Superhero television shows and movies are all the rage right now, but that doesn’t mean the actors are able to jump from TV to film so easily. Making that jump isn’t always the easiest transition to make, no matter who you happen to play on television. We all know the actors from the Arrowverse and can recognize them in other roles, but how often have they really been able to turn their success as television darlings into true Hollywood stardom? The answer is not too often.
Stars like Stephen Amell, Grant Gustin and Melissa Benoist have had some success gaining roles in film, but they are truly the exception. Despite the popularity of Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl, Hollywood isn’t exactly knocking down the doors of every actor in the Arrowverse. Some have seen success in film before their casting in one of these television shows, but have since dropped off to focus on the job at hand. One would hope that being a full-time member of a popular television show is enough to make actors stray away from pursuing film roles, but it’s also possible that Hollywood has been avoiding them. Here are 15 Arrowverse actors that Hollywood refuses to cast.
15 DANIELLE PANABAKER AKA CAITLIN SNOW
Danielle Panabaker started her career off in the superhero genre as a member of the cast of 2005’s Sky High. Now she’s well known for playing the brilliant Dr. Caitlin Snow and her villainous alter ego Killer Frost on The Flash. Despite her success on television, her film career has significantly stalled since joining the Arrowverse in 2014.
She initially had some success in the horror genre, gaining notable roles in Friday the 13th from 2009, The Crazies and The Ward in 2010, and Piranha 3DD in 2012. Unfortunately, her film career has been limited to the direct-to-DVD sci-fi movie Time Lapse in 2014 and a bit part in the film This Isn’t Funny in 2015. When it comes time for her to hang up her icicles, hopefully her career can pick back up.
14 PAUL BLACKTHORNE AKA QUENTIN LANCE
Over the last decade, Paul Blackthorne has become a popular television actor in America, but his film career has yet to really take off. He is the face of law enforcement in the Arrowverse (sorry Joe) as Quentin Lance, the father of Laurel and Sara Lance. He’s been a regular on Arrow and appeared in many of the universe’s other shows, including animation.
Blackthorne’s biggest roles went from recurring characters on ER and 24 to main roles on short-lived shows The Dresden Files and Lipstick Jungle. He’s had a few film roles in a spattering of movies over the years, but nothing very big. He had a cameo in Dumb and Dumber To in 2014 and starred in the seemingly B-fantasy film Dark Ascension. Will Hollywood ever take notice?
13 SUSANNA THOMPSON AKA MOIRA QUEEN
Susanna Thompson is remembered for her roles in the films Little Giants, Ghosts of Mississippi, Random Hearts, and Dragonfly, but she’s best known for her time as Moira Queen in the early seasons of Arrow. She was a main cast member for the first two seasons before her character was killed off by Slade Wilson in the third season.
While she has guest starred since her death, Thompson now has a lot more time on her hands. Unfortunately, she hasn’t done too much with it with her film career essentially dried up by now. She does have a role as a recurring character on the NBC drama Timeless, which has been renewed for a second season. Whether she can bring herself back to some kind of prominence has yet to be seen.
12 JEREMY JORDAN AKA WINN SCHOTT
Before he became Supergirl’s tech wizard Winn Schott, Jeremy Jordan made his career on the stage as a gifted singer. He starred as Jack Kelly in Newsies in 2012 and played J.M. Barrie in Finding Neverland in 2014. Jordan transitioned to television and got a lead role for the second season of Smash before finding his way into the Arrowverse on Supergirl.
So far his film career has been fairly limited. He had a starring role in the 2012 musical comedy Joyful Noise and starred alongside Anna Kendrick in 2015’s The Last Five Years. In 2016, he returned to his former role as Tony in West Side Story. Jordan's portrayal of Winn on Supergirl has been met with high praise, so he should be able to get other non-singing roles.
11 FLORIANA LIMA AKA MAGGIE SAWYER
Floriana Lima gained attention for playing detective Maggie Sawyer on Supergirl following the show’s move to The CW for Season 2. The relationship between Maggie and Alex Danvers has since become a big focus of the show over the course of multiple seasons. Lima was initially only contracted to appear in one season, but her popularity led the show to bring her back as a recurring character in Season 3.
Over the last decade, Lima has appeared in all your favorite shows. She has had roles on How I Met Your Mother, House M.D., In Plain Sight, Hawaii Five-0, and Psych, though you likely don’t remember her. At the same time she joined Supergirl, Lima became a recurring character on Lethal Weapon as Miranda, the wife of Martin Riggs. She has yet to break into film, but that shouldn’t take long.
10 NICK ZANO AKA NATHANIEL HEYWOOD
Before he joined the Arrowverse, Nick Zano was a regular on WB/The CW television programming. He was a regular on What I Like About You for several seasons and appeared on 7th Heaven, the revival of Melrose Place and 90210. He also appeared on several ABC shows, giving him a connection to both Warner Bros. and Disney.
Despite these links, he has yet to turn into a successful film actor. His biggest role has been one of the characters from 2009’s The Final Destination, but he hasn’t appeared in a movie since 2013. He now plays Nathaniel Heywood as a member of the crew in Legends of Tomorrow, so it’s only a matter of time before he manages to take the next step up.
9 WILLA HOLLAND AKA THEA QUEEN
Willa Holland is a successful actress and model all at the age of 26. She gained prominence with roles in The O.C. and Gossip Girls, and she began to gain momentum with a small parts in a few movies. When she was cast as Thea Queen in Arrow, it was a huge step up for her as it was the first lead role of her career. Unfortunately, things have gone south since then.
While Holland continues to be a beloved member of the cast, her role on the show hasn’t propelled her to stardom. She appeared in Straw Dogs from 2011, Tiger Eyes from 2012 and Blood in the Water from 2016, but she hasn’t done much else. Holland has focused more on voice work in the Kingdom Hearts video game series and has asked Arrow to reduce her role over the last few seasons.
8 MATT RYAN AKA JOHN CONSTANTINE
Before he was cast as John Constantine, Matt Ryan had small roles in 2008’s Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day and 2011’s Flypaper. He was a lead character in the short-lived Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior in 2011 and was best known for his portrayal of Edward Kenway in the 2013 video game Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.
When Matt Ryan was cast in Constantine, it was supposed to be his big ticket to stardom. Unfortunately, NBC dropped the ball and the show lasted just one season. The Arrowverse has since absorbed the show and given Ryan a presence in the universe as John Constantine. He will now have to settle for voicing the character in the Justice League Dark animated movie as well as an animated web series set to air in 2018.
7 AUDREY MARIE ANDERSON AKA LYLA MICHAELS
Today we know Audrey Marie Anderson as Lyla Michaels on Arrow, but between 2002 and 2006, she had some forgettable roles in a few forgettable movies. In the meantime, her television career picked up with recurring roles in Once and Again, Going to California, Still Life, and Point Pleasant. Then she was cast as Kim Brown in The Unit, and it made her a television star.
She had several more guest appearances before she appeared in The Walking Dead in 2013 and joined the Arrowverse that same year. Despite her performance in Arrow, she has mostly remained in the shadows. She did return to film in 2014 with a main role in Least Among Saints and the lead in the horror film Mockingbird, but that’s been it so far. She also appears on Ice for Audience, so she may be sticking to TV for awhile.
6 ARTHUR DARVILL AKA RIP HUNTER
Doctor Who fans love Arthur Darvill for his portrayal of fan-favorite companion Rory Williams from 2010 to 2012. He also had a main role in the widely popular Broadchurch television series and he joined the Arrowverse in 2016 as Rip Hunter in Legends of Tomorrow. While his television and film roles remain limited, Darvill has remained a major player in England’s theater scene.
Despite all his talent, his film career can basically be summed up in one nice year. In 2010, he appeared in Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll and also had a small part in that Robin Hood film that starred Russell Crowe. With only a small sample of work, Darvill has shown himself to be a very talented actor, so it should only be a matter of time before we see his face more often.
5 EMILY KINNEY AKA BUG-EYED BANDIT
Most genre television show fans will remember Emily Kinney from her time as Beth Greene on The Walking Dead, but she also jumped into the superhero game with a pair of appearances on The Flash and Arrow as Brie Larvan aka the Bug-Eyed Bandit. Sure, two episodes hardly makes her a main character in the Arrowverse, but nevertheless, she is an alumnus.
Kinney is a successful singer/songwriter and a talent musician who has released five albums over the last several years. In that time, she has also taken on many different television roles on shows including Masters of Sex and Conviction, as one of the show’s leads. Unfortunately, Hollywood hasn’t come looking for her yet because she hasn’t appeared in any films of note.
4 JOHN BORROWMAN AKA MALCOLM MERLYN
Fans of John Borrowman know him from his time on Doctor Who and in the popular spinoff show Torchwood. Before all that, though, he was a talented stage actor and singer who had spent decades in the theater before jumping into television. His popularity made it easy for him to develop a career as a presenter on several British TV shows, but Hollywood never came calling.
His casting as Malcolm Merlyn on Arrow made him an ongoing threat as a villain fans loved to hate, and he soon expanded the role to other shows. Despite his recognizability to American audiences, he has never had much of a film career outside a small role in Zero Dark Thirty in 2012. It would be a crime to leave Borrowman off the big screen, especially now that he seems to be done with the Arrowverse.
3 SUMMER GLAU AKA RAVAGER
Nerds love Summer Glau, but Hollywood doesn’t appear to be interested in casting her in anything. She proved to be an interesting villain in Arrow when she played Isabel Rochev aka Ravager in Season 2 of Arrow. Though her storyline was completed it felt like there could have been more to her role as the deadly Ravager in future seasons of the show.
Glau’s popularity started with her appearance in Firefly, as well as the film Serenity. She also made recurring appearances in The 4400 and The Unit before starring in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. She continued to make appearances in Dollhouse, The Cape, and Alphas, but her film credits are severely lacking. She’s still a popular name, so there’s no reason to avoid her.
2 DAVID RAMSEY AKA JOHN DIGGLE
David Ramsey has been around longer than you remember. He appeared in The Nutty Professor in 1996 and Con Air in 1997. He was the lead in Good News, which lasted just one season from 1997-98 and picked up small roles until he joined the cast of Dexter in 2008. He had the recurring role of Mayor Carter Poole on Blue Bloods at the same time he was cast as John Diggle in Arrow.
While it’s taken him a long time to become a recognizable face on television, his film career hasn’t quite picked up in the same way. In recent years, he has appeared in a small role in the 2014 film Draft Day and and appeared alongside such names as Jessica Biel, Jake Gyllenhaal, Catherine Keener, James Marsden, Tracy Morgan, and Josh Brolin in the 2015 box office disaster Accidental Love.
1 CHYLER LEIGH AKA ALEX DANVERS
In her role as Alex Danvers, the beloved sister of Supergirl, Chyler Leigh is a new face to the sci-fi/superhero game, but she’s been around for longer than you think. She played the lead character Janey Briggs in Not Another Teen Movie from 2001. Remember That 80’s Show from 2002? Leigh was the one with the big spiky hair in case you forgot. Her biggest break came when she was cast as Lexie Grey in Grey’s Anatomy.
While she turned that performance into a main role on Supergirl a few years later, her film career has been practically non-existent for several years now. Her portrayal of Alex Danvers is really her first major action show, so she’s really giving Hollywood a chance to see what she can do.