Looking back at the last decade of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is hard to imagine it being anything but a record-breaking success. In trying to establish its identity, Marvel tried to cast some big-time actors but for one reason or another they weren’t chosen. The Avengers very nearly looked a lot different.
Recently, IGN examined some of these actors who passed on starring in MCU movies. Some of them we’ve known about while others are quite surprising. Let’s just say the world would look a lot different if somebody other than Robert Downey Jr. strapped on the Iron Man suit. Here are some of the notable names included in the list.
Emily Blunt as Black Widow and Agent Carter: The actress was actually cast as Black Widow in Iron Man 2 but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. The same thing happened when she was in the running for the role of Agent Carter for Captain America: The First Avenger.
John Krasinski as Captain America: The Office star got so far along the process of auditioning for the role he filmed costume tests when he decided to drop out saying the role was not for him.
Jason Momoa as Drax: Similar to the previous entry, Jason Momoa auditioned for the role of Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy prior to his turn as Aquaman in the DCEU but dropped out when he felt the role was too similar to his previous turns.
Saoirse Ronan as Scarlet Witch: When writing Avengers: Age of Ultron, Joss Whedon’s first choice to play the role was Saoirse Ronan who expressed early interest in the role. However, once she was officially offered the role she turned it down.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Ant-Man: During the early development of Ant-Man when director Edgar Wright was still involved, Joseph Gordon-Levitt rose as one of the finalists for the role alongside Paul Rudd before the latter won the role.
Joaquin Phoenix as Doctor Strange: The highly regarded actor was the frontrunner to land the role of Doctor Strange when he walked away from the role paving the way for Benedict Cumberbatch starring as the Sorcerer Supreme.
It’s pretty wild to imagine some of these actors in the roles that are so well established now. It’s almost impossible to imagine anyone else as Drax other than Dave Bautista (though that may very well happen). On the other hand, how awesome would it have been to see Emily Blunt kicking ass as Black Widow similar to her role in Edge of Tomorrow?
They call it revisionist history for a reason, but it’s still fun to look back at the “what ifs” in the build up of the MCU.