Can you imagine an Avengers cast without Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans or Chris Hemsworth? Well it could have happened!
Any fan knows that many actors will audition for any particular role in any film. Many times, actors become synonymous with the roles that they portray. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been fortunate to nail its casting of all of its roles. When you think Tony Stark, you think Robert Downey Jr. When you think Captain America, you think Chris Evans. When you think Thor, you think Chris Hemsworth. And this list goes on and on. Marvel has done a spectacular job.
The original Avengers, consisting of six members, which are Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Hulk, have now become staples on our screens, both home and in theaters. However, believe it or not, we were close to seeing a very different group of actors in each of these roles.
Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, and Mark Ruffalo make up our team. Yet, let’s look at the big-name stars who could have made this team look entirely different!
In 2005, Marvel took back the rights to Iron Man and developed a project to establish what is now known as, not only the Iron Man movie, the film that marks the creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Jon Favreau signed on to direct the movie that was released in 2008 and, as director, took the lead to fine its star.
Some huge stars auditioned for the role, including Tom Cruise, but he didn’t get very far in the audition process. Other huge names were Timothy Olyphant and Hugh Jackman. One intriguing name is Sam Rockwell. Rockwell auditioned for Tony Stark, missing out on the role, he instead was offered the villain of Iron Man 2, Justin Hammer.
Favreau noted that it was ultimately Downey Jr.’s performance in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang as what locked him in as Tony Stark.
It’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role of Tony Stark. Downey’s own persona seems to bleed into Stark, making the billionaire playboy a fan favorite and staple to the MCU.
Check out Donwey Jr.’s audition!
When Thor was being cast, Chris Hemsworth wasn’t the producers’ first choice for the role. Originally, none other than James Bond, Daniel Craig, was offered a chance to play the God of Thunder but he was forced to turn it down due to filming the James Bond films.
Charlie Hunnam, Alexander Skarsgård, Channing Tatum, and Joel Kinnaman all auditioned for the role. However, the most famous Marvel actor who also auditioned for the role is Tom Hiddleston. Hiddleston may not of received the role he auditioned for, but we can’t imagine anyone else in the role he ultimately received. Hiddleston would instead get the role of Thor’s nemesis, Loki. Hemsworth was the only one found worthy enough to play Thor and carry the hammer.
Check out Hiddleston’s audition below!
Captain America and Chris Evans first appeared in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger. Before getting the role of Steve Rogers, Evans had already appeared in another Marvel movie as a completely different character, Human Torch.
A long list of actors tried out for the lead role including Channing Tatum, Garrett Hedlund, Dane Cook, Alexander Skarsgård, Jensen Ackles, Scott Porter, and Mike Vogel. Sam Worthington and Will Smith were said to get the farthest in the casting process.
Believe it or not, Chris Evans turned down Captain America on multiple occasions before ultimately signing on for the role. Check out Evans discussing why he originally turned down the role in the video below!
Marvel developed The Incredible Hulk, which served as the second installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Edward Norton played the role of Bruce Banner and was even set to return in 2012’s The Avengers. Unfortunately, negotiations broke down between Norton and Marvel and the role was recast with Mark Ruffalo.
Black Widow is the next solo film to be released in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, the global pandemic has postponed its release. Black Widow, aka Natasha Romanoff, was first introduced in Iron Man 2.
Originally, the actresses who were considered for the role were Jessica Biel, Gemma Arterton, Jessica Alba, and Angelina Jolie. Natalie Portman also auditioned for the role but was later cast as Jane Foster in Thor.
Marvel offered the role to Emily Blunt but the actress had to turn down the offer due to other commitments. That’s where Scarlett Johnanson comes in. She auditioned and was then offered the role ahead of all of the other actresses listed above.
Clint Barton, as Hawkeye, is headed towards a series show on the new Disney+. Hawkeye originally appeared in Thor through a cameo. Jeremy Renner received the minor role but at that time it wasn’t set that Hawkeye would appear in The Avengers.
The most well known actor who was considered for the role was Jensen Ackles of the show, Supernatural. The studio liked Ackles but he couldn’t take on the major role due to his scheduling with Supernatural. Ackles inability to fill the role became a big break for Renner who is now our sixth member of the Avengers team.
Like most things in the world, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is on pause. Along with the upcoming Black Widow film, there’s a long list of films set for Marvel’s next phase. As well, shows, such as Hawkeye, are set for Disney+, along with Loki, and Wandavision.
What do you think of all of these potential actors who could have been one of our original six Avengers? Let us know in the comments below!
Covering superheroes, anything dark, horror, and more! Lead writer for Fan Fest