11 Actors Who Have Played More Than One Marvel/DC Character

Last week we got our first glimpse at what Ben Affleck’s take on Batman will look like in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel sequel. That Affleck previously played Daredevil has got us thinking about the actors who have played more than one Marvel or DC character.

1. Chris Evans
Characters played?
Johnny Storm/The Human Torch ( Fantastic Four; Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer ) and Steve Rogers/Captain America ( Captain America: The First Avenger; The Avengers; Captain America: The Winter Soldier; The Avengers: Age Of Ultron )
Hero or villain?
Both of Evans’s characters are notable Marvel heroes. It’s worth recognising how capably he switches from casually rougish to resolutely noble between these two roles. The Human Torch and Captain America are really polar opposites in terms of superhero personalities.
More convincing as?
Evans’s Steve Rogers has become one of the most important characters in Marvel’s cinematic universe, appropriately filling a leadership role in The Avengers . The actor’s portrayal of the character is layered and complex, with the role serving up more challenges than he faced as the Human Torch.
Fan reaction?
Evans has played other comic book roles – like Jensen in The Losers and Lucas Lee in Scott Pilgrim Vs The World . He clearly has a versatile adaptability that has enabled him to take on such a range of characters. Some fans were a little concerned about the Marvel universe imploding when he was cast as Cap but the conversation soon switched to how much he’d transformed for the role (read: how much muscle he’d put on) when the trailer debuted. Fan reactions to his performances in both films were largely positive.

NEXT PAGE: DEADPOOL AND BATFLECK

2. Ryan Reynolds
Characters played?
Hal Jordan/Green Lantern ( Green Lantern ), Wade Wilson/Deadpool ( X-Men Origins: Wolverine ) and Hannibal King ( Blade: Trinity )
Hero or villain?
Reynolds has such a clean cut “hero face” that when his character becomes villainous in X-Men: Origins , he has to be made almost completely unrecognisable. Most will agree that the film is weak and the interpretation of Deadpool is problematic because Origins takes away what most defines him by sewing up his mouth and silencing his sharp wit. Having said that, fans are eager for Reynolds to reprise the role more faithfully in the future (and he remains attached to star in the film). He also plays heroic characters in Blade: Trinity and Green Lantern .
More convincing as?
It is widely agreed that Reynolds brings a charismatic charm to Green Lantern , but that it is lost in a tonally uneven film that doesn’t live up to its potential. X-Men Origins presents a similar situation, where the actor is unquestionably convincing but where the character details get lost in the climax. In the end, his turn as Wade Wilson is probably the best of his comic book performances.
Fan reaction?
Fans like Reynolds, but all three of the Marvel or DC films he’s starred in have not sat well with audiences. Lacklustre filmmaking tends to colour a good performance as a bad one when people look at it in hindsight. While Reynolds may sometimes seem to be an actor with limited range, he’s a solid choice for the leading man of a superhero franchise. That he hasn’t found success in these roles remains surprising. Fans still clamour for that Deadpool film he’s been promising, though, so there’s every chance you’ll see him in a costume again soon.

3. Ben Affleck
Characters played?
Matt Murdock/Daredevil ( Daredevil ) and Bruce Wayne/Batman ( Man Of Steel 2 )
Hero or villain?
As we are yet to see Affleck’s interpretation of Bruce Wayne or Batman aside from one image of him standing in front of the Batmobile , we have little to suggest how Zack Snyder has positioned the character in the film. With Justice League on the horizon, we expect Batman to have a big part to play in upcoming DC films. Affleck’s earlier comic book role, as Daredevil, was straightforwardly heroic. It doesn’t quite count, but it’s worth mentioning that Affleck is comfortable in superhero garb, having also played George Reeves in Hollywoodland .
More convincing as?
Once again, only one of these films currently exists. By default, we have to claim he’s more convincing as Daredevil. That said, even Affleck himself is quick to distance himself from the film. He told Playboy, “The only movie I actually regret is Daredevil . It just kills me. I love that story, that character, and the fact that it got fucked up the way it did stays with me.” There’s every chance he’ll make for a really interesting Bruce Wayne, though, especially as Affleck has spent recent years developing himself as a filmmaker and actor (with his Oscar-winning Argo as the culmination of this hard work). We’ve only just got our first glimpse at “Batfleck” via a tweet from Zack Snyder and he’s looking as dark and moody as you’d expect. We’ll have to wait until 2016 to see if he’ll impress in the role.
Fan reaction?
Initial fan reaction to Affleck’s casting was, to put it lightly, not positive. His turn as Daredevil was not entirely well received, something that has informed the general snap judgement response from fans. Over time it seems that people have generally warmed to the idea of Affleck as Batman. It’s either that or they have simply transferred all their outrage over to the casting of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor.

NEXT PAGE: THE VISION AND ZOD

4. Terence Stamp
Characters played?
General Zod ( Superman, Superman II ), Stick ( Electra ), voice of Jor-El ( Smallville )
Hero or villain?
Stamp is best known for his iconic portrayal of Zod, one of the best movie villains of all time. However, he’s also been the voice of Superman’s dad, Jor-El, in Smallville . So, he has played both the nemesis and mentor of Superman. Stamp joins Reynolds as the only actor to portray three Marvel or DC characters by playing the blind martial arts master, Stick, in Electra .
More convincing as?
There’s no doubt about it, Stamp is best known among comic film fans for his turn as Zod. He’s a master at pinning down the little things that make Zod tick, particularly when it comes to the villain’s commanding presence, and his reading of the line “Kneel before Zod!” is one those great moments in comic book cinema that simply cannot be replicated.
Fan reaction?
Superman and Superman II were released long before the age of online outrage, but it’s hard to imagine anyone ever reacting with displeasure to see Stamp take on a role.

5. Paul Bettany
Characters played?
JARVIS ( Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Iron Man 3 ) and The Vision ( The Avengers: Age Of Ultron )
Hero or villain?
It would be easy to see JARVIS as more of a sidekick or assistant because he’s a computer, but by the end of Iron Man 3 he’s effectively the hero of the piece. Not to steal Tony Stark’s thunder, but JARVIS essentially controls his army of suits and dispatches most of Iron Man’s foes. So, he’s definitely heroic in some way. We don’t really know how The Vision fits into this story yet or how much of a separate character he’ll be from JARVIS. Bettany’s included on this list because he’ll have played two characters that are distinct individuals in the source material. However, there is every chance they could basically be the same character in the movies.
More convincing as?
We have to say JARVIS, as we’ve only seen one of these two characters. He makes for a great foil for Stark in each of the Iron Man films and, for a disembodied voice, JARVIS is remarkably central to how the narrative of the series unfolds.
Fan reaction?
The prospect of a connection between The Vision and JARVIS is exciting, and it’s just another thing to get people speculating about how the plot of Age of Ultron will work out. It’s safe to say fans are into the idea of Bettany playing both roles.

NEXT PAGE: GREEN ARROW AND AQUAMAN

6. Justin Hartley
Characters played?
Oliver Queen/Green Arrow ( Smallville ) and Arthur Curry/Orin (unsold Aquaman pilot)
Hero or villain?
Both times around, Hartley played hero roles. He appeared in numerous episodes of Smallville as Oliver Queen and he also played Arthur Curry in a pilot for Aquaman (also known as Mercy Reef ). That show ended up being shelved when The CW decided not to pick it up for the 2006/7 schedule (it is available on iTunes ).
More convincing as?
Like many others on this list, Hartley is one of those actors with the key characteristics required to play superheroes. He's got boy-band features and a general demeanour of nobility. Fans tend to agree that he was convincing in both of the roles he played, even if praise for the Aquaman pilot is obviously more about the potential of the endeavour, rather than the final result. These days the role of Queen is more closely associated with Arrow star Stephen Amell, although Hartley’s portrayal is still fondly remembered by Smallville fans.
Fan reaction?
The fan reaction to the Aquaman pilot was largely positive, if you set aside those that are happier just to laugh at the very idea of Aquaman finding his way to the small or big screen.

7. Michael Clarke Duncan
Characters played?
Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin ( Daredevil ) and Kilowog ( Green Lantern )
Hero or villain?
One of each. He was a supervillain in Daredevil and a superhero in Green Lantern . On balance, we have to say he probably spent more time playing the villain. Kilowog, a member of the Green Lantern Corps, only required voice acting from Duncan, whereas the evil Kingpin served as the primary antagonist in Daredevil .
More convincing as?
He’s convincing and well-liked in both roles. As an actor he was always one of the most recognisable and entertaining stars. It’s a shame both of the superhero adventures he took part in were such failures.
Fan reaction?
When you think about it, Duncan did not made the best choices when it comes to these comic book films. Both Daredevil and Green Lantern are not particularly well-regarded. The latter is a big-budget disappointment and the former a film Marvel would be happier to see forgotten as they move ahead with a new version of the character on TV. Duncan himself, though, always had a great presence and was well-received in both roles. Kilowog may have only had his voice but what a voice it is – there are few with such distinctive vocal talents.

NEXT PAGE: CATWOMAN AND THE PUNISHER

8. Halle Berry
Characters played?
Patience Phillips/Catwoman ( Catwoman ) and Ororo Munroe/Storm ( X-Men; X-Men 2; X-Men: The Last Stand; X-Men: Days Of Future Past )
Hero or villain?
Berry has played two well-known superheroes. While the version of Catwoman played by Anne Hathaway in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises is decidedly more ambiguous in her heroism, Berry’s one is clearly a do-gooder. Equally, Storm is an important member of the X-Men and fits in comfortably among Marvel’s most recognisable and powerful characters.
More convincing as?
It has to be Storm. Catwoman is a shambles of a film, potentially one of the most problematic comic book movies there is. It has ghastly CGI and an awful story. Berry’s performance is weak too, even if it may be one of the better aspects of this mess. The character of Storm doesn’t demand much of her, but she makes for an imposing presence when using her powers and is always a valuable voice within the team.
Fan reaction?
Unsurprisingly, the reaction to Catwoman was highly negative. Not only was the film panned by critics and shunned by fans, it was also a huge financial failure. Most fans dismiss it as not even qualifying as a Catwoman movie and agree that Berry’s performance is overwrought. It hasn’t hurt the Oscar-winner much, though, and X-Men fans will be eager to see her in Days Of Future Past .

9. Ray Stevenson
Characters played?
Frank Castle/The Punisher ( Punisher: War Zone ) and Volstagg ( Thor, Thor: The Dark World )
Hero or villain?
Stevenson has played heroes in both his comic book roles, but it’s worth noting that The Punisher is about as morally dark as these heroes come. Volstagg is much more straightforward, as a super-strong Asgardian and a member of the Warriors Three. Frank Castle, on the other hand, fights the good fight but does so with such brutal methods that most would consider him to be in a separate category from your average superhero.
More convincing as?
There have been three actors who have attempted to make The Punisher into a success on the big screen: Dolph Lundgren in 1989, Thomas Jane in 2004, and Stevenson in 2008. Most struggle to come to a consensus over which of them is the best, but it seems to be between Stevenson and Jane, and it’ll depend which of them you find to be “grittier”. Ultimately, he’s probably more convincing as the likeable Volstagg, and he clearly has fun with memorable lines like, “Do not mistake my appetite for apathy!”
Fan reaction?
The reaction for Punisher: War Zone was negative, and most Punisher fans despair that there will ever be a faifthful film about the character. It’s probably as simple as making sure it has the freedom to show a bit more violence and keeping the tone in line with that (it can’t be rated 12A or PG-13, that’s for sure) while making the similar casting choices to Jane or Stevenson. Fans are hardly going to complain about Stevenson appearing in any comic book film, but for now he’s best used as a supporting character in the Thor series.

NEXT PAGE: FAVREAU AND THE LEADER

10. Jon Favreau
Characters played?
Happy Hogan ( Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3 ) and Franklin ‘Foggy’ Nelson ( Daredevil )
Hero or villain?
In both instances, Favreau has played characters on the side of the good guys. Foggy, Matt Murdoch’s closest friend and his law partner, is a conflicted character in the comics. There’s a bit of a rivalry with Murdoch and the two of them often disagree. The character in the film is largely like his comic counterpart, although in more of a moral grey area, as he takes on clients he suspects are guilty. As Tony Stark’s personal assistant and chauffeur, Happy is mostly used as comic relief for the first two Iron Man films (which Favreau also directed), but gets a more important role in the plot of Iron Man 3 .
More convincing as?
Both roles are similar and are clearly supporting ones. Both Daredevil and the Iron Man films are respectful and faithful to the comics and have some weighty story elements, so the moments of comedy are valued. Favreau assists heavily in making his characters lighten the tones of each of the films. As he’s played the character for longer and was entertaining in an expanded role in Iron Man 3 , we’d say Favreau convinces more as Happy.
Fan reaction?
Fans enjoy comic relief and there’s something fun about the film’s director showing up as a supporting character. It’s like all those Stan Lee cameos in the sense that it gives us little things to spot and enjoy. Favreau has great comic timing and really knows the comics well, which is exactly what fans look for in a director and even in an actor playing a small but fun role.

11. Tim Blake Nelson
Characters played?
Samuel Sterns ( The Incredible Hulk ) and Harvey Elder ( The Fantastic Four reboot)
Hero or villain?
By the time The Fantastic Four reboot arrives, Nelson will have played two Marvel villains. Or, more accurately, he’ll have played the alter-egos of two Marvel villains. In 2008’s The Incredible Hulk , he played Dr Samuel Sterns but never got to become The Leader. In The Fantastic Four , he’ll play scientist Harvey Elder. The character will go on to become an enemy of the Fantastic Four, The Mole Man. However, he’s not the primary antagonist in the film and he’s just there to set up a future appearance for the villain . Both films are also reboots, so this is definitely something of a trend.
More convincing as?
We’ve only seen one of these films currently and the role was small, but we have to say Sterns. Nelson clearly did his research, not only for playing Sterns but also for the potential of The Leader being the headline villain in The Incredible Hulk 2 (in an interview, he said, “I already did [research into The Leader] when I was doing Sterns, because I felt that it would be helpful to lay in stuff as Sterns for what The Leader would be”). Obviously, plans for that sequel were abandoned. Hopefully Nelson will have better luck when it comes to The Fantastic Four .
Fan reaction?
Most would love to see a solo Hulk movie, and there was a lot of interest in seeing Edward Norton return to the character with Nelson playing the Hulk’s main enemy. The “brains vs brawn” of that clash would certainly have provided a changed dynamic to the Hulk movies we’ve seen so far. Bruce Banner/The Hulk is now played by Mark Ruffalo, though, and his take was received incredibly positively in The Avengers . Maybe Marvel would want to maintain continuity with any future appearances of Hulk villains, although there’s no suggestion a sequel is coming soon. As far as The Fantastic Four reboot goes, fans are unconvinced about most of the casting so far. Although it’s at least worth noting that nobody seems to have any issue with Nelson being cast.

Simon Cocks