These days, we may only think of the DCEU being kickstarted in 2013 with Man of Steel, but DC has been spinning its properties into theatrical releases for the last 66 years. It actually started with Superman and the Mole Men in 1951, and since then, the likes of Christopher Reeve, Adam West, and Michael Keaton have taken us on quite the adventure.
As we suit up for Zack Snyder’s upcoming Justice League, there is sure to be a whole world of wonder to sink our teeth into. We are expecting more Easter eggs than a religious holiday and cameos galore to grow the already expansive DCEU, particularly in June's groundbreaking Wonder Woman-- the first tentpole female superhero movie, and directed by a woman to boot.
As we rattle toward other solo films like Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg, anyone who gets a name drop is may have a part to play in Warner Bros.’ world. However, sometimes that sneaky cameo to set up the future just doesn’t work how it is supposed to. Sometimes they're all setup and no pay-off.
From the gloomy backdrop of Gotham City to the bustling offices of the Daily Planet, here are 15 Wasted Cameos In DC Movies.
15 Flash - Suicide Squad
We are all for a bit of lightheartedness in the DCEU, but sometimes it just feels a little out of place among the grungy backdrop that Zack Snyder and co. have (so far) crafted. While the appearance of Ezra Miller as the Flash was one of the best-kept secrets of David Ayer’s maligned Suicide Squad, what was he actually doing there?
Instead of what could’ve been another scene-stealer for Miller, Barry Allen was awkwardly shoehorned into proceedings as some lame backstory for Jai Courtney's Captain Boomerang. Boomerang himself felt slightly underdeveloped - apart from his penchant for unicorns - while Flash's appearance didn’t really make any sense.
Ayer himself admits that Miller only ended up there because he was already in the suit for Justice League. A flash of blue lightning, one witty quip, and then he was gone with barely even a mention. You can understand why Ayer didn’t just want all of the squad to have beef with Batman, but anyone could’ve filled Flash’s part and we probably would’ve have noticed.
14 Kilowog - Green Lantern
There are certain actors who have such star power that their inclusion in any film is sure to start tongues wagging. Just look at Sylvester Stallone’s part in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 to see what we mean. Therefore, when Michael Clarke Duncan was cast in 2011’s Green Lantern, we were expecting big things.
However, reduced to Spencer Wilding in a motion capture suit, Duncan barely dubbed a voice for the bulldog-esque Kilowog. Despite sporting a snazzy new look and appearing on the promotional posters, the formidable trainer was sidelined in favor of other Lantern members.
Kilowog's comic book reputation is almost as renowned as Michael Clarke Duncan's acting skills, and yet he barely got a look in. Who knows if he was planned for an expanded role in a sequel, but with the film canned and Duncan’s tragic passing, Kilowog will instead be remembered for his booming voice remarking that Ryan Reynolds "smells funny.”
13 Harvey Dent - Batman
If you remember back to Tim Burton’s superbly gothic Batman from 1989, it was out with the campiness of the ‘60s and time to embrace the Dark Knight. Although Jack Nicholson’s Joker was the overarching villain, do you remember that Two-Face also appeared - well, sort of?
Star Wars legend Billy Dee Williams took on the role of DA, but only briefly played Dent in the film. Pre-acid attack, Dent was still the heroic White Knight of Gotham, although early drafts of Batman Returns included Dent (again played by Williams). Dent was due to be Christopher Walken's Max Shreck role, with Catwoman's electrocution at the end being the result of his scarring. However, plans were scrapped and Walken was hired.
Ultimately, Williams was again scheduled for an outing in the unproduced third Burton film, but when Joel Schumacher took over, he recast the character with Tommy Lee Jones.
Williams eventually got to return to the part and actually play Two-Face some 26 years later. Donning a half-pink suit, Harvey Dent played his villain persona for Chris McKay’s The LEGO Batman Movie and completed Williams’ legacy.
12 The Minutemen - Watchmen
Zack Snyder’s R-rated Watchmen divided critics with its shocking violence and distinct Snyder tone. From Jeffrey Dean Morgan to Jackie Earle Haley, the performances were fantastic; however, if we asked you about Carla Gugino, Dan Payne, and Niall Matter’s parts, you would likely pull a blank.
The above all played the vastly underused Minutemen. The story of the country’s original team of heroes was one mired in tragedy and backstory, but instead, it was glossed over with a short but atmospheric opening scene.
Although the story of the Minutemen was beautifully set to Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin”, we jumped through the deaths of Dollar Bill and the Silhouette, as well as the madness of Mothman and retirement of the Silk Spectre. Gugino’s Spectre returned later in the film under some heavy prosthetics, but we barely scratched the surface of the doomed team of vigilantes.
With the whole new comic book chapter - Before Watchmen - a Minutemen solo film is an easy possibility. In 2015 we were promised a Watchmen TV series, which would’ve surely given us more Minutemen screen time, but Snyder’s involvement with the DCEU has currently put the project on hold.
11 Amanda Waller In Green Lantern
Another case of wasted talent, Angela Bassett join the ranks for a long line of live-action and animated Amanda Wallers. Sadly, Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern didn’t set up a DCEU like Warner Bros. had hoped, meaning that all the Easter eggs and cameos fell by the wayside.
Bassett had a small role as the iron lady of A.R.G.U.S. when the body of Abin Sur was discovered. Waller hired Hector Hammond to carry out the autopsy under the guise of her government organization and ended up being saved by Green Lantern himself. While Waller would've undoubtedly played a larger role in the “Campbellverse,” it never got to expand past lackluster 2011’s film.
With Waller getting much more to do on the small screen in the likes of Smallville and Arrow, Bassett’s performance is sadly forgotten. Even worse, the role is pretty much discarded completely with Viola Davis’ recent portrayal in Suicide Squad. Bassett herself has spoken out about Green Lantern “not landing” with audiences and had hoped that we could've seen more of the Wall.
10 Jimmy Olsen - Batman v Superman
We all fondly remember Justin Whalin’s floppy-haired Jimmy Olsen from the ‘90s Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, so how did the DCEU get it so wrong? As a staple of The Daily Planet since his arrival in 1938, you might expect big things from lil’ Jimmy Olsen and Warner Bros., but you'd have to be quick with the camera - this shutterbug was quickly squashed.
When the enthusiastic journalist failed to appear alongside Clark Kent in Man of Steel, fans were worried that he wouldn’t enter the DCEU at all. Jimmy did pop up in Batman v Superman; it just wasn’t for very long. At the start of Snyder’s superhero beat em’ up, we had the equally wasted Callan Mulvey as KGBeast, but the award for lost opportunities goes to Olsen.
Michael Cassidy played this version of Olsen, who took on the "Red Son" story arc and appeared as a CIA operative. Olsen was swiftly dispatched when his cover was blown, but annoyingly, he isn’t even named in the theatrical release. It is only on the DVD that he is actually given his fan-favorite status as Jimmy Olsen.
9 Coolio - Batman & Robin
Was funky-haired rapper Coolio due to play a much bigger part on the mean streets of Gotham? In an insanely weird cameo, Artis Leon Ivey Jr. appeared as the street-racing overlord in Joel Schumacher’s maligned Batman & Robin and blended unnoticeably into the background - we are hardly talking Billy Dee Williams here.
Controversially, Coolio claims that he only took the part because he was promised much more to do in Schumacher’s planned third film. It gets even weirder, because Ivey goes on to say that the promised role was to be Dr. Jonathan Crane, aka Scarecrow.
There have always been rumors that Scarecrow was scheduled to appear in the ongoing franchise, but also that it was Nicolas Cage who was tipped for the part. Whichever way you look at it, casting the rapper (and part-time chef) as Crane would’ve ruffled more than a few feathers, but Coolio still seems a little vexed by his axing and won’t let it go, two decades later.
8 Conduit - Man Of Steel
Boys will be boys, but that is still no excuse for playground bullying. Superman’s formative years in Man of Steel also contained the birth of another comic book character.
If you look closely, you might be able to spot the supervillain Conduit - albeit before he was powered-up. First appearing in Superman: The Man of Steel #0, Kenny Braverman was the jealous nemesis of Kal-El and was affected by Kryptonian exposure. While Kenny got some of the powers that Superman enjoys, he was also badly poisoned by the Kryptonite and became vengeful in his quest to beat our hero in tights.
For Man of Steel, Ken Braverman is played by actor Rowen Kahn and is the bully of a young Clark Kent (Dylan Sprayberry). Braverman is seen shoving Clark to the floor before Jonathan Kent interrupts, however, apart from the name, he doesn’t appear to share a lot in common with his comic book counterpart.
7 Two-Face And The Riddler - Batman & Robin
Batman & Robin certainly continued the colorful and crazy world that Joel Schumacher has started with Batman Forever in 1995. Schumacher’s second outing with “The Detective” may be known as a bit of a lame duck, but you can’t knock the guy for continuity.
As Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey made up the comedy double-act of Two-Face and Riddler, both fell afoul of Batman’s heroics at the end of Batman Forever. However, the duo returned (in passing) for Batman & Robin. You can clearly see their signature outfits lurking in the Arkham property locker.
As Bane goes shopping for Mr. Freeze’s equipment, we get the Easter egg nod to the previous film’s villains, but what does this mean? We all saw Two-Face fall to his “apparent” death at the end of Batman Forever, but the inclusion of his suit could imply that he survived the fall. Even if Dent survived to incarceration, we are left to assume that Carrey’s Riddler was still rotting away in Arkham where we left him.
6 Mercy Graves - Batman V Superman
Similar to Harley Quinn, Graves was firstly created for animation and proved popular to move into the comic books too. Debuting during Superman: The Animated Series, Graves was a skilled fighter and personal bodyguard of Lex Luthor. It didn’t take too long for fans to work out that Okamoto would be filling that part in BvS.
Although she was possibly depicted as Amazonian in her earliest comic book appearances, the New 52 changed Mercy tomore of a personal assistant role rather than just a chauffeur.
Sadly, Okamoto didn’t really have a lot to say or do, but she definitely had an explosive swansong. Killed in the “Granny’s peach tea” scene and Luthor’s attack on the Capitol, Mercy’s first live-action appearance wasn’t exactly a long one.
5 Michael Shannon In Jonah Hex
Oh my Zod, Michael Shannon already appeared in a DC film prior to Man of Steel?! The stoic actor portrayed Doc Cross Williams in Jimmy Hayward’s Jonah Hex, where the snake oil salesman proved to be a slippery customer. Boasting a cast of Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, and Michael Fassbender, Shannon must've been right at home alongside his Hollywood brothers.
With Willaims portraying the ringleader of a gladiator circus, Hex came and interrupted Doc’s business, mirroring their troubled relationship from the comics. Shannon openly admits that it may just have been a cameo, but he also revealed that the role was due to be expanded in possible sequels.
In another case of Green Lantern syndrome, that was a fate that never came true. Instead, we are left with a minuscule appearance of Williams and a character with an unknown fate. Sure, Shannon may not have been as big back then, but the thought of the acclaimed actor being resigned to a cameo these days would be a crime against acting.
4 Daggett - The Dark Knight Rises
Away from Tom Hardy’s mumbling and Marion Cotillard’s lame reveal/dire death scene, Christopher Nolan’s final Dark Knight film wrapped everything up neatly. Although Bane and Talia al Ghul were the “Bane” of our existence in The Dark Knight Rises, there were a few other bad guys thrown in for good measure.
The name Daggett might ring a bell, probably due to Batman: The Animated Series. Roland Daggett was a corrupt businessman who had a hand in the creation of Batman rogue Clayface. Jump to the Nolanverse and we have John Daggett; again a weasel of a man, but this time working with the League of Shadows.
Ben Mendelsohn was suitably sinister, but wasn’t around long enough to be any form of real threat. Getting in the way and foolishly attempting to blackmail Bane, Daggett swiftly met his maker. More annoyingly, though, Nolan’s Daggett had nothing to do with Clayface and another spectacular villain possibility was resigned to the dreams of fanboys. To be honest, Nolan was never going to tackle someone as out there as Clayface, but it was a nice idea.
3 Yellow Sinestro - Green Lantern
Possibly the worst case of counting your chickens before they’ve hatched, we are (once again) back with Campbell’s Green Lantern. While the character of Sinestro may sometimes have an anti-hero status in the comic books, he is classically depicted as one of the biggest villains to grace the Lantern Corps.
It was a change of pace when Mark Strong played Sinestro as an oddly sympathetic man in 2011. Here, Sinestro was yet to embrace villainy and was a hero of the film; in fact, Sinestro was part of the dramatic finale and rescue of Hal Jordan.
It was only the mid-credits scene that gave a hint of the character’s true colors. As Sinestro broke his vow to the other Lanterns, he embraced the yellow ring of fear and we watched his costume changes color.
The film bowed out with the “classic” version of Sinestro, presumably setting Strong up to be the main antagonist as the sequel. However, the sequel never got made, and we are left with one hell of an annoying cliffhanger that will never be resolved.
2 Robin In The Dark Knight Rises
There was no denying that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a highlight of The Dark Knight Rises. The casting of a star in an undisclosed role left us all speculating. The rumors that he would be playing Dick Grayson never really went away, but John Blake was instead the “official” name of our plucky cop. That being said, there were still signs that Blake could be the Boy Wonder.
Blake had all the attributes of a Robin and even had the tragic orphan backstory. Intelligent, an ally to Bruce, and quick on his feet, Blake was one pair of tights away from being the perfect introduction of Batman's sidekick. Interestingly, and just like Dick Grayson, they shared the middle name John.
However, Nolan failed to take it that one step further and we were instead landed with the dud moment when Blake revealed that his birth name was “Robin.” Wait, is that it? If anything, the whole performance would’ve probably fared better if they'd just left him as Blake. Instead, we are left to wonder and pine over what may have been and an annoyingly loose end that will never be tied up.
1 Gordon's Daughter - The Dark Knight
Who’s that girl? Rounding off with another Nolan cameo, it is an unusually rare ball drop for The Dark Knight. With some calling it the greatest Batman movie ever, watching Christian Bale and Heath Ledger lock horns was an incredible piece of cinema. However, let’s not forget Aaron Eckhart’s commendable performance as Harvey Dent/Two-Face.
After losing Rachel Dawes and half his looks, a maddened Dent was out for revenge. Top of his list was his former friend, James Gordon, and the easiest way to punish Jimmy was to go after his family. We met Barbara Gordon Sr - Jim’s wife - and his son James Gordon Jr., but what about his daughter who we also see being clutched by her mother?
Portrayed by actress Hannah Gunn, girl Gordon is never named and we are left to wonder if this really is Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl. Given Joss Whedon’s upcoming solo film and her fan-favorite status, it is a huge gripe that Nolan never revealed who this mysterious girl was.
With Barbara Sr. divorcing Gordon and taking the kids to Cleveland, this little girl never got the chance to become Batgirl, romance Dick Grayson, or be subjected to the chilling events of The Killing Joke.
What do you think is the worst cameo in DC films? Sound off in the comments below!