The MCU is quite vast in its scope. This universe has so many characters and so many actors working together like cogs in a machine that we often forget it is actors playing the roles. The universe feels like a living and breathing organism that never ceases to amaze us. However, it is at its core a production made for the entertainment of the audiences, and that as such is their highest priority. So things like scheduling issues and on-set disputes cannot be allowed to stand in the way of movie-making. In that spirit, here is the list of 7 MCU characters that have been recast.
The Incredible Hulk is supposed to be the first movie of the MCU. Since it was added retroactively, Marvel Studios had no contractual obligation to Edward Norton to cast him as Bruce Banner in The Avengers or other MCU projects. Since it was a new experiment they went ahead with the casting process for Bruce Banner and eventually settled on Mark Ruffalo who played the character in The Avengers. Interestingly Edward Norton and Mark Ruffalo are very good friends and Norton encouraged Ruffalo to audition for the role when the latter was hesitant.
James “Rhodey” Rhodes
In the first Iron Man, Terrance Howard played the role of Rhodey. At this time Terrance was a much bigger actor than RDJ so he was paid a humongous sum for the movie. But by the time of Iron Man 2 things had changed drastically. RDJ demanded a much larger fee and this led to the studio replacing Terrance Howard with Don Cheadle to save on production costs. Fans were a little shocked by the sudden change in actors and there were obvious questions but it would be another couple of years before anyone got any answers.
Cassie Lang is Scott Lang’s now-teenage daughter. She was introduced to us in Ant-Man as a child but the character has been significantly aged up due to the blip. Emma Fuhrmann played the character in Avengers: Endgame and many predicted that she would continue the role in subsequent movies. However, when it was confirmed that the character would be returning for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, it was also revealed that Cassie would now be played by Kathryn Newton. This may be due to the fact that Cassie will now become the Superhero she was always destined to be in the MCU.
Hugo Weaving played the iconic Captain America villain in Captain America: The First Avenger. But the character was recast to be played by Ross Marquand in Avengers: Endgame. Part of the reason for this was Hugo Weaving’s disinterest in playing the character and the second reason might have been the fact that the appearance was quite short so the fans may not notice the change that easily. However, we did enjoy the surprise appearance in Endgame.
Fandral is part of the iconic warriors three that the fans will remember from Thor comics. In Thor, this character was played by Josh Dallas but he was unable to return to the role in Thor: The Dark World because of scheduling issues. So Zachary Levi was brought on board to play the character in the second Thor movie. We may not see the character in the future as the warriors three were killed off in Thor: Ragnarok along with much of Asgard’s forces.
Howard Stark is an interesting character. Technically speaking there are two iterations of the character in the MCU. The younger version shows up in The First Avenger and the older character shows up in emotional moments for Tony. Today, we are talking about the older version. This character never appeared in Iron Man but his pictures were present all around Tony’s house and workshop. Actor Gerad Sanders posed as Tony’s father in the pictures but when it came down to it the character was eventually played by John Slattery in the newer movies.
Originally, Thanos was first seen after the end of The Avengers. Here the character was a real creation rather than CGI. Thanos was played by Damion Poitier in this iteration but when it came time to make the villain a real threat in Guardians of The Galaxy, they went with Josh Brolin’s motion capture along with CGI overlays on his body to make him look realistic. This approach worked much better than the original design and really brought humanity to Thanos.
Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio may have got to reprise their roles from the Netflix Marvel shows. But, we could look at a few other characters from Netflix’s wing to be recast in the future. Hopefully, The Punisher won’t be one of them.