20 Celebs Who Were Close To Being In The MCU

The Marvel Comic Universe seems to have been thrown into a chaotic state as of late thanks to the news about Disney and Sony disagreeing about the fate of Spider-Man, so, quite naturally, it has us here thinking about the fate of all the other popular Marvel characters.

Or rather, if fate had worked out differently and *someone else* had been well pursued to play the popular comic book characters.

We’re all well aware that actors heavily covet certain characters in the MCU and some of us fans don’t know just HOW CLOSE they actually got to be a part of the universe before the roles were taken out right from under them by a competing actor.

There are 20 celebs that got super close to filling out the shoes of some beloved characters that eventually went to someone else in the MCU.

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20 Emily Blunt – Black Widow


I know we can’t even hear the name Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow without seeing Scarlett Johansson’s face flashing before our very eyes, but what if it was just a little different?

We already know that Emily Blunt is incredibly versatile as an actress, so seeing her as the Black Widow would make sense. She didn’t end up taking the part due to scheduling conflicts.

19 Angela Bassett - Storm


Everyone knows that Halle Berry eventually became the Storm we all know and love in the X-Men universe, but apparently, Angela Bassett was up for the part. She had been attached to the film back in 1995 when an early draft of the script was floating around but she ended up walking away when the rewrite presented a weaker version of the character. Too bad.

18 Jason Momoa – Star-Lord

Comic Book

We are actually aware that while Jason Momoa is now in the DC Comics universe playing the stunningly handsome Aquaman, but did you know that he was in the running to play Peter Quill/Star-Lord? Apparently, Momoa actually went against Chris Pratt (who landed the role), whom he actually called a “legend and a gentleman.”

17 David Duchovny – The Hulk

Warped Factor

Wait a minute…Fox Mulder was once a contender for the role of Bruce Banner? According to Rotten Tomatoes, Duchovny was actually in the running to take over the role of The Hulk from Eric Bana, who played the part in the 2003 adaptation.

Producers actually ended up going with Edward Norton, so it probably was best for Duchovny (since the film flopped).

16 Channing Tatum - Gambit

Geek Tyrant

Would you believe that Channing Tatum was up for the role of Gambit on three separate occasions? The first time he was cast in the role in X-Men: The Last Stand, but the role was written out. The second was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but he dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Last was X-Men: Apocalypse, but that slipped through the cracks.

15 Asa Butterfield – Spider-Man


Talk about being shortlisted for one of the most coveted-after roles in all of Hollywood. Before Tom Holland landed the part, Hugo actor Asa Butterfield (who, like Holland, it also British) was up for the part. Though there are no hard feelings on Asa’s part at losing the role since he went on the record to say that Holland “nailed” the part.

14 Anne Hathaway – The Black Cat


It’s actually pretty odd that when one cat role fell through for actress Anne Hathaway, she managed to claw up another one in no time flat. Apparently, Hathaway was set to star as the Black Cat in Spider-Man 4, but when that movie slipped through the cracks, she was able to play Catwoman. So, either way, she was able to don some pretty famous ears.

13 Tom Cruise – Iron Man

Comic Book Movie

Can’t imagine anyone other than Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man? Well, what if we told you that Tom Cruise was the one in the running? It was rumored that Cruise was the first choice to play Tony Stark in the MCU, but Cruise quickly put those rumors to rest. “I can’t imagine anyone else in the role,” Cruise said about Downey Jr.

12 John Krasinski – Captain America


Turns out that Mr. Emily Blunt himself was also up for a popular role in the MCU as well. Apparently, John Krasinski had a shot at playing Captain America himself, but everything fell through – and it was all for the best. If he had gotten the role that eventually went to Chris Evans, he most likely wouldn’t have made A Quiet Place with wifey Blunt.

11 Sam Rockwell – Iron Man


As all Marvel fans know, actor Sam Rockwell actually DID end up in the Iron Man world as Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2. But what if we told you he actually auditioned for the role of Stark, but director Jon Favreau ended up casting Downey Jr. back in 2008. So it eventually all worked out for the best.

10 Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Star-Lord


In our world, Chris Pratt will always be our number-one Star-Lord – I mean, we can’t see literally ANYONE ELSE in this role, including someone as uber-talented as actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Apparently, the actor was in the running to play Peter Quill but turned down the role in order to star in 2014’s sequel to Sin City.

9 Joaquin Phoenix – Doctor Strange

Film Fad

Can’t see anyone else other than Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange? Hard for us too, but according to an interview with Little White Lies, the new Joker himself, Joaquin Phoenix, was in the running to play the role. “I think everybody was really happy with how things turned out,” the actor said. “All parties were satisfied.”

8 Timothee Chalamet – Spider-Man

OSM Healthy

For a while now, the MCU fans won’t get over all this nonsense with Tom Holland as Spider-Man getting booted from their worlds anytime soon, so it’s somewhat difficult so see someone other than him as Peter Parker right now. And this includes Oscar-nominated actor Timothee Chalamet, who tested out the waters before Holland landed the part.

7 Alice Eve – Emma Frost

Comic Book Movie

Originally, it wasn’t January Jones who was chosen to play Emma Frost in X-Men: First Class and while that performance was curiously forgettable, it should be known that Alice Eve was cast first. But after a bunch of rewrites, Eve bowed out and was replaced by Jones. Eve did end up in the Marvel universe though as Mary Walker from Iron Fist.

6 Rachel Leigh Cook – Rogue

Jarvis City

We all know that Anna Paquin actually played Rogue in the X-Men universe, but originally it was Rachel Leigh Cook of 1990s teen drama/comedy world who was vying for the popular part (along with actresses Sarah Michelle Gellar and Katherine Isabelle). Though she ended up turning it down after she was told that too much CGI would be involved.

5 John Malkovich – The Vulture

Geeks Media

Turns out a lot of rebooting thanks to the studio can make a veteran actor walk away from the massive franchise. This is what happened when tensions blew up between director Sam Raimi and Sony when it came to filming Spider-Man 4, which was supposed to star Malkovich as The Vulture. Too bad it was never meant to be.

4 Mike Vogel – Angel


Fans may remember Mike Vogel from the reboot of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but he was also cast as Angel in X-Men: The Last Stand. Unfortunately, there were some scheduling conflicts between that and a film Vogel had already agreed to play in (Poseidon) which led to Vogel walking away and Ben Foster coming in to replace him.

3 Eliza Dushku – Black Widow


Actress Eliza Dushku desperately wanted the role of Black Widow in the MCU. So much so, that she lobbied for the part all over Hollywood and even went onto the Howard Stern show to showcase her impeccable Russian accent. A campaign was even started in her name for the part.

2 Sam Claflin – The Green Goblin


Probably by now, fans know Sam Claflin as the charming Finnick in two of the Hunger Games movies, but a while back, it was actually rumored that the actor was in the running to play Green Goblin. We don’t actually know what happened or why everything fell through the cracks, but it would have been interesting to see him in the role.

1 Neil Patrick Harris – Nightcrawler


This one would have been a toss-up: as we know, the talented Allan Cumming ended up playing Nightcrawler in the MCU, but did you know that Neil Patrick Harris nearly had it snagged from him? Both have similar backgrounds in theater, but it was Cumming’s talent for speaking fluent German that won him the role.

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