Summary

  • Many actors have appeared in both Marvel and DC projects, taking on various roles and contributing to the popularity of the superhero genre.
  • DC initially led the way with popular Batman movies in the past, but Marvel has since surpassed them and left them trying to catch up.
  • Both film studios are constantly in need of new actors, and the popularity of Marvel and DC films has launched the careers of lesser-known actors into the spotlight.

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Several actors have appeared in both Marvel and DC projects in a variety of movies and TV shows. Superhero movies saw a renaissance with the debut of the MCU in 2008, but the genre goes back decades. DC found themselves on top with popular Batman movies in the ’80s and ’90s, but since then, Marvel has stormed ahead and left DC trying to catch up. With reboots, spin-offs, and rights issues, it’s difficult to keep track of every continuity taking place within the two franchises. DC is now running multiple different universes, but things are more complicated for Marvel as the MCU timeline is in the midst of the Multiverse Saga.

With so many projects based on both Marvel and DC Comics, the film studios are always in need of new actors. The popularity of these brands has routinely attracted major names, but has also helped to turn lesser-known actors into household names. Because DC and Marvel Studios movies have such a pull, actors seem willing to take full leading roles, positions as supporting cast, or even blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameos. Here is a comprehensive list of the many actors in both Marvel and DC films and TV shows.

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Adam Beach Played Slipknot & William Lonestar

Suicide Squad (2016) & The New Mutants (2020)

Suicide Squad

First up on DC and Marvel actors is Adam Beach, who has only had a couple of noteworthy appearances in superhero movies. In 2016, Beach played Slipknot in DC’s Suicide Squad, but his character was quickly killed off to showcase the legitimacy of Amanda Waller’s back-up plan. More recently, he featured in Fox’s The New Mutants in 2020, set within the X-Men franchise, as Dani Moonstar’s father William Lonestar, another role where he was quickly killed off to move the plot forward.

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje Played Algrim & Killer Croc

Thor: The Dark World (2013) & Suicide Squad (2016)

Kurse breaks Loki out of his cell in Thor The Dark World

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje made his first appearance in a superhero movie in 2013. He joined the MCU in Thor: The Dark World where he played the Dark Elf Algrim. This was the end of his MCU tenure, but he then played Killer Croc in 2016’s Suicide Squad in the now-defunct DCEU. There has been no word on Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s return to the franchise following James Gunn and Peter Safran’s takeover of DC Studios.

Alice Barga Played Cecillia Reyes & Sol Soria

The New Mutants (2020) & The Suicide Squad (2021)

Sol Soria holding a gun in The Suicide Squad

Alice Braga made her name when she starred opposite Will Smith in I Am Legend, and in recent years, she’s managed to add being one of the actors shared by DC and Marvel to her resume. In Fox’s The New Mutants, Braga played Cecilia Reyes, an agent of Essex Corp who was working to slowly recruit the main characters into the organization. More recently, she had a part in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad as Sol Soria, the leader of the resistance in Corto Maltese.

Angela Bassett Played Amanda Waller & Queen Ramonda

Green Lantern (2011) & Black Panther (2018)

Angela Bassett in Black Panther

Angela Bassett got her start in superhero films as a cast member in DC’s Green Lantern. She played Amanda Waller in the 2011 movie, a role that was taken over by Viola Davis in David Ayer’s 2016 adaptation of Suicide Squad. Bassett then joined the MCU in 2018 as T’Challa’s mother, a.k.a. the Black Panther’s mother Queen Ramonda. She has appeared in Black Panther, Avengers: Endgame, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the latter of which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Ben Affleck Played Daredevil & Batman

Daredevil (2003) & Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016)

Ben Affleck first played a superhero in 2003’s Daredevil as blind lawyer and crime-fighting vigilante Matt Murdock. Over a decade later, Affleck joined the DCEU as Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Batman, debuting in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opposite Henry Cavill’s Superman. This led to a cameo appearance in Suicide Squad, and subsequent starring positions in both Joss Whedon’s Justice League and Zack Snyder’s Justice League, with a final return as Batman in The Flash.

Ben Mendelsohn Played Roland Daggett & Talos

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) & Captain Marvel (2019)

Ben Mendelsohn as a Skrull Captain Marvel

Ben Mendelsohn originally portrayed Roland Daggett in The Dark Knight Rises, the third installment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The short-lived role left room for Mendelsohn to join the MCU a few years later as the Skrull Talos. His debut as Talos came in 2019’s Captain Marvel, and he made a surprising return in Spider-Man: Far From Home the following year. Mendelsohn will reprise the role for Phase 5’s Secret Invasion on Disney+ along with his co-star Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.

Brett Cullen Played Barton Blaze, Thomas Wayne, & An Unnamed Congressman

Ghost Rider (2007), Joker (2019) & The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Brett Cullen has appeared as three separate characters across Marvel and DC films. He originally played Barton Blaze, the father of Johnny Blaze, in Ghost Rider, which debuted Nicolas Cage in the titular role. Cullen then switched to DC to play a congressional representative in The Dark Knight Rises, before playing Thomas Wayne, Batman’s father, during 2019’s Joker.

Brian Tyree Henry Played Carl, Jefferson Davis, & Phastos

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018), Joker (2019) & Eternals (2021)

Jefferson Davis looking up

Brian Tyree Henry is a fairly new name on the superhero movie scene, but has built his strong reputation very quickly. Henry was then the voice of Miles Morales’ father, Jefferson Davis, in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and then featured as a surprise addition to the cast of Joker, in which he played an Arkham clerk named Carl. Henry then fully appeared in the MCU as Phastos in Eternals, and is expected to reprise the role in future MCU projects.

Chris Evans Played Johnny Storm, Captain America, & Jake Jensen

Fantastic Four (2005), The Losers (2010), & Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Chris Evans is best known for his MCU role of Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, but he played other comic book characters before hitting the jackpot in 2011. Evans played Johnny Storm a.k.a. the Human Torch in Fantastic Four and its sequel, Rise of the Silver Surfer between 2005 and 2007. Then, he played Jake Jensen in The Losers, a film based on a DC Vertigo comic. It was in 2011 that Evans debuted as Captain America in the MCU, the most famous Chris Evans comic book superhero character, before he eventually retired the role in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame.

Chris Pine Played Steve Trevor & Spider-Man

Wonder Woman (2017) & Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018)

Chris Pine's Spider-Man in Into the Spider-Verse

Chris Pine debuted as Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman and returned for its sequel, Wonder Woman 1984, despite his character’s death during the events of the original film. In addition to this, Pine also provided the voice for Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Sony’s animated exploration of the Spider-Verse.

Christian Bale Played Batman & Gorr The God Butcher

Batman Begins (2005) & Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)

Bruce Wayne looking at his Batman costume

Before the MCU existed, Christian Bale was already working to bring superhero movies back, as he appeared in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy in the eponymous role. Starting out with Batman Begins in 2005, he returned for The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises before retiring from the role. In 2022, Bale made his first appearance in the MCU as Gorr the God Butcher in Thor: Love and Thunder, a villain who renounces the powers of the gods and seeks to wipe them from existence.

Chukwudi Iwuji Played Clemson Murn & The High Evolutionary

Peacemaker Season 1 (2022) & Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)

Chukwudi Iwuji Guardians of the Galaxy

Chukwudi Iwuji made his DC debut as alien-possessed mercenary Clemson Murn in Peacemaker on HBO Max, but the alien is unlikely to appear as Murn again season 2, since he died during season 1. Iwuji also joined the MCU, where he plays the High Evolutionary, the main antagonist of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and the creator of Rocket, whose backstory is explored in the Phase 5 film.

Ciarán Hinds Played Mephisto & Steppenwolf

Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance (2011) & Justice League (2017)

Steppenwolf looking up in Zack Snyder's Justice League

Ciarán Hinds has often been seen as the villain in a variety of DC and Marvel projects. His first came with Marvel as he played Roarke, a.k.a. Mephisto, in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. More recently, Hinds was the voice of Steppenwolf in Justice League. Hinds later reprised the role in Zack Snyder’s Justice League on HBO Max.

Clancy Brown Played Parallax & Surtur (& More)

Green Lantern (2011) & Thor: Ragnarok (2017) (& More)

Parallax from the Green Lantern movie

Clancy Brown hasn’t physically appeared in a Marvel of DC superhero film, but he has provided the voice for two separate villains. Brown voiced Parallax in 2011’s Green Lantern, and years later, he joined the cast of Thor: Ragnarok to bring Surtur to life. His superhero voice acting credits go beyond the movies, however, with extensive appearances in both DC and Marvel Comics animated productions dating back to his 1996 appearance as Sasquatch in The Incredible Hulk TV series.

Danny Huston Played Stryker & General Ludendorff

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) & Wonder Woman (2017)

Danny Huston as William Stryker using a walkie talkie in X-Men Origins Wolverine

Danny Huston is another comic book villain veteran. He got his start playing Stryker in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where he was a younger version of the character Brian Cox played in Fox’s previous X-Men films. Huston then joined the cast of Wonder Woman to play the German General Ludendorff, whom Diana believes to be the Greek God Ares.

David Dastmalchian Played Thomas Schiff & Polka-Dot Man (Among Others)

The Dark Knight (2008), Ant-Man (2015), The Flash (2017), Gotham (2017), The Suicide Squad (2021) & Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania (2023)

The Polka-Dot Man fires up his wrist gauntlets to fight Starro in The Suicide Squad

David Dastmalchian’s first comic book role was as Thomas Schiff, one of Joker’s thugs, in The Dark Knight. He entered the MCU in 2015’s Ant-Man as Kurt, one of Scott Lang’s criminal team, and reprised the role in the sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp. He voiced the role of Veb in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, a slime-like creature living in the Quantum Realm. He returned to DC to play The Flash‘s Abra Kadabra, played another Joker henchman of sorts in his role as Dwight Pollard in Gotham season 3 and was later cast in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad as Polka-Dot Man.

David Harbour Played Red Guardian & Dexter Tolliver

Black Widow (2021) & Suicide Squad (2016)

David Harbour as Red Guardian in Black Widow

In 2021, David Harbour entered the MCU as the Russian super-soldier Alexei Shostakov, a.k.a. the Red Guardian, in Black Widow, a role he will reprise for Phase 5’s Thunderbolts crossover film. Before that, he portrayed Dexter Tolliver in 2016’s Suicide Squad, a liaison between the US Government and the Suicide Squad who helps Amanda Waller to get approval for Task Force X. He also appeared in the 2019 Hellboy movie reboot. However, while the character has appeared in DC crossovers, the character himself belongs to neither Marvel nor DC.

Djimon Hounsou Played Midnite & Korath (And More)

Constantine (2005), Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014), Aquaman (2018), & Shazam! (2019)

The wizard Shazam holds his staff in a cave in Shazam!

Djimon Hounsou has appeared in several different DC and Marvel movies. His first appearance with DC came when he played Midnite in Constantine. Hounsou then moved to the MCU to play Korath in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, a role that he reprised for 2019’s Captain Marvel. He later returned to DC to voice King Ricou in Aquaman, and most recently portrayed the Wizard in Shazam! and its 2023 sequel, Shazam! Fury of the Gods.

Doug Jones Played Silver Surfer & Thin Clown

Batman Returns (1992) & Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer (2007)

Silver Surfer in Rise of The Silver Surfer

Doug Jones’ first appearance in a superhero film was in Batman Returns, albeit in a minor role. There, he played one of Penguin’s henchmen in the Red Triangle Gang, credited as Thin Clown. Years later, Jones would play the Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, although Laurence Fishburne would be the one providing the voice.

Faran Tahir Played Raza & Ra’s Al Ghul

Iron Man (2008) & Injustice (2021)

Ra's al Ghul

Faran Tahir got his start as Nathoo in the 1994 live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book, and since then, he’s taken on a variety of roles, including ones in DC and Marvel. In 2008, Tahir was in Iron Man as Raza, the Ten Rings commander who was hired by Obadiah Stane to kill Tony Stark. More recently, Tahir voiced Ra’s al Ghul in DC’s Injustice.

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