Masters of the Cinematic Nerdverse: Honorable Mention

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 honorable mentions feel like the supporting team all-stars: always the resilient, powerful, incorruptible, badass bridesmaid, never the bride. Unless of course you’re a mega-powerful leading lady…. This is the spot for those too.

But first, a Dishonorable Mention.

Bryan Singer

His score earns him a place here, but according to a very robust pattern of allegations that span the last 20 years, it is evident that Singer’s accomplishments enabled him to abuse people, so his Honorable Mention has been revoked from the Nerdverse.

This guy is a sexual predator. He used his power as a respected Hollywood filmmaker to drug and abuse vulnerable teenagers and then ruined their lives if they tried to speak out.

His victims’ stories are here (no paywall!).


Bruce Willis

50 points, 2 realms, male actors #26

You could certainly argue that the special something Bruce Willis brings to any genre film is his magical ability to make leather jackets look fantastic. He earns his spot in the Nerdverse by applying this skill to his roles as various grizzled veteran stealthy detectives/secret agents in Sin City (Dark Horse) and Surrogates (Top Shelf), and in RED and RED2, based on the graphic novel series published by DC.


Jason Momoa

51 points, 3 realms, male actors #25

What Bruce Willis does for leather jackets, Jason Momoa does for body art. Who can forget Khal Drogo – I don’t think there is anyone on earth who could’ve played the Dothraki chieftain with such magnetic ferocity, and look so good with long hair. DC agreed, and quickly cast him as Aquaman. Justice League was a’ight, but – oh boy did you guys see Aquaman? What a shitburger. (Bonus: Momoa had a supporting role in Bullet to the Head, a 2012 film based on a French graphic novel, which earned him a x3).


James McAvoy

52 points, 2 realms, male actors #24

His most significant Nerdverse role is certainly Charles Xavier / Professor X as a young man, whom he played in the four most recent X-Men films (and Deadpool 2). The young Scot is unexpectedly powerful in the Nerdverse, though – he also earned points in the indie comic realm by playing super-assassin Wesley Gibson in Wanted (Top Cow), co-starring Angelina Jolie / #69, and double agent David Percival in Atomic Blonde (Oni Press), co-starring Charlize Theron / #67. Guess his miquetoast normie-ness makes him the perfect “regular guy” to play opposite a foxy goddess-type. Pretty sweet niche, James!


Robbie Coltrane

54 points, 2 realms, male actors #23

A character actor with 100+ IMDB credits, Robbie Coltrane is most famous for playing Rubeus Hagrid, the half-giant half-human Hogwart’s groundskeeper/wizardland secret agent, in all 8 Harry Potter films. He earns a cross-realm multiplier for his role as police officer Peter Godley in From Hell (Top Shelf).

Peter Dinklage

54 points, 2 realms, male actors #23

As Tyrion Lannister, the most gravitastic imp there ever was and one of the greatest characters – arguably the protagonist –  in the character-rich Game of Thrones, Peter Dinklage appeared in 67 episodes, more than any other character. He also crossed over into two different parts of the Marvel realm, as Eitri, the giant dwarf who forges magic weapons from the heat of a dying star in The Avengers – Infinity War, and as Dr. Bolivar Trask, the military scientist responsible for creating the Sentinals in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

James Marsden

54 points, 3 realms, male actors #23

James Marsden has a great chin and I think he’s a pretty decent actor (LOVED him in Westworld), so even though I’m aware the original X-Men series was setting up a Wolverine/Cyclops/Jean love triangle in which Cyclops was the Baxter, I’m still kinda mad at Marsden’s portrayal of the selfless leader of the X-Men. It wasn’t heroic at all. It was just kind-of lame and whiney and off-putting, and the cool dude sunglasses really didn’t help. Anyway, Cyclops deserved better. Marsden gets around in the comic realms, though – he also played ruthless Naval Intelligence officer, Harold Quince, in 2 Guns (Boom! Studios) and Richard White, a Daily Planet reporter who is married to Lois Lane in the forgotten Superman Returns (2006), directed by the pedophile/rapist referenced above. I always assumed that Superman movie was terrible, but the metascore is 72 – which I find so surprising. Did anyone see that one?

Halle Berry

54 points, 3 realms, female actors #5

Berry plays a memorable hero in two realms in the Nerdverse, one of whom certainly deserves more play. Storm is a senior vet of the X-Men A-team – she has the greatest superpowers and the most mysterious backstory and Halle Berry was perfect for the role. I would’ve loved a Halle Berry Storm movie, that’s for sure. Instead, she crossed into DC as the titular Catwoman in 2004, which was apparently real, real bad (27 metascore – oof). I’m sure the movie has lots of problems… though maybe one was that Berry is just too warm and lovely to play a slinky, menacing antihero. She recently dipped her toe back into the Nerdverse with a small role in Kingsman: The Golden Circle (Icon), but I hope she comes back into a major role sometime soon. I just feel like her work isn’t done here.


Graham McTavish

56 points, 4 realms, male actors #26

I love these sneak attacks by character actors! Though his most famous role on the list is Dwalin, one of the twelve “other guy” Dwarves who are not the Dwarf King in The Hobbit trilogy, somehow McTavish sneaks up into the Honorable Mentions with a respectable score of 56. The secret is his ability to cross realms: into DC as minor character King Atlan in Aquaman, and into Marvel and Indie comics by voicing cartoon versions of supervillains Loki (Avengers) and Salvanti Romero (TMNT).

Emilia Clarke

56 points, 2 realms, female actors #4

Being a powerful young woman is difficult in the Nerdverse – so much so that despite your best attempts to be the hero you know the world needs, sometimes your rage overwhelms your noble intentions. Emilia Clarke was unforgettable as Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen: Khaleesi and the Breaker of Chains and the Mother of Dragons and all that. She recently crossed realms, showing up as crime-boss-with-a-heart-of-gold, Qi’ra, in Solo: A Star Wars Story. With her powerful GOT years in her pocket, if Clarke stays in the Nerdverse, she’s certainly poised to climb fast.

Sophie Turner

56 points, 2 realms, female actors #4

With the most honorable of mentions, playing the epically embattled young heroine, is the lovely Sophie Turner. Being Sansa Stark since childhood must really do something to the soul – by the end there, I don’t know anyone in Westeros who would genuinely try to f**k with the Queen of the North. Game of Thrones rocketed Turner into the Marvel realm as well, where she landed the role of the mega-powerful, volatile – but effortlessly lovely – telepath mutant Jean Grey (the other Jean, Famke Janssen, is #55). It’s too bad Simon Kinberg’s two X-Men films aren’t very good, because Sophie Turner was born to be Jean.

Next up, #16-25: Bronze Medalists. Who do you expect to see?

Catch up on previous rankings here.

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