A-List | 15 Surprising DC Comics Casting Decisions That Worked Out

A-List | 15 Surprising DC Comics Casting Decisions That Worked Out

A recent Instagram post got everyone in the geckaphile world talking about DC Comics casting decisions. Every since DC FanDome blew through the land like a mighty rushing wind, nerds around the world have walked around in a delirious haze and some very messed-up hairdos.

DC Comics, arguably at the behest of Dwayne “Black Adam” Johnson who is mantling the Justice Society of America, shocked the world and cast Aldis Hodge as Hawkman. Many have complained about the haphazard perception that Hawkman was a white guy.

So why cast Aldis Hodge, who…well, is not?

Then, upon reflection said borderline prejudicial casting hounds needed to be reminded Carter Hall is actually not some random peckerwood from Omaha, Nebraska.

Actually, he is the reincarnation of Egyptian royalty named Prince Khufu. And since there aren’t many lily-white dudes coolin’ out in Cairo, we’ll assume this DC Comics casting was brilliant!

Hodge was Alec Hardison in ABC’s Leverage, MC Ren in Straight Outta Compton, and the star of the gripping biopic Brian Banks.

Dude has stellar charisma and a screen presence that will fully compliment and lead the Justice Society of America. That wonderful news leads us to another chief story topic and A-List…

What are 15 other DC Comics casting decisions that has shocked us all?

15. Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne: The Batman (2021)

Although The Batman hasn't happened, Battinson is a DC Comics casting decision that will surely pan out.
Source: Warner Bros./6th and Idaho Productions

The answer may be skewed now to eliminate embarrassment but there were oodles of geckaphiles who groaned out loud when Matt Reeves announced Robert Pattinson was crowned with the Cape and the Cowl. Although this is a DC Comics casting decision that has yet come to fruition, you can’t hear anything but applause when asking about how this will turn out. Move over, Twilight. Holy Bat Monkeys, Batman. This is going to be bananas!

14. Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Source: Warner Bros./Legendary Entertainment

Keeping with the Batman theme, Catwoman is a character we have seen portrayed and jacked up many times. It seems everyone has tried to be as equally sexy and sinister as the great Julie Newmar from the late 1960s. I mean, Halle Berry? Please. More than 30 actresses have been Catwoman in any Batman movie, TV show, or series (animated and live-action). And most of them are closer to Halle Berry than Julie Newmar.

Then, a DC Comics casting decision that throttled the fanbase — Anne Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises. The princess of cheeseball rom-coms and an even cheesier Oscar hosting job. And wouldn’t you know it? She was much closer to Julie Newmar and Michelle Pfeiffer than anyone expected or hoped.

13. Jack Nicholson as The Joker: Batman (1989)

Source: Warner Bros./The Guber-Peters Company/PolyGram

Jack Nicholson was no doubt the right guy for this role, but there a few (thousand critics) who wondered why an actor with that pedigree would entertain such a role. This is Jack. That’s it. No last name needed. And he would be … in a comic book film. With that talent, cackle, and dead-ass stare, who better? Jack Nicholson was perfect and it made Cesar Romero enthusiasts stop bickering. That was a brilliant portrayal of who DC Comics needed him to be, considering that director and that schmaltzy script.

12. Ezra Miller as Barry Allen: Justice League (2017)

Source: Warner Bros./Atlas Entertainment

While a few geckaphiles may not have been as surprised by this DC Comics casting decision, they were certainly pissed. When The CW’s Flash appeared it was centered around Barry Allen and not Wally West, we had to focus on Grant Gustin. At first, it was with a reluctant eye (for those who actually did watch it), but Grant Gustin grew on you.

To the point that when Ezra Miller was mentioned as the movie version of The Flash, fans were hesitant to embrace that choice. Needless to say, despite the schmaltzy face plant in Gal Gadot breastplate, he changed our minds. Well, most of us. Now if just someone would teach that dude how to run. Damn!

11. Amber Heard as Mera: Aquaman (2018)

Source: Warner Bros./Panoramic Pictures/The Safran Company

Say what you will about her personal life, including her violent escapades with scorned ex Johnny Depp (and many have), but Amber Heard handled Mera better than most believed she would. Technically, she was Mera in Justice League, but outside of a deformed looking clap and a brief talking spot with Arthur, who knew she was there? In Aquaman, she needed to become Mera. Own the royalty gone awry to do what’s right for her home. She did in convincing fashion. And despite facing jail time and a $50 million lawsuit from the aforementioned Depp, she’s still Mera, so that’s says something.

10. Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach: Watchmen (2009)

Source: Warner Bros./Legendary Entertainment/Paramount Pictures

Jackie Earle Haley as earned a revered reputation as a chameleon in Hollywood. He can do any role in any genre. And to think, it all began with Kelly Leak in The Bad News Bears. But when Zack Snyder decided to take on the most regaled graphic novel in geckaphilia, scrutiny went into overdrive over the particular roles. Then, we focused on Rorschach.

Jackie Earle Haley was a guy who quit acting in 1993. Then, in 2006, he reappears for two years to given the rejuvenation of his career in Watchmen. Any complaints? Not one. His acting is superb. He even created his own fighting style for Rorschach, which was inspired by Haley’s black belt in Kenpo. And the guy is getting his own spin-off. That’s how good he was.

9. Viola Davis as Amanda Waller: Suicide Squad (2016)

Source: Warner Bros./Atlas Entertainment

Viola Davis, in a word, is impressive. She is a quality actress who can do it all, including portray a dead-eyed, black-souled woman of virtue. Amanda Waller in comic lore is one such person, where in the world would DC Comics get someone of that caliber to do it?

The Task Force X commandant was usually CCH Pounder in DCAU voice-over roles only. And while she’s no slouch, DC Comics casting decision was to come out swinging. Barely anyone understood why she would want to do it. And although she wasn’t given much screen time, when she was there, we all felt it. Proof? James Gunn brought her back.

8. Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry: Justice League

Source: Warner Bros./Atlas Entertainment

Think about this: The dude left Game of Thrones to do…this?! When Jason Momoa was announced as Arthur Curry, nerds everywhere were bewildered, for a couple of reasons. Like we said, this was Khal Drogo and he bounced! No one leaves HBO. Another, the guy is a grizzly, over-machismo version of…well, Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and Willis wrapped in one love child.

Yet, as Arthur Curry as he has become, thanks to James Wan, Momoa originally wanted to be Batman. Fortunately, Zack Snyder needed a “force” for Aquaman, and there was no one else needed for that role than Khal Drogo.

7. Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne: Batman v. Superman (2016)

Source: Warner Bros./Atlas Entertainment

Poor sad, sad Batman. Who doesn’t remember that meme?

There was a sonic boom of meh when Ben Affleck was the victim of a controversial DC Comics casting decision. He knew it. He had to be deaf not to hear it. Yet, that’s the guy who became adored as Batfleck. Oh, the complaints were global; yet, what was the guy going to do? Say No?! Well, he would later, but never mind that right now.

Did you know it was Kevin Smith who suggested Bruce Wayne use a digital voice modulator? That was because people griped that Affleck didn’t even sound like a Bruce Wayne. He’s a comic character, so there’s that. Today, the newly minted “Battinson” has some big shoes to fill. Not bad for a guy who shouldn’t have been Batman.

6. Amy Adams as Lois Lane: Man of Steel (2013)

Source: Warner Bros./Atlas Entertainment

Other than Margot Kidder and fans of TV, Teri Hatcher, name another Lois Lane. You can’t! For what feels like a millennia, those were the only Lois Lanes we’ve ever known. And we were fine with that. Then, comes this serious, six-time Oscar-nominated Amy Adams, whose work prior to this DC Comics casting decision was Doubt, The Fighter, The Master. She even did American Hustle in the same year. What’s she doing in DC Comics? Slumming? Not at all. Amy Adams brought a large amount of credibility to the DC Comics roster. She was also putting her star in the DC galaxy, permanently.

5. Gal Gadot as Diana Prince: Wonder Woman (2017)

Source: Warner Bros./Atlas Entertainment/Wanda Pictures

Lynda Carter cemented herself as the pre-eminent heroine during the advent of comic books becoming reality. Then, there was a DC Comics casting decision that just left blank thought bubbles over the heads of nerds ’round the world. “Who is Gal Gadot?” Fans bitched and moaned over her lack of muscles, height, and experience. Well, look at her now. She had her say and is considered up there with “perfect” casting like RDJ as Iron Man and Chris Evans as America’s Ass…eh, Captain America.

4. Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne: Batman (1989)

Michael Keaton started the modern CBM movement and the modern questioning of DC Comics casting decisions.
Source: Warner Bros./The Guber-Peters Company/PolyGram

What is it with this character (and his main baddie) that everyone in the DC Comics universe feels they have to question the casting every…single…time!? Tim Burton’s trek into comic books came at the perfect time. The kids of the ’80s were old enough to enjoy and be cynical. Folks were ready for a different kind of action movie. And this Internet thingy was beginning to catch on.

So, Tim Burton brings us Michael Keaton. Huh? Funny guy. Hijinks and shenanigans. Night Shift, Gung-Ho, Beetlejuice, and of course, Mr. Mom. That Michael Keaton? Fans were livid at everything — his demeanor, height, panache for comedy, and weak jaw line. Man, were they wrong! Not since Christian Bale was anyone worthy of being Bruce Wayne. That’s how well he did it. What a way to start.

3. Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn: Suicide Squad (2016)

Source: Warner Bros./Atlas Entertainment

Wait, what? No one can imagine Dr. Harleen Quinzel as anyone else but Margot Robbie, but man, was she trolled when David Ayer unveiled this contentious DC Comics casting decision. Then, it turned out, she was one of the only reasons this film turned a healthy profit. Although it’s considered a bomb among cinephiles and critics, Margot Robbie will always be Mr. J’s main squeeze. Why is she a superstar today? Look no farther than the Squad.

2. Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent: Superman (1978)

Source: Warner Bros./Dovemead Films/Film Export A.G.

This was the only debate for 20 years in the geek community: “Could someone have done better than Christopher Reeve as Superman?” Looking back, we can all shout with force, “No F*$#in’ Way!” He was the reason Marvel and DC understood how to cast for CBMs. He was 100% dork boy scout Clark Kent while simultaneously 100% leotard-clad hero of the universe Superman.

Reeve was always a student of the craft as seen with his work in TV, but this was the reason we know his name. Potentially typecast for the remainder of his career, he was in a few minor films like Deathtrap, The Aviator, Street Smart, and the sorely underrated romantic drama Somewhere in Time. (Try it. Trust me.) To this day, even Henry Cavill can’t match Reeve’s bullseye performance, depending on who you ask.

He was that good and will always be the icon in geek movies people consider him to be.

1. Heath Ledger as The Joker: The Dark Knight (2008)

Source: Warner Bros./Legendary/Syncopy

What in the black and yellow hell was this?! Before he was given the privilege to be the Clown Prince of Crime in the Christopher Nolan sequel, Heath Ledger was known largely for period pieces like A Knight’s Tale, The Order, The Brothers Grimm, and The Patriot. Then, came Brokeback Mountain.

If you don’t know, look it up, but it completely redefined “the gay caballero.” So when the DC Comics casting decision was made, “Oh hell naw” was all you heard. His age, skills, passion, and looks were all in question. Then, Heath effin’ Ledger did that, caused Jack Nicholson to shut up, and gave CBMs everywhere credibility as a genre that even the stuffy old farts at AMPAS couldn’t ignore again.

He was the first actor ever nominated for an acting Oscar in a comic book movie. And, as we know, he wouldn’t be the last. Heath Ledger shook up the world — and the Academy. And it was absolutely no joke!


Written by:

437 Posts

I write for a living, among other things in the digital journalism and analytics universe. So I'm a little like a nerd unicorn. But no bronies. Move along.
View All Posts
Follow Me :

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.