In regards to comic book movies, 2013 offered up more surprise casting announcements than any other year in comic book movie history. There were so many twists and turns in comic book movie casting that we could very easily have made this list much longer. Just barely missing our list, but deserving of recognition are Robert Redford getting cast as Alexander Pierce in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Bradley Cooper getting cast as Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy. While both of those actors seem like good fits for their roles, it's surprising to see Redford and Cooper doing superhero movies. Here are the ones that did make our top five list. We only chose actors or actresses that had actually been cast and skipped over the rumors that have not been confirmed.
5. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman – While early rumors circled around Gina Carano and Jaimie Alexander, it was ultimately Gal Gadot who landed the role of Wonder Woman. The most surprising part of Warner Bros. announcement though was the confirmation of the long-standing rumor that Wonder Woman was actually going to be a part of Batman Vs. Superman. After the initial shock of Wonder Woman finally making it to the big screen finally wore down, fans immediately began complaining that Gadot was too skinny to play Wonder Woman.
4. Paul Rudd as Ant-Man – When Comicbook.com first reported on the possibility of Paul Rudd playing Ant-Man, most thought we had gone crazy. After all, Paul Rudd is best known for his comedic roles, so the thought of him playing a serious superhero seemed improbable. However, Ant-Man isn’t the normal superhero, and director Edgar Wright will likely deliver a huge dash of comedy to the film. Around ten months after our initial report, Marvel officially announced Paul Rudd as Ant-Man.
3. Vin Diesel as Groot – While Vin Diesel should make a good voice for Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy, this casting announcement was bizarre because of its history and how long it took Marvel to make the official announcement. Vin Diesel initially teased on his Facebook page that he had a meeting with Marvel. Based on a photo he published of himself standing in front of a poster of Avengers #2, most speculated that he was going to play a role in The Avengers sequel, possible as the villain Thanos. Even though Vin Diesel eventually revealed that he would be playing Groot, Marvel held off on making the official announcement for several months.
2. James Spader as Ultron – While Marvel Studios announcing James Spader as Ultron didn’t garner the same outrage as the top pick on our list did, Marvel’s announcement caught everyone by surprise, because there hadn’t been the slightest rumor that Spader was up for the role. Since Spader will only be doing the voice and motion capture work for Ultron, it’s not like he has to look the part of the robotic villain, so fans actually reacted to Spader's casting with excitement.
1. Ben Affleck as Batman –There could really only be one choice for the most surprising casting announcement of 2013. When Warner Bros. announced that Ben Affleck had been cast as Batman, it shocked the comic book community like no other casting announcement. Tens of thousands of people signed a petition demanding that Warner Bros. remove Affleck as Batman, and dozens of Hollywood celebrities weighed in with their support of Affleck as Batman. Whether Ben Affleck will make a good Batman or not remains to be seen, but the tide definitely appears to have turned from the initial outrage into a more wait-and-see attitude.
What is your choice for the most surprising casting announcement of 2013?