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Every Live-Action Aquaman Actor Ranked From Worst to Best

Saturday Night Live (1992) - Aquaman (David Spade), Jimmy Olsen (Rob Schneider)

Find out who's the best live-action Aquaman! Aquaman, the James Wan-directed superhero film starring Jason Momoa opens tomorrow. It's the first solo big screen movie about the aquatic superhero. but he's not the first person to put on the yellow and green suit to fight crime.

Aquaman was created for DC Comics by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger. The character first appeared in More Fun Comics #73 (1941). Even though he's been around for decades he only came to prominence thanks to the 1960s cartoon show Super Friends. The show makes him a founding member of the superhero team but showed him weak and underpowered. Since then he's been a running joke. But there have been several times in the comics and in live-action television shows to make him work.

Some have worked better than others. From Saturday Night Live to Smallville, we're ranking the top five actors to play Arthur Curry known as Aquaman.

5. David Spade


First Appearance: Saturday Night Live (1992)
In 1992 Saturday Night Live (SNL) parodied "The Death of Superman" comic book story arc with a sketch in the eighth episode of its eighteenth season. Various DC superhero's come to Superman's funeral to pay respect.

In the opening, comedian David Spade comes in wearing the classic yellow and green spandex holding a bowl of shrimp. "I brought some shrimp," he says. "If you need anything else – kelp, seaweed, anything – you just name it."

He's pretty funny in his delivery and his ridiculous wig and ill-placed fake muscles are hilarious. But it's a terrible interpretation of Aquaman. Besides the fact that he looks silly, the idea that Aquaman would be serving sea creatures is a little icky.

But it is a parody so there you go.

Watch on NBC

4. Justin Hartley


First Appearance: Mercy Reef aka Aquaman
Justin Hartley

The success of the Superman prequel series Smallville led the producers to introduce more superheroes and develop a spin-off. Alan Ritchson first appeared in season five of the show as Arthur "A.C." Curry. The episode was the most popular of the season and was considered the best option.

When the pilot was developed they decided to recast the role and make it independent of the WB series. Justin Hartley, now best known for This is Us, took on the role.

Watch the trailer below


He gave it everything he had but the quality of the show takes away from his star power. He later joined Smallville as Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow. Hartley is born to play a superhero, but just not Aquaman.

3. Alan Ritchson

Smallville - Arthur "A.C." Curry / Aquaman (Alan Ritchson)

First Appearance: Smallville (2005)
Alan Ritchson, a former model, actor and singer first appeared in the season two episode "Aqua". he saves Lois Lane from drowning and soon begins fighting crime with Clark.

The show takes some liberties with the character. He's not known as Arthur Curry, but the much cooler nickname A.C. He's given the weakness that if he's deprived of water for too long he loses his strength and starts dying.

What makes him impressive is his body. With massive chest and shoulder muscles, he looks perfect as a superhero.

Unfortunately, after the failed pilot he's relegated to being one of Clark and Oliver Queen's sidekicks. And they never introduce him as the king of Atlantis. Kind of a waste.

2. Vincent Chase


First Appearance: Entourage (2005)
The HBO series Entourage is the first (although fictional) attempt to bring the character to the big screen. The show, which followed a group of friends following Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) in his acting career. In season three the series began following Chase in his long quest to film the movie directed by James Cameron.

James Cameron's Aquaman is an in-joke from the beginning with Chase laughing at the concept. Aquaman is considered a joke thanks to the Superfriends show. But the series treated it like a serious effort and gave it legitimacy. Except for the costume. That's just silly.


While we don't see much of Grenier as Aquaman we get a pretty good idea thanks to the brief clip shown at the show's premiere. The movie would go on to be a huge blockbuster

He's stoic. He's brave. He's proud. Everything you want a superhero to be.



1. Jason Momoa

Aquaman (2018) - Jason Momoa

First Appearance: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

In Zack Snyder's first team-up movie we get glimpses of Aquaman. When Batman watches a surveillance video he sees a man underwater stabbing the camera and swimming away at superhuman speed. It's Jason Momoa's first appearance as Aquaman. Since then he appeared in Justice League and his own solo movie coming out tomorrow.

Momoa's natural enthusiasm and charisma shine through his performance. But he never quite rises to the level of a superhero. One thing he absolutely does is end the days of Aquaman being a laughing stock. This is an Aquaman who's bold, brash and (so I'm told) dripping with sex appeal.

His Aquaman achieves what hasn't been done for decades. Aquaman is now a successful superhero and holds his place alongside Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

Who's your favorite Aquaman actor? Let us know in the comments!

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