Imagine if Hollywood had released tent-pole comic-book movies starring their iconic characters around the time of the source material’s release date. For the purposes of this experiment, we will say that a movie would be released 5 years after the introduction of the character, and only movies that have been made would be made.
Clark Kent/ Superman-Gary Cooper
This was a tough decision, coming off his Oscar win in 1942, Gary Cooper had been a movie star for some time, and his likeability was a major factor in his casting. At 6’3” with dark hair, he was able to bring gravitas to most iconic of superheroes. Producers also considered John Wayne (6’4”), that iconic cowboy, and Gene Kelly, who was deemed much too short.
Already one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, and always a leading man, Tracy would have shared top billing with Cooper.
Lex Luthor-Walter Brennan
The only man to win three Supporting Actor Oscars, he was beloved, recognizable, and was known for the variety of characters he portrayed on-screen.
Lois Lane-Jennifer Jones
Also an Oscar winner (though she would have won this same year), producers were looking to hit this one out of the park. Jones was relatively unknown on-screen in 1943, her primary work having been in a Dick Tracy serial. So, she would get the “And Introducing” credit. Think of her as the era-appropriate Jennifer Lawrence, holding down a big franchise and turning in Oscar-worthy performances in more “serious” fare.