12

When Ryan Reynolds starred in Green Lantern (2011), I recall seeing jokes based on the fact that he'd recently appeared in another comic-book adaptation, X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009). Even before that, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) included performances by several former superheroes, including Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, and Thomas Jane.

This got me wondering: Which actor has the most distinct roles in comic-book movies?


Clarification: By “distinct roles,” I mean the most characters, not the most movies. For example, Hugh Jackman has starred in six comic-book movies, but he has only played one character (Wolverine), whereas Chris Evans has played at least five (Human Torch, Casey Jones, Lucas Lee, Cpt. Jake Jensen, and Captain America).

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    Roles or movies? Does Hugh Jackman score one (Wolverine) or six (movies)? – DJClayworth Jun 19 '13 at 17:58
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    Do voice roles count? – Thom Brannan Jun 20 '13 at 11:17
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    @ Thom that's an interesting question about the Voices, especially since Chris Evans was a voice in one of them. – Jersey Jun 20 '13 at 17:42
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    @ThomBrannan I did count Chris Evans's voice role in TMNT because it was a feature-length film with a theatrical release. I'd be reluctant to count direct-to-video releases, although (like Evans's role in Push) it'd still be interesting information and worthy of a tiebreaker or honorable mention. – Bradd Szonye Jun 20 '13 at 18:45
  • Jessica Alba is an honourable mention here, she played Susan Storm in Fantastic Four and Nancy Callaghan in Sin City – Möoz Sep 7 '16 at 4:07

13 Answers 13

39

You want an actor... or someone who has been in the largest amount of comic movies?

For a person... Stan Lee.

In X-Men (2000), Lee appears as a hotdog stand vendor on the beach when Senator Kelly emerges naked onshore after escaping from Magneto.

In Spider-Man (2002), he appeared during Spider-Man's first battle with the Green Goblin, pulling a little girl away from falling debris. In the DVD's deleted scenes, Lee plays a street vendor who tries to sell Peter Parker a pair of sunglasses "just like the X-Men wear."

In Daredevil (2003), as a child, Matt Murdock stops Lee from crossing the street and getting hit by a bus.

In Hulk (2003), he appears walking alongside former TV-series Hulk Lou Ferrigno in an early scene, both as security guards at Bruce Banner's lab. It was his first speaking role in a film based on one of his characters.

In Spider-Man 2 (2004), Lee pulls an innocent person away from danger during Spider-Man's first battle with Doctor Octopus. In a deleted scene that appears as an extra on the film's DVD release, Lee has another cameo, saying, "Look, Spider-Man stole that child's sneakers."

In Fantastic Four (2005), Lee appears for the first time as a character that he created for the comics, Willie Lumpkin, the mail carrier who greets the Fantastic Four as they enter the Baxter Building.

In X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), Lee and Chris Claremont appear as two of Jean Grey's neighbors in the opening scenes set 20 years ago. Lee, credited as "Waterhose man," is watering the lawn when Jean telekinetically redirects the water from the hose into the air.

In Spider-Man 3 (2007), Lee appears in a credited role as "Man in Times Square". He stands next to Peter Parker, both of them reading a news bulletin about Spider-Man, and commenting to Peter that, "You know, I guess one person can make a difference". He then says his catch phrase, "'Nuff said."

In Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), Lee appears as himself at Reed Richards' and Susan Storm's first wedding, being turned away by a security guard for not being on the guest list. (In Fantastic Four Annual No.3 (1965), in which the couple married, Lee and Jack Kirby are similarly turned away.)

In Iron Man (2008), Lee (credited as "Himself") appears at a gala cavorting with three blonds, where Tony Stark mistakes him for Hugh Hefner. In the theatrical release of the film, Stark simply greets Lee as "Hef" and moves on; another version of the scene was filmed where Stark realizes his mistake, but Lee graciously responds, "That's okay, I get this all the time."

In The Incredible Hulk (2008), Lee appears as a hapless citizen who accidentally ingests a soft drink mixed with Bruce Banner's blood, leading to the discovery of Dr. Banner's location in a bottling plant in Brazil.

In Iron Man 2 (2010), during the Stark Expo, Lee, wearing suspenders and a red shirt and black and purple tie, is greeted by Tony Stark as "Larry King".

In Thor (2011), Lee appears among many people at the site where Thor's hammer Mjolnir lands on earth. He tears the bed off his pickup truck in an attempt to pull Mjolnir out of the ground with a chain and causes everyone to laugh by asking, "Did it work?".

In Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), this time portraying a general in World War II, who mistakes another man for Captain America/Steve Rogers, commenting, "I thought he'd be taller."

In The Avengers (2012), Lee makes a cameo appearance as a random citizen in the park asked about the Avengers saving Manhattan. Lee's character responds, "Superheroes in New York? Give me a break", and then returns to his game of chess. He also appears in a deleted scene, apparently as the same character: when a waitress flirts with Steve Rogers, he says to him, "Ask for her number, you moron!"

In The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), Lee makes a cameo as a librarian at Midtown Science High School, oblivious to the fight between Spider-Man and the Lizard happening behind him.

In Iron Man 3 (2013), Lee makes a cameo as a beauty pageant judge on TV.

In Big Hero 6(2014) Lee makes his first animated appearance as Fred's dad in the family portrait when they first enter his home. Later in an added scene after the credits he surprises Fred at the home and tells him holding a pair of undies; "Fred.Son. I wear them front, I wear them back.I wear then inside out.And then I go front and back.""We have a lot to talk about." Also...

Mallrats (1995), Lee appears as himself.

Shamelessly researched via Wikipedia

  • 1
    Does Mall Rats count as another comic book movie in which Stan Lee has a cameo? Kinda-sorta-not-really, but close! – Beofett Jun 19 '13 at 19:06
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    @Beofett It's one of my favorite movies too! – Bradd Szonye Jun 19 '13 at 19:08
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    Well, if the movies are set in different universes, then I think Stan Lee's cameos do count as different characters. They're just all unnamed. (The Spiderman trilogy is separate from the universe the Avengers movies take place in, for example) – Izkata Jun 19 '13 at 21:24
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    Of course if the theory that Stan Lee's cameos are because he is the Watcher then technically this will be incorrect... +1 though – Cearon O'Flynn Sep 7 '16 at 8:28
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    Even in same universe movies, Stan Lee has appeared as different characters from a barman to a party goer to a librarian as mentioned above. So technically, for your question , Stan is the correct answer because you didn't mention the duration of their role in the movie. Completely different professions, names or even time period. – Dev Sep 20 '16 at 13:31
33

Chris Evans has played seven comic-book characters in movies:

  • Johnny Storm/Human Torch in Fantastic Four (2005) and Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007).
  • Casey Jones in TMNT (2007).
  • Cpt. Jake Jensen in The Losers (2010).
  • Lucas Lee in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010).
  • Steve Rogers/Captain America in The First Avenger (2011), The Avengers (2012), The Winter Soldier (2014), and Civil War (2016).
  • Loki (disguised as Cap) in Thor: The Dark World (2013).
  • Curtis in Snowpiercer (2013).
  • 2
    Um. Does Push count? I know it isn't a comic-book-cum-movie strickly speaking, but it is about superheroes. – Jersey Jun 19 '13 at 17:16
  • @Jersey I was thinking of comic book characters specifically, although if somebody has played an impressive number of movie-original superhero characters, I'd consider it. It would be a good tie-breaker at least. – Bradd Szonye Jun 19 '13 at 18:11
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    'cum' is latin for 'with'. Handy link. – user1027 Jun 19 '13 at 19:02
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    @Keen AHA! This is that moment my Lit Teacher told me that knowing Latin would save my life! Klaatu... Verata... Nik... It was definately an 'N' word... – Jersey Jun 20 '13 at 17:51
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    He also technically plays Loki in Thor: The Dark World. – Rogue Jedi Sep 6 '16 at 1:33
7

For an actual Actor... Hugh Jackman.

X-men

X-men 2: X-men United

X-men 3: The Last Stand

X-men Origins: Wolverine

X-men: First Class (Cameo)

The Wolverine

X-men: Days of Future Past

I know this wasn't what Bradd was actually looking for, but you got to give Jackman some props for nailing a role as long as he has. I think he matches Roger Moore (as 007) for consecutive times playing the same character.

I think that would be a great question, but wrong forum. But I think the guy who played 'Q' in 007 has got the award for Actor who's played same character the most times (like 23!)

  • It's a notable accomplishment! – Bradd Szonye Jun 20 '13 at 21:46
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    Christopher Lee played the character Dracula 10 times. Not a comic character, but another notable number of times for one actor to play the same role. – Leatherwing Jun 29 '13 at 18:07
6

Lou Ferrigno has played the Hulk in 9 movies (Overshadowing Hugh Jackman's paltry 7)

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  1. The Incredible Hulk (1978)
  2. The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988)
  3. The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989)
  4. The Death of the Incredible Hulk (1990)
  5. The Incredible Hulk (1996)
  6. Hulk (2003)
  7. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  8. The Avengers (2012)
  9. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2014)

Plus since, Hercules has in fact stared in many Marvel prints, then we can possibly add 2 more:

  1. Hercules (1983)
  2. The Adventures of Hercules (1985)
  • Interesting! I had no idea that Ferrigno had appeared in so many Hulk films. That's only two distinct roles tho, no? Plus the cameos he made in a couple of them. I'm looking for actors who have appeared in more roles than Evans, not more movies than Jackman. (+1 though for the cool related trivia.) – Bradd Szonye Jul 26 '14 at 9:27
  • @BraddSzonye Yeah, I know it doesn't meet the exact requirements, but other people have been answering with same roles - and technically apart from 70s/80s Hulk they are all different continuities! – user20155 Jul 26 '14 at 9:29
  • Oh it's definitely cool and worth an upvote! Did Ferrigno definitely appear as the Hulk (or his voice) in all of them? – Bradd Szonye Jul 26 '14 at 9:34
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    Yup. He has provided the voice of the Hulk in all of his live-action movie forms - and I think is uncreditted for some of the TV cartoons and video games. – user20155 Jul 26 '14 at 9:40
5

Old mate Brucey

Profile picture of Bruce Willis from his "IMDB" page.

img src

With a total of 7 comic-based roles, another honourable mention is Bruce Willis for his roles in:

  • Red
    • Based on the comic book series Red
  • G.I. Joe: Retaliation
    • Although it's based on the toy franchise, it borrows heavily and is inspired by the comic franchise of the same name
  • Hammy's Boomerang Adventure
    • Based on the movie Over The Hedge - which was, you guessed it, based on a comic strip of the same name
  • Surrogates
  • Sin City
    • Based on our mate Frank Miller's Sin City comics
  • The Fifth Element
    • Parts of which were inspired by a comic:

      Comics writers Jean "Moebius" Giraud and Jean-Claude Mézières, whose comics provided inspiration for parts of the film, were hired for production design.

  • Sort-of Unbreakable
    • Since the screenplay was written to match that of a comic book

      Shyamalan organized the narrative of Unbreakable to parallel a comic book's traditional three-part story structure.

    • Also, you can't deny that this movie is very comic-book based, even if it's not necessarily based on any single comic.

Also if you want to go the other way, Die Hard (which has spawned its own comic series).

3

Another honorable mention for Rosario Dawson:

1 - Josie and the Pussycats
2 - Men in Black 2
3 - Sin City
4-6 - Wonder Woman (voice plus two other Justice League movies
7 - Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
8 - Daredevil
9 - Jessica Jones
10 - Luke Cage
11 - LEGO Batman

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    She's playing the same role in Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Nick Cage. As well as the same character in both Sin City movies. – Möoz Sep 20 '16 at 3:32
  • @Mooz She was in Nick Cage? – DCShannon Sep 20 '16 at 15:45
  • @DCShannon Oops, I meant Luke Cage. Lol. – Möoz Oct 31 '16 at 3:05
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    @Mooz and recently the same role in Iron Fist... – Jon Clements Jun 4 '17 at 11:11
2

Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, and Chris Evans each have 5 separate, live-action comic-book movie characters:

  • Ryan Reynolds:
    • Seth (Sabrina, the Teenage Witch);
    • Hannibal King (Blade: Trinity);
    • Weapon XI/Wade Wilson (X-Men Origins: Wolverine);
    • GL (Green Lantern);
    • Nick Walker (R.I.P.D.);
    • You might be able to count Deadpool separate from Weapon XI cause the two characters are portrayed completely differently.
  • Josh Brolin:
    • Jonah Hex (Jonah Hex);
    • Young Agent K (Men in Black III);
    • Joe Doucett (Old Boy);
    • Thanos (MCU);
    • Dwight (Sin City 2).
  • Chris Evans:
    • Human Torch (Fantastic Four);
    • Jake Jensen (The Losers);
    • Lucas Lee (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World);
    • Captain America (MCU);
    • Curtis Everett (Snowpiercer);
    • Chris Evans also portrayed Casey Jones in the animated TMNT movie.
  • Nice lists, although I wonder why you list six for Evans but count it as five? Also note that he briefly portrayed Loki (disguised as Captain America). – Bradd Szonye Mar 29 '17 at 3:55
  • I would guess that the OP “counts” only the first five entries for Chris Evans because the sixth one is animated (and, in his introductory paragraph, he says that he’s counting only live-action appearances). – Peregrine Rook Mar 29 '17 at 4:08
1

What about Samuel Jackson? As Nick Fury he has to have the most movies with recurring roles... But consider Unbreakable, Incredibles, The Spirit, Star Wars, and Jumper. Not all of which are roles of comic book origin, but definitely in that same vein. So far I think that makes him the clear winner both ways................. Add to that all his work with Tarrantino, xXx, Shaft and you've got one crazy ass, comic book nerd, bad mama jama!

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    I don't think Jackson has caught up with Jackman yet for the recurring role, Evans has more true comic book roles, and Stan Lee certainly has the most cameos. Jackson's movie credits are impressive, but I don't think he actually beats any of the other actors here (yet). – Bradd Szonye Dec 9 '13 at 9:52
  • Jackson has appeared in 5 of the MCU movies so far (Iron Man, Iron Man II, Thor, Avengers, and Captain America) and will appear in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Outside of those the Spirit is the only other true comic book movie he has appeared in. A valiant effort, but only two distinct roles. – Monty129 Dec 9 '13 at 17:16
  • @Monty129 Right. As noted above, Jackman has already appeared in 6 X-Men movies and will appear in another soon. Jackson is due to catch up with him in 2015 if Jackman doesn't add another Wolverine role in the meantime. – Bradd Szonye Dec 9 '13 at 23:56
1

If you are going off of count then Chris Evans beats Hugh Jackman(as well), because if you add up all the comic book movies he has been in then the total is actually 9(10 if you count his cameo in Thor 2: Dark World) which beats Jackman at only 7.

1

It looks like everybody forgets about Idris Elba.

  1. Heimdall - Thor, Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok
  2. Stacker Pentecost - Pasific Rim
  3. Moreau - Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
  4. Roque - The Losers
  5. Janek - Prometheus
  6. Vaughan Rice - Ultraviolet (TV Mini-Series)
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    He's got a few, but it's obviously less than Stan lee. And the question was asking for the Most – Edlothiad Jun 4 '17 at 10:56
  • Are Pacific Rim and Prometheus even comic-based films? – Bradd Szonye Jun 4 '17 at 19:04
0

Josh Brolin has 5 that I count:

2010 Jonah Hex Jonah Hex

2012 Men in Black 3 Young Agent K

2014 Guardians of the Galaxy Thanos (Uncredited cameo) 2015 Avengers: Age of Ultron Thanos, 2018 Avengers: Infinity War Thanos

2014 Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Dwight McCarthy and now

2018 Deadpool 2 Nathan Summers / Cable

6 if you count:

  • 2013 Oldboy Joe Doucett
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    Josh Brolin has already been mentioned, is there naything new you can add? – Edlothiad Apr 13 '17 at 17:34
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    Yes, it was just announced he'll be Cable in Deadpool 2 – farleydave3 Apr 13 '17 at 17:53
0

Jeffrey Dean Morgan (5):

  • The Comedian in Watchmen
  • Negan in The Walking Dead
  • Thomas Wayne in Batman v Superman
  • Clay in The Losers
  • JEB Turnbull in Jonah Hex
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    There are already answers claiming a total of more than 5. If yours is the correct answer, you will need to explain why the others are wrong. – Blackwood Apr 14 '17 at 19:18
-1

That would be Josh Brolin. He was Dwight in Sin City 2, Jonah Hex, Young Agent K, Joe Doucett in OldBoy remake and Thanos. After him, Ryan Reynolds and Chris Evans. And I'd mention Ben Affleck as the only guy who played both Batman and Superman.

  • Can you provide any sources? This is an unsupported claim that has clearly been shown by other answers to not be true. – Edlothiad Feb 27 '17 at 22:11

protected by KutuluMike Jun 4 '17 at 11:35

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