Some of the most exciting news from the D23 Expo came in the form of new info on upcoming MCU projects like Thunderbolts and Secret Invasion. However, not all roles in these projects have gotten the same level of immediate positivity from fans. David Harbour’s return to the MCU got a standing ovation, while Olga Kurylenko’s return as Taskmaster appeared to give fans pause.
It is not out of the ordinary for fans to question casting decisions, especially when source material specifies a character’s traits. Reddit users recently came together to reflect on the casting choices they were apprehensive of that proved to be great decisions.
10/10 Michael Keaton – Batman
Michael Keaton’s range as a performer is apparent, as he’s proven he can play both dramatic and comedic roles. Before playing Batman, his talent wasn’t so clear.
Reddit user percygreen admits, “Michael Keaton as Batman was a real head-scratcher when it was announced. He was known for comedies and the thought of someone who was not an action star threw doubt on a movie that many already thought would wind up being too campy to succeed.” A campy movie with a lead comedic actor will usually result in an even camper film, so it is understandable that fans were worried. Thankfully, Keaton’s Batman helped the movie rather than hurt it, and he became known as one of the best actors of his time.
9/10 Bryan Cranston – Walter White
Breaking Bad (2008 – 2013)
Breaking Bad‘s Walter White has one of the saddest TV backstories of all time. Bryan Cranston played this tragic character, and while fans adore his performance, many had reservations about his initial casting.
Before Breaking Bad, Cranston was widely known for his comedic family projects. This fact had fans questioning why he was chosen for the part of Walt. Reddit user DragoonDM confesses, “I really didn’t expect I’d be able to take the main character of Breaking Bad seriously having previously only been familiar with Bryan Cranston as Hal from Malcolm In The Middle… I was pleasantly surprised at how well he ended up working in that role.” Cranston is the perfect example of an actor who showed their true potential once he stopped being typecast.
8/10 Lady Gaga – Ally
A Star Is Born (2018)
Lady Gaga is primarily known as a singer, but she can also act, and A Star Is Born is one of the first projects she’s taken on to prove it.
Lady Gaga has always been able to capture the media’s attention, and this time was no different. Fruitporridge remembers, “When it was announced she was playing the lead role, there was such massive outrage. News websites [started] writing articles about how it’s gonna be the worst movie ever made. Gaga got the last laugh. A Star Is Born received universal acclaim, it was a huge box office smash.” Lady Gaga went from being spoken about negatively to being awarded for her role in the film. This goes to show that no one should ever underestimate her.
7/10 Chris Evans – Steve Rogers
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
When it was revealed that Steve Rogers would be joining the MCU, Chris Evans isn’t who many fans had in mind.
There were mixed reactions to Chris Evans’ casting announcement, and fans were doubtful he could pull off the character. The_Trauma_Llama admits, “I was one of those who was convinced that Chris Evans would make a terrible Captain America… there were a bunch of us idiots. ‘The guy who was already in a mediocre Marvel film, him? They’re going to trust him to represent an already boring C-list comic book character? Hoo boy, this Marvel experiment is going to fail.'” Of course, this Reddit user acknowledges how wrong he was. Evans was a fantastic Captain America, and the MCU has reaped success over and over again.
6/10 Robert Pattinson – Batman
The Batman (2022)
Rob Pattinson was never a fan of the franchise that made him a household name. Since the Twilight films ended, he’s been trying to show the world he can play other types of roles.
WindingRoad10 says, “I, personally wasn’t super apprehensive [about Pattinson’s casting,] but I talked to plenty of friends who were…and they were pleasantly surprised. I think any Batman castings going forward should reserve judgment until the film is released.” They have a point. In addition to Keaton and Pattinson, other Batman actors such as Ben Affleck were listed in this thread. It’s become clear that no matter who is cast in this role, there will be apprehensions about it. As for Pattinson, fans are probably done referring to him as “that Twilight guy.”
5/10 Daniel Craig – James Bond
Casino Royale (2006)
Several actors have played James Bond since Dr. No in 1963, and every new casting is met with controversy. Daniel Craig’s cast announcement was no exception.
There was mass hysteria over the casting of Daniel Craig as the iconic super spy, with fans of the character posting campaigns and creating hate sites dedicated to Craig. Jdogy2022 says, “A lot of the diehard Bond purists still think he was [the worst]… I [personally love Craig’s films] and they may become some of my favorite films of all time.” While some people remain steadfast in how they feel about Craig, most can agree his stint as the spy was brilliant.
4/10 Jamie Foxx – Django
Django Unchained (2012)
Quentin Tarantino did it again when Django Unchained was released in 2012. Jamie Foxx played the titular character, and he went on to win several awards for his performance.
Comedians can play dramatic roles too. Keaton and Cranston prove this with their respective roles, and Foxx became another example of this when he played Django. This Reddit user says, “I saw [Jamie Foxx] in earlier movies and knew he had acting chops, but I still thought of him as a comedian, so I was hesitant going into this movie. I was very wrong, and since Ray and Dreamgirls failed to convince me, I’m glad I watched Django.” Foxx traded his jokes for dramatics and surprised many viewers with his beautifully dark performance in the movie.
3/10 Kristen Stewart – Princess Diana
Kristen Stewart is known primarily for playing Bella in the Twilight movies. Since the franchise’s end, Stewart has explored other genres and different kinds of characters.
AwkwardSwine101 acknowledges their initial doubts about Stewart in this role, admitting, “At first, I was like hmm… that’s a strange casting choice, but at the same time, I was curious. I saw the movie and was floored. She did spectacular as Princess Diana.” Reddit user OfferOk8555 even goes so far as to say it was their “favorite performance of last year.” Spencer is arguably Stewart’s furthest deviation from Twilight, and she nailed it, bringing emotion and depth to every scene.
2/10 Heath Ledger – Joker
The Dark Knight (2008)
The Joker has been portrayed by several amazing actors over the years. Before The Dark Knight was released, fans were skeptical of Heath Ledger’s ability to play this iconic Batman villain.
Reddit user veszerin remembers the initial reaction to Ledger’s casting announcement, saying, “A lot of people were very skeptical, and he ended up knocking it out of the park.” User arealhumannotabot recounts one of the best scenes of the movie, commenting, “The pencil trick… gave me a strong reaction, and then as it plays out, here he is just as menacing in a brightly lit room during the day. No jump scare, mysterious music cue, or weird lighting. Just pure character.” Ledger’s performance was so great that it’s hard to believe there was any doubt about his capability in the first place.
1/10 Hugh Jackman – Wolverine
Wolverine is a fan-favorite character from the Marvel Comics and the X-Men films. Hugh Jackman’s stint as the clawed man, however, wasn’t always praised.
SkylarkBlaze goes into a spiel about Jackman’s performance, stating, “Physically, Hugh was not the right body type… BUT he won me over… He portrayed Logan/Wolverine as close to the comics despite the mostly bad movie scripts. To me, attitude then became more important than the physical contrast.” This user has a point. If they have the acting chops, who cares what they look like? Decades ago, fans were angry over Jackman’s casting because he isn’t short and stout like Wolverine in the comics. Now, they’re going to be angry if anyone but him is chosen to portray Wolverine in the MCU. Evidently, a lot has changed since the turn of the century.
NEXT: 20 Actors Who Could Play The MCU’s Wolverine