Trainwrecks. We see them, we know they're coming and at the same time there's something in us that can't look away. Many of us have heard stories of Hollywood films that almost cast this or that actor in a role they were highly unsuited for. At the same time, there is that part of us that can't help but wonder (and wish) that said actor had actually played that role. Tinseltown is littered with these kinds of bullet dodging stories. With Superhero films being such big business today, it only seems right to delve into the archives and examine some of these near misses. The kind of near misses that would have had resounding effects on cinema and comic book lore for decades to come. We give you 9 Horrible Superhero Casting Ideas That Almost Happened...

[1] Nicolas Cage as Superman

Nicolas Cage as Superman

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Nicolas Cage wasn't always the actor that he is today. Long before he did such films as The Wicker Man and Left Behind, he was an Academy Award winning actor who made turns in such films Raising Arizona and Valley Girl the thing of legend. However, Clark Kent he is not. The script for this incarnation was going to be from Kevin Smith. At the time this made sense. Kevin Smith had a pedigree in comics and his hand on the pulse of youth culture. Kevin Smith even noted that one of the problems might be Nicolas Cage's hairline. Sadly, the problem is that of trying to put a square into a round hole. Nicolas Cage, despite what we think of him now, is a layered actor. He is not a Hollywood everyman. The last thing kids need when they go to the movies is to be scared of Superman. We are not 100% sure why this version of the Man of Steel got shelved, but that probably had something to do with it. That and the fact that Cage is ultimately too subversive for the straight and narrow nature of this role. The new film The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? tells the entire story.

[2] Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones

Tom Selleck as Magnum PI

It had long been thought that Tom Selleck scoffed at the idea of playing the role of Indiana Jones. Even more of a crime, he had apparently chosen Magnum P.I. over this iconic part. Well, Tom Selleck may be many things but he isn't stupid. Apparently, the real reason he did not don the hat and whip was because of his commitments to the show and contract with CBS. This said...Lets be honest. Can we really imagine anybody else but Harrison Ford playing this role at that time in the 1980s. This is not a slag on Tom Selleck. He is a solid actor. It just makes sense that when two buddies named Lucas and Spielberg are making a film, they would go with their friend from the other films they worked on, and that were successful.

[3] Marlon Wayans as Robin

Marlon Wayans as Robin

The interesting thing about this bit of casting trivia is that not only did Marlon Wayans not portray Bruce Wayne's erstwhile sidekick, this movie never happened. The film was going to be Tim Burton's third entry into this universe. Apparently, he and the studio disagreed over the direction of the film...So that is how Joel Schumacher's version came to be. We aren't sure what kind of sidekick Marlon Wayans would have made. We aren't even sure about the chemistry between him and Michael Keaton (who WAS going to do the film). One thing is for sure, this would have been a darn interesting comedic mash-up. It might also have been the funniest (and most talky) Batman ever.

[4] Edward Furlong as Spider-Man

Edward Furlong

Edward Furlong is many things but he's not a bad actor. Edward Furlong is many things but he's not a superhero either. Sure, in The Crow: Wicked Prayer he had to do a few action sequences. But that film played more cerebrally than say Robert Downey, Jr. flying around the screen and crashing through whole buildings on a whim. Apparently, Edward Furlong was in the running when James Cameron was going to helm this film. It seems that he was going to match him with Arnold Schwarzenegger (he would have been Doctor Octopus) in an attempt to rekindle their Terminator 2 magic. Ultimately, the company behind it had money problems which is probably better for all involved.

[5] Jack Black as Green Lantern

Jack Black as Green Lantern

It turns out...People do really listen to the voices of the internet. Apparently, this superhero film was going to be a comedy. I guess that makes sense considering Jack Black's pedigree, but it's probably a good idea that the powers that be went in the Ryan Reynolds direction. The script was going to come from SNL writer Robert Smigel. The fact that this idea got this far along before it was ultimately kiboshed (by an outcry from the internet chorus), says a lot of Jack Black's star power at one time.

[6] Val Kilmer as Captain America

Val Kilmer as Captain America

Because when we think of that All-American hero that will save the world...We think of Val Kilmer. Yeah, we were thinking that same thing. Sure, at one time he played Batman but Val Kilmer was a different Val Kilmer then. We are not saying he is a bad actor, there are just the right roles and the wrong roles and this would have been wrong. Very wrong. Now, Val Kilmer probably could do something interesting with other bad guys (imagine him as Venom or even Bane, perhaps?), but the name Captain America says it all. Ultimately, an actor like Val Kilmer is too suberversive, too iconoclastic (like Nicolas Cage and even Edward Furlong to some degree) to play that title role.

 

[7] Bob Hoskins as The Wolverine

Bob Hoskins as Wolverine

Now, before you start thinking that this idea was brewing in the mind of Bryan Singer, please know that this was merely a "wish" ten years before the movie happened. Chris Claremont, the mind behind many of the X-Men stories, wanted the venerable Bob Hoskins to play this role. Sure, it looks like a completely horrible idea now, but maybe a younger Bob Hoskins could have brought something to this dance? Hugh Jackman, for all of his positives, certainly hasn't owned this character the way that other actors have owned their superhero roles. This isn't to say that one is the better than the other, I just think that this idea might have been less horrible than the others.

[8] Armie Hammer as Batman

Armie Hammer as Batman

This idea was a go picture as part of Warner Bros. Justice League: Mortal before it eventually wasn't. Apparently, taxes, politics and writer's strikes were the real culprits behind this film. So, it wasn't like the studio got cold feet or anything, it just came down to dollars and cents. As for Armie Hammer being Bruce Wayne? I guess there are worse roles for Armie Hammer to inhabit, right? While on the face of it, him playing Bruce Wayne doesn't seem like anything special, I am sure a few people felt the same way before Christian Bale showed what he could do with The Caped Crusader. For now, it seems, we will never know.

[9] Vin Diesel as Any Human Superhero

Vin Diesel as Superman

Okay, this guy has to do more than Groot in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, doesn't he? It seems that he is in talks for some big roles in some future Marvel films but as yet nobody knows what those are. This is obviously something that he can do given what he's shown in the Fast and Furious films and as the character of Richard B. Riddick. However, should he be the good guy? We know what Vin can do! Of course he can save the world...Maybe he should be the guy trying to destroy it? That might be ultimately more interesting than seeing him don the white hat and ride off into the sunset. Imagine him as Bane? Ultron? Sandman? Something other than the guy we all know he can be.

There you have it. Those are nine disasters that were averted just in the knick of time. Do you think any of these actors would have done their role justice had they been given the chance? Or you glad that none of these panned out? Are there any superhero casting choices that did make it through pre-production that you wish had never happened? Sound off in the comments below and let us know your thoughts!

Evan Jacobs at Movieweb
Evan Jacobs