Actor Russel Crowe is the latest addition to the star-studded cast of Thor: Love and Thunder. The fourth solo movie for the Marvel hero Thor is being helmed by Taika Waititi, and stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Chris Pratt and Christian Bale in the pivotal roles. Matt Damon, Melissa McCarthy and Luke Hemsworth will also be seen in a cameo in the film.
Crowe’s role still hasn’t been announced yet but it will definitely be a memorable one, given Waititi’s record with Thor: Ragnarok. However, another memorable role that the seasoned actor played was Jor-El, the father of Kal-El or Superman in the DC Extended Universe films, more recently in Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
Hence, in honour of Crowe joining the MCU, let us take a look at other actors who played memorable roles in both Marvel and DC films.
Christian Bale will be playing the villain in Thor: Love and Thunder. However, one of his most acclaimed roles in Bruce Wayne or Batman in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy. “You either die a hero or see yourself become a villain,” the iconic dialogue said by Harvey Kent in The Dark Knight definitely applies to Bale here.
Ryan Reynolds has repeatedly poked fun at his decision to play Green Lantern in the eponymous 2011 DC film as the foul-mouthed Marvel meta-hero Deadpool or Wade Wilson. In fact in Deadpool 2, which belongs to the X-Men franchise, Wade goes back in time and shoots Reynolds (himself) in the head when he is reading the Green Lantern script. Deadpool has also made several other jokes about the DC character’s green suit and bad CGI. Needless to say that Reynolds is happier playing the Marvel hero than the DC one.
Tom Hardy went on from playing the masked villain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises (2012) to playing the Marvel anti-hero Venom. In the 2018 Sony film, Eddie Brock, who gets merged with a symbiotic alien with lethal abilities and becomes a vigilante with a split personality. Both his roles are super successful and loved.Zachary Levi
Before he played the child-like DC superhero Shazam in 2019, he played Thor’s friend Fandral, in Thor: The Dark World. Fandral’s legacy is a bit complicated, because in the first Thor film, actor Josh Dallas played the role because Levi had to drop the project due to scheduling conflicts. During the 2nd Thor film, he returned, but his role was considerably shorter. In Thor: Ragnarok, Fandral was killed off in a blink-and-miss scene by Hela. We are glad that Levi is getting his due with the Shazam franchise.
Halle Berry first played Storm in X-Men (2000), and X2: X-Men United (2003). She then went on to play the DC anti-hero Catwoman in 2004. However, after the film was a critical and commercial failure, Berry revived her Marvel role in X-Men: Last Stand and X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Our favourite Batman was once Daredevil. In 2003, Affleck played the Marvel character Daredevil, with now ex-wife Jennifer Garner, who played Elektra. Daredevil was a medium hit, but a critical failure. However, Affleck realised his superhero dreams when he played Batman in Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Justice League (2017) and Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021). He also made a cameo in Suicide Squad. If the DC fans will have their way again, he might be seen in more Justice League films by Zack Snyder. Only if the Warner Bros Studios agrees to do them.
Michael Keaton’s caped crusader in 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns, is one of the most successful portrayals of the DC superhero. In a role played to perfection, Keaton really became the hallmark for the future actors to come. He also starred as Vulture, Spider-Man’s nemesis and Peter Parker’s crush’s father in the 2017 film Spider-Man: Homecoming.
JK Simmons’ most iconic character is that of J Jonah Jameson, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Bugle and the harsh critic of Spider-Man in Sam Raini’s films about Marvel’s web-slinging superhero. He also shocked fans when he reprised the role in Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019). But he also played Commissioner James Gordon in Justice League (2016) and Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021). Both these characters are fan favourites but Simmons gets more love for playing the rude J Jonah Jameson.
Danny Huston played General William Stryker in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He hated mutants as his son was one, and he experimented on Logan by putting Adamantium in his body. He also worked in the DCEU film Wonder Woman, where he played the German politician Erich Ludendorff, who Diana fought against in World War 1.
In 2013’s The Wolverine, Tao Okamoto played Mariko Yashida, the heiress of the Yashida Company of Japan whose life is in danger after her grandfather, billionaire Shingen Yashida passes away. Wolverine tries to save her life and then starts a romantic relationship with her. Despite playing the lead role in the highly successful superhero film, she was seen in a small role as Lex Luthor’s secretary in the 2016 film Batman Vs Superman: The Dawn of Justice.
For comic-book fans, Willem Dafoe is Green Goblin. The actor spent early 2000s playing Spider-Man’s arch-nemesis in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films. Most recently, he has appeared as Nuidis Vulko in DC’s Aquaman. He was most recently seen in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, after his role got cut off in the theatrical version completed by Joss Whedon.