Masters of the Cinematic Nerdverse: Consolation Prizes

There’s all sorts of science behind the Nerdverse, as I have come to call it, a periodically evolving ranked list of actors and filmmakers who cross the boundaries between realms of sci-fi / fantasy cinema. Catch up on the context behind this peculiar project.

The consolation prizes, #31-35, is a nice space to celebrate fathers, little brothers, sidekicks, mentors, etc… you know, the guy behind the guy. With some exceptional badasses (including a couple ladies!) who deserve their own spotlight, of course. Starting with…


Stan Lee

41 points, 1 realm, male actors #31

Since you don’t score points in this project for producing movies or inventing characters or dreaming up the story in the first place or inspiring new forms of storytelling that are still shaping the world, Stan Lee had to earn his spot on the list through cameos. 41 of them! All in one universe: Marvel, of course.


Martin Freeman

42 points, 2 realms, male actors #30

Martin Freeman is the top-ranked Bilbo Baggins; his predecessor, Ian Holm, just missed out on the consolation prizes, coming in at 38th. Freeman also recently busted into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Agent Everett K. Ross.

Christopher Lee

42 points, 2 realms, male actors #30

Perhaps best known for his perfect portrayal of Saruman the White, good-wizard-gone-bad in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, Christopher Lee also played Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequel films, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

Neal McDonough

42 points, 3 realms, male actors #30

Definitely the least famous person tied for 34th place, McDonough has played in the Marvel, DC, and Star Trek sandboxes. Best known to me as Dum Dum Dugan in The First Avenger, McDonough also plays Damien Dahrk – a genocidal maniac in the DC TV series, Arrow – in addition to voicing Bruce Banner in a late-90’s Hulk animated series, and showing up in both Star Trek: First Contact and RED 2 (also a DC property). That’s how you do it in the Nerdverse, Neal!

Liam Neeson

42 points, 3 realms, male actors #30

Neeson’s got a thing for characters with strange names and a talent for mentorship, portraying both Qui-Gon Jinn (The Phantom Menace) and Ra’s Al-Ghul (in the Nolan Batmans). In addition to DC and Star Wars, Neeson just jumped into Marvel storyland, with a role in the Men in Black – International.

Gary Oldman

42 points, 2 realms, male actors #30

Ever the father figure but never the actual father, Oldman has been looking out for some major heroes: first, Harry Potter, as godfather Sirius Black; and then shortly afterward, Bruce Wayne, as incorruptible police officer Jim Gordon in the Christopher Nolan Batmans.

Cate Blanchett

42 points, 2 realms, female actors #7

Definitely one of the bummer parts of this exercise was seeing how men outnumber women on this list like, 4 to 1. Though it’s great to see so many lady heroes starting to show up, it’s still a man’s sci-fi and fantasy world, friends. So I’m thrilled that Cate Blanchett – who is breathtaking as both Lady Galadriel (Lord of the Rings) and as Hela (Thor: Ragnarok) – made the cut. In the ladies’ bracket, she’s a silver medalist (#7)!

Elijah Wood

42 points, 2 realms, male actors #30

Only Elijah Wood can serve us both the most heroic of all hobbits (the most purehearted of all nature-and-good-time loving fantasy species) AND mute cannibal serial killer, Kevin, from Frank Miller’s Sin City. Only Elijah Wood, god bless him.


Jim Broadbent

44 points, 4 realms, male actors #29

A wonderful character actor who shows up everywhere, Jim Broadbent crosses 4 realms, which is quite impressive (the most any person in the whole Nerdverse does is 5). His most memorable role on the list is Professor Horace Slughorn, Potions Master in a couple Harry Potter films. He also shows up in indie comic film Art School Confidential, as the archmaester in a handful of episodes of Game of Thrones, and as a nuclear warhead dealer in Superman IV.

Marina Sirtis

44 points, 2 realms, female actors #6

The hottest empath in popular sci-fi, Lieutenant Deanna Troi was a key Enterprise officer in 4 films and 176 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. She rockets to the consolation prizes (and into the top 10 ladies) because of the realm-crossing multiplier she earned doing voicework on a half-dozen episodes of the animated DC series, Young Justice.

Ciarán Hinds

44 points, 4 realms, male actors #29

Mance Rayder himself! He not only united the free people north of the wall in Game of Thrones, he also helped Harry Potter out as Dumbledore’s little brother, Aberforth Dumbledore, in The Deathly Hallows. He had some dark years though, doing the villain thing in Justice League and playing the actual devil himself in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. (Bonus: Road to Perdition.)


Damon Lindelof

45 points, 3 realms, filmmaker #10

Lindelof wrote the screenplays for both Cowboys & Aliens (based on an indie comic) and Star Trek: Into Darkness; he also recently wrote the Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk animated miniseries. That’s 3 pivotal roles, 3 realms – welcome to the consolation prizes!

John Hurt

45 points, 3 realms, male actors #28

The legendary John Hurt’s most prominent Nerdverse role was Hellboy’s father figure, Professor Broom, in the first movie series with Ron Perlman. In addition to feature roles in a couple other indie comic movies (Snowpiercer, Hercules), Hurt had a small role in the Harry Potters as the magic wand merchant, and as the fascist high chancellor in the V for Vendetta – a comic story originally published by Vertigo, a DC imprint.

George Lucas

45 points, 1 realm, filmmaker #10

He wrote and directed Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, and A New Hope – and he wrote (though didn’t direct) Return of the Jedi. Thank you so much, George, for the force and jedis and lightsabers and the rebel alliance and all that! Please apologize for Jar Jar. You still owe us an apology for Jar Jar. And a few other things.

David Wenham

45 points, 3 realms, male actors #28

David Wenham was born to play a #2. Probably best known as Boromir’s little brother in the Lord of the Rings movies, he also played Dilios, sidekick to King Leonidas in the 300 movies (based on an independent comic). Lately, he’s gone villainous in Marvel’s Iron Fist show – anyone watch that? How did it go?


Leonard Nimoy and Jonathan Frakes

46 points, 1 realm, male actors #27

The kings of sidekicks! I put Nimoy and Frakes together because their story is basically the same: both played first officers, working side by side with a legendary Star Trek Captain of the big and small screen, and both became accomplished Star Trek TV directors for later series’.

Though of course, despite Riker’s devilish charm and trombone skills, Spock gets the edge in this tie – he’s a much cooler character. And in what feels like justice, Nimoy creamed reboot Spock, Zachary Quinto, in the Nerdverse. Despite how perfect Quinto was as young Spock, he’s ranked #57.

Next up, #26-30: the Nerdverse Honorable Mentions. Get excited for that!

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