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Who Should Be Supergirl's Superman?

When the Man of Steel next shows his face on The CW as Supergirl's cousin, whose face should it actually be?

It's finally happening: Supergirl will get a visit from a certain other famous superhero whose name also begins with "Super." Granted, this won't be the first time the Man of Steel has flown onto the Supergirl set. But up until now, his super-face has remained conspicuously out of view (in shadow, backlit, too far away to see, on the other side of an instant-message conversation, or simply out of frame).

So now that viewers will finally get to put a face to the cape, Supergirl's producers have a delicate balance to strike when they choose that face. They won't want someone likely to upstage Melissa Benoist's Supergirl, who already spent much of the first season trying to escape her cousin's shadow. But they also won't want some nobody. Most of all, given many of Greg Berlanti's previous casting decisions -- like a former Supergirl and a former Superman as Supergirl's adoptive Earth-parents -- they'll want someone who makes you say, "Ah, ha, I get it. That's a good one."

Or maybe they won't. Who can say?

Well, we can. What follows, then, is a list of theoretical possibilities for the next actor to don -- or re-don, as the case may be -- the red cape. It's a star! It's a Hey! It's That Guy! No, it's Superman!

The CW

The CW

Tom Welling

The former Smallville lead seems like a no-brainer at first blush. The timeline fits, the network fits -- it all fits. Except that TV's former Clark Kent tended to be a pretty mopey, self-pitying type, in contrast to the sunnier, can-do ethos of the current Kara Danvers. But then, maybe an attitude adjustment is just what The CW's past and possibly future Superman needs. If we can just locate Welling. Guys? Anyone have eyes on Welling?

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

Brandon Routh

Even more than Welling, the star of Superman Returns would satisfy Berlanti's penchant for waggish stuntcasting. Plus he's already on the CW payroll. Unfortunately, that's as Dr. Raymond "The Atom" Palmer on Legends Of Tomorrow, another DC Comics property. However, if Ray gets killed, incapacitated, or abandoned in the past again, look for the return of his return.

Kevin Parry for Paley Center; DC/Warner Bros.

Kevin Parry for Paley Center; DC/Warner Bros.

Tim Daly

Some would argue (in fact, I've heard them argue it) that Daly's voice performance in Superman: The Animated Series is the definitive Man of Steel. Granted, he may lack the Kryptonian's physical presence, but Supergirl could just keep filming around Superman's face like it has been all along. Or just go completely CGI. That was good enough for Lou Ferrigno and the Hulk in The Avengers.

Lionsgate

Lionsgate

Nicolas Cage

As strange as it may seem now, there was a time when Cage was considered a frontrunner to headline the next Superman movie. It's hard to say how much of that buzz was generated by Cage himself (up to and including naming his son Kal-El). Alas, his Adam West impression as Big Daddy in Kick-Ass is as close to the DC Comics A-list as he's ever likely to get. Unless of course Greg Berlanti decides to seriously mess with us.

AMC

AMC

Jon Hamm

It's almost strange that this hasn't happened already. Remember that time Don Draper stripped off his shirt and tie to fix the kitchen sink at Pete Campbell's dinner party? When the wives marveled that he was like Superman, it almost seemed like an understatement. After spending seven seasons of Mad Men dressed like Clark Kent with a pack of Luckies in his shirt pocket, Hamm has more than earned the supersuit. Also, his turn on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt proved that he's not above making a supporting cameo on a series with an adorkably idealistic young female lead.

WENN

WENN

Sam Elliott

To the uninitiated, Sam Elliott may seem to have built his career on a foundation of gigantic Stetsons and an even more giant mustache. But even in roles where he forgoes those signifiers, he's always got the calm, seen-it-all confidence of a man who can handle anything you throw at him. Even if that thing is, say, an active volcano. It's been over forty years since Elliott played Evel Knievel; time to get him back into a primary-colored jumpsuit.

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

Michael B. Jordan

It's completely possible to transition from playing Johnny Storm in a lackluster Fantastic Four adaptation to playing a more iconically American superhero. Just ask Chris Evans.

@TheRock

@TheRock

Dwayne Johnson

Johnson's winning personality and broad smile have established him as the world's most likable actor who could most easily shred you with his bare hands. Plus, just imagine The Rock in the supersuit. Now imagine someone else in the supersuit. You can't do it, can you?

USA

USA

Jeffrey Donovan

The former Burn Notice lead would seem to be just what the doctor ordered: tall, athletic, traditionally handsome, with a wry sense of humor and an apparent inability to turn his back on people in trouble. And he's probably available. But let's not rule out his costar, who has a few more miles on him -- and that's just in the jawline.

Starz

Starz

With Bruce Campbell in the role, S-Mart would soon have a new logo.

Columbia Pictures

Columbia Pictures

Daniel Craig

Britishness obviously stopped being a disqualifier years ago. The ex-James Bond has certainly displayed the physique, the diamond stare, and the ability to withstand a lot of bitching about an all-time-top-five action hero going blond.

NBC

NBC

John Krasinski

Getting to play Superman would almost make up for being passed over for Captain America. Besides, he's probably still bulked up from 13 Hours, and The Office afforded him a good nine years of experience in being above everyone else.

GQ

GQ

Adam Driver

On the one hand, Driver embodies this generation's Star Wars villain as a goofy weirdo with a messiah complex and an unhealthy fixation on his ancestral past. On the other hand, Superman...wait, that's the same hand.

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

Kal Penn

Playing a TV character who shares one's first name is a privilege normally reserved for stand-up comedians and Tony Danza. But there's no reason Kumar shouldn't put down his slider and leap at the chance to play Kal-El.

ABC

ABC

William Katt

Believe it or not, there was once a time when Katt was primetime's preeminent superhero: The Greatest American Hero, a.k.a. a guy named Ralph. Sure, Katt's a good deal more grizzled now, a few decades along. But maybe the Superman who visits National City is one whose been struck with an aging ray or something. It would be worth it just to see whether Katt has made use of the intervening thirty-three years to learn how to fly in a straight line.

Clay Enos / Warner Bros.

Clay Enos / Warner Bros.

Henry Cavill

Pfft, as if.