'Astro Boy' And Comics: Tracking The Cast's Comic Book Connections

Astro Boy"Astro Boy," based on the long-standing manga and anime series of the same name, rockets into theaters this weekend with an impressive voice cast that includes Freddie Highmore, Kristen Bell and Nicolas Cage.

While the animated adaptation already has connections to the comic book world by its very nature, several members of the film's cast have their own ties to the paneled page outside of "Astro Boy"—just check out the following five actors to see their connections to other comic book and superhero-related projects!

KRISTEN BELL: Already a fan-favorite within the geek community for her starring roles in "Veronica Mars" and "Fanboys," Kristen Bell sealed the deal even further with her multi-episode arc on "Heroes." Bell played Elle Bishop, the bratty supervillain with mastery over electricity.

While that remains the extent of her super-powered career to date (not counting "Astro Boy," that is) Bell's name has been mentioned for the role of Harley Quinn in an upcoming "Batman" movie, though it's way too early to say whether the dream-casting will pan out.

NICOLAS CAGE: While his one-time attachment to "Superman" is Nicolas Cage's most notorious comic book connection at the moment, it's not his only one. Cage, who took his stage name from superhero Luke Cage, starred in "Ghost Rider" a few years back and plans to hop back on the demonic motorcycle for a sequel.

Additionally, Cage will be seen in the Matthew Vaughn-directed "Kick-Ass," and that's not even mentioning his near-miss as the villain in "The Green Hornet," a role that eventually went to "Inglourious Basterds" actor Christoph Waltz.

SAMUEL L. JACKSON: Long before he was cast as Nick Fury for an astonishing nine-picture deal with Marvel Studios, Samuel L. Jackson's likeness was already linked to the eyepatch-clad agent thanks to Mark Millar's "Ultimates" series for Marvel Comics.

Beyond that, Jackson's name was recently mentioned in connection to "Proof," an animated adaptation of the Image Comics series. He also played the villainous Octopus in director Frank Miller's "The Spirit" just last year.

BILL NIGHY: As the vicious Viktor in the "Underworld" series, Bill Nighy's vampire and werewolf-filled world has already been captured on the paneled page, even if he hasn't starred in a straight comic book adaptation before that — other than "Astro Boy," of course.

Still, Nighy has the small-but-important role of Rufus Scrimgeour in the final "Harry Potter" films next year — and while a comic book adaptation of the wizard-centric universe hasn't come to exist quite yet, there is a biographical comic focusing on "Harry Potter" writer J.K. Rowling on the way.

CHARLIZE THERON: The lovely Charlize Theron, who took the lead role in 2005's "Aeon Flux," was recently seen in the Will Smith-starring "Hancock," an original movie with no basis in comic books but filled with enough superhero action to warrant a mention on this list.

A sequel to "Hancock" is already announced with Theron interested in reprising her role as Will Smith's long-lost and super-powerful lover. According to comments from director Peter Berg, the movie will introduce a yet another omnipotent being into the mix.

Are you looking forward to "Astro Boy"? Of the above-mentioned superhero projects, which one is your favorite and which ones are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments section or on Twitter!