Actors Who've Only Been In Superhero Movies

Most of the time, actors take whatever work they can get. Well, maybe that's not true for the type of internationally famous actors who star in expensive blockbusters and things of that nature. For instance, Robert Downey Jr. can turn down as many jobs as he wants. He's a beloved multi-millionaire who doesn't do anything unless he absolutely feels like it.

But for your average actor, a Hollywood career can be rough going. Auditions are intensely competitive, and you're lucky to get any part at all. In other words, there are a ton of hopeful stars out there who've only appeared in a handful of films. And then, there's an even smaller subset of actors who've only played in one type of film — superhero movies.

And honestly, it sort of makes sense. Superhero movies are here to stay, and studios are churning them out all the time. So, believe it or not, there are actually a few people who've only worked in movies associated with powerful beings wearing capes and masks. From brief appearances to villainous performances, here are the actors who've only been in superhero movies.

Carrie Louise Putrello played Batman's mom in Joker

A truly remarkable number of films and television shows depict the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Some fans argue that Hollywood has overdone it with Batman's tragic origin, and poor Thomas and Martha deserve a break from getting shot to death roughly once every two years. Luckily for Carrie Louise Putrello, Joker director Todd Phillips decided young Bruce needed to watch his parents perish in a flurry of random, brutal violence at least one more time.

As of the 2019 Gotham-centric yarn, Putrello joins the ranks of The Walking Dead's Lauren Cohan (Batman v Superman), Sara Stewart (Batman Begins), Sharon Holm (Batman), and Brette Taylor (Gotham). Each of these one-time Marthas donned a pearl necklace that was subsequently destroyed during her brief, fatal struggle against mugger Joe Chill, or in Holm's case, Jack Napier. Somehow during the last 35 years of live-action media, more actors have gotten killed off as Martha Wayne than have played Peter Parker. 

Now, technically, Putrello has already finished her second film, The Ultimate Playlist of Noise. Apart from the incidental presence of Ariela Barer, who MCU completists should recognize as Gert from Runaways, Ultimate Playlist lacks even the loosest connection to superhero films or superhero-related media. So, Putrello won't belong on this list forever. But until her other movie drops on Hulu, Carrie Louise Putrello's only officially IMDB-certified film role shall remain a contribution to the longstanding tradition of murdering Batman's mom. 

A whole bunch of comics creators have only played in superhero movies

We can't really talk about individuals who only appear in superhero movies without mentioning the handful of comic book creators who fit that criteria.

Famously, Stan Lee appears in most movies based on Marvel characters. However, the 138 acting credits on Stan the Man's IMDB page includes Mallrats which, as consumers of '90s stoner comedies remember all too well, is not a superhero movie. Plus, he also shows up in The Princess Diaries 2, which, again, isn't a superhero movie. So while we can't legitimately add Stan Lee to this collection, we can absolutely include Marvel Comics royalty like Chris Claremont, Kelly Sue DeConnick, and Jim Starlin

Claremont, who wrote The Uncanny X-Men from the mid-1970s up until the early 1990s, appears in X-Men: The Last Stand from 2006, X-Men: First Class from 2011, and X-Men: Dark Phoenix in 2019. The modern era's most influential Captain Marvel scribe, Kelly Sue DeConnick, walks by Carol Danvers in a train station during the hero's eponymous 2019 adventure. And Thanos creator Jim Starlin attends the support group at the onset of 2019's Avengers: Endgame. That's the same scene where Captain America consoles a grieving man who bears a remarkable resemblance to director Joe Russo. Plus, IMDB says Rob Liefeld shows up somewhere in Deadpool, although it doesn't say which scene.  

Unsurprisingly, Alan Moore hasn't appeared in any superhero movies. Entirely surprisingly, he has appeared in at least one episode of The Simpsons that we can verify.  

Ella Jay Basco took flight in Birds of Prey

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) carries the, perhaps, dubious distinction of a major financial disappointment that was ultimately redeemed as a cult favorite. 

Unfortunately for Ella Jay Basco, that means her performance as the first ever live-action Cassandra Cain has only been seen by a limited number of people. While other iterations of Cain train with Bruce Wayne and Barbara Gordon and assume the identity of Batgirl, Birds of Prey offers a different take on the character. The version of Cain that Basco plays is a street kid who eats a diamond and spends a good portion of the story hoping to poop it out before blade-wielding mobsters cut it directly out of her internal organs. While a significant departure from the comics, no one can accuse the Birds version of Cassandra Cain of lacking originality.   

Basco doesn't have any more movie projects lined up that we know of, but she seems to get plenty of television work. Presumably Birds of Prey's failure to set the world on fire won't hamper her future prospects. Hopefully, the same can't be said of whoever was in charge of the Birds of Prey marketing. After all, it's one of the best films that DC has made, and if Aquaman made a $1 billion, logically, Birds of Prey should've made $2 billion.

Dee Jay Daniels has only played in Sky High

Right around now, you might be asking, "What the heck is Sky High?" Well, from what we've gathered, Sky High is a straight-to-video kids movie from 2005. It's got a sort of Incredibles-meets-Harry Potter shtick happening, and as far as superhero live-action media goes, it's not without historical relevance. 

Sky High features Danielle Panabaker years before the Arrowverse or The Flash came into fruition. Likewise, Mary Elizabeth Winstead shows up in Sky High way ahead of Scott Pilgrim and Birds of Prey. It's also the first of two movies that Winstead appears in alongside Kurt Russell. They meet again in the 2007 Quentin Tarantino rampage Death Proof. And, as you may very well already know, Kurt Russell also plays Ego in 2017's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

But Sky High marks an even more specific point in the career of The Hughleys star Dee Jay Daniels, as it's the only feature-length film in which he appears. Daniels himself adds a unique element to this list, as he was acquitted of a first-degree murder charge in 2012. The other actors on this list are also innocent of being murderers, as far as we know. The major difference is Daniels had to pay a lawyer to convince a jury that he never killed anyone. 

Mark Pillow's career was nuked after Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

During an essay about the Joel Schumacher-directed Batman films, YouTuber Patrick H. Willems noted that a terrible superhero movie seemed like a bigger deal when we could only realistically expect one comic book-related Hollywood blockbuster every two years. In that old world, when something as critically reviled as Superman IV: The Quest for Peace splattered across the pop culture consciousness, the entire superhero genre took a hit. Christopher Reeve himself described the experience as "a huge blow to my career." So, is it any surprise that the guy who plays Nuclear Man, Mark Pillow — who, incidentally, is not Dolph Lundgren — had trouble finding more work afterwards?

Superman IV is completely insane. At one point, Nuclear Man attacks Superman with fingernails of lightning. Later, he picks up the Statue of Liberty, carries it to the sky, and throws it back down at New York City. Thankfully, Superman catches Lady Liberty before she crushes any civilians. Nuclear Man also blows up what we think is supposed to be the Great Wall of China, but then Superman fixes it with, ah, wall-rebuilding vision? After that, Nuclear Man somehow erupts a volcano in a small town. Superman saves the town by plugging the volcano with the top of a mountain that he cuts from its base with heat vision. Wait a second. Everything we just described is awesome. This movie rules. Has Superman IV been a misunderstood work of genius all this time? Obviously, it has.

Blu Hunt broke new ground in The New Mutants ... but nobody saw it

Endlessly hampered by executive-mandated reshoots, an industry-altering corporate buyout, and a deadly pandemic, the post-production lifespan of The New Mutants ranks among the most absurd clustermucks in Hollywood history. Despite the boardroom upheaval that delayed the release from 2018 to 2020, ultimately, we can blame COVID-19 for the final entry into 20th Century Fox's X-Men franchise falling on its face. Obviously, when we look at the almost $135 million that The Invisible Man made by canceling its theatrical release and going direct to rental when compared to The New Mutants' paltry $45.5 million worldwide gross, it's pretty easy for us to say a theatrical release for The New Mutants was ill-advised.

As for the cast, Blu Hunt — who was previously seen only on TV — plays Dani Moonstar, aka Mirage. While not as high on the fame hierarchy as X-colleagues and fellow New Mutants Magik or Cannonball, Mirage joins forces with Maisie Williams' Wolfsbane to hold down the film's romantic storyline. The LGBTQ+ relationship marks a significant first for mainstream superhero movies, but it's a little unfortunate that this particular ground wasn't broken in a better-received film.  

Ray Fisher deserves some justice after Justice League

Director Zack Snyder left 2017's Justice League mid-production due to a family tragedy. Warner Bros. then enlisted Joss Whedon, noted for his previous success with the first on-screen romp of the Avengers, to complete the project. Audiences and critics met the finished Justice League with a collective "meh," and as far as why that is or who's to blame, we don't dare to claim to have any ideas or opinions on the matter at all. (Please don't hurt us, Twitter.)

What we can absolutely say for sure, simply because we watched the previews, is an unknown amount of footage focusing on Ray Fisher's Cyborg that was shot for Justice League didn't make it into the theatrical version. We also know that Fisher's not exactly thrilled about how Whedon and Warner Bros. executives allegedly treated him throughout the process. Nevertheless, he's returning as Cyborg for the HBO Max miniseries Zack Snyder's Justice League. Perhaps this updated version of Justice League fleshes out Cyborg a little bit more. We shall see. 

As for his acting career outside of Justice League, Fisher does plenty of live theater, but from what we can gather, he has no other film roles in the works.