Bale, Garfield, Reynolds: What’s Next for These Blockbuster Superheroes

TheWrap takes a look at who’s up, who’s down in the tights-wearing game … we’re talking about you, too, Robert Downey Jr. and Henry Cavill

Last Updated: February 10, 2011 @ 5:27 PM

From "Batman Begins" to "Spider-Man," donning tights and a mask has become a sure-fire launch pad for actors to send their careers into the stratosphere.

Like action movies in the 1980s, the success of superhero films has spawned a whole new generation of mega-stars.

Keeping the momentum going when the mask is off can be tricky, though.

For every Robert Downey Jr., who rode his charismatic comeback Tony Stark/Iron Man role into multi-million dollar paychecks in films such as "Due Date," there's a Tobey Maguire who followed up his web-swinging by riding off in "Seabiscuit." 

To see who is ahead in the post-tights dealmaking, TheWrap takes a look at what's on the horizon for this generation of superhero superstars. 

Name: Christian Bale
Superhero: Batman
You Know Him From: "Batman Begins" and the mega-grossing "The Dark Knight" made this Welsh actor a huge star. If awards prognosticators are right, Bale will soon add "Oscar-winner" to his resume for his performance as the drug-addled boxing trainer and brother in "The Fighter." 
Confirmed: Reprising his role as the caped crusader in 2012's "The Dark Knight Rises" and starring in the Chinese sex trafficker drama "The 13 Women of Nanjing" for "Raise the Red Lantern" director Yimou Zhang.
Rumored: Brad Anderson, who directed the actor's tour de force performance in "The Machinist" several years ago, says Bale is on board for "Concrete Island." He'll play an architect trying to survive in a futuristic wasteland. Bale is also circling the part of inventor Nicholas Tesla in the "Untitled Nicholas Tesla Project" and may join the Stephen King adaptation of "The Dark Tower."

Name: Chris Hemsworth
Superhero: Thor
You Know Him From: Playing Captain Kirk's father in 2009's "Star Trek." 
Confirmed: The Aussie actor will wield the hammer as "Thor" in this summer's tentpole release from Paramount. Hemsworth will then reprise his Norse god part in "The Avengers," the all-star superhero love-fest due out in summer of 2012. He also stars in the long-shelved "Red Dawn" remake from MGM. Tied up by the studio's debt problems, the updated version of the 1980s classic should hit theaters this year. 
Rumored: Nada. "Avengers" duties will keep him busy for the foreseeable future. 

Name: Robert Downey Jr.
Superhero: Iron Man
You Know Him From: While acclaimed for his talent, until about 2008, Downey was mostly known for his off-screen drug and legal issues. Now, it's impossible not to know one of the biggest stars on the planet. In addition to playing the tin-suited billionaire in "Iron Man" and "Iron Man 2," Downey brushed off the famous Baker Street sleuth for "Sherlock Holmes"
  Confirmed: Downey's Iron Man will show up in 2012's "Avengers." The Oscar-nominee will pop up in "Sherlock Holmes 2" due out on Christmas 2011. 
Rumored: Downey has become better known for exiting projects recently. He was attached to Alfonoso Cuaron's "Gravity" and Sam Raimi's "Oz," but left both projects. You can afford to be picky when the world's your oyster. 

Name: Chris Evans
Superhero: Captain America
You Know Him From: The frosted -tipped star played the cocky Human Torch in two "Fantastic Four" movies.
Confirmed: Evans will pick up the shield for this summer's "Captain America: The First Avenger" then join "The Avengers" in the summer 2012 release. Evans will also be seen romancing Anna Faris in next fall's comedy "What's Your Number?" and sticking up for the little guy in legal drama "Puncture."
Rumored: Don't know of any.

Name: Ryan Reynolds
Superhero: Green Lantern
You Know Him From: Being better-looking than you. Also for playing Van Wilder in "National Lampoon's Van Wilder" and for playing Wade Wilson and Deadpool in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine."
Confirmed: He stars as Hal Jordan — the Green Lantern himself — in this year's "Green Lantern." He'll also star alongside Denzel Washington in 2012's "Safe House," from Universal, and play Mitch in this year's "The Change Up," also from Universal and for 2012's "The Croods," "R.I.P.D." and in "Deadpool," among others.
Rumored: He's said to be appearing in "Motorcade," a Parkes/MacDonald and DreamWorks SKG thriller about a terrorist plot to attack the president's motorcade.

Name: Henry Cavill
Superhero: Superman
You Know Him From: "The Tudors," Showtime's drama about King Henry VIII in which Cavill plays Charles Brandon. You might also know him from 2007's "Stardust."
Confirmed: The English actor will fight for truth, justice and the and big box office grosses as the Clark Kent and Superman in 2012's "Superman: Man of Steel."
Rumored: Haven't heard any.

Name: Andrew Garfield
Superhero: Spider Man
You Know Him From: "The Social Network." The American actor whose family moved to England when he was 4, played Eduardo Saverin in the Academy Award-nominated picture. He was Frank in two episodes of "Dr. Who," and Anton in 2009's  The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus."
Confirmed: He's the new Peter Parker and Spider Man, taking the role formerly played by Tobey Maguire, in 2012's Spider Man reboot.
Rumored: Joining Jennifer Garner and Marcia Gay Harden in "Back Roads," an adaptation of Tawni O'Dell's bestselling novel. He's also rumored to be considering a role in "Night Flower," a scary romantic thriller.