18 Iconic Characters That Have Been Played By Multiple Great Actors And It's Hard To Choose Which One Was Better

Whether on stage, on screen, or on the pages of a best-selling book, it seems quite rare to create an iconic character. However, there are some actors who were “born to play” their iconic characters. They fit their assigned characters so perfectly that we can only describe these occurrences as miracles. Legendary roles like Juliet by Olivia Hussey, Maleficent by Angelina Jolie, and Superman by Henry Cavill, have left us with profound feelings and made them irreplaceable to the general audience.
However, it is not always like this. As the years go by and new generations arise, more and more films featuring these iconic characters are produced. It may be prequels, sequels, or even outright reboots. As a result, actors had to be replaced. Hence, some characters have been played by more than one actor.
From Superman to Ariel, here are some examples of well-known characters that have been portrayed by several actors. Which characters do you like? And who is the best fit for your favorite characters?

#1 Ariel

Source: © Once Upon a Time / ABC Signature and co-producers© The Little Mermaid / Walt Disney Pictures and co-producers

  • "Once Upon a Time", 2011-2018 — JoAnna Garcia Swisher
"Ariel" is the sixth episode of the third season of the American fantasy television series "Once Upon a Time" and the 50th episode of the show as a whole. This episode also marks the debut of Ariel, played by Joanna García Swisher. This episode was watched by 7.55 million viewers and received generally positive reviews from critics.
  • "The Little Mermaid", 2023 — Halle Bailey
Disney's live-action "The Little Mermaid" is a remake of the animation "The Little Mermaid" from 1989. The film cast Halle Bailey as Ariel along with Jonah Hauer-King, Art Malik, Noma Dumezweni, Javier Bardem, and Melissa McCarthy, with Daveed Diggs,... "The Little Mermaid" is slated for release in the US on May 26, 2023.

#2 Cleopatra

Source: © Cleopatra / Twentieth Century Fox and co-producers© Astérix & Obélix: Mission Cléopâtre / Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée (CNC) and co-producers© Astérix & Obélix: L'Empire du Milieu / Artémis Productions and co-producers

  • "Cleopatra", 1963 — Elizabeth Taylor
"Cleopatra" is a 1963 American epic historical drama film that is based on the 1957 book "The Life and Times of Cleopatra" by Carlo Maria Franzero, and from histories by Plutarch, Suetonius, and Appian. The film stars Elizabeth Taylor in the eponymous role. The movie is about the struggles of Cleopatra, the young queen of Egypt, to resist the imperial ambitions of Rome.
  • "Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra", 2002 — Monica Bellucci
The 2002 fantasy comedy film is based on the book "Asterix and Cleopatra". In the film, Monica Bellucci played the beautiful Queen Cleopatra. The movie was a major box office success in France, becoming its most successful film in 36 years and the second biggest commercial success of all time.
  • "Asterix & Obelix: The Middle Kingdom", 2023 — Marion Cotillard
"Asterix & Obelix: The Middle Kingdom" is a French live-action adventure family comedy film that is scheduled for release on 1 February 2023. And actress Marion Cotillard will succeed Monica Bellucci in the role of Cleopatra in this film. This upcoming film is the first real-life Asterix film not based on any Asterix comic book albums.

#3 Elrond

Source: © The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring / New Line Cinema and co-producers© The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power / Amazon Studios and co-producers

  • "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring", 2001 — Hugo Weaving
Weaving received additional acclaim in the role of half-elven lord Elrond in Peter Jackson's three-film adaptation of "The Lord of the Rings", released between 2001 and 2003. After that, he reprised his role as Elrond for the video game "The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II".
  • "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power", 2022 — Robert Aramayo
The rising star Robert Aramayo takes on a role previously held by Hugo Weaving in "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power". This movie is set thousands of years before the events of "The Hobbit", so fan favorites like Frodo and Aragorn aren't present in this era, but immortal half-elf Elrond and Morfydd Clark's younger Galadriel are.

#4 Galadriel

Source: © The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring / New Line Cinema and co-producers© The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power / Amazon Studios and co-producers

  • "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring", 2001 — Cate Blanchett
Already an acclaimed actor, Blanchett gained a ton of new fans thanks to her role as Galadriel in the Academy Award-winning blockbuster trilogy, "The Lord of the Rings". The trilogy was a major critical and financial success, earning $2.981 billion at the box office worldwide, and all three films were later ranked within the top 10 greatest fantasy Movies of all time in a poll conducted by the American magazine Wired in 2012.
  • "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power", 2022 — Morfydd Clark
"The Rings of Power" reveals a younger and more passionate version of Galadriel. Long before she became a ring-bearer and respected elder within the Elven community, Galadriel served on the front lines of combat warding off the forces of the dark lord Morgoth and his chief lieutenant, Sauron. And actress Morfydd Clark was cast for this role.

#5 Maleficent

Source: © Once Upon a Time / ABC Signature and co-producers© Maleficent / Walt Disney Pictures and co-producers

  • "Once Upon a Time", 2011-2018 — Kristin Bauer
Maleficent or Mal, is a character on ABC's "Once Upon a Time" and "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland". Kristin Bauer van Straten, a guest star on "Once Upon a Time", plays her in the second episode of the show's first season. Maleficent is inspired by the same name from the classic "Sleeping Beauty". She also makes reference to Lolita Pulido from "The Curse of Capistrano" and the bad fairy from "Beauty and the Beast."
  • "Maleficent", 2014 & 2019 — Angelina Jolie
In Maleficent (2014), a live-action reimagining of Disney's 1959 animation "Sleeping Beauty", Jolie played the title character. The film marks Jolie's appeal to audiences of all demographics in both action and fantasy films. It becomes the fourth-highest-grossing film of the year and Jolie's highest-grossing film ever. She also reprised the role of Maleficent in the Disney fantasy sequel "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" (2019).

#6 J. R. R. Tolkien

Source: © Legends of Tomorrow / Warner Bros. Television and co-producers© Tolkien / Searchlight Pictures and co-producers

  • "DC’s Legends of Tomorrow", 2016-2022 — Jack Turner
"DC's Legends of Tomorrow" is an American time travel superhero television series that is based on the characters of DC Comics. It is the fourth series in the Arrowverse, after "Arrow", "The Flash", and "Supergirl". And Jack Turner played John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, aka J.R.R. Tolkien, a prolific author, and a former soldier.
  • "Tolkien", 2019 — Nicholas Hoult
"Tolkien" is a 2019 biographical drama film about the early life of English professor J. R. R. Tolkien. Nicholas Hoult played the leader character, J. R. R. Tolkien, author of "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings", as well as notable academic works. The film received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $9 million worldwide on a $20 million budget.

#7 Lucifer

Source: © Constantine / Warner Bros. and co-producers© Supernatural / Warner Bros. Television and co-producers© Lucifer / Warner Bros. Television and co-producers

  • "Constantine", 2005 — Peter Stormare
"Constantine" is an action, supernatural and horror film directed by Francis Lawrence. Peter Stormare played Lucifer( also known as Satan or the Devil is a fallen Archangel) who is in a proxy war with God for the souls of all mankind.
  • "Supernatural", 2005-2020 — Mark Pellegrino
In "Supernal", Lucifer serves as the overarching antagonist who has been referred to as: the Adversary, the Serpent, Satan, the Devil, and the Morning Star. This character was played by Mark Pellegrino from 2005 to 2020.
  • "Lucifer", 2016-2021 — Tom Ellis
Lucifer (played by Tom Ellis) has had an impressive run on Netflix, culminating in its sixth season, concluding the character’s journey. Of course, fans around the world were left devastated to learn that the angel-turning devil was being stacked indefinitely. The Fox series “Lucifer”, is based on DC Comics’ publication and character of the same name.

#8 Clark Kent (Superman)

Source: © Smallville / Warner Bros. Television and co-producers© Superman Returns / Warner Bros. and co-producers© Man of Steel / Warner Bros. and co-producers© Supergirl / Warner Bros. Television and co-producers

  • "Smallville", 2001-2011 — Tom Welling
Tom Welling is probably best known for playing Clark Kent on the hit television series “Smallville” (2001). Welling was named one of People magazine's "Breakthrough Stars of 2001", and also won the Teen Choice Award as "Choice Breakout Star (Male)" in 2002 for his role as Clark Kent. In 2019, Welling reprised his role as Clark Kent in the Batwoman episode of the CW Arrowverse crossover event "Crisis on Infinite Earths", along with his Smallville co-star Erica Durance as Lois Lane.
  • "Superman Returns", 2006 — Brandon Routh
Before filming for" Superman Returns" began, Routh bulked up for the role, gaining 22 pounds to reach a height of 218 pounds. After the movie was released in 2006, it earned decent reviews from most critics. At the 2006 Spike TV Awards, Routh won the award of "Best Superhero" as Superman in "Superman Returns".
  • "Man of Steel", 2013 — Henry Cavill
Cavill had been set to play Superman in McG's 2004 film, "Superman: Flyby". He then gained international recognition for his role as Superman in the Expanded Universe superhero movies "DC Man of Steel" (2013), "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" (2016), " Justice League" (2017) and "Zack Snyder's Justice League" (2021).
  • "Supergirl", 2015-2021 — Tyler Hoechlin
Tyler Hoechlin debuted as the Man of Steel as a recurring character on "Supergirl", with Hoechlin also being one of three Supermen on the Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover (alongside Brandon Routh and Tom Welling.) As a supporting character, Hoechlin's Arrowverse Superman frequently acted as a big gun in team-ups with other heroes, and delivered a lot of quippy, light-hearted banter with his cousin Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist).

#9 Hypatia

Source: © Agora / Mod Producciones and co-producers© The Good Place / Universal Television and co-producers

  • "Agora", 2009 — Rachel Weisz
In 2009, Rachel Weisz played the lead role of Hypatia of Alexandria in the historical drama film "Agora", a Spanish production directed by Alejandro Amenábar. The New York Times called her portrayal "adept", noting that she imparted "a sympathetic presence".
  • "The Good Place", 2016-2020 — Lisa Kudrow
Phoebe was played by Lisa Kudrow, who in this episode plays Hypatia of Alexandria 'Patty', who resides in a Good Place. "Chapter 51: Patty" is the twelfth episode of the fourth season of "The Good Place", and the fifty-first episode overall. It aired on January 23, 2020.

#10 Alice

Source: © Alice in Wonderland / Walt Disney Pictures and co-producers© Once Upon a Time in Wonderland / ABC Signature and co-producers© Come Away / Hammerstone Studios and co-producers© Alice in Borderland / Robot Communications and co-producers

  • "Alice in Wonderland", 2010 — Mia Wasikowska
 Wasikowska gained worldwide recognition in 2010 after starring as Alice in Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" and appearing in the comedy-drama film The Kids Are All Right, a role for which she received the Hollywood Film Festival Award for Breakthrough Actress. After that, she reprised her role as Alice in the fantasy film "Alice Through the Looking Glass", and has since appeared in a number of independent films.
  • "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland", 2013-2014 — Sophie Lowe
Alice, also known as Starfish and Tower Girl, formerly known as the Guardian, and currently known as Tilly, is a character on ABC's "Once Upon a Time". She débuts in the first episode of the seventh season and is portrayed by guest star Rose Reynolds and co-star Elle McKinnon.
  •  "Come Away", 2020 — Gugu Mbatha-Raw
"Come Away" is a homage to the stories of "Peter Pan" and "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland". The characters of those stories are siblings who try to help their parents overcome the death of their eldest son. And Alice was portrayed by Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
  • "Alice in Borderland", 2020 — Kento Yamazaki 
The series, "Alice in Borderland", is an allusion to the classic book. The main character’s name is Arisu, who is an interpretation of Alice.

#11 Samantha Jones

Source: © Sex and the City / Home Box Office (HBO) and co-producers© The Carrie Diaries / Warner Bros. Television and co-producers

  • "Sex and the City", 1998-2004 — Kim Cattrall
Kim Cattrall is best known for her role as Samantha Jones on HBO's “Sex and the City “(1998–2004), for which she received five Emmy Award nominations and four Golden Globe Award nominations, winning the 2002 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. She reprised the role in the films “Sex and the City” (2008) and “Sex and the City 2” (2010).
  •  "The Carrie Diaries", 2013–2014 — Lindsey Gort
Lindsey Gort is known for her portrayal of Samantha Jones on CW's "The Carrie Diaries", the "Sex and the City" prequel series.

#12 Peter Pan

Source: © Peter Pan / Universal Pictures and co-producers© Once Upon a Time / ABC Signature and co-producers© Pan / Warner Bros. and co-producers

  • "Peter Pan", 2003 — Jeremy Sumpter
"Peter Pan" is a 2003 fantasy adventure film that is based on the 1904 play and 1911 novel "Peter Pan", or "The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up" by J.M. Barrie. Jeremy Sumpter as Peter Pan: A young boy who can fly and refuses to grow up.
  •  "Once Upon a Time", 2011-2018 — Robbie Kay
Malcolm, currently known as "Peter Pan", is a character on ABC's Once Upon a Time. He débuts in the first episode of the third season and is portrayed by guest stars Robbie Kay and Stephen Lord. He is the main reality version of Wish Peter Pan.
  • "Pan", 2015 — Levi Miller
"Pan" serves as a prequel to Peter and Wendy from Scottish author J. M. Barrie, which was first staged in 1904. The film focuses on an alternative origin story for Peter Pan and Captain Hook. It stars Levi Miller as Peter Pan.

#13 Ernest Hemingway

Source: © Midnight in Paris / Mediapro and co-producers© Hemingway & Gellhorn / Home Box Office (HBO) and co-producers

  • "Midnight in Paris", 2011 — Corey Stoll
 "Midnight in Paris" is a romantic comedy film set in Paris that was released in 2010. Corey Stoll's performance as Ernest Hemingway  earned him a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male.
  •  "Hemingway & Gellhorn", 2012 — Clive Owen
"Hemingway & Gellhorn" is a 2012 television film about the lives of journalist Martha Gellhorn and her husband, writer Ernest Hemingway.  Clive Owen earned his first Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his role as Ernest Hemingway.

#14 Juliet

Source: © Romeo and Juliet / BHE Films and co-producers© Romeo + Juliet / Twentieth Century Fox and co-producers© Romeo & Juliet / Echo Lake Entertainment and co-producers

  • "Romeo & Juliet", 1968 — Olivia Hussey
Hussey starred in the role of Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 film adaptation of "Romeo and Juliet". Hussey received widespread acclaim and international recognition for her performance.
  • "William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet", 1996 — Claire Danes
Juliet in the film "Romeo + Juliet" is the first leading role on the big screen in 1996 Claire Danes.
  • "Romeo & Juliet", 2013 — Hailee Steinfeld
"Romeo & Juliet" is a 2013 romantic drama film adaptation of William Shakespeare's romantic tragedy of the same name written by Julian Fellowes and directed by Carlo Carlei.  Hailee Steinfeld played the lead role of Juliet in this movie.

#15 Witcher

Source: © Wiedzmin / Heritage Films and co-producers© The Witcher / Netflix and co-producers

  • "Wiedźmin", 2002 — Michał Żebrowski 
"Wiedźmin" is a Polish fantasy television series that aired in 2002. The story is based on the stories of "The Witcher" fantasy series, by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski.  Michał Żebrowski played the title role Witcher.
  •  "The Witcher", 2019 — Henry Cavill
"Geralt of Rivia" is the protagonist of "The Witcher" series of short stories and novels. He is a magically enhanced monster-hunter known as a "witcher", who possesses supernatural abilities due to his mutations. Henry Cavill portrays the character in the first three seasons of Netflix's "The Witcher" television series.

#16 Victor Frankenstein

Source: © Frankenstein / TriStar Pictures and co-producers© Once Upon a Time / ABC Signature and co-producers© Victor Frankenstein / Twentieth Century Fox and co-producers

  • "Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein", 1994 — Kenneth Branagh
Kenneth Branagh as Victor Frankenstein, a scientist obsessed with conquering death, an obsession that ultimately destroys his life.
  • "Once Upon a Time", 2011-2018 — David Anders
Dr. Victor Frankenstein or Dr. Whale, débuts in the third episode of the first season. Victor Frankenstein is based on the character of the same name from the classic novel, "Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus". This character is portrayed by guest star David Anders. 
  • "Victor Frankenstein", 2015 — James McAvoy
"Victor Frankenstein" is told from Igor's perspective, and shows the troubled young assistant's dark origins and his redemptive friendship with the young medical student, Victor Frankenstein. Actor James McAvoy played the title role.

#17 Morticia Addams

Source: © The Addams Family / Paramount Pictures and co-producers© Wednesday / MGM Television and co-producers

  • "The Addams Family", 1991 — Anjelica Huston
Huston obtained the part of Morticia Addams, the stern, the aloof matriarch of the titular family, in "The Addams Family" (1991) and its sequel "Addams Family Values" (1993). This role helped her win Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical. 
  • "Wednesday", 2022 — Catherine Zeta-Jones
In the Netflix series "Wednesday", Zeta-Jones follows in the actress Anjelica Huston's footsteps, who in two "Addams" films from the 1990s played the spooky mother figure.

#18 Phileas Fogg

Source: © Around the World in 80 Days / Avala Film and co-producers© Around the World in 80 Days / Walt Disney Pictures and co-producers© Around the World in 80 Days / Slim Film + Television and co-producers

  • "Around the World in 80 Days", 1989 — Pierce Brosnan
"Around the World in 80 Days" is a three-part television miniseries originally broadcast on NBC from April 16 to 18, 1989. Pierce Brosnan played Phileas Fogg in 1989.
  • "Around the World in 80 Days", 2004 — Steve Coogan
Steve Coogan took over this role in 2004.
  • "Around the World in 80 Days", 2021 — David Tennant
David Tennant starred in the role of Phileas Fogg in 2021.
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