All the Actors Who Have Played Superman + Who’s Next?!
It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s Superman! Superman is one of the most popular comic book heroes of all time and has been fighting villains since 1938. The superhero began in comic books and quickly moved to television and movies. The Superman legacy is long-running and over the years, some of the costumes have been sold for thousands. A Superman costume worn by George Reeves just sold in an auction for a whopping $150,000!
With a new Superman movie on its way in a few years and it currently being Superman Week, let’s go over all of the men who have portrayed the Man of Steel and who is in talks to be the next Superman.
Kirk Alyn – Superman, 1948-1950
Alyn was the original Superman and many say that he looks a bit too rigid in the role. Of course, this was in the late ’40s so the technology wasn’t what it is today. Even with some of the dialogue not being the best, he did look great in the costume and probably did the best he could with what he was given.
George Reeves – Adventures of Superman, 1952-1958
Just a few years later, Reeves stepped in as the classic superhero. In this version of Superman, he comes off a little bit distant and plays more into the Clark Kent persona that he is a serious businessman. Even so, he did an amazing job as a more suave version of Superman. Interestingly enough, the real-life actors’ mysterious death became the plot of 2006’s Hollywoodland, where Ben Affleck played Reeves.
Bud Collyer – The New Adventures of Superman, 1966-1970
Collyer was the voice of Superman for a 1940s radio serial and voiced the character again in the ’60s animated series.
It was the first time that Superman/Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and Perry White appeared in animated form since the ’40s. He had a truly unique voice and changed his voice for Clark Kent and Superman.
Danny Dark – Super Friends 1973-1985
Dark voiced Superman in this Hanna-Barbera-produced series about many of the superheroes joining forces to save the world. It was certainly a fun animated show that saw a crossover with Scooby-Doo!
Christopher Reeve – Superman, Superman II, Superman III 1978-1980
Perhaps the most iconic and beloved Superman, Reeve was the most humble and sweet Superman there is. While he seemed a bit more pure than others he did have a sense of humor that shined through, making him most people’s favorite version of the all-American superhero.
Dean Cain – Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, 1993-1997
Cain played a very friendly, jokey Superman and this series focused on the love between Clark Kent and Lois Lane (Teri Hatcher). A bit of a twist from the other movies and shows, it was a more lighthearted version of the classic superhero. Sometimes he wasn’t as mature as his previous versions but he did have a certain charm!
Tom Welling – Smallville, 2001-2011
The series aimed to see a newer, more modern version of Superman without losing the classic feel of the original films. Welling played a younger version of Superman and aimed to show more of his human side rather than the superhero facade. He felt true human emotions like jealousy and anger and since it was a long-running television show, his character and supporting characters were able to develop rather well as the series went on. Many call the finale one of the most satisfying endings ever too.
Brandon Routh – Superman Returns, 2006
Routh played a moodier, darker version of Superman in this film and he isn’t as humble or respectful as many of the versions. However, in the film when he is Clark Kent he truly looks like a different person which makes the whole thing a little more believable.
Henry Cavill – Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, Justice League, 2013-2017
Besides Reeve, Cavill is the Superman that most people can agree is one of the best. He has emotion, yet doesn’t go too far one way or the other. He’s humble and kind, yet vulnerable and ready to lay down the law. These movies are some of the best because of Cavill and the advanced technology.
Tyler Hoechlin – Superman & Lois, 2021-
This show is set in the CW’s Arrowverse and follows Clark and Lois (Elizabeth Tulloch) as they return to Smallville with their two sons. Hoechlin has done a great job in the role and the show is currently airing its third season.
Cavill is now set to hang up his Superman tights, which begs the question: who will play Superman in the new movie Superman: Legacy, expected to hit theaters in 2025? Reportedly, there are several actors in talks for the role. Nicholas Hoult, David Corenswet, and Tom Brittney will reportedly screentest for the role while Emma Mackey, Rachel Brosnahan, and Phoebe Dynevor will test for the role of Lois Lane.
While the plot of the film remains largely unknown, DC Studios chairman and CEO Peter Safran said, “This is really the start of the DCU. It’s not an origins story, it focuses on Superman’s balancing his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing. He’s the embodiment of truth, justice and the American way, he’s kindness in a world that thinks of kindness as old fashioned.”
We have an update! Now, it has been confirmed Corenswet and Brosnahan have been cast as Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane in Superman: Legacy. Are you happy with those picks?
Tell us, which actor is your favorite Superman?