The actors involved in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are pretty much the rock stars of the film world. They show up at each others’ premieres, make guest appearances on TV shows, make sports bets for charity, and sometimes wear each other’s faces in a way that’s totally not weird. Their interviews suggest they’ve got a pretty tight knit group, a pretty miraculous thing considering how often large casts of conflicting egos run into issues. While there are a handful of actors whose experience with Marvel Studios was less than pleasant (Terrance Howard, Mickey Rourke, Natalie Portman), Marvel remains the popular choice for potential A-listers, reliable character actors, and Hollywood legends. Hell, even Al Pacino wants to ride the Marvel train. While not every thespian has the desire to spend years at a time committed to a superhero franchise, Marvel seems to be the place to go for those who do. So here are 10, (unranked) actors who’d love to see join the grand stage of the MCU before Fox or Warner Bros.’ garage band cinematic universes break out and snatch them up.
Why?: Goldblum is already a geek god, having contributed staccato line delivery to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Fly, Jurassic Park, The Lost World, and Independence Day. While it’s been years since he’s been in a blockbuster size film, I have no doubt that he could hold his own in a large cast and deliver some of the film’s most memorable moments. He has a screen presence that’s impossible to look away from, so just imagine him filling a screen with Robert Downey Jr. Could we even handle that much pure chrarisma?
Who Could He Play?: Goldblum’s got the face to play a hero or villain and range to make either one just as funny and emotionally compelling. Personally, I’d like to see him take on one of the Avengers most formidable foes, the time-traveling Kang, though his origins are tied to the Fantastic Four so he may need to be altered, unless he’s a shared property.
Why?: Jones has fantastic comedic timing and an intelligent brand of humor that would fit right in with the wit of the MCU. But in her roles she’s also displayed the kind fierce compassion and strong sense of self that the best superheroes are known for. I have no doubt Jones can hold her own, be it dramatic scene, an action sequence, or in moments of levity. I was really rooting for her to get the role of the Wasp in Ant-Man when she was rumored for it last year. The reason why I can assume she didn’t get the part is that Marvel has a bigger project in mind for her.
Who Could She Play?: Jones would make a fantastic Jessica Drew a.k.a Spider-Woman. She’d also make a great Captain Marvel. She’d add a lot of personality and stregth to either character.
Why?: Ethan Hawke often delivers a roguish charm and an immense likeability that combined make his characters seem trustworthy albeit unpredictable. He has this great ability to seem like a working class guy you could grab a drink with but also someone with a kind of worldly experience and philosophical understanding that makes him enigmatic. He’s surprisingly never been attached to a franchise or big budget film, but his enthusiastic interest in playing Doctor Strange last year is proof that given the right project he’d gladly sign a multi-film contract.
Who Could He Play?: With Hawke’s ability to show multiple sides of a character and make them all feel real, I think he’d be right at home portraying Marc Spector, the multiple-personality plagued hero, Moon Knight.
Why?: While she’s known most prominently for her role on Mad Men, Hendricks has been proving her onscreen power for years. With AMC’s show wrapping up in a few weeks, don’t be surprised to see Hendricks become one of the most sought after dramatic actresses in Hollywood. While Marvel is known for the humor in their films, I’d be interested in seeing them diversify with a few more serious films. Hendricks certainly has comedic chops, but I think something a little edgier and morally dubious might suit her well.
Who She Could Play: Hendricks would make a very compelling Medusa, queen of the Inhumans and wife of Black Bolt, who is anything but a trophy wife. If she wanted to give playing a villain a shot, you can’t get much more sinister than Madame Hydra.
Why?: Yoo often played the comic relief in teen-centric movies during the late 2000s and was often the best part of those films. This guy’s got a natural likeability and magnetism that would fit right in with the rest of Marvel’s cast. He recently did a stint on CW’s The Tomorrow People before the show was canceled, but it was proof that he could play an edgier character when called for. Yoo’s got star potential; we just need more casting directors to look outside the box.
Who He Could Play: I think Yoo is perfect for the light-hearted and irresponsible Speedball, one of the hero’s whose actions sparked Marvel’s Civil War. Post-Civil War, Speedball took on the darker persona of Penance, a character that would allow Yoo to show his range
Why?: Thompson broke out last year in Dear White People. She carried most of the film’s dramatic weight on her shoulders and proved she was fully capable of playing a character who isn’t afraid to be confrontational. Thompson’s got a commanding intensity that could be tapped to create one of the strongest female characters in the MCU.
Who She Could Play: Thompson would be great as Moondragon, one time Avenger and Guardian of the Galaxy who also happens to be the daughter of Drax.
Why?: If you watch Game of Thrones then you know why. Pascal’s Oberyn Martell was the breakout character of last season. He proved his ability to be a charming romantic and an unpredictable anti-hero driven by revenge and manipulation. There’s something dangerous looking about Pascal that can easily translate into a character who exists only in gray moral areas. I’m surprised the studios aren’t knocking down his door to offer him roles. Do us all a favor and jump on it, Marvel.
Who He Could Play: If Marvel Studios does in fact have the rights to Namor, then Pascal should be there guy. Plus, with Momoa playing Aquaman, it’d be a fun to see a little completion develop between which Games of Thrones actors can play the better undersea king.
Why?: Pinto was great in Slumdog Millionaire and she was solid, though underutilized in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but I think she needs a career shift. She’s mostly been relegated to playing love interests, but I think she has the potential to be a lot more than that. I’d love for Marvel give her a chance to stun audiences and put her back on the map as a leading actress.
Who She Could Play: She’d be great as the deadly and deaf Daredevil character turned Avenger, Echo/Ronin. I could also seeing her doing a great job with Clea, Doctor Strange’s disciple turned ruler of the Dark Dimension.
Why?: Marvel has yet to create a strong female villain, and after last year’s turn in Gone Girl, Pike can be the answer to that issue. She also held her own against Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher so she’ll have no problem standing out in the MCU. While I certainly don’t want to see her typecast as a villain, she does it so well that it’d be a shame not see her put that talent to use in a comic book adaptation.
Who She Could Play: Pike does sympathetic evil so well, I think she be great as The Enchantress. Imagine her commanding the screen with Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. Thor wouldn’t stand a chance. Also the Enchantress had a pretty strong redemptive arc in the past so Pike would have places to take the character.
Why?: If you’re one of the millions who watched Breaking Bad, then you know that his portrayal of Gus Fring was absolutely terrifying–I mean knot in your stomach scary. He’s one of the most expressive actors in the business and can absolutely command any scene he’s in without even saying a word. He’s got the observational menace thing down pat. And when he does speak, it’s with a power that many stage actors can only wish for. When he’s not creeping you the hell out, he’s also displayed a great sense of humor over the years. And as we know, mix the right amount of creep and humor together and you’ve got someone who can play a real madman.
Who He Could Play: Ladies and gents, may I present to you your new Norman Osborn.