One of the most prolific actors of this generation, Edward Norton has portrayed his incredible acting range in some critically acclaimed movies over the years. Edward Norton made his debut in Primal Fear (1996) which earned him a Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. A rare feat to be nominated for an Academy Award on debut performance, Edward Norton starred in other universally acclaimed movies like American History X (1998), which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, Fight Club (1999), The Score (2001), The Illusionist (2006), Moonrise Kingdom (2012), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), and Birdman (2014). For Birdman, Norton received his second Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Not limiting himself to a typecast, Edward Norton’s incredible acting range is a rare feat. Having portrayed the insomniac narrator in Fight Club to becoming a Neo-Nazi in American History X, Edward Norton has been hailed as a rare talent. For comic-book fans, Norton exploded into the scene with his portrayal of Bruce Banner/The Hulk in The Incredible Hulk (2008). As the second entrant to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Incredible Hulk was not quite the smashing success it was expected to be, but, Norton’s impactful and intense role as the raging monster was widely appreciated.
Unfortunately, Edward Norton parted ways with the MCU for several reasons. Despite being an incredible actor, Norton is considered to be a difficult actor to work with for his perfectionism. Norton had re-written the script of The Incredible Hulk in order to suit his vision for the character. Also, Norton’s wish to explore new characters and not get typecasted was another reason for his departure. Nonetheless, if he does decide to return to the superhero genre once again, here are 10 roles that are tailor-made for him.
The arch-nemesis of The Flash, Reverse-Flash aka Eobard Thawne is a supervillain from the 25th century with one motive: pushing Barry Allen to the edge. Obsessed with The Flash, Eobard Thawne is an expedient psychopath who has committed some truly horrible acts to mentally weaken his greatest nemesis.
A genius from the 25th century, the Reverse-Flash originally idolized The Flash from which stems his obsession. With Edward Norton playing the evil speedster, the DCEU can easily portray Thawne’s perverted psyche and damaged sense of justice, paving way for one of the greatest villains ever.
9. Mr. Freeze
Mr. Freeze aka Victor Fries is one of the recurring members of Batman’s infamous rogue gallery. Possessing genius-level intellect, Mr. Freeze is a cryogenics expert whose body was altered after a mishap. He wears a cryogenic suit to protect his sub-zero temperature body. The suit also grants him superhuman strength and durability.
Unlike most one-dimensional villains, Mr. Freeze’s motive is not fuelled by evil rage. Instead, he wished to revive his dead wife Nora by any means possible. As shown in Batman: The Animated Series, Mr. Freeze has a real emotional depth which doesn’t make him a one-dimensional villain. And, who better than Norton to play the role of a grief-stricken genius?
Considered to be one of the most powerful nemeses of Superman, Brainiac might make his appearance soon enough in the DC Extended Universe. Possessing intellect beyond imagination, Brainiac’s robotic body gives him a wide array of powers from telepathy to energy manipulation.
Brainiac is known as the Collector of Worlds, having shrunken and stolen the city of Kandor. Even in some continuities, Brainiac is responsible for the destruction of Krypton. More of a villain who relies on his intellect instead of strength, Edward Norton would be a perfect cast for Brainiac.
7. Green Goblin
A recurring villain of Spider-Man, Green Goblin is an unhinged genius who is considered to be the most terrifying and insane member of Spider-Man’s rogue gallery. His obsession with Spider-Man has made him commit some of the most atrocious acts including the murder of Gwen Stacy.
Edward Norton’s acting skills in both American History X and Fight Club makes him a perfect choice to play an insane and amoral industrialist obsessed with bringing down the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
6. Etrigan the Demon
An antihero, Etrigan the Demon has a devilish origin but decides to fight for the heroes. Dating back to the time of King Arthur, a demon from hell was bonded with Jason Blood, a knight of King Arthur’s court, which resulted in the creation of Etrigan the Demon. Now immortal, Jason Blood is an expert demonologist in the city of Gotham, often partnering up with Batman.
Having played the role of Hulk, Edward Norton can bring the much-needed gravitas and intensity to the role of Etrigan. Torn between the world of humans and demons, Norton’s acting talent can make Etrigan a memorable character for years to come.
As the DC Extended Universe will only be expanding in years to come, bringing the Watchmen into the fold is a possibility too. If it ever happens, Edward Norton can definitely play the role of Adrian Veidt aka Ozymandias.
As the world’s smartest man, Ozymandias is a firm believer in end justifying the means. Jeremy Irons’ portrayal of the character in HBO’s Watchmen was widely acclaimed, which leaves big shoes for Norton to fill, if cast.
A psychic vampire, Morlun is one of the most dangerous and terrifying villains of Spider-Man. Belonging to Earth-001, he hunts down all versions of Spider-Man across the multiverse.
Having walked the Earth for centuries, Morlun is a relentless psychopathic villain who wants to wipe out all the Spider-Tokens. A dark and violent villain, Norton can be a good fit for the role considering his liking for intense and terrifying roles.
As the greatest nemesis of Green Lantern, Sinestro is a complicated villain. A former Green Lantern and the mentor of Hal Jordan, Sinestro believes in totalitarian methods. His violent and intense persona made him wield the Yellow Ring of Power after his banishment.
As the user of the Yellow Ring, Sinestro derives his power from fear. His descent from being one of the greatest Green Lanterns to become a dreaded villain can be deftly played by Edward Norton.
2. William Stryker
An enemy of the X-Men and the entire mutant race, William Stryker is a religious fanatic and a former army colonel who harbors unrivaled hatred for the mutants, considering them to be abominations.
An unabashed bigot who wishes to eradicate the mutant race, Stryker founded the Purifiers, a paramilitary organization to kill the mutants. Norton’s role as a Neo-Nazi in American History X makes him a perfect fit for the role of William Stryker.
A hard-boiled detective gets brutally murdered by a group of thugs and is stuffed into a barrel filled with cement before getting dumped into a body of water. This is the story of Jim Corrigan who gets resurrected by The Voice to return to earth as the Spectre.
In the past, Norton has praised DC Comics for its dark and gritty stories, especially Frank Miller’s writing. As the Spectre, Norton can enact the dark and violent sense of justice dished out by the Spectre. A cop by day and a supernatural vigilante by night, Norton can be a terrifying Spectre if the DCEU does cast him in the future.