11 Actors Who Were Almost Cast in Major MCU Roles

ytsfreeSeptember 12, 2022

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is quite possibly the biggest movie franchise on the entire planet. We can certainly acknowledge that a crucial part of the worldwide popularity is thanks to the actors cast in the roles of now highly idolized heroes. How different would it be if Kevin Feige, among others, made different decisions during the casting process?


The MCU has made such a prominent name for itself in the film industry that not a day goes by without hearing news related to it. It’s intriguing to wonder — in the same sense as the animated TV series What If — whether the franchise would enjoy the same amount of global success if other actors had won the coveted superhero roles. Here’s a list of 11 actors who were almost considered for major MCU roles.

Updated September 12, 2022: If you love MCU characters, you’ll be happy to know we’ve updated this article with additional content and entries.

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11 Sam Rockwell — Iron Man

Many may not know that before securing the role of Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2, Sam Rockwell was encouraged by executive producer Jon Favreau himself to give it a shot and audition for the role of multi-billionaire hero Tony Stark. Even though everyone universally agrees that Robert Downey Jr. was born to play Iron Man, it’s fascinating to wonder whether we would have had a different outcome if Rockwell actually got to audition. People say that Iron Man 2 is the worst MCU movie because of its rubbish villain and the retread of the first movie, but all collectively admit that Rockwell aping Downey Jr.’s performance is the crowning achievement of the movie.

Related: Iron Man 2 Star Sam Rockwell is Ready to Return to the MCU

10 Emily Blunt — Black Widow

Emily Blunt was indeed the top choice for the role of Natasha Romanoff, but she sadly couldn’t take it because a contract committed her to Gulliver’s Travels. For the longest of time, fans thought that Blunt rejected the role, but in an interview with Howard Stern, she admitted it was heart-breaking for her to pass on the opportunity.

9 Saoirse Ronan — Scarlet Witch

Saoirse Ronan was the prototype actress for the role of Scarlet Witch before they turned to Elizabeth Olsen, according to Joss Whedon, who directed Avengers: Age of Ultron. However, the actress unfortunately passed on the opportunity to star in Avengers 2 and went on to make the critical hit Brooklyn. Despite the fact that Olsen has become one of the franchise’s favorites, people are curious as to why Ronan turned down such a highly sought after role. It appears that the decision has only strengthened her humble reputation.

8 Hugh Jackman — Iron Man

Rockwell definitely wasn’t the only actor considered for the role of Iron Man. If it wasn’t for yet another successfully Marvel franchise, X-Men, we might have seen what Hugh Jackman would have done in the role of billionaire-philanthorpist-playboy Tony Stark. With Marvel’s intricate ideas and multiple crossovers throughout the universe, it’s probably for the best that Jackman turned down the offer. It would have been extremely strange seeing him play two fearless superheroes in the same Multiverse.

7 John Krasinski — Captain America

John Krasinski is one of many actors who auditioned for the role of Steve Rogers, before Chris Evans snatched it from his hands. Years later, per BuzzFeed, Krasinski jokingly reminisced losing confidence upon spotting a ripped Chris Hemsworth at the audition and admitted that he would have never done as great as Evans playing Captain America. It’s almost impossible to imagine someone else as the Star-Spangled Man with a Plan, but it’s certainly an interesting idea to consider.

Related: MCU: Is John Krasinski Done With Marvel?

6 Tom Cruise — Iron Man

Because of Downey Jr.’s rocky past, Marvel producers were extremely reluctant to cast him as Iron Man, hence the endless number of stars, such as Tom Cruise, who got offered the role. Cruise turned the offer down, because it didn’t feel right to him. It’s a daring take on the final outcome, but many argue that there would be no MCU franchise if Cruise got cast instead. Some even play with the idea of throwing Cruise as Iron Man into the Multiverse to see how it would work.

5 Amanda Seyfried — Gamora

Amanda Seyfried‘s reason for not playing the part of Gamora has to be the most hilarious one yet: she simply didn’t want to be green because it would have been too much work. She also thought that Guardiands of the Galaxy would bomb at the box office. Of course, she was quite far from being right, since the movie grossed $772 million worldwide as of August 2014.

4 Timotheé Chalamet — Spider-Man

Do you ever wonder what the world would be like if Timothée Chalamet played Spider-man instead of Tom Holland? The British actor has become so recognized for his role in the franchise, it’s nearly inconceivable to imagine someone else in his place. Chalamet confessed that he totally blew the audition in 2015. Following the recent premiere of Spider-man: No Way Home, however, the current cast discussed that Chalamet would make the perfect Harry Osbourne a future Spider-Man film.

3 Karen Gillan — Sharon Carter

Karen Gillan initially auditioned for the role of Sharon Carter in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. To be completely frank, there are some definite similar facial features that Emily Van Camp and Karen Gillan share. Casting director Sarah Finn must have had a clear vision in her head straight away upon seeing Gillan, because she has come to prove herself irreplaceable as Nebula.

2 Zooey Deschanel — The Wasp

According to the new book The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of The Marvel Cinematic Universe, Zooey Deschanel was supposed to star in The Avengers as the main woman character The Wasp. Screenwriter Jeremy Latcham admitted that he got so into writing Van Dyne’s character that the whole plot centered around The Wasp. However, once they got the confirmation that Johansson would reprise as Black Widow, they eventually dropped the idea entirely.

1 Daniel Craig — Thor

Following the success of Taika Waititi’s recent films in the Thor franchise, it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the titular role. However, according to Screen Rant, Marvel indeed approached Daniel Craig about playing the beloved superhero, but the James Bond actor of course turned it down — naturally to focus on 007. It’s certainly fun to imagine Craig in the legendary attire with even larger muscles than the ones he developed for Bond. Given Craig’s scene-stealing turn in Knives Out (not to mention its highly anticipated sequel) and his acclaimed hosting gig on SNL, it’s clear he possesses the comedic chops to take one the role — especially for the installments once Waititi took over.

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