Movie Characters Played by Different Actors

Did you know that some of your favorite movie characters have been played by different actors? For example, did you know that Heath Ledger played The Joker in The Dark Knight? Or that Andrew Garfield played Spiderman in The Amazing Spider-man? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the most famous movie characters and who played them in the movies. We’ll also discuss the differences in their performances.


Tom Holland as Peter Parker Spider-Man

First on the list is your friendly neighborhood: Spider-Man. We’ve all known the smart, kind, and obedient Spider-Man played by Tobey Maguire in the 2002 movie. But did you know that in 2012 and 2014, Andrew Garfield played him in two movies, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2? While Maguire’s portrayal of Peter Parker was kind and obedient, Garfield showed a much more conflicted and angsty side to the character. Furthermore, Spider-Man: Homecoming was released in 2017, which was played by Tom Holland, who portrayed a more immature version of Peter Parker. Interestingly, Tom’s Spider-Man was known to be part of The Avengers, making it distinct from the rest.


Theatrical poster of 2008’s The Dark Knight

There are several exceptional actors that play the character: The Dark Knight, also known as Batman. The first actor to ever portray this role was the legendary actor – Adam West – wherein he was the lead actor in the first-ever Batman film released in 1966. However, the role that most people know him for is when Michael Keaton played Batman in Tim Burton’s 1989 movie. He reprised his role in 1992’s Batman Returns. Val Kilmer took over the role for 1995’s Batman Forever, and George Clooney was cast as Batman for 1997’s disastrous Batman and Robin. Christian Bale then played the Caped Crusader in Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed and commercially successful Dark Knight Trilogy: Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). In addition, Ben Affleck also played Batman in the 2016 movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League in 2017.

The Joker

Movie poster of 2019 film- Joker

The Joker is known to be among the most iconic movie characters to be played by various actors. Playing this role is known to expose the actor to various criticisms from fans. The very first actor known to play the role of The Joker was Cesar Romero in the 1966 movie Batman. Jack Nicholson took on the role in 1989’s Batman, and Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his exceptional work of portraying The Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight. His incredible performance was praised by both fans and critics alike, and he even won a posthumous Oscar for his portrayal of the iconic villain. However, Jared Leto played The Joker in 2016’s Suicide Squad. While Ledger’s performance was praised, Leto’s portrayal was met with mixed reactions. Some people loved it, while others found it to be too over-the-top and campy. In addition, Joaquin Phoenix joined the list of actors to have played The Joker in 2019, wherein he was the lead actor in the standalone film: Joker.


Henry Cavill as Superman

Superman is probably one of the most popular superheroes, having several appearances both in films and TV shows. The very first actor to play Superman was Kirk Alyn in the 1948 movie serial Superman. George Reeves then played him in 1951’s Adventures of Superman TV series, and Christopher Reeve took on the role for four movies: 1978’s Superman, 1980’s Superman II, 1983’s Superman III, and 1987’s Supergirl. Brandon Routh also played Superman in 2006’s Superman Returns, and Henry Cavill plays a role in the current DCEU (DC Extended Universe).

The Hulk

Edward Norton and Mark Ruffalo as Hulk

Bruce Banner is known to turn into The Hulk whenever he gets angry. While there have been several actors who have played Bruce Banner, only a few have ever portrayed The Hulk on-screen. Eric Bana was the first actor to play Bruce Banner in 2003’s Hulk, and Edward Norton took on the role for the 2008 film: The Incredible Hulk. While Bana was praised for his portrayal of Bruce Banner, Norton was criticized for being too angry and not showing enough emotion. Moreover, Mark Ruffalo eventually gained the top spot in the list for playing Hulk in various Marvel films, including The Avengers and Thor.

Willy Wonka

Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka in Chalie and the Chocolate Factory

Besides superheroes and villains, there are other movie characters known to have been played by different actors. An excellent example of this is Willy Wonka from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The first actor to play this role was Gene Wilder in the 1971 movie. Johnny Depp then played Willy Wonka in 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was a remake of the original movie. While Wilder’s portrayal is considered to be iconic, many people found Depp’s version to be more interesting and entertaining. In addition, there are also talks of Willy Wonka being played by another actor in the upcoming Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie.

James Bond

Movie Poster of Spectre

If you’re a fan of action films, you probably know the iconic action movie protagonist: James Bond. Ian Fleming’s creation has been played by various actors over the years, starting with Sean Connery in 1962’s Dr. No. He then reprised his role in subsequent James Bond movies such as Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever, and Never Say Never Again (1983). Roger Moore played James Bond in seven movies: Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, and A View to a Kill. Timothy Dalton was the next actor to play James Bond in two movies: The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989). Pierce Brosnan then played James Bond in four movies: GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, and Die Another Day. Finally, Daniel Craig is the current actor to play James Bond in four movies: Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012), and Spectre (2015).

Final Thoughts

It’s interesting to see how different actors can portray the same character in completely different ways, sometimes with mixed reactions from fans. In some cases, the original actor may be replaced by a new actor who then becomes the definitive portrayal of that character. With regards to James Bond, it will be interesting to see who takes on the role after Daniel Craig retires from acting. But for now, we can just appreciate how these actors showcase their diverse talent and character to portray the role.