Should Superhero Films Cast Big Name Stars or Lesser-Known Actors?

Christian Bale as BatmanWarner Bros via Everett Collection

For every actor or actress cast in a superhero film, there has been/will be some kind of controversy or uproar. The biggest of the past year, of course, was Batfleck. (Cue all the Batman-with-a-Boston-accent jokes.) Then there was Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. The list could go on for ages. But is there something to be said for studios willing to cast a relatively unknown actor in the role rather than a big name star?

Usually the issue fans take with any casting is that the actor or actress may not have the right appearance or body type to fit the character — or that they don’t have the right resume. With Ben Affleck, many blame Daredevil (which was a total flop) on the actor, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t be a fantastic Batman. 

For similar reasons, Rudd has been criticized for his role in the upcoming Ant-Man film since he is primarily known for comedy rather than action. However, even Gadot — who has a background in action films — was criticized because she didn’t fit the appearance of Wonder Woman as originated by Lynda Carter

Fans are hesitant about casting choices because they don’t know whether the decisions were made based on talent or star power. If DC and Marvel are stunt casting — making decisions with the sole purpose of generating media attention — then those films will not turn out well and fans will be disappointed.

However, in the past, the studios have cast big stars like Robert Downey Jr. or Chris Evans and they were perfect for their roles. The same can be said for lesser-known stars like Christian Bale and Henry Cavill. It’s not whether studios should cast big name stars or lesser known actors and actresses, studios should cast whoever is right for the role.