The Magnificent 7: the actors who owe the most to geek fans

Geeks help our economy far more than we give them credit for. Beyond the technology we get from them, they fund the countless books, TV shows, mangas, and many other entertainment items lining the shelves in stores across the world.

But who has more to thank them for? The lucky actors who have made a killing portraying their favorite characters. These performers take the outlandish personalities in books, comics, and sci-fi/fantasy stories and embody them for our viewing pleasure. Let’s check out seven of these actors.

Samuel L. Jackson

Image via Flickr by Gage Skidmore

Sam the Man may not have acted in a huge number of sci-fi flicks, but he’s definitely a geek at heart. Jackson’s love for comic books in particular has led to an interest in sci-fi/fantasy roles. We saw him in Star Wars as a Jedi, in Unbreakable as Elijah Price, and who can forget him as Shaft. In a lesser known role, he also provided the voice of Frozone in The Incredibles.

Alan Rickman

Image via Flickr by Snape’s True Love

Alan Rickman put himself on the movie-villain map after playing the ultimate enemy, Hans Gruber, in Die Hard. Most people probably know him best these days as Harry Potter’s professor Severus Snape. Before that, he entered the sci-fi realm with his part on Galaxy Quest, a 1999 sci-fi-parody comedy. In perhaps somewhat less geeky, less well-known films, you can find him playing more excellent fantasy characters – like the helpful-yet-hilarious angel in Dogma.

Clancy Brown

Image via Flickr by ikrichter

Perhaps the most seasoned sci-fi actor on this list, you’ll find Clancy in many well-known sci-fi classics. In the original Highlander movie, he played Kurgan. Just to name a few of his accomplishments in the genre: he played Gus in Pet Cemetary 2; Sgt. Zim in Starship Troopers; Clay in The Burrowers; Dr. Albert Marconi in John Dies at the End; Kingsman in Nothing Left to Fear; and Angus in Hellbenders. He appeared in the 2010 Nightmare on Elm Street, The Green Lantern, and Cowboys and Aliens. On top of all this, he provided the voice of Lex Luther throughout the Superman animated series.

Ron Perlman

Image via Flickr by Gage Skidmore

Ron Perlman, certified badass, has been all over the sci-fi acting scene for many years now. Though he’s probably best know these days from his role as Clay Morrow on Sons of Anarchy (another incredible character), he actually portrayed Hellboy. Beyond those, Ron has had major roles in Star Trek: Nemesis, Blade II, Alien: Resurrection, The Ice Pirates, and Beauty and the Beast.

Those are just the films. He’s also performed in half of the animated sci-fi series in recent years: The Batman, Kim Possible, Danny Phantom, Justice League, Teen Titans, Superman, and too many more to list here. If you want to get the most of Perlman and see all the shows, consider getting DIRECTV® at

Nathan Fillion

Image via Flickr by Genevieve719

Finally, someone who doesn’t feel so ancient. Not to knock on the age of the other actors on this list, but the works they’ve been in dates back decades. He plays Captain Mal Reynolds in Whedonverse and Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog. Another multi-talented fellow, he also provides a voice for an animated series: Vigilante on the Justice League. A refreshing sci-fi actor who consistently can hold the part while adding some comic relief.

Patrick Stewart

Image via Flickr by Gage Skidmore

Jean-luc Picard. How can you look at Patrick Stewart and see anything else? To many, he is the face of Star Trek. That alone should give him the most credit on this list. But, even he had to outdo himself, and somehow acquired the role of Professor Xavier in the X-Men (surely his acting ability and not his baldness helped him, right?). But, back in the day, he started geeking out as King Leondegrance in the medieval movie Excalibur.

Ian McKellen

Image via Flickr by BinaryApe

Acting across from Patrick Stewart in the X-Men movies, Ian McKellen played the super villain Magneto, whose magnetic powers rivaled Wolverine’s metallic specialties. Once he came on the map as a successful sci-fi actor, he landed the role that he’ll forever be remembered for: Gandalf. Nobody could better portray the powerful wizard better than McKellen. He also appeared in a decades old sci-fi movie that many of us don’t remember him in: The Shadow.

We can never thank these people enough for their contribution to the genre and making geeky movies what they are today.