Selecting the right character for a role is sometimes a hard thing to do since if the wrong actor is picked then fans are going to let the director and producers have it, and in the meantime, the actor might botch their lines or the role they’re playing in a huge way. Or there could be too much controversy surrounding the actor to allow people to simply enjoy them in a role. There’s usually something, even if it’s benign, that might work against certain actors when they try to step into one role or another, and superhero movies are the type of movies that definitely need the right person for each role, or the movie is likely going to tank in a big way. Superhero movies are especially susceptible to this since the fans tend to want to see their favorite heroes and villains represented by those that they feel personify the characters the best. Trying to find that special someone that can fit the role is sometimes difficult, especially since many fans have a different idea of what should happen, even if their opinion doesn’t really matter all the time.
Here are a few of the riskiest castings in superhero movies that paid off.
5. Christopher Reeve – Superman
Believe this or not, Reeve was not the first overall pick for Superman since the studio wanted someone that had a stronger track record than he did and wasn’t a virtual unknown at that time. But obviously, the idea to put him in the role paid off in a huge way since this is the face that many people have come to know as the man of steel for so long, and the mark that pretty much anyone has to meet in order to even be considered worthy of putting on the suit and cape. Reeve helped to revolutionize the character of Superman in a way that no one else has been able to replicate, but those that have come after have been great in their own ways.
4. Paul Rudd – Ant-Man
Paul Rudd was known more for his comedic skills at this point since to be fair he wasn’t really seen as superhero material and was kind of a shock to see when it came to an MCU movie. But somehow he managed to pull it off since he and Evangeline Lilly somehow found a way to make it work, and the inclusion of Michael Douglas only made it better since the trio went on to create a team that wasn’t entirely cohesive but still became a part of the MCU that has been a great addition and has great potential to continue at this point. He was one of the many changes to the MCU that people have willingly embraced.
3. Chris Evans – Captain America
This wasn’t the biggest risk really since he’s been seen as a good guy in movies before he played Captain America, but speaking in terms of his heroism he did appear as Johnny Storm first in the Fantastic Four, and the issue was whether or not people would believe him to be upright and humble instead of arrogant and prideful as he’d appeared in FF. Plus, his role in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World made it even more difficult to think that people could see him as anything other than an arrogant jerk since this was how he’d been portrayed on screen a couple of different times. People tend to form opinions pretty quickly.
2. Hugh Jackman – X-Men
Very few people knew who Hugh Jackman was before his stint as Wolverine since Dougray Scott was supposed to take this role. When Scott couldn’t make it due to filming a Mission: Impossible movie though the part had to be filled, and Jackman was given a shot. What came of it obviously was something that people couldn’t help but enjoy since Jackman took the role and ran with it in a big way, becoming the clawed mutant in a way that a lot of fans absolutely loved. Had the MCU been in effect back when the X-Men first came out it might have helped out quite a bit, but hopefully, we’ll get to see them eventually.
1. Robert Downey Jr. – Iron Man
RDJ was a huge risk for anyone to take on at one point since his past had a way of being brought up time and time again. As unfair as this can be it was still felt that he was something of a liability since it wasn’t certain if he’d go back to his old ways or not. But when he took on the role of Tony Stark he was given the reigns of something that would eventually become one of the most successful franchises that’s still running. It’s definitely easy to say that without him, the MCU might have been looking quite a bit different at this point.
Sometimes a risk does pay off.