The proliferation of comic book films in our cinemas has lead to a slew of our finest actors taking their turn in the superhero spotlight. The casting of a new Iron Man, or Captain Marvel – or Wonder Woman – is as important as choosing the right story to adapt for the big screen. The actors become larger than life, with a far wider audience than before, and with far greater purpose. To many young children they will become heroes themselves, role models for thousands.

While some of the safer choices have borne out well (Chris Evans for Captain America is a sterling example) others have taken us by surprise. Here are ten comic book heroes whose casting left us a little uncertain.

10. Sir Ben Kingsley as…Trevor?!


Though he may not be of Chinese descent, Marvel’s decision to cast Sir Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin was still hailed by comic book fans as a perfect choice. After all, a quick glance at his IMDb page is proof enough that Kingsley has the right sort of background for such a role, and what we saw of the character in the trailers for Iron Man 3 indicated that he would be a truly terrifying villain.

So, based on all that, what’s he doing here?

Well, as we would soon discover, Marvel had in actual fact cast the legendary actor as Trevor, a washed up alcoholic and drug addled British actor who had been hired by A.I.M. to simply impersonate the REAL Mandarin (who we have yet to meet in the Marvel Cinematic Universe). This was a huge twist, and you have to admire Marvel’s moxie for taking an actor like Kingsley and giving him this type of unexpected role.


9. Henry Cavill as Superman


Taking on a role like Superman is no easy feat; just ask Brandon Routh, an actor whose career was almost ended after he was forced to follow in the footsteps of Christopher Reeve in Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns.

Superman is a comic book character with an awful lot of history and fans each have their own favourite version. With Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel looking for a Clark Kent who was neither a teen as in Smallville or a Reeve lookalike as in Returns, he chose little known British actor Henry Cavill. The decision to cast a Brit as an American icon was not well-received by some comic book fanboys, but Cavill would more than prove himself capable of playing this beloved character in the 2013 movie.

Let’s see if he returns in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, out in November.


8. Chris Pratt as Star-Lord

Star Lord

As is almost always the case when it comes to casting a big superhero role, a number of actors emerged as frontrunners to play Star-Lord before Guardians of the Galaxy started shooting. Among them were the kind of men it wasn’t hard to imagine playing the charismatic leading man of a big budget blockbuster, something which made the choice of Chris Pratt all the more surprising, especially based on his grand physique in Parks and Recreation.

However, after getting into shape for a rugged turn in the critically acclaimed Zero Dark Thirty, fans actually embraced this seemingly unusual choice, and now that Guardians of the Galaxy has been released and is officially 2014’s highest grossing superhero movie, we can all agree that Marvel definitely made the right decision.

Pratt will next be seen as the lead in Jurassic World 2 alongside the returning Jeff Goldblum.


7. Michael Douglas as Hank Pym

Hank Pym

This surprising move by the unpredictable Marvel Studios gives us yet another unexpected casting decision for a well-known comic book character. Hank Pym was the original Ant-Man and a founding member of The Avengers, not to mention the creator of Ultron. Understandably, comic book fans assumed it would be Pym who would take centre stage in the long talked about Ant-Man movie.

Of course, Paul Rudd would end up being cast as Scott Lang proving that the focus would be elsewhere, but many still believe we’d still get to see Pym in some capacity. Fans were gobsmacked then when an actor of Michael Douglas’ age was cast, completely shaking up the dynamic these two characters have as they’ve always been portrayed as roughly the same age.

The two will reunite in Ant-Man and The Wasp, due out next year…


6. Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask


There’s nothing particularly special about Bolivar Trask, so you have to hand it to X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer and 20th Century Fox for choosing to go a very different route by casting Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage.

It added something new to the otherwise bland creator of the Sentinels and you can’t fault Dinklage’s performance based on what he was given to work with (which wasn’t much). Given his stature, it’s a great shame that the otherwise fantastic “inbetweenquel” failed to capitalise on what – if anything – that might have to do with his persecution of the mutant race.

As someone so different, could Trask not relate? Was he not overcompensating for his height by creating giant killer robots? None of this was addressed, unfortunately making Trask one of this franchise’s most forgettable adversaries.