There's no arguing with it: Marvel is currently the biggest hitmaker in Hollywood. Already boasting some of the highest grossing movies of all time, the unveiling of Marvel's incredible five-year plan in late October upped the game even further. Marvel has promised a total of eleven new movies due for release between 2015 and 2019, a promise which has made waves worldwide, especially considering the line-up features a solo black superhero movie (Black Panther) and a solo female superhero movie (Captain Marvel), as well as two previously unconfirmed but highly-anticipated Avengers sequels.
As a result of Marvel's huge announcement, speculation as to the cast of each of these movies is rife. The power the Marvel name currently wields in Hollywood guarantees that some huge names will appear, and there has been an unprecedented level of rumours surrounding casting choices for some of the bigger roles in the upcoming films. While some movies are entirely cast already — Ant-Man, for example, which is due to hit US cinema screens on July 17th, 2015 and will star Paul Rudd — and some have very little public information about which characters will even appear in the movie, the rumour mill is in full swing for most of the upcoming Marvel projects. This article counts nine of these upcoming Marvel films and cites the most widely speculated names set to appear in each one.
9 Ryan Gosling — Avengers: Age of Ultron
With the sequel to smash hit Avengers movie Avengers: Age of Ultron due for cinematic release in the US on May 1st, 2015, speculation is rife as to which new actors or actresses may make an appearance. One of the most exciting rumours is that Ryan Gosling, heartthrob of The Notebook and smoldering star of Drive, could be set to feature as a new Avenger.
Vanity Fair have recently reported that Marvel and DC are fighting over Gosling, with DC looking for Gosling's credibility and Marvel wanting to expand their starry A-list cast. Many believe that, should Gosling join the Avengers, he could fill in Chris Evans' shoes when Evans' contract is up.
8 Sebastian Stan — Captain America: Civil War
With long-standing rumours that Robert Downey Jr. would feature heavily in Captain America: Civil War having finally been confirmed, speculation has turned to the level of involvement of Sebastian Stan, who plays Bucky Barnes.
The rumour mill suggests that on May 6th, 2016, cinemas in the US will be treated to Stan taking up Captain America's shield, as happened in the comics, although this could sadly mean the death of Steve Rogers. Stan has a nine-film contract with Marvel and has only featured in two so far, and given that he's a confirmed member of the Civil War cast, it seems likely that his involvement will be considerable.
7 Benedict Cumberbatch — Doctor Strange
Rumours of Gosling becoming an Avenger aside, almost unanimous agreement among fans and movie critics say that the star of BBC's hit TV series Sherlock may take the lead role in the movie Doctor Strange.
Due for release on November 4th 2016, Doctor Strange could benefit from Cumberbatch's involvement due to the offbeat quirkiness he has proved he can bring to a character through the TV show that made him a household name. Cumberbatch has been a regular on fan wishlists for a Marvel superhero, and he has further sparked rumours of his involvement with one of Marvel's endeavors by visiting Marvel HQ last year and appearing on one of their podcasts. Most recent reports have confirmed that Cumberbatch is in final talks for the role, and is purportedly "the studio's choice" to play the role of Stephen Vincent Strange.
6 Al Pacino — Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Al Pacino has recently spoken publicly about his love for the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, saying that "[he] did find it the most entertaining, inventive, beautiful film." He also expressed interest in appearing in the sequel, set for release on May 5th, 2017, or another Marvel movie, saying "...you know, of course if I could fit in it. Anything's possible."
Given Marvel's recent trend of including legendary big name actors in their movies, such as Michael Douglas and Robert Redford, Pacino's inclusion in the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 does not seem outside the realms of possibility. The fact that he and Guardians director James Gunn seem to be in mutual professional awe of one another shouldn't hurt his chances either.
5 Eva Green — Thor: Ragnarok
The third Thor movie, Thor: Ragnarok, is due to hit American movie screens on July 28th, 2017. The highly anticipated film sees Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, as the main focus in the film, and since Loki has a strong connection with Amora - an Enchantress - in the comics, excited speculation suggests that an Enchantress may make an appearance in the third Thor movie.
While it remains uncertain whether she would feature as the central villain of the movie or just as a bit part, a generally strong agreement is that Eva Green should play the role of Amora. Green's merits are exceptional acting skills and a knack for playing the role of the seductive femme fatale figure.
4 Anthony Mackie — Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1
Given that the Infinity War segment of the Avengers franchise is to be split into two parts, Marvel have made it clear that this storyline will be a force to be reckoned with. As such, much speculation surrounds the events in preceding Marvel films that will almost certainly alter the cast of the Avengers, adding to and taking away from the original team. Due to previously mentioned suspicions that Steve Rogers' character will be killed off, a popular choice for his replacement is Anthony Mackie, who currently plays The Falcon. Whether or not he will, or indeed can, satisfactorily fill Captain America's shoes remains to be seen.
3 Emily Blunt — Captain Marvel
Another highly anticipated Marvel movie is Captain Marvel, due for release on July 6th, 2018. With the promise of a female lead, it's understandable that the role of Carol Denvers has been the focus of a lot of speculation and rumour. Actresses such as Yvonne Strahovski, Jennifer Lawrence and Natalie Dormer have all had their names thrown into the mix, but a dominant name has been Emily Blunt.
Marvel previously wanted Blunt to play the character of the Black Widow, so we know she suits their casting style, and her acting ability is widely renowned. She has also had experience in action films and has worked with CGI, so she's well-equipped for a special effects-laden film.
2 Vin Diesel — Inhumans
Inhumans is a fascinating installment of Marvel's comic book world, and has been cited as similar in tone to the X-Men movies. The movie's Royal Family of the Inhumans is led by the character of Blackbolt, who is renowned for his unusual and fantastical abilities and skills. His portrayal on the big screen has to make an impact, and is going to be scrutinised by fans the world over, so it's important that the casting is just right.
Widely agreed rumours suggest that on November 2nd, 2018, Marvel fans will bear witness to the sight of Vin Diesel taking on the task of playing Blackbolt. He has already voiced Groot in movie Guardians of the Galaxy, so his involvement in Inhumans seems likely.
1 The whole cast — Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2
With the second installment of Avengers: Infinity War not set to hit cinema screens until May 3rd, 2019, speculation as to the cast is as yet vague and unclear. Interestingly, which of the original comic book characters will actually make up the cast is also as yet unclear — the movie is seen as a culmination of all of the preceding Marvel movies set for release in the next few years. The cast of Avengers: Infinity War — Part 2 will entirely depend on who survives the Marvel movies of the next five years, and could see an almost entirely different cast of Avengers altogether.
In addition to this, it is uncertain as to whether the contracts of big Marvel names such as Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Hemsworth have been renegotiated, which means that we may see their characters in just one of the two parts — only time will tell.