Image Credit: Anthony G. Moore/PR Photos; Michael Tran/; Albert L. Ortega/PR PhotosWith the news that Zack Snyder won the derby to direct the newest Superman movie — produced by Christopher Nolan, written by David S. Goyer, and aiming for a holiday 2012 release — now comes the next, biggest round of wild media speculation: Who should don the Man of Steel’s red and blue tights? So let’s just get to it, shall we? Here are ten actors who could soon find themselves leaping tall buildings in a single bound.

Henry Cavill

Why he’s perfect: He’s already been through this once before, back around 2004 when McG, and then Bryan Singer, were attached to direct a new Superman movie. Since then, he’s developed a cult fanbase thanks to Showtime’s The Tudors, but he’s still not so well-known that his star power would overwhelm the role. I mean, just look at him (he’s at the far left): The guy kinda comes off like he was built in a lab to play Superman.

Why he’s not: He’s already been through this once before, and Warner Bros. went with someone else. Plus, it does seem kinda odd to cast a Brit as someone who stands for Truth, Justice, and the American Way.

Odds he’ll actually be considered: 2 to 1

Jon Hamm

Why he’s perfect: There’s not an leading male actor today who cuts a more classically heroic profile than Hamm, and his winning smile rarely if ever gets a showcase on Mad Men. His age (he’s 39) could be seen a detractor, but Snyder’s last two live-action movies practically made a fetish of separating the men from the boys, and Hamm is all man.

Why he’s not: Last spring, during the previous who-will-play-the-superhero sweepstakes (this one was for Captain America), Hamm had this to say to MTV: “It’s a tricky road to go down with some of those heroes, because they’re not flawed. Superman is Superman — he’s invincible, so where’s the drama?” Plus, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner would likely frown upon his leading man suddenly disappearing to transform his body into superhero shape. Straight businessmen in the 1960s did not have abs.

Odds he’ll actually be considered: 4 to 1

Armie Hammer

Why he’s perfect: The timing could not be better for Hammer’s career-launching turn as the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network — you better bet every casting director in town has moved his head shot to the top of their “leading man/superhero” pile. His height (6′ 5″) is right, he looks the part, and the visual effects process to play the Winklevi has certainly trained Hammer to deal with the effects-heavy role. Then there’s the fact that Social Network co-stars Andrew Garfield and Rooney Mara have gone on to land marquee roles as Spider-Man and Lisbeth Salander, respectively — a casting coup hat trick makes a certain kind of cosmic sense.

Why he’s not: At 24, he’s awfully young. And his Nordic good looks aren’t the best fit for the traditionally black-haired Superman.

Odds he’ll actually be considered: 4 to 1

James Wolk

Why he’s perfect: He’s handsome, charming, a strong actor, and for the 4 million people who actually watched him on Fox’s recently canceled Lone Star, immediately appealing. Shockingly, this is not nearly as common a collection of traits in a leading man as you would think, and Hollywood always takes notice when an actor pops up who can pull it all off.

Why he’s not: Lone Star‘s anemic ratings and eventual cancellation don’t exactly speak well to Wolk’s immediate audience appeal.

Odds he’ll actually be considered: 5 to 1

Tom Welling

Why he’s perfect: He’s kinda been auditioning for the role for the past 10 years on Smallville, and with the show ending its ten-year run (!) this season, he’s finally available to take it to the big screen.

Why he’s not: The feature film could feel like The Smallville Movie, a prospect that wouldn’t likely appeal to a studio seeking a global blockbuster. And who’s to say Welling isn’t ready to move on to non-Clark Kent roles?

Odds he’ll actually be considered: 8 to 1

Nathan Fillion

Why he’s perfect: C’mon, you gotta admit this is a pretty inspired idea. Fillion’s rakish good humor could be exactly the jolt of energy the franchise needs, and any Firefly fan can tell you he’s got the heart-stirring heroism thing in the bag.

Why he’s not: He could come off as too ironic for the part, and his kinda anemic feature film career could have Hollywood convinced his charms belong on television, not on the big screen.

Odds he’ll actually be considered: 10 to 1

Ben Affleck

Why he’s perfect: He’s in the best shape of his life, and he’s successfully rehabilitating his reputation with audiences with The Town.

Why he’s not: Playing a costumed superhero doesn’t really square with the Ben 2.0 career reboot, and the less said about Daredevil the better.

Odds he’ll actually be considered: 20 to 1

Ryan Reynolds

Why he’s perfect: He played Deadpool last summer, and he’ll play Green Lantern next summer. Why not pile on another superhero franchise?

Why he’s not: If DC Comics and Warner Bros. have any plans for creating a unified superhero cinema universe à la Marvel Studios’ The Avengers, Reynolds can’t be Hal Jordan and Clark Kent. The multiverse would simply implode.

Odds he’ll actually be considered: 100 to 1

Nicolas Cage

Why he’s perfect: He’s a comic book fanatic who almost got the part when Tim Burton flirted with directing a Superman movie in the late 1990s. He very well could be ringing up Zack Snyder as you read this.

Why he’s not: Uh. No.

Odds he’ll actually be considered: 250 to 1

Brandon Routh

Why he’s perfect: He acquitted himself quite well in 2006’s Superman Returns, a film that deserves a second consideration.

Why he’s not: From all reports, Nolan and Goyer are starting fresh. Sorry, dude, looks like you’re out of luck, but at least you were great in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

Odds he’ll actually be considered: 500 to 1

Who gets your vote, PopWatchers?

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