One of the things comic book fans love to do is argue about who should play their favorite superhero or supervillain, especially if they’ve never been seen on screen. Of course, casting a movie or TV show is more complicated than just picking a name, although a few cases of fan-casting have actually happened, like Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier. While it’s often fun to play the casting game, a few souls with artistic skills have created awesome mock-ups of what different actors would look like as a superhero or supervillain. We’re going to talk about the villains.
It’s often been said that a hero is only as good as his villain, so supervillains have been an important part of almost every superhero movie. Unfortunately, in all the frenzy of making a good story about the hero, the movie’s villain has often been lost along the way. Some fans say superhero movies have become notorious for weak villains, like Ultron in 2015 Avengers: Age of Ultron. Would a different actor have played the part better? It’s time to find out by checking out these cool Photoshopped images of actors who should have played supervillains.
15. BRYAN CRANSTON (LEX LUTHOR)
In 2016, Batman v Superman featured Jesse Eisenberg as the archenemy Lex Luthor and triggered a firestorm of controversy. Fans complained the Eisenberg was too young, too excited and not bald enough. While the quality of the performance was debatable, there’s no denying that Eisenberg didn’t fit the classic image of Luthor.
One actor who was repeatedly brought up as a better actor for the role was Bryan Cranston. Yes, it’s partly because he had a shaved head for many years on AMC’s Breaking Bad, but also because he was genuinely scary as a villain. Apparently, director Zack Snyder wanted to get Bryan Cranston for the role of Lex Luthor, but it didn’t work out and they went with Eisenberg. We can look at these pics and dream, though.
14. JAKE GYLLENHALL (THE JOKER)
In 2016’s Suicide Squad, Jared Leto took on the iconic role of the Joker and shook the character to the core. Leto had the more traditional elements of the character’s look with white skin, green hair and red lips, but paired them with numerous tattoos, metal teeth and more twitchy mannerisms.
Many viewers complained about Leto’s version of the character, and another actor who fans have dreamed of taking on the role is Jake Gyllenhaal. As you can see from the photo by a Redditor nicknamed AppleTStudio, with his lean and angular face, Gyllenhaal fits the part very well. His role as a borderline psychotic in Donnie Darko is also a good reference to show how he would play a crazed madman. Somebody get Jake on the phone.
13. JON HAMM (TWO-FACE)
In 1995’s Batman Forever, Two-Face was played by Tommy Lee Jones as a crazed supervillain determined to kill Batman, who he blames for his disfigurement, but Jones was more like the Joker than Two-Face. Aaron Eckhart did a great job as the desperate district attorney Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight, but wasn’t the crazed psychopath. However, there’s another actor who might have given us a better job: Jon Hamm.
As we can see in this photoshopped image by Savage Comics, Jon Hamm cuts a handsome figure on one side and the twisted villain on the other. As we saw in his performance as Don Draper in Mad Men, Hamm can pull off a morally ambiguous anti-hero, so it wouldn’t take much to push him into the morally ambiguous villain who would explore the duality of the Two-Face from the comics.
12. AARON PAUL (ELECTRO)
In 2014, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 brought the supervillain Electro to life, played by Jamie Foxx. An electrically-charged supervillain who was obsessed with Spider-Man, Foxx’s version of Electro was criticized by audiences as being too much of a wimp with no real motivation and inconsistent powers. We think Electro would be better suited by an actor like Aaron Paul.
Aaron Paul spent many years playing a tough but dim-witted drug dealer on Breaking Bad, and it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine that as the template for a crazed version of Electro. The photoshopped image above by J. Messina might be a little too close to the comic version with the lightning-shaped mask, but the scowl on his face sure screams “supervillain” to us.
11. JACKIE EARLE HALEY (SCARECROW)
In Batman Begins, the theme of fear was captured in the twisted psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Crane, better known as the villain Scarecrow. Let’s be clear that Cillian Murphy’s version of the Scarecrow was great for what it was, but didn’t fully capture the Scarecrow from the comics. At the same time, it was a more restrained and realistic portrayal of the villain from the comics. For the all-out psycho version, we can turn to James Earle Haley.
Haley won legions of fans among the comic book community for his brilliant portrayal of Rorschach in 2009’s Watchmen. He’s also playing the supervillain the Terror on Amazon’s Tick TV series, showing his evil side. Besides all that, his lean and craggy frame perfectly fits the comic version. As the photoshop above shows, he has the look down.
10. ROBIN WILLIAMS (THE RIDDLER)
In 1997, Batman and Robin brought the Riddler into conflict with Batman, played by the brilliant and wild Jim Carrey in an iconic performance. Carrey was both ruthless and scary as well as funny and charming to watch. While we don’t really have a problem with Carrey’s performance, the idea of Robin Williams wearing the green suit is enough to make the mind explode.
There’s actually a long story why Robin Williams as the Riddler makes sense, and that’s because he should have been the character all along. In 1997, Williams was approached by Warner Bros to play the Riddler, and the script was even written with Williams in mind. Negotiations broke down, and Jim Carrey won the role instead. We can only imagine Williams twirling the question mark-shaped cane.
9. BROCK LESNER (BANE)
Bane is one of Batman’s deadliest enemies, a tactical genius who staged a breakout at Arkham Asylum to wear down the Dark Knight, and was also able to break the detective’s back over his knee and almost ended the hero’s career. That’s why fans were so excited to see Bane in Batman and Robin, but they got an almost mute version of Bane who just served as a thug for Poison Ivy.
In The Dark Knight Rises, a more sophisticated version of Bane appeared who wasn’t as muscular or smart as we thought he was, so the classic Bane from the comics has yet to appear. Some, including the Photoshop seen above by Farou Santiago, have suggested WWE star Brock Lesnar as someone with the body and attitude to play Bane. We’d love to hear Brock Lesnar yell, “Welcome to Suplex City, Batman!”
8. CHARLIZE THERON (MYSTIQUE)
Mystique is an iconic role in the X-Men franchise. First played by Rebecca Romijn in the original X-Men, she was seen as a nude woman with blue skin and scales who could morph into anyone. In 2011’s X-Men: First Class, Mystique’s role was taken over by Jennifer Lawrence. Both actresses gave the role their all and Lawrence has brought a more emotional arc to Mystique, but the photoshop above offers a new take: what if Charlize Theron played Mystique?
Academy-Award winning actress Theron has undergone tremendous physical changes, gaining weight and wearing makeup for 2003’s Monster and also becoming a ruthless one-armed warrior in 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road. She could do more than just change her body, she could also change her voice and appearance, which fits the character. We think she would also bring more dramatic weight to the role, as well.
7. MADS MIKKELSEN (DOCTOR DOOM)
Doctor Doom hasn’t had a good journey to the screen. He first appeared in the unreleased Fantastic Four movie in 1994, played by Joseph Culp. In 2005, Julian McMahon played Doom in Fantastic Four as a billionaire with electrical powers, not the genius scientist-wizard of the comics. In 2015, Doom was played by Toby Kebbell as a scientist sealed into an environmental suit with weird powers. None of them really made fans happy, although they did suggest another name, Mads Mikkelsen.
Mikkelsen showed himself as a brutal and manipulative villain in 2006’s Casino Royale and as a serial killer in 2013’s TV series Hannibal. In fact, he did an audition for the 2015 movie but walked out of the audition because they were just asking about his arms. That was a weird movie, even before it got started.
6. ANGELINA JOLIE (CATWOMAN)
Catwoman has had a pretty good run, starting with the ’60s TV series, and onto the 1966 Batman movie version as a playful villain. In 1992, Batman Returns brought Catwoman back as a dominatrix played by Michelle Pfeiffer with tons of sexual innuendo. Catwoman returned in 2012 with The Dark Knight Rises and Anne Hathaway in the role, playing more of a con woman than the sultry feline villain. If there was another Catwoman, who would it be?
DiogoMedrah answered that question with this photoshop of Angelina Jolie. As one of the most talented (and, if we may say so, best looking) actors in Hollywood, Jolie would cut a curvy figure in the catsuit and also have the necessary purr in her voice. She’s also a great actor who would command the screen in every scene she was in.
5. JOHNNY DEPP (THE RIDDLER)
The Riddler has been one of Batman’s most dangerous enemies since 1948, when he first began taunting the Dark Knight with his mysterious clues. He was first introduced to the general public with the 1960s Batman TV series, played by Frank Gorshin. The zany and excitable villain was a staple on the show, but other actors have stepped into the green shoes. One who hasn’t but should is Johnny Depp, as seen in the above rendering by JoyHog.
Let’s face it: Johnny Depp can play any role. From an everyman character in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape to the drunken pirate in the Pirates of the Caribbean series to the creepy weirdo Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Depp can go all over the map. It’s not a stretch to see him leaping around in a green suit, tormenting Batman with his riddles.
4. DAVID TENNANT (THE RIDDLER)
We’ve talked about him a few times already, but how can you not love the Riddler? Fandom certainly does! The character made his first appearance in 1948’s Detective Comics #140 by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang, and while he started out as a gimmick villain who would spout crazy riddles for Batman to solve, he’s evolved over time into a criminal mastermind. Now, his only weakness is a desperate need to prove himself smarter than anyone else, especially Batman. He’s been in many versions of the Bat-franchise, but one actor hasn’t gotten a shot: David Tennant.
In this Photoshopped movie poster by JoshWMC, we can see why he’d be a perfect fit. As the Doctor in Doctor Who, Tennant was often the crazy one in the room who was always one step ahead of the villains. It makes sense to imagine him as the intellectual supervillain, chanting riddles as he leaps about in a green tuxedo.
3. SCARLETT JOHANSSON (EMMA FROST)
The mutant Emma Frost first appeared on the big screen in X-Men: First Class (her appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine was retconned as being a different character named simply Emma), played by January Jones. Emma is a popular character in the comics, but some viewers weren’t as taken by Jones’ performance. That’s why some fans have pitched a different actress, Scarlett Johansson, as Emma Frost.
As we can see in the Photoshop, Johansson certainly has Emma’s beauty, but also a raw sexuality that Emma’s known for in the comics. Emma Frost is a woman who dresses in skimpy outfits and uses her seductiveness almost as much as her psychic powers. More than that, Johansson has shown she can bring an emotional weight to her roles, as she did with Black Widow in the Avengers series.
2. MICHAEL FASSBENDER (TWO-FACE)
Created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane in 1942’s Detective Comics #66, Two-Face (Harvey Dent) is one of Batman’s greatest enemies, a combination of good and evil decided by the flip of a coin. His scarred face has been a standard in the comics and on the big screen in two movies, but there’s one actor who should get a shot at the role: Michael Fassbender.
In 2011, X-Men: First Class introduced Fassbender as a younger Magneto where he’s been crushing the role, showing he can play comic book roles. He obviously has the handsome face for one side, but he’s shown he can also do crazy. In 2014, Fassbender played Frank, an eccentric bandleader who wears a papier-mache head and turned what could be a silly character into an emotional and appealing character.
1. DANIEL CRAIG (MAGNETO)
Magneto is the archenemy of the X-Men whose magnetic powers and violent methods work against the superhero team’s peaceful ways. Sir Ian McKellen played Magneto in 2000’s X-Men and gave the character a noble tone, while Michael Fassbender played a younger version in X-Men: First Class. Fassbender’s Magneto was a more impulsive and angry version, and both did a great job, but we’d love to see Daniel Craig tackle the character.
As we can see from the image above by fcuetoq, Craig would fit perfectly in Magneto’s suit. As James Bond, Craig reinvented the formerly suave and refined character into a brutal and violent antihero. It would be interesting to see his take on Magneto, especially if he combined McKellen’s refined manner with Fassbender’s violent tendencies.
Would these actors make better supervillains? Who would play them better? Let us know in the comments!
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