- Many actors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have appeared in other Marvel movies outside of the franchise.
- Some actors’ roles in non-MCU Marvel movies are often overlooked due to the underwhelming performance of those films.
- The extensive makeup and facial prosthesis used in some roles makes it easy to overlook actors’ appearances in other Marvel movies.
Many actors featured in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have also enjoyed roles in other Marvel movies outside the franchise. Since the very beginning of the MCU’s movie timeline, the franchise has employed a wealth of actors in order to bring the stories and characters of Marvel Comics to life. However, roles in the MCU aren’t mutually exclusive with roles in other Marvel movies, and many actors have actually featured in both the flagship franchise and other unrelated projects. With the rights to many Marvel characters not belonging to Marvel Studios when the franchise was created, a number of non-MCU Marvel movies have actually shared actors with the franchise.
With the movies of the MCU proving massively popular and hugely successful, the franchise’s actors are often recognized in conjunction with their roles in it. However, when they have also featured in another Marvel movie, it’s all too easy to forget they have actually appeared in other similar projects. Sometimes, this is due to the underwhelming performance of non-MCU Marvel movies, and other times, it’s simply because the actor in question played a relatively minor role in the film in question. With that in mind, here are 10 MCU actors that most people forgot were in other Marvel films.
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10 Jon Favreau In Daredevil (2003)
In the MCU: Happy Hogan in Iron Man (2008)
Jon Favreau is MCU royalty, having not only played Happy Hogan in multiple movies in the franchise, but also having served as the director of Iron Man and Iron Man 2. However, he also appeared in another much less successful Marvel movie back in 2003, when he played Foggy Nelson in Daredevil alongside Ben Affleck. Considering Daredevil‘s less than stellar reputation, it’s unsurprising that Favreau’s supporting role in the pre-MCU Marvel movie is often overlooked, particularly as his stint as Happy Hogan has lasted much longer and achieved far more recognition.
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9 Thomas Kretschmann In Blade II (2002)
In the MCU: Baron Wolfgang von Strucker in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Thomas Kretschmann’s role in the MCU was decidedly short-lived, but he appeared as Baron Wolfgang von Strucker. One of the leaders of Hydra, he was briefly featured in Captain America: The Winter Soldier‘s mid-credits scene, and appeared in Avengers: Age of Ultron, where his experiments with the Mind Stone were shown to have given Wanda and Pietro Maximoff their powers. However, Kretschmann had also previously appeared in another Marvel movie: 2002’s Blade 2, where he played an ancient vampire named Eli Damaskinos. The extensive makeup and facial prosthesis involved in the role meant that he wasn’t all too recognizable upon his arrival in the MCU.
8 Tim Guinee In Blade (1998)
In the MCU: USAF Major Allen in Iron Man (2008)
Despite only enjoying minor roles in different Marvel movies, actor Tim Guinee has appeared in multiple MCU films and a previous Marvel movie. First appearing as Dr. Curtis Webb in Blade in 1997, Guinee played the ex-boyfriend of the film’s female lead who was attacked and killed early in the film. He went on to appear in Iron Man and Iron Man 2 as Major Allen, a colleague of Rhodey’s, who can be seen in multiple scenes involving the US Air Force. Due to the incredibly limited screen time of his characters, it’s easy to miss that he’s appeared in multiple Marvel franchises.
7 Ray Stevenson In Punisher: War Zone (2008)
In the MCU: Volstagg in Thor (2011)
Ray Stevenson is another actor who appeared in an unrelated Marvel movie prior to being cast in Thor in 2011. He played Marvel’s most violent vigilante Frank Castle in 2008’s Punisher: War Zone, then went on to portray Thor’s friend Volstagg in multiple MCU movies. Stevenson’s death and Volstagg being killed by Hela in Thor: Ragnarok mean that the character will not be featured in any upcoming Marvel movies, but Ray Stevenson’s superhero movie legacy will live on through his many Marvel credits.
6 Kathryn Hahn In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
In the MCU: Agatha Harkness in WandaVision (2021)
Kathryn Hahn is another actor whose MCU role is well-known despite a relatively low amount of screen time. Her turn as Agatha in the cast of WandaVision made her one of the MCU series’ most well-received characters, but she had also appeared in another Marvel movie just a few years prior. Hahn voiced Olivia Octavius, a variant of the infamous villain Doc Ock, in 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The animated nature of the film meant that it was easy for Hahn to skate by in her supporting voice role, but it also gave her Marvel experience ahead of her debut in WandaVision.
5 David Hasselhoff In Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD (1998)
In the MCU: Himself/Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
David Hasselhoff’s role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was not a large one, but he provided one of the film’s most unexpected laughs. After learning that Peter Quill idolized David Hasselhoff as a young man, his father Ego takes the form of the actor, allowing Hasselhoff to appear in a brief cameo. However, Hasselhoff already had Marvel movie experience: he played Nick Fury in the 1998 TV movie Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD. The film itself is largely forgotten, which is perhaps why Hasselhoff’s role in it is so easy to overlook.
4 Tim Blake Nelson In Fantastic Four (2015)
In the MCU: Samuel Sterns in The Incredible Hulk (2008)
For many years, Tim Blake Nelson’s MCU role seemed to be one of the franchise’s forgotten plot threads, as he was introduced in The Incredible Hulk and set up to become the villain known as The Leader. However, after playing Samuel Sterns in 2008, he was cast in another Marvel movie, playing Dr. Allen in 2015’s Fantastic Four. The negative reception to the film and his relatively small role in it make Tim Blake Nelson’s non-MCU Marvel part altogether forgettable, although he is set to return as Samuel Sterns in Captain America: Brave New World.
3 Laurence Fishburne In Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer (2007)
In the MCU: Dr. Bill Foster in Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Laurence Fishburne is just one of many decorated actors to appear in the MCU, playing Dr. Bill Foster in Ant-Man and the Wasp. Over a decade before he played the quantum scientist, however, he appeared in another Marvel movie as a very different character. Fishburne voiced the Silver Surfer in 2007’s Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer, lending his deep tones to the herald of the cosmic villain Galactus. Due to the nature of the role, it’s all too easy to forget Fishburne’s pre-MCU Marvel movie experience.
2 Idris Elba In Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)
In the MCU: Heimdall in Thor (2011)
Idris Elba is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable actors in the world, and his turn as Heimdall in the MCU made him one of the franchise’s most beloved supporting characters. In the same year that Elba first played Heimdall, he also appeared in a non-MCU Marvel movie: he also played a monk named Moreau in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. As the Ghost Rider sequel was critically panned and performed poorly at the box office, it’s much easier to remember Elba’s role as Heimdall than it is his turn as Moreau.
1 Oscar Isaac In X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
In the MCU: Marc Spector in Moon Knight (2022)
Moon Knight introduced the titular hero to the MCU, played by Oscar Isaac. As well as playing the MCU’s Marc Spector in the Disney+ series, the actor also has previous Marvel movie experience, including his role as Spider-Man 2099 in Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse. In 2016, Oscar Isaac played the villain Apocalypse in X-Men: Apocalypse, although the character is often forgotten compared to some of his other credits. Considering Isaac was under heavy makeup and facial prosthesis, it’s easy to miss him in the film, which many considered underwhelming, making his role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe decidedly more memorable.