Comic book film adaptations have no shortage of actors portraying different characters in wildly different properties. Some of these portrayals are iconic, while others stand with their feet planted firmly in the indie scene. When actors pick up multiple roles in various comic book movie projects, it’s a testament to the versatility of the graphic medium when it comes to adapting rich stories of the superhero variety or otherwise. But which actor has tallied up the most roles as comic book character during their career? Well, from what we can tell, there are two well-known faces who share this superlative.
If you count animated voice acting roles (which we do) in a feature film, Chris Evans and Josh Brolin are head to head with a total of six characters each. Evans has most famously plays Captain America in the MCU (which might put him at the top of most appearances in films based on comics), but he’s been gaining comic book clout long before, and continues to do so. Evans has played a renamed version of the character Proloff from the original French graphic novel in the film Snowpiercer, the smart aleck tech guru Jensen in The Losers, High-T movie star, Lucas Lee in Edgar Wright’s adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim saga as well as the voice of Casey Jones in the animated film TMNT. And of course, how could anyone forget Mr. Evans' portrayal of Johnny Blaze in the often maligned Fantastic Four films from the mid-aughts? We... kinda wish we could.
Tied with Evans is Josh Brolin, who on recently has played two of the most iconic Marvel Comics characters in history: the mad Titan Thanos in the MCU and the time-traveling soldier Cable in Deadpool 2. Brolin's comic book move clout doesn't stop there. On the other side of the Big Two coin, he has starred as the titular disfigured cowboy in Jonah Hex, a DC Comics property. Outside of mainstream comic books, Brolin played a version of the character Shinichi Gotō from the American adaptation of the Japanese manga, Oldboy, as well as the younger version of Agent K in Men in Black 3, sharing the role with Tommy Lee Jones. Brolin also took over the role of Dwight from Cline Owen in the sequel film Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, which was a better version of the character in a lesser film.
Not many other actors come close to Evans and Brolin from what we can tell. Scarlett Johansson clocks in with an admirable four roles (Black Widow, Rebecca in Ghost World, Silken Floss in The Spirit, and Major is Ghost in the Shell). Also hailing from the MCU is Paul Bettany has three roles to his name which include the artificial intelligence stand-in for Tony Stark's butler, J.A.R.V.I.S. and Vision in the MCU as well as the lead in the adaption of the Korean comic Priest. If we incorporate made-for-television or direct to DVD films, Rosario Dawson has voiced both Artemis and Wonder Woman in various DC Comics animated movies, Barbara Gordon in The LEGO Batman Movie, and Gail from the Sin City films.
With the DCEU picking up steam, which will indefinitely generate more movies and if the MCU continues being the pop culture juggernaut it is today, there's plenty of opportunity for more actors to don the persona of comic book heroes and villains. Of course, the same can be said for the myriad of indie and foreign language comic properties that will see future adaptation. But until more actors spread their comic wings wider, six is the magic number to beat in order to win the superlative that might one day help someone win trivia night. Until then, Brolin and Evans will once again reign supreme in the upcoming Avengers: Endgame.
Wait...does Evans' cameo in Thor: The Dark World count? Technically, he is playing Loki...