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13 Actors Who Leveled Up When They Switched Franchises

October 1, 2020 13.1k votes 1.6k voters 103.2k views13 items

List RulesVote up the actors who got an obvious franchise upgrade.

When it comes to modern blockbusters, there seem to be more movie and TV franchises than there are actors to star in them. When it becomes huge Hollywood news to find out filmmakers and actors who switched from DC to Marvel (or vice versa), it's clear that franchises are the new path to superstardom. For some, hopping between franchises can elevate their careers from sidekick to bonafide star.

This will be a roundup of certain actors who may have started in a certain role but then gained more notoriety when moving on to bigger and better things. Whether it was an actor who had star potential all along or a personality who was just in need of the right character to unlock their latent charisma, we will take a look at those actors that jumped ship and certainly benefited from it.

  • Although Chris Evans’ Human Torch from Fantastic 4 and F4: Rise of the Silver Surfer is one of the more enjoyable aspects of those movies, it's just not fair to compare his take on Johnny Storm and the MCU's Captain America. 

    When Chris Evans got another opportunity to portray a Marvel character and one of the most historic Marvel heroes there is, he certainly delivered. First introduced in Captain America: The First Avenger and quickly looped into The Avengers, Evans absolutely owned his patriotic title and delivered a much more memorable performance than as the F4's comic relief hot-head.

    • Age: 39
    • Birthplace: Sudbury, Massachusetts, United States of America
    Franchise upgrade?
  • Ryan Reynolds had plenty of franchise lows before finally breaking into the big leagues. Reynolds started out with Marvel as Wade Wilson (Deadpool) in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but fans wished they could forget the misguided attempt at bringing the Merc with a Mouth to the big screen.

    After that, Reynolds jumped ship to DC and got his first leading role in a comic book movie as Hal Jordan in Green Lantern. The reviews were once again less than positive and any hopes for a sequel were quashed, but given the potential shown in his previous DP performance, he was given another crack at the character. It’s fair to say that the second time around, he absolutely nailed it and broke ground for superhero movies with an unabashedly R-rated take on the character.   

    When it comes to weighing up where Reynolds is suited best, you just need to let the movies speak for themselves. Not only is Green Lantern considered one of the worst superhero movies of all time, but Reynolds doesn't mince words when criticizing the movie, even working a joke at his previous self's expense into Deadpool 2.

    • Age: 43
    • Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada
    Franchise upgrade?

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  • Introduced in the 2009 film Fast & Furious, Gal Gadot entered Dominic Toretto’s universe as Gisele Yashar, who eventually went on to form a romantic relationship with team member Han Lue before meeting her end in 2013’s Fast & Furious 6.

    While the Fast & Furious franchise is arguably one of the biggest out there for sure, Gadot jumped to a whole level of stardom when she stepped into the shoes of Wonder Woman herself in the DCEU’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. She went from just another member of the crew to one of the pillars of DC's comic universe when her solo film came out, and the Amazonian warrior princess generated just as much hype for her followup outing in Wonder Woman 1984

    • Age: 35
    • Birthplace: Rosh HaAyin, Israel
    Franchise upgrade?

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  • While it may not have been Michael B. Jordan’s fault for what ended up being on screen in Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four (2015), his version of the Human Torch and the rest of the Fantastic Four were still met with dismay from fans and critics alike. 

    Thankfully, he was given the chance to tackle another Marvel character as Erik 'Killmonger' Stevens (AKA N'Jadaka) in Black Panther. Serving as a ruthless reflection of Chadwick Boseman's T’Challa, Jordan pushed the envelope as a character with an empathetically dangerous worldview. And although this nemesis perished after his first appearance, his last words will forever be remembered in the MCU as they echo actual history:

    Why, so you can just lock me up? Nah. Just bury me in the ocean... with my ancestors that jumped from the ships, 'cause they knew death... was better than bondage.

    • Age: 33
    • Birthplace: Santa Ana, California
    Franchise upgrade?

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