The DC Comics Universe is one of the most diverse and heavily adapted settings in all of fiction. Hundreds of animated series, video games, live-action television shows, and full-length feature films have drawn inspiration from the heroes and villains of these classic comic books. This, in turn, has created numerous opportunities for various actors to bring these beloved characters to life.
Unsurprisingly, some of these actors have been given the chance to play more than one character from the DC Comics Universe. The acting world is built upon shared experiences; directors and casting agents who have a good experience with one actor will be inclined to work with them again. This is particularly true in the voice-acting community, where a talented and flexible artist can take on multiple roles with only the most devout fans with the keenest ears knowing there is only one actor at work.
It should be noted that this is not a comprehensive list and there are several great actors we aren’t mentioning. The goal here is to profile those actors who have portrayed a wide variety of roles who aren’t immediately recognizable in those roles compared to their other work.
With that in mind, here are 20 Actors Who Played Multiple DC Comics Characters.
20. J.K. Simmons
For all the complaints fans seemed to have about the live-action Justice League movie, few seemed to have anything bad to say about J.K. Simmons’ portrayal of Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon. Granted, this may be because Simmons’ role was so small it was almost a cameo, but it cannot be denied that the veteran actor – famous for playing gruff authority figures – had the appropriate sense of authority for Gordon.
Years earlier, Simmons portrayed an entirely different authority figure in Justice League Unlimited, lending his famous voice to General Wade Eiling – the commanding officer of Captain Atom and part of the team behind Project Cadmus, who sought to counter the Justice League. Ironically, Eiling’s paranoia over the dangers posed by metahumans caused him to take an untested formula, which transformed him into a monstrous being.
19. Billy Crudup
First finding fame as aspiring writer Russell Hammond in the film Almost Famous, Billy Crudup reportedly gave up a chance at the lead role in Titanic in order to seek out more challenging roles. Indeed, Crudup’s resume is an eclectic one, with the actor clearly preferring unique projects over those with more mainstream appeal.
It doesn’t get much more unique than Dr. Manhattan – the quantum superbeing who lay at the heart of the classic comic series Watchmen. Given his previous roles, it’s easy to see why playing a man who is all-powerful yet completely powerless in the face of his belief in predestination would appeal to Crudup.
Though not credited in the role, Crudup was easily identifiable when he did a cameo in the Justice League movie as Dr. Henry Allen – the father of Barry Allen (aka The Flash), who was falsely accused of his wife’s murder.
18. Erica Durance
Playing Lois Lane was a dream come true for actress Erica Durance. The strong-willed reporter and continual foil of Clark Kent was reportedly Durance’s favorite comic book character growing up. Introduced in the fourth season of Smallville, Durance’s take on the classic character was voted the greatest Lois Lane of all time in a poll conducted for one episode of Attack of the Show!
After going on to star in the supernatural medical drama Saving Hope, Durance recently returned to the DC Comics Universe. After Laura Benanti proved unavailable for the third season of Supergirl, Durance was recast into the role of Supergirl’s mother, Alura Zor-El.
Durance also portrayed J’onn J’onzz in the episode “Midvale”, where the shape-shifting J’onn was posing as an FBI agent named Noel Neill – a clever reference to the first actress to play Lois Lane on-screen.
17. Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Though most famous today for his role as the murderous Negan, The Walking Dead is far from being actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s first work in a project based on a comic book. Morgan was a notable presence in Zack Snyder’s film adaptation of the classic comic Watchmen, playing the role of Eddie Blake – the vigilante turned soldier who was known as The Comedian.
Morgan less famously appeared in the lead role of Clay in the film adaptation of The Losers – a Vertigo Comics’ series about a CIA squad who decide to take out their superiors after being left for dead. Morgan also played Jeb Turnbull in the Jonah Hex movie, though he was not credited for his work.
He also wasn’t credited for his cameo in Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, where he appeared as Bruce Wayne’s father, Dr. Thomas Wayne.
16. Summer Glau
Though she’s probably most famous for her work with writer/director Joss Whedon on Firefly, Serenity, and Dollhouse, actress Summer Glau has appeared in a wide variety of science-fiction and action television series.
Glau lent her voice to the character of Kara Zor-El in the animated movie Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. Despite the title, the soon-to-be Supergirl was the focus of the film, which told the tale of how Kara came to Earth and was trained in how to fight and control her powers by Wonder Woman.
Glau also portrayed the character of Isabel Rochev – a vicious corporate raider with a grudge against The Queen Family – in the second season of Arrow. In a serious change from the comics, Rochev would also adopt the identity of Ravager and assist Slade Wilson in his bid for revenge against Oliver Queen.
15. Jackie Earle Haley
One of the rare child actors who made a comeback after dropping out of acting for several years, Jackie Earle Haley has gone on to become one of Hollywood’s most prominent villain actors. While few praised the 2010 attempt to reboot the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, most agreed that Haley was a worthy replacement in the role of the murderous Freddy Kruger.
Haley’s talent for playing creepy characters served him well in bringing the disturbed vigilante Rorschach to life in the film adaptation of Watchmen. It also made Haley the perfect choice to portray Odin Quincannon – the chief villain of the first season of Preacher. Though the character was heavily toned down from original Garth Ennis comics, Haley still captured the essence of the disturbed meat-processing magnate.
14. Laura Vandervoort
With her long blonde hair, baby blue eyes and girl-next-door looks, Laura Vandervoort certainly looked like the perfect person to portray Kara Zor-El in Smallville when it was decided to introduce Kal-El’s cousin into the series during the show’s seventh season. Though her appearances in later seasons were limited, there is a generation of Super-fans for whom Vandervoort is still their Supergirl.
Vandervoort took on a villainous role when she returned to the DC Comics Universe, playing the murderous android Indigo in the first season of the 2015 Supergirl series. While purists complained about the changes to the character from the comics – and that the costume design made Indigo look like a cheap cosplay of Mystique – few found fault with Vandervoort’s performance.
13. Sean Maher
The character of Mark “Shrapnel” Scheffer introduced into the Arrrowverse is quite different from his comic book counterpart. The original Shrapnel was a metahuman – a monster made of living metal who could continually explode, only to reform completely unscathed. The Arrow version was an anti-government militiaman who bombed several government buildings in Starling City before being brought to justice.
Sean Maher played the terrorist, who was briefly recruited into the Suicide Squad before he unwisely tried to escape. It was then he discovered that Amanda Waller was not lying about the bomb that was implanted in his head.
More recently, Maher lent his voice to Dick “Nightwing” Grayson in several DC Comics animated movies. These include Son of Batman, Batman Vs. Robin, Batman: Bad Blood, Justice League Vs. Teen Titans, and Teen Titans: The Judas Contract.
12. Tom Welling
For ten years and across two networks, actor Tom Welling portrayed Clark Kent in the series Smallville. While the series’ digital effects have not aged well and many have joked about Welling being the only actor to play Superman without being Superman (the final episode ended with Welling unbuttoning his shirt to reveal the S-shield before we ever got to see him in the familiar cape and tights), Smallville is still widely regarded as being responsible for helping pave the way for the Arrowverse of today.
Welling’s role as Police Lieutenant Marcus Pierce on Lucifer led to a second DC Comics legacy role, when it was revealed that Pierce was secretly Cain – the first murderer according to The Bible, and a villain who is extremely different in the comics.
11. Gina Torres
Gina Torres has built her career on playing strong women, but is also known for her ability to play comedy as well as she plays the heavy. These talents made her a favorite of directors Sam Raimi and Joss Whedon. Raimi cast her as Cleopatra in Xena: Warrior Princess and later cast her in the role of the warrior woman Helen in Cleopatra 2525. Whedon cast Torres as Jasmine on Angel and Zoe in Firefly.
Torres lent her powerful voice to Mari “Vixen” McCabe in Justice League Unlimited before going on to voice Superwoman – an evil alternate universe doppelganger of Wonder Woman – in the animated movie Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. Torres also provided the voice for Wonder Woman in the DC Universe Online role-playing game.
10. Michael Rosenbaum
Michael Rosenbaum famously played Lex Luthor for ten years on Smallville, winning praise for how smoothly and naturally he was able to play the transition from being Clark Kent’s closest friend to his deadliest enemy. The role showed Rosenbaum’s versatility as an actor – a quality that was also apparent in Rosenbaum’s voice-over work.
At the same time he was playing Lex Luthor, Rosenbaum was also playing multiple roles on Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Most famous for voicing the Wally West incarnation of The Flash, Rosenbaum also voiced the Green Lantern Arkkis Chummuckof in addition to playing the villains Doctor Polaris and Deadshot. He also played Lex Luthor, in the episode “The Great Brain Robbery” where Wally West and Lex Luthor switched bodies. Rosenbaum would play Wally West yet again in the animated movie Justice League: Doom and also played Kid Flash on Teen Titans.
9. Nathan Fillion
When it was announced that DC Comics would be making a live-action movie based on Green Lantern, a movement arose among fans of the series to draft Nathan Fillion for the role of Hal Jordan.
Best known to mainstream audiences for playing the role of writer Richard Castle in the crime series Castle, Fillion was thought to be a perfect fit for Hal Jordan’s flight-suit based on his portrayal of Captain Malcolm Reynolds on the short-lived but much-beloved sci-fi/western Firefly.
The fan effort was not successful, though Fillion would go on to play Hal Jordan in four different animated features – Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, Justice League: Doom, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox and Justice League: Throne of Atlantis. Fillion also lent his voice to another famous DC Comics pilot, playing Steve Trevor in the 2009 Wonder Woman movie. Finally, Fillion played the cowboy-themed hero Vigilante in Justice League Unlimited.
8. Alan Tudyk
It’s hard to say what role has made Alan Tudyk most beloved to animation and science-fiction audiences. Ironically his most notable roles – the droid K-2SO in Star Wars: Rogue One and King Candy in Wreck-It Ralph – are probably the ones where he is least recognizable. Still, it is a credit to Tudyk’s skill as an actor that he can portray such a wide variety of characters.
Although the series Powerless did not last long, Tudyk’s performance as Van Wayne (an obscure cousin of Bruce Wayne from the Pre-Crisis comics) was one of the series’ few bright spots. Tudyk found more lasting fame providing the voice for Green Arrow in Young Justice – a role that he later recreated for the video games Injustice: Gods Among Us, Injustice 2 and Infinite Crisis.
7. Morena Baccarin
Though she’s probably more famous now for playing Wade Wilson’s dream girl Vanessa in the movie Deadpool, Morena Baccarin has far more experience playing in the DC Comics toy box than with Marvel. Baccarin’s most famous television role is that of Dr. Leslie Thompkins on Gotham, where Baccarin played a twisted take on the character who, in the comics, became a foster-mother of sorts to Bruce Wayne.
Baccarin also lent her voice to the artificial-intelligence Gideon in the first season of The Flash, but this was not the first time she voiced a DC Comics character. She voiced Dinah Lance (aka Black Canary) in three episodes of Justice League Unlimited. She also provided the voice for The Cheetah in Batman: The Brave and the Bold and played the role of Talia Al Ghul in both Batman: Bad Blood and Son Of Batman.
6. Clancy Brown
Famous for his deep, resonant voice and threatening physiology, Clancy Brown cuts an impressive figure at 6′ 3 1/2″ tall. What’s truly impressive, however, is the wide variety of roles Brown has played in his long and distinguished career. It astonishes many to discover that the same man who played The Kurgan in the original Highlander is also the voice of Mr. Krabs from Spongebob Squarepants!
Brown is beloved by DC Comics fans for his portrayal of Lex Luthor on Superman, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Brown also provided the voice for Parallax in the 2011 Green Lantern movie, though the Parallax of the movie was quite different from the character in the comics. Brown also appeared as the sinister General Wade Eiling in the first season of The Flash.
5. Carl Lumbly
Carl Lumbly was no stranger to playing superheroes even before he was cast in the role of the Martian Manhunter, J’onn J’onzz, in Justice League and Justice League Unlmited. Lumbly played the lead role of Dr. Miles Hawkins – a paralyzed doctor who walked again and fought crime with the aid of a special exoskeleton – in the short-lived superhero drama M.A.N.T.I.S.
Lumbly’s resonant tones have given voice to other characters besides J’onn J’onzz. He played both the Tornado Tyrant and the Tornado Champion on Batman: The Brave and The Bold. He also portrayed Dr. Silas Stone – the scientist father of Victor “Cyborg” Stone – in Justice League: Gods and Monsters and was most recently seen in a reoccurring role as J’onn J’onzz’s father, the Martian priest M’yrnn J’onzz, on Supergirl.
4. Maria Canals-Barrera
Though she’s widely recognized today for a variety of roles in various sitcoms and family films, many would argue that Maria Canals-Barrera found her big break in the role of Shayera Hol (aka Hawkgirl) in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Canals-Barrera’s spirited performance as the alien spy turned superhero made Shayera’s redemption arc one of the most powerful stories told in the DC Animated Universe. She also provided the voice for Justice League member Beatriz de Costa (aka Fire).
Years later, Maria Canals-Barrera would portray another strong-willed redhead in both parts of the animated adaptation of the classic Batman graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns. Canals-Barrera gave her voice to Ellen Yindel – the vigilante-hating cop who becomes the new Commissioner of Gotham City’s Police Department in the wake of Jim Gordon’s retirement.
3. Phil LaMarr
One of the most in-demand voice actors in the world, the odds are good that you’ve heard Phil LaMarr’s voice in something if you’ve ever seen a cartoon or played a video game. LaMarr’s profile page on IMDb credits him with being part of just under 400 individual projects and he has played multiple roles for several of those projects.
LaMarr is probably most famous for providing the voice of Virgil Hawkins (aka Static) in the Static Shock animated series and for playing Green Lantern John Stewart in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. He currently plays both Lucius Fox and Killer Moth on DC Super Hero Girls. You can also hear him as Aquaman in both the Young Justice animated series and the Injustice series of video games.
2. Tara Strong
While Warner Brothers doesn’t have an “official” voice of Harley Quinn, Strong has played multiple variations of the character since 2011. These include the Harley Quinn of Batman: Arkham City, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Injustice 2, Lego Batman 3, DC Super Hero Girls and Justice League Action.
Tara Strong has also lent her voice to Poison Ivy on DC Super Hero Girls and plays both Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy in Scooby Doo & Batman: The Brave And The Bold. She has also played the role of Barbara Gordon multiple times, having played Batgirl in The New Batman Adventures, Super Best Friends Forever, and the animated film adaptation of Batman: The Killing Joke.
Tara Strong also provides the voice for Raven on both Teen Titans Go! and the original Teen Titans.
1. Mark Hamill
Mark Hamill hardly needs an introduction as an actor – or a voice actor. One of the most prolific voice actors in the world, Hamill rejuvenated his career with his portrayal of The Joker on Batman: The Animated Series. Today, Hamill is as almost as famous for playing The Joker in various projects as he is for playing Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films.
After The Joker, Hamill is probably most famous for playing The Flash villain The Trickster. Hamill has played five different variations on James Jesse in both animation and live-action. He finally got the chance to team the two comedic criminals in a Justice League Action short that saw The Trickster and The Joker teaming up to… kidnap Mark Hamill.
Hamill also provides the voice for Swamp Thing on Justice League Action and voiced Solomon Grundy in Justice League.
Who is your favorite DC Comics acting alumni? Let us know in the comments!
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