Every actor cast as a superhero always has other actors with fanbases who want their guy in that role. We’re never happy with what we get and concoct fantasies of what someone else might have been like in a particular part. These are generally harmless as the majority of actors cast in their respective roles have been home runs. A lot of these actors weren’t generally considered natural to play the part but ended up winning everyone’s hearts when the final film came out.
What everyone agrees on, however, is that Christopher Reeve was the perfect casting for Superman in 1978. Since then, the bar has been raised so high that every actor who has taken the role since has had legions standing behind claiming a certain other actor was better suited. When it comes to Clark Kent and Superman (despite being the same person, different portrayals are required for them), you need a person who can play both the right way.
In this list, we’ve compared the fan casts with iterations of Superman not just in the DCEU or films, but the entire media he has appeared in. This includes animation, Lego, Claymation, and television. Don’t fly off the handle because you might think some of these are ridiculous, these actors would appeal to different fanbases regardless of how you feel; we’re not saying they’re necessarily better than the Superman we’ve had onscreen. It’s just that everyone has different preferences.
Here are 25 Superman Fan Castings Better Than What We Got.
25 Oscar Isaac
Oscar Isaac was seen in a superhero film in X-Men: Apocalypse as the titular character. On that occasion, Oscar played a baddie as opposed to a hero.
We’ve seen him play morally flawed yet good people such as in Star Wars, and this role would be a good challenge for him to show us a performance of a character who has no grey area. His acting chops are fine enough to pull off a fine turn as Superman. Edit by Drew Pulig.
24 Michael B Jordan
He sucked as the Human Torch in Fantastic Four and rocked as Killmonger in Black Panther, now Michael B. Jordan could have a chance to take a swing at a DC venture. Honestly, Michael just doesn’t seem like the guy you would want as Superman; but having him play an Alternate Superman could definitely work.
Rather than the basic look he has in the above picture, if he had something of a cool guy appearance as Superman, he would definitely look formidable. Edit by Drew Pulig.
23 Joe Manganiello
Joe Manganiello only started being taken seriously in the film Magic Mike, at which point he was older and out of the running for Superman. But even this basic level of editing makes him look cool as heck as the Man of Steel.
There’s no way anyone could’ve taken Clark Kent or Superman lightly had he been portrayed by Joe. This version would’ve had less nerdy Clark Kent moments and had us see people take him seriously for once. Even his Superman would’ve been no pushover. Edit by Drew Pulig.
22 Jared Padalecki
Jared Padalecki didn’t take chances in his career and hasn’t starred in a film since 2009. He’s been content as Sam Winchester in Supernatural, but the Jared who was younger a few years ago would’ve had that Superman look.
Jared having the classic Superman hair would’ve been a callback to the older version of Superman we haven’t seen since Superman Returns. Jared is very good at being dramatic and a straight man, so he could’ve played the pensive type Clark we saw in Man of Steel.
21 Will Smith
There was a time Will Smith got offered all the roles. He was once in line to play Neo but turned it down in favor of the god-awful Wild Wild West. He was then offered the chance to play Superman as well, but purposefully shot down the opportunity because he was reluctant to take on a traditionally Caucasian character’s role.
On one hand, Will’s got a good point as there would have been too many conflicts in opinion here, but he’s a gifted action star so it definitely wouldn’t have been the worst thing.
20 Donald Glover
This is more of a joke than anything else. Who says Superman needs to be the canonical character we’ve seen in the DCEU or the Superman franchise every he’s onscreen? Donald Glover could be an excellent parody version of the character fit for purposes where we want a Superman out of the box.
Who could ever predict Childish Gambino as the Man of Steel? Then again, no one could’ve seen him be taken seriously back when he was playing a dope in Community, so everything’s possible. Image Source: Twitter.
19 Idris Elba
Although Superman is known as a white man, just looking at Idris Elba donning the costume makes us wish this could become a reality. Clark Kent is Superman, but that doesn’t mean there couldn’t be a future where Clark gave up the title and another, as-of-yet unknown Kryptonian takes up the mantle.
Not to brag, but that sounds like a pretty cool storyline, one where Idris Elba would shine as a future, but older, Superman we have no clue about. Edit by Drew Pulig.
18 Jon Hamm
Excuse the goofy smile Jon Hamm has in this picture and visualize the expressions he carried as Don Draper to get a feel of how he would’ve turned out as Superman. Jon’s take on the character would not have concerned Superman’s origins – something filmmakers have so far loved – and shown us a Superman who was a lot older than the other iterations.
An experienced Superman sounds pretty interesting, and his interactions with older versions of Lex Luthor and Lois Lane would’ve eliminated a lot of the niceties usually dominating the screen. Edit by Drew Pulig.
17 Zachary Levi
He’ll be paying someone with similar powers in Shazam! so at least it’s not a total shame Zach didn’t show up as Superman. Being a funnyman, it would’ve been difficult to picture Levi as the straight-laced Superman, one who doesn’t necessarily clown around.
But we never know when someone can turn in an inspired performance, and as his Shazam! build can attest, he can jack himself up to look quite the dominating figure. At the very least, now we can have a Superman vs. Shazam face-off in the future. Image Source: Cinemablend
16 Brendan Fraser
In the late-90s and early-2000s, Brendan Fraser was the action guy thanks to his starring role in The Mummy franchise. Now, he’s far too old to be the character, but how awesome would it have been had Brendan taken on the role back when Superman was on hiatus? Brendan was a guy you took seriously as a hero while also laughing along with his comedic antics.
He would’ve channeled both the serious and fun side of Superman in his performance. Although we never got to see it, it does sound pretty cool once you think about it. Picture Source: Reddit.
15 Matt Bomer
Like Brendan, Matt Bomer also had a chance to play Superman in 2006, but talks fell through. He doesn’t have the natural build of Fraser but Matt does have the Nice Guy face perfectly captured. Perhaps his Superman could’ve been more sensitive than the ones we’ve seen before.
It certainly would’ve been interesting to see Matt as a superhero; you never picture a guy like him to play one. Superman Returns wasn’t a hit in any case, so any scenario we think of is properly justified.
14 Taron Egerton
He’ll have to dispose of the goody smile you see in this picture, but Taron, being only 29-years-old at the moment, could be on his way to a long tenure as Superman should he take the role.
He’s been awesome as Eggsy in The Kingsman series, so his action aptitude is well known beforehand. The only thing he’ll need to focus on is bulking up further to pull off the role; he’s not exactly the biggest guy out there. Edit by Drew Pulig.
13 Nicholas Cage
Unlike almost every picture you see in this list, this one isn’t edited by anyone. Nicholas Cage was supposed to play the character in a film titled Superman Lives and went as far as donning the costume for a test screening, before everyone involved came to their senses.
Although he most likely would’ve been awful in the role, it couldn’t have been worse than his Ghost Rider films. Just because we’d like to erase those films from our minds, we think Ole Nick as the Man of Steel may have been a better career decision.
12 Ben Affleck
Like Nicholas Cage, this picture isn’t edited either. Ben Affleck played Superman in a skit on the movie Hollywoodland, at a time when he had already played Daredevil a couple years previously. No one thought Affleck could pull off the Batman in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, but he was the best thing about a thoroughly awful film.
This would mean that instead of Batfleck we’d have..Supfleck? (Let’s work on that name). As a multi-Oscar winner, Ben is talented enough to make any character his own.
11 Robert Downey Jr.
We won’t say it aloud for the kids reading, but Robert was far from anyone’s choice for any role in a film in the mid-2000s before Kiss Kiss Bang Bang came calling. It took his explosive performance as Iron Man to convince everyone he was pure money in this genre.
Had Robert become Superman, you could throw everything you know of the character out the window as we’ve had seen a Tony Stark-esque version of Clark Kent instead. This would have been remarkably fresh and having a sassy Clark Kent would’ve been awesome. Edit by itsharman.
10 Jake Gyllenhaal
This picture probably makes you think more Bubble Boy than Superman, but Jake Gyllenhaal has played the dramatic man in more movies than one to justify him as a potential Superman. He was amazing in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which is just about the closest role he’s played to a superhero, and he most certainly had a Superman lurking within him had he been cast.
At the very least, we’ll be seeing him in the genre in Spider-Man: Far From Home, so you can gauge his potential as Superman based on that. Image Source: Twitter.
9 Ryan Reynolds
This still of Ryan isn’t an edit, it’s from a film called Paper Man. Contrary to popular belief, Ryan has played a wide range of characters as opposed to the Deadpool antics he’s most famous for. He’s had very serious turns in films and him playing a quiet and mature character such as Clark isn’t far from imagination.
It’s a pity he starred in the awful Green Lantern over Superman as this potential performance might not have necessitated a Deadpool film to redeem Ryan for the audience.
8 Patrick Wilson
Before Aquaman, did anyone seriously think of Patrick Wilson as superhero movie material? He was pretty awesome in Aquaman (Not really spoilers, you should just go watch the film, though), so he had it in him to play the Man of Steel as well.
If the guy can convince you Nicole Kidman is his mother – she is only six years older than him – then he can play a convincing Clark Kent. This picture is crudely made, but you need your imagination more than your eyes to visualize him as Superman. Edit by Ring Deacon.
7 Colin O'Donoghue
Casting an unknown actor isn’t out of the norm for Superman; it’s the usual process. Christopher Reeve, Brandon Routh (who’s still not well-known) and Henry Cavill were all far from household names when they took on the role.
Thus, Colin O’ Donoghue would have the perfect opportunity if the part comes calling. He can even take up being Clark Kent now if Cavill really has let go of the role. Colin’s got the right look and will need little training to have that superhero body too. Image Source: GeeksonCoffee.
6 Chris Pratt
Before Guardians of the Galaxy, if anyone had told you the chubby guy from Parks and Recreation would be an action star they’d have laughed at you in the face, or even called their friends to point and laugh at you together.
Now, though, Chris Pratt is a star and picturing him as Superman is an easy bet. He can play a serious version of the character if the need arises, but fans would want him to retain that boyish charm we’ve loved him for. Image Source: Movieweb.
5 Dwayne Johnson
If there was ever anyone to play a non-Caucasian Superman, then The Rock would be your go-to guy. He’s the most bankable star on the planet and his Midas Touch would’ve ensured a hit on our hands. An older yet out-of-place Superman such as the one he’d play would be a breath of fresh of air.
If The Rock can pull off playing the Tooth Fairy then you can bet your bottom dollar that playing Superman would’ve been a walk in the park.
4 Vin Diesel
This would only be good if you want a Superman who drones on and on about how much he loves his family. Let’s face it, Vin Diesel Superman only works for the Fast and Furious die-hard fans who only want Vin’s presence in a film.
Although Vin would be awful in playing the part, he would gather the viewer base needed to watch the film. If nothing else, it’d still better than the not-so-hilariously awful xXx: Return of Xandar Cage. Edit by Crazyphotoshopping.
3 Paul Walker
Paul Walker was at the perfect age in 2006 to play the character in Superman Returns. At the time, he wasn’t even involved in The Fast and the Furious anymore so he was wide open to receive the call. As we know, it didn’t happen and while it’s not the worst thing, you can still think of him as a Clark Kent type.
Brian O'Connor was certainly someone reminiscent of Clark Kent, meaning that Paul would’ve been believable in the role. Image Source: Whatculture
2 John Cena
If you know anything about the WWE, then you’ll know that John is known as ‘SuperCena’ there. He has a move set known as ‘The Five Moves of Doom’, which he uses to take out his opponents swiftly. This awesome illustration shows us a Superman version existing in the WWE where John is the undisputed superhero of the landscape.
This also makes us wish this version of John Cena was a reality in the WWE. Just imagine a Superman that not only has his normal powers, but is also invisible. Edit by MexPirateRed.
1 Roman Reigns
Taking the mantle of the Franchise Player of the WWE from John was Roman Reigns. He was the unquestioned Face of the WWE before he, unfortunately, took a step back due to his cancer diagnosis.
But Roman even had a trademark move known as ‘The Superman Punch’ that he used in his matches. Just like Jason Momoa has been an out-of-the-box Aquaman, Roman Reigns would’ve been a Superman absolutely no one saw coming. He’s still young, and hopefully beating cancer, so this isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Image Source: Amino Apps.
What do you think of these Superman fan castings? Let us know in the comments!