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Iconic Characters


Apr 14, 2024

10 Actors Who Played Multiple Iconic Characters

Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu, Nick Fury, Jules Winnfield)

Jackson has been one of the most consistent actors of any generation. Whether his characters only exist in a single film or span across an entire franchise, Jackson has a knack for turning in legendary performances. He played the iconic Jules Winnfield in Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction,” Mace Windu in the “Star Wars” franchise, and most recently he has played Nick Fury in over 10 different MCU-affiliated films. Talk about longevity.

Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones, Han Solo)

Harrison Ford has played two of the most iconic characters in adventure movie history. He first starred as Han Solo in the “Star Wars” movies, a role that would become so culturally significant that his performance remains a relevant topic of discussion to this day. This alone would be enough for Ford to be renowned as one of the best action/adventure stars ever, but he added to his resume by playing the beloved character Indiana Jones. The whip-wielding scientist brought Ford to the attention of a whole new audience and would keep him culturally relevant to generations of moviegoers.

Sylvester Stallone (Rambo, Rocky)

Stallone’s first-ever feature film role was as Rocky Balboa in the “Rocky” franchise, the character would define his career becoming instantly iconic. Eight years after playing Balboa for the first time, Stallone would take on the role of the titular character in the movie “Rambo: First Blood.” This was another smash-hit role for Stallone and cemented him as one of the most celebrated action stars of all time.

Keanu Reeves (John Wick & Neo)

Reeves’ first truly iconic character was Neo from the 1999 movie “The Matrix.” The film was truly a cultural phenomenon upon its release and it launched Reeves into superstardom. In somewhat of a career resurgence, Reeves then starred in another role that would go on to define him as an actor, that being the titular character in the “John Wick” movies. The action star playing two instantly recognizable characters has cemented his legacy as one of the most beloved actors of all time.

Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard, Charles Xavier)

Sir Patrick Stewart has blessed the screen with his acting prowess for many generations of cinema fans. He became a household name playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the “Star Trek” universe in the late 80s. It was over a decade later that we would capture the hearts of a younger audience, playing Professor X in the “X-Men” trilogy. He even reprised his role for a brief but impactful cameo in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”

Ian McKellen (Gandalf, Magneto)

Sir Ian McKellen is one of the most respected actors of all time and he has the resume to prove it. The 84-year-old actor is a recognizable name in two completely separate franchises. He played Gandalf the Grey in “The Lord of the Rings” franchise as well as in “The Hobbit” movies. And in the early 2000s, he starred in the “X-Men” films as Magneto, one of the franchise's most important characters.

Al Pacino (Michael Corleone, Tony Montana)

Al Pacino has one of the most decorated careers an actor can have, and on top of this he has played two of the most legendary characters in cinematic history. The first came as Michael Corleone in a role that would launch Pacino into superstardom. Later in 1983, Pacino found further success playing the infamous Tony Montana in “Scarface.” While these roles would be celebrated for generations to come, they would not define Pacino’s career, as he would continue to find great success playing a wide range of characters going forward.

Robert Pattinson (Batman, Edward Cullen, Cedric Diggory)

Despite the fact that Robert Pattinson is only in his thirties, he has played three separate iconic characters since the very beginning of his career. The first was Cedric Diggory in “Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire.” Even though Diggory only appeared in one film, he remains one of the franchise’s most beloved characters. Pattinson would go on to star in the “Twilight” saga as Edward Cullen, and then as Bruce Wayne in Matt Reeves’ “The Batman.” The cultural impact of both of these characters goes without saying, and they are great additions to the impressive resume of this remarkably young actor.

Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Dr. Strange)

Another young actor who has a habit of landing esteemed roles, Benedict Cumberbatch is known for often playing sarcastic geniuses. He did just that when he played the beloved Sherlock Holmes in the BBC mini-series “Sherlock” which would launch him to national fame in the UK. But it was his portrayal of Doctor Strange in the MCU that would garner Cumberbatch undeniable international fame

Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins & Maria von Trapp)

It is not controversial to say that Julie Andrews has done more for mainstream musical theatre than any other actress of her generation. She played two of the most recognizable musical characters of all time. The first being the lead role in “Mary Poppins,” The beloved portrayal was her feature film debut, and got her career off to a monumental start by winning an Oscar. The following year, she would play Maria von Trapp in “The Sound of Music.”

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