If the Worlds of DC cinematic universe goes down in history for anything it will be for the dumbfounding amount of rumors it managed to produce. It seems like every other day there’s a new rumor about a new movie being added to the schedule, a movie being taken off the schedule, a role being cast or re-cast, and so on. At the moment, no one really knows what’s going on with Henry Cavill and whether he’ll be back as the Last Son of Krypton. Rumors about who could be taking over as Superman have already started. Ben Affleck’s status has been unknown since Justice League. The actor has expressed the desire to hang up the cape and cowl, but has since retracted that statement. Matt Reeves’ The Batman movie is reportedly in development, but we still have no idea who’s playing the Caped Crusader. Of course, the internet is buzzing with rumors and predictions about who might be, or should be, taking on the mantle of Batman.
This isn’t anything new. Casting rumors and speculations are an integral part of comic book movie news. Every Worlds of DC movie has been surrounded by rumors that turned out to be just that. These casting rumors often lead to arguments about whether the rumored actor would have been a better choice. This is especially true for those controversial casting decisions such as Ben Affleck and Jesse Eisenberg. Here’s our list of casting rumors that would have been better than what we got and those that would have been worse.
20. BETTER: JOSH BROLIN AS BATMAN
Back when Warner Bros. was still looking for a Batman, a lot of big names were dropped on an almost daily basis. One of the rumors was that Josh Brolin was among the actors considered for the part of Bruce Wayne.
Brolin, who is no stranger to comic book movies, reportedly met with Zack Snyder. However, they mutually decided he wasn’t right for the part. Still, Brolin’s got an amazing voice and screen presence that would make him an excellent Batman. And, unlike Affleck, Brolin doesn’t come off as overly brooding. He could be pass as an older version of Bale’s Batman.
19. WORSE: LEONARDO DICAPRIO AS THE JOKER
The Joker origin movie is officially happening with Joaquin Phoenix in the titular role. Warner Bros. finalized the deal with Phoenix in July, 2018. Phoenix had expressed the desire to do a character study within a superhero movie in the past, and it looks like he finally got his chance.
Before Phoenix was cast as the Joker, Leonardo DiCaprio was rumored for the part. Reportedly, Warner Bros. wanted to cast DiCaprio, but director Todd Phillips set his sights on Phoenix. While we have no doubt that DiCaprio would make a fine Joker, Phoenix seems like the perfect choice. We’ve seen from set photos that he looks the part, and he seems to be truly invested into the story and the character.
18. BETTER: BRYAN CRANSTON AS LEX LUTHOR
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a highly polarizing movie, but if there’s one thing we can all agree on it’s that Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor was… not great. His performance can best be described as an eccentric take on Mark Zuckerberg. This poor portrayal of Superman’s biggest enemy got us thinking about the actors who were rumored for the part before Eisenberg’s casting.
Among them was the Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston. Over the course of his impressive career, this award-winning actor has proved that he can play anyone in any setting and in any genre. And he would have made an amazing Lex Luthor.
17. WORSE: JOHN CENA AS SHAZAM
A lot of comic book fans and wrestling fans really wanted this to happen. Not only because John Cena looks the part, but also because the villain Black Adam is played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. These two wrestler-actors have a rivalry that’s been going on for years and fans wanted to see it play out in a movie with superpowers, which is completely understandable.
However, anyone who’s seen Zachary Levi in Chuck knows how perfectly he can embody child-like innocence and cheerfulness. The Shazam! trailer got us really hyped for the movie and Zachary Levi is one of the main reasons we’re so excited.
16. BETTER: TIMOTHY DALTON AS ALFRED PENNYWORTH
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice didn’t do many things right, but Jeremy Irons’ portrayal of Alfred Pennyworth is certainly one of the better parts of the film. He had great chemistry with Ben Affleck and the dynamic between Bruce Wayne and his loyal butler was spot-on.
However, before Irons joined Batman v. Superman, another familiar face was rumored for the part. Former James Bond actor Timothy Dalton was reportedly being considered and had he been cast, we would have gotten an awesome easter egg, plus a new take on Alfred, which Snyder and Goyer had in mind for Dalton.
15. WORSE: GRANT GUSTIN AS THE FLASH
Now, don’t get us wrong, we love Grant Gustin and we think he makes an awesome Barry Allen and an awesome Flash. At the moment, he’s one of the reasons many fans are still sticking with the show. That being said, we do not think he should have been the Flash in DC’s cinematic universe.
The Arrowverse and the Worlds of DC, as it is now being called, have always been two separate entities. The characters and the stories do not take place in the same universe. To have the same actor portraying the Flash, while two different actors are playing Deathstroke, Superman, etc. would have be confusing at the very least.
14. BETTER: JEFFREY DEAN MORGAN AS BATMAN
The decision to cast Ben Affleck as Batman in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is one of the most controversial superhero casting decisions in recent memory. In the end, however, Affleck’s Batman didn’t turn out to be the worst thing that’s ever happened to the Dark Knight. We’re looking at you George Clooney.
But, before Affleck took on the mantle of Gotham’s Caped Crusader, Snyder wanted to cast Jeffery Dean Morgan. And for a while, there was a rumor going around that Morgan would in fact be playing Bruce Wayne. And judging by Morgan’s previous work, he would have done a fine job. Ultimately, Morgan was cast as Thomas Wayne, which means he could still be Batman in Flashpoint.
13. WORSE: ELODIE YUNG AS WONDER WOMAN
Elodie Yung joined the Marvel Cinematic universe in 2015 as Elektra Natchios. She made her debut in the second season of Daredevil and most recently appeared in the mini-series Defenders. But, Elodie Yung almost got to join the Worlds of DC as well.
When Warner Bros. was still looking for an actress to portray Wonder Woman in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Elodie Yung was among the actresses rumored for the part. Reportedly, she was among the front runners for the role of Diana Prince. And while we have no doubt about Yung’s abilities to play a superhero, we just don’t think she’s quite the right fit for this particular character.
12. BETTER: IDRIS ELBA AS BATMAN
It seems like whenever an important role is being cast, Idris Elba’s name gets on the list. Recently, Elba shut down the rumors that he’s taking up the mantle of James Bond. In 2014, this MCU actor, took it to Twitter to deny the rumors that he had been cast as Batman in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Unfortunately, the article that started the rumor turned out to be an April Fools joke, which almost had even Idris Elba fooled as he was “ready for some Cape Crusader”… stuff. Well, we’re sure ready for Elba’s Batman anytime Warner Bros. decides to give him the cape and cowl.
11. WORSE: MATTHEW GOODE AS SUPERMAN
Before Henry Cavill was announced as our new Superman, a lot of interesting names were thrown around as possible choices for Clark Kent. British actor Matthew Goode, who had previously worked with Snyder on Watchman, was one of the actors rumored for the part.
While Goode has certainly shown he has talent, especially in period pieces such as Downton Abbey and The Crown, he’s just not the right fit for the Man of Steel. Sure, he could put on some muscle, but he just doesn’t have the right kind of screen presence. But, if Henry Cavill exits, Goode could get his chance to prove us wrong.
10. BETTER: DENZEL WASHINGTON AS LEX LUTHOR
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has managed to attract Hollywood veterans like Robert Redford, Ben Kingsley and Anthony Hopkins. Naturally, Warner Bros. wanted that kind of star power for themselves. Some rumors suggest that when time came to cast Lex Luthor in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, one of the top contenders was none other than Denzel Washington.
Denzel has never done a comic book movie before, but his movies tend to do well and the audience loves him. With his experience and acting chops, there’s no doubt in our minds that he would have made an excellent Lex Luthor.
9. WORSE: JOSH HOLLOWAY AS AQUAMAN
In order to make Aquaman work in live-action, Warner Bros. had to nail the casting. Luckily, they decided to depart from the traditional Aquaman look, the blonde hair and blue eyes, and go with the unconventional and far more interesting choice in Jason Momoa.
Momoa, who became a fan-favorite on Game of Thrones, is a re-imagining of the character for a new age. He stole the show in Justice League and got us all excited for the solo Aquaman movie. But, before the part landed in Momoa’s hands, Lost star Josh Holloway was rumored to be one of the contenders. Holloway would definitely have been a more comics-accurate choice, but also the more boring one.
8. BETTER: MATT BOMER AS SUPERMAN
How has this man not been cast as Superman yet? He’s perfect. The dreamy blue eyes, the Superman jawline, the great hair, the disarming smile, the radiating goodness — he’s got it all.
Matt Bomer was almost Clark Kent in Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, but Brandon Routh got the part. When Man of Steel was announced, Bomer’s name was once again on the shortlist of candidates to take on the role of the Last Son of Krypton. With his experience voicing Superman and the perfect looks, Matt Bomer would have made a great Superman. If Henry Cavill really is out, perhaps Warner Bros. should give Bomer a call.
7. WORSE: ARMIE HAMMER AS SHAZAM
Armie Hammer has been rumored for a number of Worlds of DC roles, as well as a few MCU roles, sometimes without a shred of evidence to support the claim. While many fans still want to see him as Batman, Hammer has also been rumored to be taking on the role of Shazam.
Armie Hamer even received an endorsement from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who will be playing Shazam’s nemesis Black Adam. However, the role of Shazam went to Zachary Levi, who, judging by the first trailer, is doing an amazing job. So, while we’d love to see Armie Hammer join the Worlds of DC, we wouldn’t trade him for Levi.
6. WORSE: ZAC EFRON AS SUPERMAN
Zac Efron has sure come a long way since his High School Musical days. Over the last few years, Efron could have been seen in almost any genre. However, we were still surprised to see his name among the candidates for the Man of Steel. Had Warner Bros. actually went with Efron, it would have been a very different take on the character.
It’s hard to imagine Efron as Superman with memories of Troy Bolton still fresh in our minds. Though, we suppose he would have brought some much-needed comedy to the movie. Reportedly, Efron’s inability to pull off the costume left him out of the race, which is probably for the best. That being said, we wouldn’t mind seeing him in a different superhero role.
5. BETTER: IDRIS ELBA AS LEX LUTHOR
Casting Lex Luthor is far from being an easy task. After all, this man needs to pose an actual threat to the most powerful man on Earth. Jesse Eisenberg doesn’t quite have what it takes to pull that off. However, before Eisenberg got the part, there were some interesting names in the pool. Like, for example, Idris Elba.
Elba has played such a wide variety of characters that we could easily imagine him facing down Superman on a rooftop. Now that would have been a memorable scene. With Elba’s dominating presence, Lex Luthor would have been the iconic villain we know.
4. WORSE: ALEXANDRA DADDARIO AS WONDER WOMAN
When Gal Gadot was first announced as Wonder Woman the fans were skeptical. However, once Gadot made her epic entrance in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice she gained almost universal approval. And the love for her portrayal of Diana Prince only grew stronger with Wonder Woman.
It’s hard to imagine anyone else in her place, including the Percy Jackson star Alexandra Daddario, who nominated herself for the part. While Daddario proved she has what it takes to do an action movie, she wouldn’t be the right fit for Wonder Woman simply because she’s too young to portray certain aspects of the character.
3. BETTER: RACHEL MCADAMS AS LOIS LANE
Before Amy Adams got the part of Lois Lane in Man of Steel, Warner Bros. wanted to cast Rachel McAdams as the Daily Planet reporter. Reportedly, McAdams, who went on to play Christine Palmer in Marvel’s Doctor Strange, was at the very top of Warner Bros. list, and it’s easy to see why.
McAdams clearly looks the part. She’s been both a brunette and a redhead, and looks gorgeous either way. She’s sweet, but also assertive. And judging by her performance in Spotlight, she knows how to play a resourceful, restless reporter. Nothing against Amy Adams, but perhaps Rachel McAdams would have been a slightly better choice.
2. WORSE: DEREK THELER AS SHAZAM
Zachary Levi as Shazam was definitely not what we expected, but having seen the trailer we have to say we’re glad Levi got the part. A Shazam! movie has been in the works for years and a lot of actors have expressed the desire to portray Captain Marvel, including Derek Theler.
The actor campaigned for the part and teased his audition on social media. For a while, rumor was that Theler had actually been cast as Shazam. While Theler certainly has the right build for the role, he doesn’t have any experience when it comes to big blockbuster movies. Levi, on the other hand, is the full package.
1. BETTER: RYAN GOSLING AS BATMAN
When Warner Bros. first announced Batman v. Superman, many websites published lists of potential actors who were allegedly sought to play Bruce Wayne. One of the names that caught our eye was Ryan Gosling. If the first movie that came to your mind at the mention of his name is La La Land, we understand why you may think Gosling wouldn’t be the right fit for Batman.
However, Gosling has shown he can be edgy and dark in Drive and Blade Runner 2049. In fact, this man can pretty much do anything. All he would need to be Batman is some muscle and a costume. Too bad this rumor didn’t pan out.
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