Recasting 10 Wasted MCU Actors In Future Marvel Roles

The MCU has featured so many actors over the years that it has inevitably wasted some talent, but these ones should be recast down the line.

Custom image of Krasinski's Reed Richards and Mikkelsen's Kaecilius on a purple backgound

The MCU has cast some of Hollywood’s biggest actors, though it has arguably wasted some of them on minor roles, and they deserve to be recast. With a cinematic franchise that spans 16 years, the sheer breadth of talent the MCU has enticed is no surprise. Unfortunately, some of the foremost actors to join the franchise did so in roles that were either too fleeting or not nearly as important to the wider MCU narrative as they should have been.

Thankfully, the MCU has already set a precedent for recasting actors who have already portrayed characters that aren’t exactly minor. Gemma Chan, for instance, initially played Minn-Erva in Captain Marvel before taking on a starring role as Sersi in Eternals. Additionally, the multiverse opens up many doors to recast actors as variants or entirely new characters from other universes. With that in mind, here are the 10 talented actors that Marvel should consider recasting in future MCU installments.

10. Tommy Lee Jones Would Make For A Particularly Gruff Maestro

Jones Originally Portrayed Chester Phillips In Captain America: The First Avenger

Chester Phillips standing in front of a map in Captain America: The First Avenger

Tommy Lee Jones’ portrayal of Chester Phillips in Captain America wasn’t a small role, but the Hollywood legend’s MCU contribution was cut woefully short by virtue of the time period that Cap left behind. His cantankerous portrayal of the Strategic Scientific Reserve’s director would see him tentatively come round to Steve Rogers and his rebellious pursuit of the right thing to do, demonstrating that he was just as resolute about defeating evil as his virtuous subordinate. Though he plays a no-nonsense good guy in this instance, Jones would thrive as a similarly gruff but decidedly more villainous Maestro.

Maestro’s involvement in 2015’s Secret Wars run of comics isn’t particularly pivotal, but he does feature – and it’s hard to ignore the appeal of including a villainous older Hulk variant. Maestro is similar to Smart Hulk in that he bears the Hulk’s body with the intelligence of Banner, except this variant has no qualms asserting his control over weaker beings. Given that the 81-year-old Harrison Ford is presumed to be depicting Thunderbolt Ross’ Red Hulk in the MCU, it’s feasible that the 77-year-old Jones could rely on similar CGI to convey Maestro in Avengers: Secret Wars.

9. John Krasinski Needs To Fulfill A Leadership Role As Cyclops

Krasinski Originally Portrayed Reed Richards In Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness

John Krasinski sat in Illuminati chamber as Reed Richards in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

John Krasinski’s fleeting tenure as Mr. Fantastic was one of Marvel’s most brazen moments of fan service that didn’t quite hit the mark as well as it should have. While Krasinski’s minimal screen time validated his aptitude for the role of Reed Richards, the fact that the world’s smartest man cut his MCU debut short by showing the Illuminati’s hand to a reality-altering enemy was frustratingly out of character. Now that Pedro Pascal will embody the role of Reed Richards going forward, Krasinski’s fleeting tenure needs to be rectified with a role that carries just as much gravitas.

With that in mind, Krasinski would be suited to the role of the X-Men leader, Scott Summers, when the titular team finally makes their MCU debut in earnest. It’s no secret that Fox’s petulant rendition of Cyclops was one of its biggest fumbles, something X-Men ’97 has helped to rectify. In a post-Secret Wars landscape, Krasinski should return to the MCU in a more established role, such as an older and more respectable Cyclops than his predecessor.

8. Peter Serafinowicz Has The Perfect Persona For Mephisto

Serafinowicz Originally Portrayed Garthan Saal In Guardians Of The Galaxy

Garthan Saal piloting a ship in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy

Peter Serafinowicz played a minimal role in the MCU as Garthan Saal, a respected member of the Nova Corps in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1. The British comedian and actor is known for playing roles that require a certain level of dry wit, making his involvement in one of Marvel’s funniest projects unsurprising. Unfortunately, his character was one of the movie’s most humorless, flouting Serafinowicz’s talents before he was killed off by Ronan. The long-awaited Mephisto, by contrast, would be a far more applicable role for the actor.

Mephisto is the scheming, cruel, though somewhat charming ruler of Hell – a domain that is notably distinct from its biblical namesake. He has encountered myriad Marvel heroes throughout his comic book career but has yet to make his MCU debut despite plenty of clues hinting at his presence. Unless Serafinowicz is planned to reprise his role as Garr in the upcoming Nova series, be it via flashbacks or a surprise reveal that he survived his battle with Ronan, the MCU could capitalize on the actor’s talents by giving him a more central role.

Sacha Baron Cohen is rumored to be in talks for the role of Mephisto in the MCU.

7. Mads Mikkelsen Is Often Fancast As Doctor Doom

Mikkelsen Originally Portrayed Kaecilius In Doctor Strange

Kaecilius as an agent of Dormammu in Doctor Strange

Mads Mikkelsen brought star power and solemnity to the role of Kaecilius, the zealot hellbent on heralding Dormammu and the Dark Dimension in Doctor Strange. While Mikkelsen’s proficiency in playing such a dark character was a welcome aspect of the role, his mass appeal was arguably wasted on a character that played second fiddle to a far greater threat. Instead, Mikkelsen’s talents would be far better placed in one of the most iconic and anticipated MCU villains: Doctor Doom.

His role as Hannibal Lecter shows Mikkelsen’s propensity for playing genius arch-villains with a concerning level of likabilitySecret Wars, in particular, is one of Doctor Doom’s most nuanced appearances, as his megalomania is on full display while ostensibly being the savior of the pocket universe. Casting Mikkelsen in the role of Doctor Doom in Avengers: Secret Wars would vindicate one of the most popular MCU fancasts, and is something that the actor has expressed interest in.

6. Bill Skarsgård’s Horror Talents Lend Themselves To A Role Like Nightmare

Skarsgård Originally Portrayed Kro In Eternals

Kro wielding stolen powers in his fist in Eternals (2021)

Despite being one of the most distinctive actors in Hollywood, Bill Skarsgård was given the role of one of the MCU’s most forgettable villains: the Deviant, Kro. Throughout Eternals, Kro underwent a metamorphosis from a bestial form to a humanoid one, all of which was rendered through CGI. Skarsgård’s total contribution to the movie was therefore confined to just a few short minutes that paled in comparison to the towering Celestial threat, and Ikaris’ dogmatic pursuit of the Eternals’ directive.

Skarsgård made significant waves with his portrayal of Pennywise in IT. Here, Skarsgård showcased his ability to portray characters liable to haunt one’s dreams thanks in no small part to his nightmarish facial expressions and off-putting frivolity. Nightmare, therefore, would be a role that Skarsgård could make his own by leaning into the title of Fear Lord, and one of Marvel’s most powerful characters. Doctor Strange 3 provides a possible stage for Nightmare to debut as Strange and Clea appear poised to venture into other dimensions while continuing the horror elements introduced in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

5. Kate Mara Should Return To A More Central Role As Rogue

Mara Originally Portrayed U.S. Marshall In Iron Man 2

US Marshall smiles in Iron Man 2

Before her ill-fated debut as a Marvel hero in Fantastic Four, Kate Mara had already appeared in a superhero movie in a far more diminished capacity. Mara’s bit part as U.S. Marshall in Iron Man 2 is so fleeting that her casting in the role beggars belief, though it is worth noting that this role preceded her ascent into the Hollywood limelight with such roles as Zoe Barnes in House of Cards. Now that Mara’s star power has increased so significantly, she is in a prime position to embody a more iconic role within the MCU.

The MCU’s Rogue would be a far more suitable role for Mara, who has a track record of portraying complicated characters in dramas. Rogue, whose powers preclude her from experiencing skin-to-skin contact, and who initially joined up with a villainous outfit before defecting to the X-Men, requires the kind of depth provided by Mara’s talent. When the MCU’s X-Men will debut remains to be seen, though it will likely occur either during or after 2027’s Avengers: Secret Wars.

4. Olivia Munn’s Experience As A Marvel Villain Lends Itself To Mystique

Munn Originally Portrayed Chess Roberts In Iron Man 2

Olivia Munn's Chess Roberts reporting on Stark Expo in Iron Man 2

Olivia Munn has admittedly played a large role in a Marvel movie as Psylocke in Fox’s X-Men: Apocalypse. Munn’s MCU appearance, meanwhile, was just as ephemeral as Kate Mara’s, occurring just moments prior. In Iron Man 2, Munn portrays WHiH reporter Chess Roberts, who can be seen excitedly reporting live from the Stark Expo. When being cast, Munn requested that she play a character from the comics, but it is highly unlikely that Chess Roberts will return any time soon to the MCU.

Instead, the MCU could stand to utilize Munn’s talents for a more consequential role as Raven Darkholme, AKA Mystique. While Munn’s time as Psylocke was well cast for Fox’s X-Men franchise, it’s easy to see her transferring the same lithe athleticism conveyed as she fought with the X-Men to a role like Mystique in the MCU’s X-Men movie. As one of the most iconic and central X-Men villains, Mystique’s involvement in any upcoming MCU movie is far more likely than Roberts’.

3. Natalie Dormer Can Easily Embody The Enchanting Emma Frost

Dormer Originally Portrayed Private Lorraine In Captain America: The First Avenger

Private Lorraine talking to Steve Rogers in Captain America the first Avenger

Natalie Dormer appeared briefly in Captain America: The First Avenger as Private Lorraine. Her involvement seemed solely designed to cause a rift between Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter as she stole a kiss from Cap. This is where Domer’s MCU career ostensibly ended as, like Chester Phillips, Cap would leave her in the 1940s. The tiny and ultimately inconsequential scene is one of Marvel’s most egregious examples of wasted talents, and something it could rectify with yet another upcoming mutant.

While fancasts for the Hellfire Club figurehead, Emma Frost, vehemently place actors like Margot Robbie in the role, Dormer’s ability to portray deeply intelligent, charismatic, and scheming femme fatale characters was perfectly enshrined in her role as Game of Thrones‘ Margaery Tyrell, which catapulted her into superstardom to begin with. While the role of the White Queen would require a greater display of authoritativeness, this far more consequential role that has yet to be done justice on the big screen could be the perfect way for Dormer to redeem her impact on the MCU.

2. Aaron Taylor-Johnson Could Bring A Fresh Take On Wolverine

Taylor-Johnson Originally Portrayed Quicksilver In Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Quicksilver being shot in Avengers Age of Ultron

Aaron Taylor-Johnson may boast the largest role of any actor on this list as the MCU’s Pietro Maximoff, AKA Quicksilver, but both the character and actor deserved much more. Quicksilver’s baffling demise in a hail of bullets may have meant that Quicksilver’s tenure was confined to a single movie, but it is hard to distance Taylor-Johnson from that role as Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff’s story hinges heavily on his death. In order to rescue Taylor-Johnson’s MCU legacy, however, a post-Secret Wars landscape provides the perfect place for him to portray another mutant.

Rumors suggest that the MCU will undergo a soft reboot after Avengers: Secret Wars and the Multiverse Saga concludes.

It will always be hard to picture any actor portraying Wolverine as well as Hugh Jackman, but Taylor-Johnson’s acting talent makes him a worthy contender. The Kick-Ass actor is soon to take yet another stab at the superhero genre with Sony’s Kraven the Hunter, for which Taylor-Johnson seems to have bulked up significantly. With an extra dose of rage, it isn’t hard to bridge the gap between his portrayal of Kraven and a potential portrayal of Wolverine in an upcoming X-Men project.

1. Richard Armitage Could Handle The Gravitas Of Dracula

Armitage Originally Portrayed Heinz Kruger In Captain America: The First Avenger

Richard Armitage as Heinz Kruger standing in a suit in Captain America: The First Avenger.

The third highly regarded actor to play an all-too-fleeting role in Captain America: The First Avenger is Richard Armitage, who portrayed Heinz Kruger, the HYDRA agent responsible for Abraham Erksine’s assassination. He would help provide the stage for Steve Rogers to showcase his newly acquired abilities, but would ultimately cut his MCU career short just moments later as he swallowed cyanide to avoid interrogation. Armitage’s role was consequential, but almost too quick to remember.

Instead, Armitage’s commanding presence, sophisticated looks, and purported method acting make him a prime candidate for the MCU’s Dracula. This ageless arch-villain is one of Marvel’s most powerful and iconic, owing to the legend on which he is based, providing Armitage with an opportunity to make a far greater impact on the MCU. As for where he could appear, the most obvious would be as part of the Mahershala Ali-led Blade, but Dracula has been a thorn in the side of myriad Marvel heroes throughout his career.

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