With the “Justice League” train out of the station and in full steam, fans are already speculating as to whether or not Darkseid will make an appearance. The latest trailer comprehensively dove into the cosmic chaos to come, which will see Steppenwolf leading Parademons as part of the invasion from the planet Apokolips.
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That left us wondering if Warner Bros. will go the route Marvel Studios chose with Thanos, and keep Darkseid for a small snippet at the end, or grant us a fleshed-out scene with the villain. As one of the most powerful tyrants in the history of comics, we’re hoping to see him unleashed in his full glory, rather than a gratuitous tease. His debut needs to be full of impact, and with that in mind, CBR looks at 15 actors we think can fill his shoes!
15. BRAD PITT
Having seen the “Deadpool 2” concept art of Brad Pitt as Cable, it’s clear he needs to be in a comic book movie. Darkseid fits Pitt, who’s one of the leading men in Hollywood. His filmography is unparalleled and he brings an intensity to his roles unlike any other. With Ben Affleck as Batman, Pitt would be another A-list name to DC’s filmverse, adding even more star power to the mix, which would also stack up well against Henry Cavill’s Superman.
When it comes to physique and a dominating presence, Pitt also ticks these boxes off. Zack Snyder loves actors who can command cinemas, and Pitt does so in style. Fans were unsure of Josh Brolin as Thanos, but once they saw the S.F.X. applied, the cynicism went away. Therefore whatever work needs to be done, rest assured that it will. His chiseled jaw and deep voice are also reasons why we can see him conquering Earth. Look no further than his portrayal of Achilles in “Troy.”
14. KEVIN GREVIOUX
Kevin Grevioux is a jack of all trades. He co-created the blockbuster franchise known as “Underworld” and was chief engineer on the graphic novel, “I, Frankenstein,” which also hit the big screen with Aaron Eckhart. In “Underworld,” he really won over geeks by playing a vicious lycan (a werewolf) by the name of Raze. Grevioux’s no-nonsense attitude truly brought the scare factor in the fight against Kate Beckinsale’s vampires.
His phenomenally deep baritone voice is his most prominent feature and it sends chills down spines. Another reason why he’s a great pick for Darkseid is that he boasts a massive frame, akin to that of an NFL linebacker. Some properties he’s been involved in include playing the villainous Black Beetle in “Young Justice” and Terrax in “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.” He knows a lot about mainstream comics as well, having co-created Blue Marvel at Marvel Comics, in addition to writing a run on “New Warriors.”
13. GERARD BUTLER
Gerard Butler knows how to rule with authority. Snyder had him rocking it as King Leonidas in the action blockbuster known as “300.” This was his mainstream breakout role, showing grit as he brought the epic Frank Miller graphic novel to life by leading the Spartan army against the Persians. He also played Set, the God of Darkness, in “Gods of Egypt,” further reinforcing that Butler is all about regal roles.
He’s another big lead in Hollywood and these roles come naturally to him, as he’s a scrapper that can physically rough it. He has a passion for these adventurous roles and that’s the kind of dedication we want for Darkseid, and which Butler can deliver. He’s all about owning characters and becoming them. If Snyder wants Darkseid to crack a joke or two as well to lighten up the tone, Butler is no stranger to comedy, as per “The Ugly Truth,” and he could well find himself taking a queue or two from Snyder’s version of Xerxes.
12. SEAN BEAN
Sean Bean is another veteran who has taken on quite a few roles in the geek realm. “The Lord of the Rings,” “Game of Thrones,” “Troy,” “Silent Hill,” and “Jupiter Ascending” are some examples. He may be seasoned but like Brolin, he inspires confidence and is one of the business’ most assertive names. It’s likely Snyder and team will stretch Darkseid over a couple of films, so that gives Bean the chance to not die! He’s another actor who has that kingly and wise feel to him, but who can get dirty if need be.
We saw this in “GoldenEye” and it definitely reminded us of how wicked he could be if given the right role. An older Darkseid would appeal too because colonization isn’t just about war, but about mental games as well. That could give Bean the edge as Darkseid above the younger, headstrong and at times, brash, members of the Justice League. Villains who are older often tend to be a tad more menacing in any case.
11. JOEL EDGERTON
Joel Edgerton was late to the Hollywood bigwig game, but he quickly turned it on its head. He played Luke’s uncle, Owen, in the “Star Wars” prequels, and had roles in “King Arthur,” “Smokin’ Aces” and “Exodus: Gods and Kings.” In the latter, he played Rameses, so he knows about royal blood, and it came at a time where he was finally moving up big time. “Warrior” was one of his earlier and more physical roles, as an MMA fighter alongside Tom Hardy, and from that 2011 movie, he showed potential, which eventually saw him rack up geek cred in the remake of “The Thing.”
He’s another actor that’s pretty versatile, taking roles up in romances and drama as well. He knows all about diversifying and a comic book movie could be the next step up for him. He’s set to star in Netflix’s “Bright” (from “Suicide Squad” director, David Ayer) with Will Smith later this year as an Orc cop, so that alone shows he’s got a taste for fantasy.
10. KEITH DAVID
There’s a chance that Darkseid could be purely C.G.I. as opposed to motion capture, and if that’s the case, then we need a powerful voice behind him. Who better than the man that made fans quake at the sound of Goliath from “Gargoyles?” Keith David’s vocal presence is perfect for this role and he’s already shown his geek cred in “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within,” “The Chronicles of Riddick,” and “Person of Interest.”
Few can touch what he does vocally, and a lot of that boils down to his stage work. He has that Shakespearean essence when need be, and can even take it for a rougher, criminal spin. His work as Goliath remains right up there as some of the best in the cartoon business, with Peter Cullen’s Optimus Prime the only one who can contend. David’s voice is great for video games and we can already see the League shuddering when he speaks about submitting to Darkseid’s rule and the Anti-Life Equation.
9. ALEXANDER SKARSGARD
Alexander Skarsgård won over fans on the HBO series “True Blood,” and took to the big screen in movies like “Battleship” and last year’s “The Legend of Tarzan.” The latter was a sleeper hit that pitted him as the Lord of Greystoke, swinging in the jungles and saving Jane, just as the source material had it. It further demonstrated he could take on a lead role with aplomb, and how underrated as an actor he really is.
At 40, the Swede has age on his side to go with his looks and physique if Snyder wanted to craft a younger, more battle-ready Darkseid. He could be a great warrior response to the threat of Superman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman, while coming without a heavy price tag to the studio. Skarsgård triumphs in both action and drama roles, as seen in other material such as “13” and “Generation Kill,” and this may well be the breakout role that follows up his Tarzan depiction to cement him as one of Hollywood’s bigger faces.
8. CLIVE OWEN
Clive Owen also has major geek cred to his name after starring in the likes of “Sin City,” “King Arthur” and the bumper-ride called “Shoot ‘Em Up.” While his last couple years have gone fairly quiet, we already know how good he is, not just from these films, but also from “Children of Men.” He has that aura about him that definitely feels like it could overpower, further seen in “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” and “Last Knights,” which he took on with Morgan Freeman.
These all show that you can’t write him off just yet. He still has that action star badge on his sleeve and, if you’re looking for a British powerhouse to own Darkseid, he’s got the voice, the hard look, and the physicality for it. Snyder needs someone like this to truly paint Darkseid as a tormentor, and Owen is someone with just that pedigree. He’s seasoned and fits the intimidating mold we want this villain in.
7. TREVANTE RHODES
Trevante Rhodes really broke into the limelight through last year’s highly acclaimed “Moonlight.” He was a big reason the movie won the Best Picture Oscar (among the many plaudits it garnered), because he brought a haunting intensity to his role as a young man struggling with his sexual identity. If Snyder and posse want an unknown, he’s a great guy to bet on, with fans already earmarking him to be the Green Lantern known as John Stewart.
He’s quite a physical specimen, having run track and field, which saw us lean to Darkseid instead. Rhodes impressed Shane Black enough to garner a role in next year’s “The Predator,” which will see him going up against the bloodthirsty aliens once more. This alone shows he’s got that action gene somewhere in him, and with Darkseid, he could subvert as he sees fit, and mold the character into his own. Rhodes could represent another young, fresh warrior take on the villain, and in doing so, burst out of his indie movie lane.
6. MICHAEL FASSBENDER
Michael Fassbender is one of the few strong pillars in Fox’s “X-Men” films. His Magneto is a saving grace, especially when it comes to his chemistry with James McAvoy’s Xavier. He also starred in “Assassin’s Creed” and “Jonah Hex,” clearly showing an affinity for geek properties. If Chris Evans could play Human Torch and Captain America, there’s no reason why Fassbender can’t play another of comics’ most illustrious and decorated villains.
His resume is unquestionable and he’s another A-lister that delivers in any role Hollywood throws at him. Bulking up may not even be an issue after he’s layered with C.G.I. Fassbender’s drive, motivation and passion would be ideal to bring that regal presence in, in order to oppose the Justice League. We can see Snyder extracting a lot out of him, much like Bryan Singer and Matthew Vaughn did when they channeled his inner villain, especially when it’s time to tussle with the elite League members.
5. DENZEL WASHINGTON
Warner Bros. could add another Oscar winning name to their superhero universe if they decide to capitalize on Denzel Washington. In terms of being a villain, look no further than “Training Day” and “American Gangster.” His filmography says it all, with a diverse array of award-winning roles to boot. He already has a comic book movie under his name in “2 Guns” (from BOOM! Studios) with Mark Wahlberg co-starring, so it’s not a new genre to him.
Movies like “Safe House” and “The Magnificent Seven” are other notable action roles, which delicately balance his more emotive ones, as seen last year with “Fences.” All of these prove that Washington has range and is willing to explore once the script is right. This is one of the industry’s biggest names ever, and Darkseid is a chance to put him front and center, elevating what Snyder is doing. His quality is hard to come by and if that can harnessed for Darkseid, then Snyder could potentially have one of the best castings of all time.
4. TOM HARDY
Tom Hardy is that fan-favorite that is linked with just about any role that opens up, especially with comic book movies. After seeing him in movies like “Inception” and “Warrior,” it’s his performance as Bane that truly keeps us in awe. In Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises” he played a version of the villain that was hauntingly intimidating and truly matched Christian Bale as Batman.
His grunts and facial expressions are all he needs to do the trick sometimes, as seen in “Lawless” and recently, FX’s “Taboo.” He’s got acting chops for miles, a lengthy resume and the physical size to be Darkseid. His mannerisms and eloquence also shape him as someone you could see ruling Apokolips and making heroes cower. If he brings that ruthless attitude like he did when he broke the Batman’s back, then expect to be blown away when the League steps to him. He’s a Hollywood A-lister, but a heavy-hitter, as we witnessed in “Mad Max: Fury Road” also.
3. JAVIER BARDEM
Javier Bardem would be an unconventional pick for Darkseid but one that adds a distinct flair, similar to what he did as a James Bond villain in “Skyfall.” His Spanish accent alone would differentiate the villain with a fresh update, to perhaps help paint Apokolips as a culturally diverse hellhole. Bardem’s stature and scary demeanor when it comes to power plays are also very ideal to portray a despot looking to rule Earth.
“No Country For Old Men” is another prime example of how cerebral he can be. If Benicio del Toro could take on the role of the Collector in the MCU, then Bardem can do the same for DC movies. No one is too prestigious for comic book films. He’ll be seen next in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” so he clearly has no problem for popcorn flicks and mainstream blockbusters, so why not ante up against those seeking justice for all?
2. DANIEL CRAIG
If we mentioned a Bond villain, then why not Bond himself? Daniel Craig is another actor with an extensive resume as a lead. Apart from the British spy franchise, he’s also no slouch in this genre of comic book movies, having starred in “Cowboys & Aliens.” Craig also played a Stormtrooper in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” so it’s apparent he loves the geek universe. Since his last Bond outing in “Spectre,” he doesn’t have any action films coming up, so Darkseid would be great to add to his plate.
Craig boasts the dynamic and hardened face for this character, as well as the physical presence in terms of being ripped. He’s not as bulky but that’s something that can easily be augmented. His voice is another kingly one, and he usually commands when on-screen. He’s always up for action and explosions, so this is another chance for Snyder to grab one of Hollywood’s elite, who has the star power and talent to make Darkseid rumble through the galaxy.
1. IDRIS ELBA
How about the guy who said he’d be up for Bond, only to send the internet into a frenzy? Idris Elba is one of Hollywood’s most dynamic leads and he’s covered immense ground in his performances. His comic book movie resume boasts Heimdall from the “Thor” franchise, as well as films such as “The Losers” and “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.” Elba’s also been in “Pacific Rim” and will star in the upcoming Stephen King adaptation, “The Dark Tower.”
These movies alone put him ahead of the field, and if you want deeper insight into his villainous prowess then look no further than “The Jungle Book” remake, and of course, “Star Trek Beyond.” Elba oozes power and charisma, making him the most natural fit for Darkseid, on a mental and physical level. He’s even doing boxing competitively in real life so that just goes to show how fearless he is. If you want Darkseid to be that ruler who scares you with a whisper, but can also brawl unlike any other, then this is your guy!
Let us know in the comments if you agree with these and if not, tell us who you’d like to see cast as Darkseid!