Marvel has turned some well-known actors into icons since the birth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe 9 years ago, from Chris Evans to Chris Hemsworth, from Chris Pratt to other actors who aren’t named Chris. Marvel has also helped some already-iconic actors like Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch expand their careers even further. Iron Man is credited as the film that truly brought Robert Downey Jr. back into the spotlight after his issues with addiction in the ’90s.
While most people associate “Marvel movies” solely with the Avengers franchise, there are countless Marvel films outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Other Marvel franchises existed before that, and some continue to this day, including the divisive X-franchise.
With all of these different Marvel films being produced, it’s not too surprising that many of the cast members are reused in different Marvel films. While most of these actors were in minor roles, some of them are shockingly large. Here are 10 actors who have played multiple Marvel characters.
1. Kate MaraThe House of Cards actress first became a superhero in 2015 when she played Susan Storm / Invisible Woman in the poorly received reboot of Fantastic Four (a.k.a. Fant4stic). Even though this was her first role as a superhero, it was not her first role in a superhero movie.
In 2010, Mara appeared in Iron Man 2 as a U.S. Marshall that Tony tries to pick up, but ends up delivering him a court order. It was a brief role towards the beginning of the film, but was a great debut for Kate Mara into the world of Marvel movies.
2. Michael PapajohnMichael Papajohn appeared in 2001’s Spider-Man as Dennis, the carjacker who shot Uncle Ben. Of course, as we later learn in the franchise, he was not actually the man who shot Uncle Ben, but that’s besides the point. He also appeared as the same role in Spider-Man 3.
Papajohn returned in The Amazing Spider-Man as Alfie the cab driver. His appearance was during the intense bridge scene where Spider-Man first encounters the Lizard. His appearance was short and sweet, but was also a fitting return for the actor.
3. Ryan ReynoldsRyan Reynolds is best-known for playing Wade Wilson, the titular character in Deadpool. He debuted as the Merc with a Mouth in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and returned as the character in his own film last year, and in a short film before Logan this year.
Before he was Deadpool, Reynolds also portrayed Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity, the third and final film in the Blade series. The role was not nearly as big or memorable as Deadpool, but Reynolds nevertheless did a damn good job.
4. Jon FavreauJon Favreau has become one of Hollywood’s most respected directors, having directed films like The Jungle Book, Elf, Iron Man and is currently set to direct The Lion King. Favreau likes to play roles in many of his films, which is why he played Happy Hogan, Tony’s head bodyguard in Iron Man. He also returns as Happy in Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3 and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Before he played Happy, he also appeared as Foggy Nelson, Matt Murdock’s law partner in 2003’s Daredevil. It was not the highlight of his acting career, and I would admit Elden Henson’s portrayal was a bit more memorable, but Favreau still put his great acting chops into the role. He was, in fact, one of the better parts of the movie.
5. Rebecca RomijnWhile Jennifer Lawrence did a good job of playing Mystique, there are still many people who prefer Rebecca Romijn’s portrayal of the blue, villainous mutant. Romijn was perfectly able to capture the seductiveness and ruthlessness of Mystique in X-Men, X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand. This was perhaps the highlight of Romijn’s acting career.
In between the production of X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand, Romijn joined the cast of yet another Marvel movie: The Punisher. In this film, Romijn played Joan, Frank Castle’s neighbor who was curious about Frank, and helped take care of him as he got himself back on his feet.
6. Benedict CumberbatchBenedict Cumberbatch is the only actor on this list to play two separate Marvel characters in the same movie. In the film Doctor Strange, Cumberbatch not only played as the titular hero, Stephen Strange, but he also did the facial capture for the “big bad” of the third act: Dormammu.
Originally Dormammu’s facial capture was going to be done by a different actor, but the role was eventually given to Cumberbatch. This was because director Scott Derrickson wanted Dormammu to have the feeling of being an older Doctor Strange, with more power and more experience. Additionally, Cumberbatch had some experience doing facial capture roles, having previously done facial capture for Smaug in the Hobbit trilogy.
7. Colm FeoreActor Colm Feore made his first dip into the realm of Marvel movies in 2011, where he played the film’s antagonist, Laufey, the king of the frost giants. While he may have been the main villain, Laufey was outshined by Loki; indeed, Laufey seemed more like a plot device for Loki’s evil plan.
Feore later returned to Marvel in 2014 in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. In this film, Feore played yet another villain. He was Donald Menken, the head board member at Oscorp who antagonized Harry Osborn, and was arguably responsible for Harry turning evil during the third act of the film.
8. Alfre WoodardAlfre Woodard played two characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe last year. Her first appearance was in Captain America: Civil War, where she briefly showed up as the character Miriam Sharpe, the grieving mother of a man killed in Sokovia who convinces Tony Stark to make a change.
She later appeared as Mariah Dillard in Luke Cage. This was quite a different role for her, as we saw Woodard play a politician who is so desperate to win over the public that she throws away all of her morals. It is difficult to go any further without giving away spoilers, but those who have seen the show know how impressive Woodard’s performance was.
9. Kenneth ChoiSpider-Man: Homecoming introduced us to Principal Morita, Peter Parker’s strict principal. While we didn’t get to see much of this character, there was a clever inclusion in his office. Sitting near his desk is a frame of his other MCU character Jim Morita, who was one of the Howling Commandos in Captain America: The First Avenger.
This is the first time that Marvel has actually acknowledged within their film that an actor had two roles in the same franchise. It was actually a clever inclusion, this time claiming it as an intentional decision based on lineage rather than a casting error like they did with Alfre Woodard.
10. Chris EvansFinally, we’ve got Captain America himself. Before Evans played as Steve Rogers, he played a radically different Marvel hero: Johnny Storm, a.k.a. the Human Torch. In 2005’s Fantastic Four, and in its sequel Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Evans played the Torch, and did a damn good job of it. Evans’s humor matched perfectly with his comic-book counterpart and, while many people claim the movies were terrible, it is safe to say that Evans was the best part.
Chris Evans was later cast as Steve Rogers in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger. He almost did not get the part, though, due to his role in Fantastic Four. Marvel was worried that audience members would only see Evans as the Human Torch and not as Captain America. Because of this, they nearly gave the role to The Office star John Krasinski. However, Marvel took the risk of casting Evans, and man, are we glad that they did. Evans has rocked the role of Steve Rogers, and it’s possible that he continue in this role for years to come.
This is quite the hefty list, and that’s not even everyone. Actors like Tim Blake Nelson and Donald Glover have also been in multiple Marvel movies as different characters. Honestly, there are so many Marvel movies to date that we could probably write a whole book about all of the actors who have played multiple roles. Alas, I do not have time for that, nor do I want to do the research. Even so, this list of 10 is rather impressive. These actors seem to be pretty dedicated to their Marvel craft.
Which Marvel actor is your favorite? Let us know in the comments, and thanks for reading!
[Top Photo Credit: Marvel Studios]