In the last decade, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has dominated Hollywood. With 19 movies, and far more planned, they have given fans a fantastic world that brings slews of characters to life. That’s not to mention their Netflix and ABC shows to enhance the brand and let Marvel win fans over. The studio is amazing at making this all work out and the key to that is the casting. In some cases, the casting is dead on to the point of actors being dead ringers for the characters (Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange). Other times, Marvel takes a risk with what seems a bad pick but it works out. No one would have imagined Chris Evans as Captain America or Chris Pratt as Star-Lord but now it’s impossible to think of anyone else. Whether it’s boosting a newcomer or giving an Oscar-winning veteran a shot, Marvel is genius at helping characters shine with their casting.
The upcoming “Phase Four” will give more chances with many more films set for production. Even bigger is that thanks to the recent Fox deal, Marvel Studios can now introduce characters like the Fantastic Four into the MCU. This means a lot more “fan casting” about the push of actors in the MCU. Mark Hamill has made it clear he wants a job and many other actors are now open to taking roles, recognizing how huge a deal the MCU has become. Here are 20 actors who should be in upcoming Marvel films and what roles they’re best suited for to let the MCU continue to reign for another decade.
20 RJ Cyler as Miles Morales
When Marvel announced there would be a new Spider-Man, fans freaked out. As it happened, it wasn’t the regular MCU Spidey but rather the one from the “Ultimate” line. There, Peter Parker died in a huge battle with the Green Goblin and shortly after, a new Spidey showed up. This was Miles Morales, a teen bitten by a genetically altered spider stolen by his crook uncle. Taking on a new costume, he fought with the usual powers but also had abilities like being able to turn himself invisible. Thanks to a wild reality-shifting story, Miles was brought into the regular Marvel Universe where Peter gave the okay for him to continue as a Spider-Man in his own right.
While an animated movie of the character is coming, fans would adore seeing him in live-action. Among those who would be good for the role is RJ Cyler, best known as Billy from last year’s Power Rangers reboot. That showed the perfect act for Miles, a kid coming into odd powers and handling himself well. A Homecoming sequel can work with Peter finding out he’s not alone and these two Spider-Men merging to handle a new threat together. It can make Miles as famous as Peter and thus boosting Marvel’s brand more.
19 John Krasinski as Mr. Fantastic
Reed Richards has two major strengths. The first is his body as his elastic form allows him to change his shape into almost anything for combat. The second is his mind as he’s the most brilliant man in the Marvel universe and shows it. But Reed has heart, more than just a brainiac and an MCU movie needs to have him more outgoing, not the near-introvert of the disastrous 2015 film. He has to be believable as leader of the team and able to handle any challenge that comes his way.
John Krasinski came to fame in the long-running hit The Office as a nice guy but also showing some nice smarts. That’s carried into various roles, a very capable actor and sharp writer/director too (see the raves for A Quiet Place). He can easily sell a younger Reed, tough but brilliant. He would be more than able to be the lead of a team.
18 John Cena as The Thing
Ben Grimm may be the most tragic hero in the Marvel Universe. This gruff pilot is trapped in the form of a huge rocky monster and while he carries himself with a good humor, it hides his agony over not being able to do things like a normal person. Michael Chiklis did well with the makeup heavy role in the 2005 movie but the horrible CGI of the 2015 reboot was an ugly mess. A combination of the two (much like Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk) might be best to allow the real actor to sell Ben’s joys and sorrows.
So casting John Cena makes more sense than it may sound at first glance. The WWE star has proven himself a pretty capable actor in Trainwreck and other movies, capable of handling the comedy aspects well. He has the physique needed for the role, and we think he would be good at selling the pain. Batista proved a wrestler can be a good actor in the MCU and Cena is far better a performer than he is. So while it may seem crazy to have the Champ as the Thing, it might actually work out and who better to know when “It’s Clobbarin Time?”
17 Sam Claflin as the Human Torch
The best part of the 2005 Fantastic Four movie was Chris Evans as the Human Torch. The future Captain America showed how Johnny Storm loves being a famous super-hero who can burst into fire and retained his cocky edge. That’s totally true to the comics although Johnny does show he can understand his power and that he has to fight harder than it seems to control his flame from going wild. Yet he’s also the joking and cocky showboat who helps push the FF as celebrities.
Sam Claflin can be a good pick for the role. He’s most famous for playing Finnick in The Hunger Games, a role much like Johnny, in that they are both handsome and arrogant. The actor is also known for parts in Pirates of the Caribbean and various other dramas. His good looks fit the part and thus Claflin can be a great choice to add fire to the MCU with the Torch.
16 Emily Blunt as Clea
Twice, Emily Blunt has turned down roles in the Marvel Universe such as the Black Widow and Peggy Carter. The British actress has proven herself in dramas but also FX filled stuff like Edge of Tomorrow and Huntsman: Winter’s War. It just seems overdue for Blunt to get a role in the Marvel Universe. Clea might just be the one for her. The character is a natural for a Doctor Strange sequel, a sorceress queen from another dimension that Strange aids. It’s not long before they fall in love and were even married for a time but Clea had to leave to rule her home dimension.
Blunt can pull the role off with ease. She can handle the magic bits well and show off in a variety of ways in the good outfits. She can also have a good chemistry with Benedict Cumberbatch’s Strange, easily putting down his arrogant ways and show herself his equal. Blunt just seems to belong in the MCU somehow and this part would be a magical fit for her in every way.
15 Emilia Clarke as the Invisible Woman
Sue Storm-Richards isn’t just a hot lady. Lee and Kirby took pains to quickly show she was no “damsel in distress” but a good fighter in her own right. Just turning invisible was okay but she also gained the ability to project force fields of incredible power. Doctor Doom himself stated that Sue might well be the most powerful of the Four and she’s proven him right. But Sue is also the mother figure who keeps ultra-genius Reed grounded and handles the bickering between Johnny and the Thing. She is the heart of the Fantastic Four, and keeps the operation running. She’s also a real mom and ready to do what it takes to defend her child.
Thus the perfect choice for her is the Mother of Dragons. Game of Thrones has made Emilia Clarke a star, a queen and a powerhouse in a fight. She can easily pull off Sue’s look but also sell her strength and abilities in battle.
14 Dwayne Johnson as Hercules
We’ve already got one mythological hero in the MCU so we might as well add another. Hercules was introduced as coming to Earth to join the Avengers out of little more than just alleviating his boredom. He’s known as a ladies man and still seems to have a hard time grasping how mortals work. But his boisterous attitude carries him over and he’s proven that under that hard-drinking and loutish exterior is the heart of the ancient hero who always fights for what’s right.
As for the part, Dwayne Johnson is just utterly perfect. He already played Hercules in a bad 2014 movie but this would be a far better shot at the role. Johnson can be terrific in his build and the look, selling the arrogance of Herc and would be terrific in a fight. Sure, you might have to cover up that distinctive tattoo but seeing the Rock interacting with the rest of the MCU would make a truly epic film.
13 John Boyega as Patriot
The word that John Boyega is negotiating for a role in the MCU is a big deal to many. The actor came to fame in the cult hit Attack of the Block but then rose to stardom as Finn in The Force Awakens. He’s known for his great charm and power in roles and can handle the action scenes. Thus, having him in the MCU would be a great benefit but it just seems tricky to find the right part for him. The best bet might be Patriot. There’s been a few versions, one being a man part of a secret unit of African-Americans in Marvel that were used to test the Super-Soldier Serum. Decades later, his grandson ends up becoming a patriotic costumed figure.
Recently, Marvel introduced a new version that is inspired by the Falcon (during his tenure as Captain America) to fight for justice himself. As noted, that’s a few shifts but either way, Boyega can carry the part well. There’s room for more than one flag-waving hero in the MCU.
12 Dan Stevens as the Silver Surfer
One of the few saving graces of the two poor 2000s Fantastic Four movies was the Silver Surfer. Portrayed with CGI and actor Doug Jones and voiced by Laurence Fishburne, the character did well by its tragic origins. Once a scientist, Norrin Radd offered to become the Herald of Galactus to spare his home world. After years of offering up worlds to the planet-eater, the Surfer rebelled to find his own way. The surfboard is a goofy touch but it adds to the character, giving him a noble air as he fights for justice to atone for his past actions.
The MCU would want to combine the actor and have it be as real as it can (like Vision). Dan Stevens could thus be a good choice to pull it off. The man rose to fame as Matt Crawley in the massive hit Downton Abbey and his handsome looks are offset by good acting ability. His role in Beauty and the Beast shows he can handle an FX-needing role and still look great and carry the noble presence of the character. Stevens could definitely make the Surfer soar well in the MCU.
11 Daniel Dae Kim as Namor
With the Fantastic Four now freed up for the MCU, so are their supporting characters. Which also means it’s long past time one of the very first Marvel characters finally gets his due. Introduced all the way back in 1939, Namor is the domineering half-human king of Atlantis. He’s bounced between an honorable man to being one laced with anger. What for? Well, for the human race befouling his kingdom. His arrogance makes Tony Stark look humble. But he’s also a pariah among his own people for his light human skin (Atlanteans are blue) and thus finds himself fighting to fit in both worlds. He’s been an Avenger but mostly puts Atlantis first and is always willing to fight to protect it.
It’s tricky finding the right actor but Daniel Dae Kim has been publicly campaigning for the role for years. Being the star of Lost and Hawaii Five-O, he sure knows how to handle the water sequences and look great in nothing but bathing trunks. However, Kim also has a nice exotic air that fits the merman and a commanding gaze. As he wants the role so badly, he might as well get it and finally bring the First Mutant to the prominence he deserves.
10 Liam Hemsworth as Balder the Brave
After three movies, it’s still surprising that one of the most prominent Thor characters has not been introduced yet. Balder the Brave is so known for his great courage. He and Thor have been friends since childhood (which for an Asgardian means they’ve known each other for centuries). A big twist was the revelation they’re really half-brothers and Balder was even briefly king of Asgard for a time when Odin and Thor were both incapacitated.
So who better to play the role on screen but Chris Hemsworth’s real brother, Liam? The Hunger Games star has the handsome looks, the ability to pull off the action and charm to get fans over. Maybe the idea is Balder being a long-lost exile of Asgard that Thor recruits to help rebuild. If nothing else, seeing both Hemsworths sharing the screen would make the next Thor movie even bigger and finally let this character get his overdue fame with mainstream fans.
9 Channing Tatum as Wonder Man
Originally, Wonder Man was meant as a one-off character. He was introduced as a spy who infiltrates the Avengers but then sacrifices himself turning on his masters. Years later, he was brought back to life with the revelation he was charged with “ionic energy” which gave him enhanced strength. He ended up becoming a Hollywood stuntman and then a star while also serving in the Avengers. He might be an offbeat choice for the MCU but it would be funny to have the idea of a guy cast as a superhero only to get powers and become one for real.
That’s why Channing Tatum would be a perfect choice in many ways. He has the movie-star looks and charisma and has shown a great humor and even ability to laugh at himself (see 21 Jump Street). He’d be great in the action stuff but would add a nice touch to the humour and charm that comes with it. If nothing else, it’d be fun to have the MCU showcase how moves work in a world with super-heroes and give Tatum a chance to poke some fun at things.
8 Yara Shahdi as Ms. Marvel
Every now and then, Marvel creates a character that takes off much better than expected and becomes a true hit. Kamala Khan is a fine example. A New Jersey native, she’s hit by the Terrigen Mists that turn her into an Inhuman. In her case, Kamala has shape-changing abilities as she grows up to 50 feet tall, shrinks to a few inches or turns her fists into the size of cars. A long-time fan of Carol Danvers, she takes up the name of Ms. Marvel to defend her state. The series has won massive hails not just for action or humor but its realistic take on what it’s like to be a Muslim teen in modern America.
Introducing the character to the MCU would be great as they have Inhumans already and even Carol Danvers existing in the 1990s. The most common name mentioned by fans is Yara Shahdi who came to fame as the smart daughter on the hit sitcom Black-ish. That’s led to her starring in her own spin-off Grown-ish and thus can perfectly handle Kamala’s struggles and trying to be a normal teen. Seeing Marvel geeking out meeting the Avengers or Spider-Man would be fun and showcase a great heroine in her own right.
7 Jake Gyllenhaal as Moon Knight
Moon Knight is often described as “Marvel’s Batman” but it’s a lot more complex than that. Steven Grant is a former mercenary turned millionaire who believes he was brought back from death by the Egyptian god Khonshu. He thus fights crime in this costume. However, it’s been noted the man has multiple personalities and bounces between cool control and a completely psychotic mess. He can be a millionaire at parties or posing as a cab driver and either way, it’s hard to tell whose side he’s on. There’s rumors Netflix is looking to make him the next solo series star and that might be the best way to examine this complex figure.
That’s why Jake Gyllenhaal would be a good choice for the part. The actor has some experience with action movies but far better known for dramatic work such as Brokeback Mountain and others. He can thus show the range of Moon Knight, the various personas and the fight to control them (or let them cut loose to aid him). A movie or TV show would be more psychological than pure action but Gyllenhaal would be able to pull it off and sell the character as unique in his own way.
6 Anna Kendrick as Squirrel Girl
Created by none other than Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko, Squirrel Girl showed up in a 1990 story where she helped Iron Man beat, yes, Doctor Doom. For years, she was treated as a total joke with her “power” being to talk to squirrels and have their agility and strength. But in the 2000s, the character was reborn with the idea she was secretly a powerhouse who could take down Thanos or even Galactus. However, she was still a chirpy type with a wild sense of humor and a fun-loving style. This led to a wildly successful series that emphasizes fun over drama.
Fans have pushed for her to show up for years and one name keeps coming up: Anna Kendrick. While an Oscar nominee, she’s best known for her work in the Pitch Perfect films, where she is always showing off her funny side. Mixing that into Squirrel Girl makes absolute sense and would turn this character into more of a beloved icon. It may be nutty (no pun intended) but it can also lead to some of the wildest romps in an otherwise more serious MCU.
5 Daniel Wu as Shang-Chi
Introduced in the 1970s as a kung-fu craze swept America, Shang-Chi was the son of the infamous villain Dr. Fu Manchu. Rebelling against his evil father, Shang-Chi became a master of various forms of martial arts and journeyed the world to help others. While at first a Bruce Lee knockoff, the character has deepened, showing a spiritual side and even got a stint as an Avenger. He’d probably be best put into a new season of Iron Fist as another martial artist to tangle with but then become a good aide.
For the role, Daniel Wu seems the best choice. A long-time star in Hong Kong cinema, the actor came to prominence in the AMC series Into the Badlands. He’s a natural for the action scenes but can also work the distinctive charisma Shang-Chi has and even add a dash of humor now and then. It can be a grounded character but work nicely to bring more of an Asian influence to the MCU.
4 Yvonne Strahvoski as Silver Sable
A long-popular supporting character in Spider-Man books, Silver Sablinova is the head of an international mercenary group that basically is the backbone of the economy of her small European nation of Symkaria. Her parents and grandparents were Nazi hunters and so she was trained in combat from the time she could walk. While beautiful, she’s also quite deadly, more than willing to do whatever’s necessary and dedicated to fulfilling a contract, no matter who gets in her way. Adding her to the MCU makes sense in either movies or the Netflix shows.
Yvonne Strahvoski would be a great choice for the part. The actress is best known for her role as CIA operative Sarah on Chuck, thus proving she can make the action scenes work. But she’s shown a dramatic side with The Handmaid’s Tale and thus showcasing how she can work the dramatic touches of Sable blocking out all else but her work. Just dye her hair white and put her in the outfit and Strahvoski can make Silver shine.
3 Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Adam Warlock
One of the post-credits scenes to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 set this up with a large cocoon containing someone called “Adam.” This is Adam Warlock, a long-popular cosmic character notable for her golden skin and cool manner. It makes total sense he’ll be in the next GOTG movie and show off his great abilities. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau would be a fine choice for the part.
The actor is best known as Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones, a role meant to be villainous but winning fans over thanks to his handsome looks and charm. This can serve well for Adam but Coster-Waldau can also sell the dark edges of Adam, a man not above manipulating others for his own ends. Being on GOT gives him experience with the special effects and his looks lend themselves to Warlock’s golden skin and hair. It would also bring in a few more female fans and thus pay off on the set-up of Warlock as the next cosmic hero.
2 Alicia Vikander as Spider-Woman
The character’s origins are pretty complex. She was a woman raised by her mad scientist father into a genetically altered warrior, joined Hydra, turned to SHIELD, became an Avenger and along the way has been replaced by a Skrull and became a mother. That’s not counting the “Ultimate” version that’s a straight up clone of Peter Parker. But Jessica Drew has her fans who love her nice humor and drive and with Spider-Man in the MCU, adding her might make sense.
Alicia Vikander would be a good choice. The actress showed her great form off in her star-making role in Ex Machina and proved her worth for action scenes with Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. The Oscar-winner can easily replicate Jessica’s nice style and lithe moves and be utterly believable as a secret agent. Adding more of a great talent to the MCU would be nice and boost her up majorly.
1 Gwendoline Christie as She-Hulk
Introduced in the 1970s as basically just a “female Hulk,” Jennifer Walters took off with fans. She was a lawyer who could also just happen to lift up a truck. The issue with She-Hulk is her size as it’s hard to sell your standard Hollywood hottie as an over six foot tall warrior. Thus, Gwendoline Christie is a fine choice. The actress is best known for her role as Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones, an instant fan favorite with her fantastic fighting abilities. It’s led to further success such as Captain Phasma in Star Wars and other roles. This shows she can pull off the look with just a green paint job and longer hair.
Some might argue about the charisma as She-Hulk is known for her humor but interviews show that Christie is quite funny, she just doesn’t get the chance to show it on screen. This would be a great way, make the role more relatable than the pure sexpot of the comics and sell her smarts too. Christie deserves some role in the MCU and She-Hulk would be a good fit.