and most praise the casting of the parents. Some reviews have called the parents scene-stealers, which tells you some of the actors and actresses portraying the “runaways” could have been better - especially Lyrica Okano, who plays Nico Minoru.
In the show, Minoru’s sister dies and creates constant tension that is unnecessary, mainly because Okano can’t pull off the grief. The actress maintains only one dimension of the moodiness. As viewers, we should believe that Okano can express more than rage and anger in the healing. However, throwing sneers and lashing out physically and verbally is all she seems to know how to do. An actress with more range could serve the role better.
1 Finn Jones - Danny Rand (Iron Fist)
Finn Jones plays Danny Rand, a martial arts expert whose destiny is to preserve a mythical city using the power of dragon - the Iron Fist. Of course, Jones was involved in another dragon show, Game of Thrones, but that didn’t prepare him for his role in Iron Fist, one of the most criticized ongoing Marvel TV shows.
Many critics and fans of Marvel hate the wooden performance of Jones. The character was written with a number of emotions that sometimes switches too quickly between scenes. While that is the fault of the writers and showrunner, Jones overlaps some of those emotions, giving implausibility to the scene. If you ever wondered what it was like to sink in quicksand and try to swim your way out, watch Jones’ performance in Iron Fist.
What do you think of the actors who play the above roles? Do they need recasting? And if so, who could replace them? Tell us in the comments!