Mel Gibson as Odin in the Thor movies? We’re not sure that we can actually see that, but according to the Lethal Weapon actor, it almost happened. Gibson admitted this while promoting his latest movie at the Cannes Film Festival, and without even realizing it, he helped himself join an exclusive club of acltors who had been offered prominent roles in superhero franchises, only to pass (for various reasons).

The casting of any superhero film -- whether it be Marvel, DC or points in between – can be crucial to the movie’s (and long-term series’) success. Sometimes, it’s viewed as a gamble, as when Jon Favreau convinced Marvel to hand its Iron Man keys over to the then-troubled Robert Downey Jr. Other times, an actor is bouncing from one franchise to the next. (See Ben Affleck as either Daredevil or Batman, or Chris Evans as both The Human Torch and Captain America.)

Gibson’s bit of almost-happened casting got us remembering the 10 best examples of prominent superhero roles that were ALMOST played by another actor. See if you can picture the famous comic-book character, as played by these alternates.

Nicolas Cage / The Green Goblin
Apparently, Sam Raimi was looking for anyone who could overact and DEVOUR scenery when he began casting for Norman Osborn in his first Spider-Man movie. Though the part eventually went to a larger-than-life Willem Dafoe, there were several names in the mix to play Norman and his eventual alter ego, The Green Goblin. The one that jumps out to us? Nicolas Cage, who – according to reports – was offered the part alongside such actors as Robert De Niro (!!), John Malkovich and Edward Norton. The Norman Osborn personality now has a long line of cinematic tributes. After Dafoe, Chris Cooper played him (briefly) in Marc Webb’s Spider-Man movies, and we’d be stunned if Marvel didn’t cast him again now that they are remaking Spider-Man movies in house.

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