10 Marvel Characters With Multiple Great Versions In Movies & TV – Screen Rant

Marvel Comics has created some of the most iconic characters in pop culture history. Some have been greatly depicted in both films and television.
Although the Marvel Cinematic Universe is seemingly more popular than ever these days, it is far from the first time that characters from these iconic stories have been depicted on screen. For decades, both the superheroes and villains from the comic pages have appeared in movies and television shows.
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Sometimes, these versions miss the mark but in a lot of cases, characters have been great on both the big and small screen. Of note, this doesn’t include the likes of Big Hero 6 or (most) MCU characters in both movies and shows since they’re the same versions, just appearing in a different format.
Obviously, the most iconic version of Tony Stark debuted in 2008’s Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr. delivered a rockstar performance as the billionaire who turns things around and becomes a symbol of good. He continued to shine in the role across three solo films, four Avengers movies, and several other appearances.
It’s next to impossible to stand up to what the MCU and Downey Jr. did with the character. That being said, the Iron Man animated series from the ’90s was pretty well-received. While not a massive hit, it did deliver a solid depiction of a character who wasn’t quite a household name yet.
There have been plenty of actors to take on the role of Bruce Banner and The Incredible Hulk over the years. Long before the likes of Edward Norton and Eric Bana gave it a shot, there were the dual performances of Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno, playing Banner and Hulk, respectively, in the TV show.
The effects certainly don’t hold up but having two actors pull this off on a long-running series really added to the Jekyll and Hyde nature of it all. Meanwhile, the MCU has seen Norton start as the character before Mark Ruffalo replaced him. Ruffalo has become synonymous with the role in many Avengers films and Thor: Ragnarok.
When Patrick Stewart was cast as Charles Xavier for X-Men in 2000, it seemed like a perfect choice. The veteran actor had the chops to get it right and looked the part more than almost anyone else. He nailed the role for the original trilogy and grew with it as Professor X got older, capping with his tragic death in 2017’s Logan.
James McAvoy played a much different take on the character, with his youth and arrogance coming into play. It was unique but worked almost as well. Of course, most audiences first saw Professor X as the wise leader of the mutant team on X-Men: The Animated Series in the ’90s.
The fact that Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Nebula, and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy are as popular as they are today is a huge accomplishment. The team was long considered “D list” superheroes at best with even some major comics fans not knowing them.
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That changed in 2014 when James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy arrived and the hilarious team became beloved. They’ve remained a staple of the MCU ever since, including teaming with the Avengers to take on Thanos. In 2015, the fame was capitalized on when an animated series premiered. It lasted several seasons and was well-received.
The exception to the MCU rule involved the What If…? series because it often featured totally different versions of the characters. Some weren’t far off as the likes of Hawkeye, Black Widow, Iron Man, and Spider-Man still had a lot of the same traits as they did in the movies. The two who changed the most and remained incredibly interesting were Doctor Strange and T’Challa.
In their films, they were the heroes (T’Challa as Black Panther) everyone had come to love in the comics. In the series, Strange was driven by the loss of his love to gain more power than some believed was possible, turning him into a villain who needed redemption. Meanwhile, T’Challa became Star-Lord and used his pure heart to become the most likable Star-Lord possible.
Like the Guardians of the Galaxy, Gwen Stacy is a character who has seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years. After mostly being known as Spider-Man’s girlfriend who died, she was rebooted in a way in the comics, gaining her own powers and becoming known as Spider-Woman or Spider-Gwen.
The love interest version was played masterfully by Emma Stone in the two Amazing Spider-Man films, showcasing her as both tough and brilliant. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse brought the hero version to the screen (voiced by Hailee Steinfeld) and fans loved her. Meanwhile, she has also appeared as a hero on shows like Spider-Man and Marvel Rising.
Michael Clarke Duncan did his best as Kingpin in 2003’s Daredevil but that film was mostly slammed by critics. So, his first true scene-stealing appearance came over a decade later on the small screen. Played to perfection by Vincent D’Onofrio, Kingpin was the main villain on Netflix’s Daredevil.
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Critics and fans alike praised this depiction and thought it was truly menacing. The character appeared again in Into The Spider-Verse, voiced by Liev Schreiber, with his massive size being his trademark as the main villain. With rumors that D’Onofrio is returning to the MCU as the character, fans everywhere are rejoicing.
Even when the X-Men movies got mixed to poor reviews, most audience members and critics agreed that Magneto was a highlight. First played by the legendary Sir Ian McKellen in the original trilogy and again in Days of Future Past, he was one of the greatest comic book villains to hit the big screen.
That trend continued through the prequel films as Michael Fassbender was also remarkable in the role. Both actors had great chemistry with their Professor X counterparts, always making for compelling viewing. That lined up with the versions from the X-Men: The Animated Series as well.
It’s tough to find a superhero depicted more often in good fashion than Spider-Man. Like Magneto, even when a Spider-Man movie doesn’t get great reviews, the actors playing the hero usually shine. Tobey Maguire did it first for Sam Raimi, while Andrew Garfield brought a different but still great take to the role as well.
That remains the case with multiple Peter Parkers appearing in Into The Spider-Verse, along with a tremendous Miles Morales. There’s obviously also Tom Holland in the MCU, who has starred in multiple solo and team-up films and is sometimes viewed as the best Peter Parker ever. Throw in Spider-Man: The Animated Series and he’s always a hit.
As popular as the X-Men movies and TV shows were, it could be argued that Wolverine often overshadowed the rest of the team. In X-Men: The Animated Series, Wolverine tended to get some of the best storylines and became iconic because of it.
Hugh Jackman was questioned by some when he nabbed the role for the first X-Men film in 2000. However, he embodied the character so well that he ended up starring in every X-Men movie outside of 2019’s Dark Phoenix and had his own trilogy, which ended with Logan, the best reviewed of any film in the franchise. That’s how good Jackman’s version is.
NEXT: 10 DC Characters With Multiple Great Versions In Movies & TV
Born in New York City, Kevin eventually went on to attain his Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing for Entertainment at Full Sail University as Valedictorian. He has written in the past for various websites covering movies, TV, pop culture, sports, and wrestling. You can always find him on his Twitter, @the_kevstaaa.


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