Actor Character Portrayals: Which One is Better?

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Star Trek fans will forever debate which starship captain is the best. It is just part of the fun of being a Trekkie. But there is a much larger dynamic at play here. Between mainstream TV and films, there are plenty of incidents in which multiple actors portray either the same or similar characters with different results. This leads to plenty of opinions over whose portrayals are better.

To make the point, here are four examples of different character portrayals. You be the judge. Do any of them stick out to you as being better?

1. The Many Star Trek Captains

The Star Trek franchise is a good place to start. Over the years, the franchise has produced multiple films, TV series, and books. The three most often talked about captains are James Kirk, Jean-Luc Picard, and Kathryn Janeway.

Actor William Shatner portrayed the original series’ Captain James T. Kirk. You can see his image plastered all over Star Trek T-shirts. According to California retailer Nerd Kung Fu, Captain Kirk is a pretty big seller. He is loved by fans for his melodramatic tones and over-the-top facial expressions.

Jean-Luc Picard, portrayed by actor Patrick Stewart, is a more cerebral commander. He was the captain in the Star Trek: The Next Generation TV show. Stewart played Picard as an intellectual who was more likely to think things through than order photon torpedoes be fired.

Finally, Voyager’s Captain Janeway, portrayed by actress Kate Mulgrew, presented an even different image. Janeway was a strong and confident commander who was determined to never walk away from a challenge. She is pretty popular among Trekkies.

2. Keaton or Kilmer As Batman

The Batman franchise has seen several different actors play the lead role. Two of the most talked about are Michael Keaton and Val Kilmer. Both brought interesting perspectives, with Keaton playing the caped crusader as a bit more dark than previously imagined.

Kilmer tried to bring a bit more depth to the character but ultimately failed. He later admitted that he didn’t return to reprise his role because he realized Batman fans didn’t really care who was behind the mask.

3. Connery or Moore as Bond

Whenever there is a debate over the best James Bond, the two finalists are Sean Connery and Roger Moore. You might be a fan of Pierce Brosnan, but most fans say he comes in a distant third.

Die-hard Bond fans tend to believe that Connery is irreplaceable. They think he is the only one who ever did justice to the role. Fans of Moore’s portrayal say he brought more style and sophistication to the Bond persona. What do you think?

4. The Old or New Ghostbusters

The original 1984 Ghostbusters film featured Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson as the main characters. A 2016 remake brought in Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones portraying an all-female team.

Both films have their fans and detractors. Some claim the original film can never be outdone while others say the 2016 remake was a better film for the modern era. Which Ghostbusters team do you like better?

As you can see, there is no shortage of multiple actor portrayals of the same or similar characters. In addition to the four mentioned here, there are multiple portrayals of Willy Wonka, the ladies from Little Woman, and so many more.

We all have our opinions and that’s okay. Multiple actor portrayals are a hallmark of a really great story. You can tell it multiple times, using different actors, and still produce something good.