36 Actors Who Played Multiple Comic Book Characters

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Multiple comic book roles

In the world of comic book movies, we have actors who've stuck with particular characters for years. For example, it’s been 16 years since Hugh Jackman’s debut as Wolverine in Bryan Singer's first X-Men movie. And now there’s yet another one (at least) in which we'll get to see him playing the mutant (Okay, some may say that Jackman played Van Helsing too, but the character didn't originate in a comic book or a graphic novel. He was introduced as Dracula in an 1897 novel, so…not a COMIC BOOK character).

There are also actors who have been close to playing superhero characters more than once, but were ultimately unable to nab the roles. Jake Gyllenhaal is in this group, having been kept as a standby actor for the role of Web-Slinger's in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2 when Tobey Maguire's return was in doubt due to his back injury. Gyllenhaal was also close to playing Batman in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy. And more recently, he turned down the role of Rick Flag in the upcoming DC supervillain team venture, Suicide Squad.

Chris Evans

Chris Evans has played Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, in four different MCU ventures (excluding the uncredited Thor: The Dark World cameo and Ant-Man post-credit appearance). He'll be back as the Cap in Captain America: Civil War.

But Captain America isn't the first comic book character that the 34-year-old actor has played. Evans made his debut in the world of comic book movies with the role of Johnny Storm, aka Human Torch, in Tim Story's Fantastic Four. He reprised the role in the 2007 sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

He played Nick Gant in the 2009 flick Push, first appearing in the movie's prequel mini-series, which was produced by Wildstorm. In 2010, Evans appeared as Captain Jake Jensen in the Vertigo adaptation The Losers. In the same year, he played Lucas Lee in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. And in 2013, he played Curtis Everett in the French comic book-based Snowpiercer.

Will Smith

Will Smith is set to appear as the popular DC supervillain (at times anti-hero) Deadshot in this year's Suicide Squad. According to a poll among moviegoers, it’s the second most anticipated role for a male actor this year.

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He played James Darrell Edwards III, aka Agent J, in all three Men in Black movies.

Will Smith also played an alcoholic superhero named John Hancock in the 2008 movie Hancock, but that wasn't based on a comic book character.

Josh Brolin

Josh Brolin has played a number of comic book characters to date. At present, he is portraying Thanos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He made his debut as the Mad Titan in Guardians of the Galaxy, reprised the role in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and will do so again in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War movies. His portrayal of Thanos isn't just voice acting, as it also includes motion-capture. And, as he plays the character in live-action movies, it is worth mentioning.

Back in 2010, he portrayed the titular superhero in the DC Comics adaptation, Jonah Hex.

In Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Brolin appeared as Dwight McCarthy, a character played by Clive Owen in the first movie.

He also portrayed the younger version of Tommy Lee Jones' Agent K in Men in Black 3.

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman has played two live-action comic book characters to date. She made her debut in the genre in the Vertigo adaptation V for Vendetta. She played the role of Evey Hammond in the 2006 movie.

The Israeli actress then returned in 2011, as Jane Foster in Thor. She reprised the role of Odin’s son's love interest in the sequel, Thor: The Dark World.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson

Aaron Taylor-Johnson has played two different superheroes. He appeared in Matthew Vaughn's 2010 flick Kick-Ass. He played the movie's lead role - Dave Lizewski, aka Kick-Ass. This marked his debut in the comic book adaptation genre. He reprised the role in the 2013 sequel.

And you have to know the second one! He played Pietro Maximoff, aka Quicksilver, in last year's Avengers: Age of Ultron, after making a cameo appearance in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

NB - Evan Peters, who plays Quicksilver in the X-Men Universe, also appeared in the first Kick-Ass movie, but not sure if his character Todd Haynes appeared in the comics (not familiar with Kick-Ass comics).

Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck is set to make his debut as the Caped Crusader in one of this year's most highly anticipated movies, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. We've already watched a couple of trailers and loads of images from the movie. Affleck’s version of Bruce Wayne from age 45 to 46, is, according to the actor, “more broken, kind of f*cked up”.
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Previously, the Oscar-winning actor and director played another superhero, this one from Marvel Comics. He played Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil, in the 2003 disaster, Daredevil. And he also got the opportunity to put on Superman's costume while playing George Reeves in Hollywoodland.

Jon Favreau

Apart from directing the first two Iron Man movies, Jon Favreau has also acted in each of the film series’ three installments, playing a supporting character named Happy Hogan.

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Back in 2003, he played another Marvel character, Foggy Nelson, in the Daredevil movie starring Ben AffleckElden Henson currently plays the same role in the Netflix series, Marvel's Daredevil.

Brandon Routh

Brandon Routh made his debut in Hollywood in 2006, and in the same year he made his first appearance as a comic book character. Routh portrayed Clark Kent, aka Superman, in Bryan Singer's Superman Returns. He was set to reprise his role in a sequel, but due to conflict between the director and the studio, it didn't ultimately happen.

However, that was not his last comic book genre venture. The actor returned in 2010 as Todd Ingram in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. In the next year, he played the titular role in Italian comic book-based Dylan Dog: Dead of Night.

In the Arrowverse, he plays another DC superhero, Ray Palmer, aka The Atom, who first appeared in Arrow Season 3. Routh's character has also appeared in The Flash, and is one of the major characters in Legends of Tomorrow.

NB: James Marsden, who's played Scott Summers, aka Cyclops, in a number of X-Men movies – also appeared in the Routh starrer Superman Returns, but his character, Richard White, didn't appear in a comic book before he portrayed him.

Stephen Amell

Stephen Amell is best known for saying, "You have failed this city!” That's because he's been playing Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow, in the CW series Arrow. He's also reprised his character in Arrowverse series The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow.
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This summer, we will see the Canadian actor in a different comic book role, and on the big-screen. He's set to appear as Casey Jones in the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles: Out of the Shadows.

James McAvoy

James McAvoy plays Charles Xavier, aka Professor X, in the X-Men Universe. He played the character in the last two movies and will reprise his role in the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse.
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But Professor X isn't the Scottish actor's first comic book role. He's played the protagonist, Wesley Gibson, in the 2008 movie Wanted, which is based on the limited comic book series of the same name.

Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson has played a number of comic book characters over the years. He's had an integral role in the MCU, as S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury. He's portrayed the character in six different installments of the MCU. He has also reprised the role in two different episodes of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Jackson appeared as The Octopus in Frank Miller's The Spirit.

He's played the role of the billionaire philanthropist Richmond Valentine in Kingsman: The Secret Service, which is also based on a comic book.

Jackson also played Elijah Prince, aka Mr. Glass, in the 2000 flick Unbreakable, and Mace Windu in Star Wars prequel movies. However, while the former was a superhero movie, it wasn’t based on any comic books. The latter character did appear in comic books, but only after the movies came out.

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson portrays one of the major characters in the MCU, Agent Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, and has played the character in four different movies to date. The upcoming Captain America: Civil War movie will mark her fifth appearance, and we can assume that she will reprise the role in the two Avengers: Infinity War movies, as well.
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You might not be aware that this isn't the only comic book character Johansson has played. She appeared as femme fatale scientist Silken Floss in the 2008 flick The Spirit. She also portrayed Rebecca in the 2001 venture Ghost World, which is based on Daniel Clowes' comic book of the same name.
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In 2017’s Ghost in the Shell, she’ll play a Japanese comic book character named Motoko Kusangi.

Ryan Reynolds

Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool! We recently got the best R-rated superhero movie of all-time - the Deadpool movie. But this wasn't his first appearance as Wade Wilson - he portrayed the character in 2009 flick X-Men Origins: Wolverine. A sequel is also in the works.
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In between his two appearances as the Merc with a Mouth, Reynolds appeared as Hal Jordan in Martin Campbell's Green Lantern.
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Ryan's first movie in this genre was David S. Goyer's third installment of Blade film series, Blade: Trinity. He portrayed Hannibal King.

And there's one more comic book character that Ryan Reynolds played. It was the role of Nick Walker in the 2013 venture R.I.P.D. - an adaptation of Peter M. Lenkov's Rest in Peace Department.

Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey has played a number of live-action comic book characters to date. In 1994, we saw him portray the titular character in Chuck Russell's The Mask.

In the next year, he returned to the genre as the Batman nemesis Edward Nygma, aka The Riddler, in  Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever.

In the 2013 flick Kick-Ass 2, Jim Carrey portrayed Sal Bertolinni, aka Colonel Stars and Stripes. The character was an amalgamated version of two comic book characters, Colonel Stars and Lieutenant Stripes.

Rosario Dawson

Rosario Dawson played one of the Pussycats, Valerie Brown, in the 2001 flick Josie and the Pussycats. The movie was based on the Archie Comics series of the same name.

In 2005, she portrayed another comic book character, named Gail, in Frank Miller's Sin City.

But Dawson’s most significant role within the genre is the part she plays in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She was introduced as Claire Temple, who was actually an amalgam of two comic book characters, in Marvel's Daredevil. She reprised the role in Marvel's Jessica Jones, and will do the same in Daredevil Season 2 and Marvel's Luke Cage.

She also played Laura Vasquez in Men in Black II. And, even though we aren't considering voice roles here, I would like to mention that she's voiced Wonder Woman a couple of times, and is set to provide the voice for Batgirl in the upcoming The Lego Batman Movie.

Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage was almost playing Superman once upon a time. Even though that eventually didn't happen, Cage still managed to portray a couple of other comic book characters. One of them is the Marvel anti-hero Ghost Rider, a character he played twice - in the 2007 flick Ghost Rider and the 2012 sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.

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In 2010, he portrayed another Marvel character, Damon Macready, aka Big Daddy, in the Matthew Vaughn venture Kick-Ass.

Idris Elba

Idris Elba plays Heimdall in the MCU - we know that well. He has appeared in both installments of Thor and made a cameo-like appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Before playing Heimdall, Elba appeared as Captain William Roque in The Losers.

In 2012, he also appeared in the Nicholas Cage starrer Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. He played a character named Moreau, which was originally created for the movie.

Zoe Saldana

Zoe Saldana played the anti-hero Gamora in 2014's biggest superhero blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy. She will reprise her role in the upcoming sequel.

Before GOTG, the hottie appeared in the Vertigo adaptation The Losers. She played the role of Aisha al-Fadhil in the 2010 flick.

Rebecca Romijn

Jennifer Lawrence might be Raven, aka Mystique, of the X-Men franchise today, but it was Rebecca Romijn who portrayed the character first. She donned in blue paint in three movies - X-Men of 2000, X-2 of 2003 and X-Men: The Last Stand of 2006.
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Rebecca Romijn has played another Marvel character - one introduced in the comics in 2000 by Frank Miller in The Punisher (vol. 4) #1. It was the character named Joan in the 2004 venture, The Punisher.

Michael Clarke Duncan

Back in 2003, Michael Clarke Duncan played the lead supervillain Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin, in the Ben Affleck starrer, Daredevil. His version of the character wasn't as admired as the one recently played by Vincent D'Onofrio in the Netflix series Marvel's Daredevil.

We saw him portray another comic book character - this one from DC Comics - in 2011. He played the Green Lantern Corps member Kilowog in another highly bashed movie, Green Lantern.

Michael Clarke Duncan also played the role of Manute in the 2005 flick Sin City.

Michael Jai White

If you are a Batman fan, you would recognize Michael Jai White as Gambol in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight. He shares quite an epic scene with Heath Ledger’s Joker in the movie (although you would surely give at least 90 percent of the credit for the scene to the late actor).

If you follow the CW series Arrow, you would know that White portrays Ben Turner, aka Bronze Tiger, in the series. He was introduced in the second episode of the second season, which was entitled Identity.

But the actor had actually made his debut in the comic book live-action genre way back in 1997. He portrayed the popular Image Comics anti-hero Al Simmons, aka Spawn, in the Mark A.Z. Dippe flick Spawn.

White also played Jax Briggs in Mortal Kombat: Rebirth and Mortal Kombat: Legacy. Even though the character was first introduced in video games, he was used in comic books before his live-action debut.

Benicio del Toro

The Marvel Cinematic Universe introduced Benicio del Toro as Taneleer Tivan, aka The Collector, in an uncredited mid-credits cameo in the 2013 flick Thor: The Dark World. He reprised his role the following year in Guardians of the Galaxy, and will return as The Collector in the upcoming sequel Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, as well.

Benecio del Toro’s other comic book character role was as Jackie Boy in Sin City.

Michael Fassbender

Michael Fassbender's best comic book character is surely the Marvel anti-hero, Magneto. He's played the character in two X-Men movies - X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past. He will reprise his role in the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse, as well.

In the Zack Snyder flick 300, he portrayed Stelios, a role that originated in Frank Miller's comic book series of the same name.

Michael Fassbender also played an original character named Burke in the Josh Brolin starrer Jonah Hex. And he's set to play Callum Lynch and Aguilar in the upcoming Assassin's Creed movie - these characters are original, as well.

Sam Elliott

Sam Elliott has played a couple of comic book characters, and both belong to Marvel Comics. He played the character that William Hurt plays today in the MCU, General Thaddeus Ross, in the Ang Lee's 2003 movie Hulk.

Sam Elliott’s other character appeared in the 2007 Nicolas Cage starrer, Ghost Rider. He portrayed Carter Slade, aka the Caretaker, in the movie.

Halle Berry

Halle Berry's Ororo Munroe, aka Storm, is as old in Hollywood as Hugh Jackman's Wolverine is. Berry has played the character in four different movies, the latest being in X-Men: Days of Future Past. We don't know whether she will reprise the role in the future, as 20th Century Fox has cast Alexandra Shipp as the younger version of Storm for X-Men: Apocalypse.

However, in between her appearances as Storm, Berry has played one other comic book character, the DC superhero Catwoman in the 2004 standalone venture directed by Pitof.

Will Yun Lee

Will Yun Lee has portrayed two comic book characters - each of them from Marvel Comics. The first one was the ninja assassin named Kirigi. He played the character in the 2005 Jennifer Garner starrer, Elektra.

His second character appeared in James Mangold's The Wolverine of 2013. He portrayed Kenuichio Harada, aka Silver Samurai, in the movie.

Morena Baccarin

We recently saw Morena Baccarin as Wade Wilson‘s love interest Vanessa Carlysle in Deadpool.

The Brazilian actress also plays Dr. Leslie Thompkins in the Fox series Gotham. Both of these characters appeared in the comics.

Ray Stevenson

Ray Stevenson, a veteran Irish actor, has portrayed three different comic book characters. His first was the popular Marvel anti-hero, Frank Castle, aka The Punisher, in Lexi Alexander's 2008 flick Punisher: War Zone.

His second comic book character role was in the 2011 MCU flick Thor, in which he portrayed the God of Thunder's associate, Volstagg. He reprised the role in the sequel Thor: The Dark World.

We've also seen Ray playing Firefly in G.I. Joe: Retaliation. But Firefly isn't an original comic book character, having been introduced as an action figure.

Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba made her comic book genre debut in 2005, and played two different comic book characters in that same year. In Frank Miller's Sin City, she portrayed Nancy Callahan. She returned as Nancy in the 2014 sequel as well.

The other role she played was Sue Storm, aka the Invisible Woman, in Tim Story's Fantastic Four. Jessica reprised her role in the 2007 sequel.

Tommy Lee Jones

The last time Tommy Lee Jones appeared in the comic book movie genre was in the 2011 movie Captain America: The First Avenger. He played the role of Colonel Chester Phillips in that movie.

And the first time we saw him in this genre was in Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever. He played the same role Aaron Eckhart did in The Dark Knight: Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face. However, the two versions have hardly anything in common.

Tommy Lee Jones also played Kevin Brown, aka Agent K, in the three Men Black movies. These movies are also based (loosely, however) on Lowell Cunningham’s The Men in Black comic books.

Jon Bernthal

Jon Bernthal is best known for his role in the Image Comics adaptation, The Walking Dead. He portrayed Shane Walsh in the AMC series.

He is set to make his debut as Frank Castle, aka The Punisher, in the upcoming Daredevil Season 2.

Ben Foster

Ben Foster has played two comic book characters to date, and both belong to Marvel Comics. The first was Spacker Dave in the 2004 movie The Punisher.

His second comic book character role was in the 2006 movie X-Men: The Last Stand. He portrayed the mutant named Angel.

Dominic Purcell

Dominic Purcell plays the DC baddie Heat Wave in the CW's Arrowverse, first appearing in The Flash Season 1 episode entitled Going Rogue. The character also appears in the Arrow/Flash spinoff, Legends of Tomorrow.

However, Heat Wave isn't his first character from comic books. The actor actually made his debut in live-action comic book adaptations way back in 2004, in the movie Blade: Trinity, in the role of Drake.

Mickey Rourke

Mickey Rourke was introduced as Marv in Frank Miller's 2005 flick, Sin City. He reprised his role in the 2014 sequel, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.

In the second installment of the Iron Man film series, Rourke portrayed the supervillain Ivan Vanko, aka Whiplash.

Hugo Weaving

Hugo Weaving portrayed the anarchist freedom fighter named V in James McTeigue's V for Vendetta. The movie was based on the Vertigo Comics limited series of the same name.

Hugo Weaving returned to the comic book movie genre in the MCU flick Captain America: The First Avenger. He played the supervillain Johann Schmidt, aka Red Skull, in that movie.

Djimon Hounsou

Djimon Hounsou played the comic book character Papa Midnite in Francis Lawrence's Constantine.

In 2014, he returned to the genre in James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy, in which he portrayed Korath the Pursuer in the movie.

Laura Vandervoort

Laura Vandervoort played Kara Zor-El, aka Supergirl, in Smallville.

And she’s the one playing the supervillain Indigo in the CBS series Supergirl. Both of these characters appeared in the comic books.

Doug Jones

Fans of Arrowverse would recognize Doug Jones as the baddie Jake Simmons, aka Deathbolt. The character first appeared in the Arrow Season 3 episode entitled Broken Arrow, as the first metahuman supervillain in the series. Later, the character returned in The Flash episode entitled Rogue Air.

Doug Jones has played two other comic book characters - but you would hardly remember that, because he was unrecognizable in both roles! One of them is Abe Sapien of Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy film series. He played the character in both installments of the series.

The other character is Norrin Radd, aka the Silver Surfer, in the 2007 flick Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

Which of these actors do you think did justice to more than one of their comic book characters? Share via comments!

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