Actors Who Desperately Want To Return To The MCU – Looper

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that being cast in a Marvel Cinematic Universe project can be a massive career milestone for many actors. With over 20 films and a total worldwide box office revenue of $22.93 billion as of August 2021, the MCU is the highest-grossing franchise in cinematic history (via Statista). Its shared universe model also presents plenty of crossover opportunities (and thus, multiple film appearances) for its stars. As films like “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Endgame” have demonstrated, nothing makes MCU fans more ecstatic than to see their favorite characters meet, collaborate, or clash against each other on the silver screen.
However, not every Marvel character is as integral to the MCU mythos as Captain America, Iron Man, Nick Fury, Spider-Man, or its other linchpin heroes. In other words, not every hero and villain gets a shot at appearing in multiple MCU movies, with most of them popping up simply when a film or TV show’s story demands their presence. Still, that hasn’t stopped some celebrities who have starred in MCU projects from publicly expressing their desire to return to the ever-expanding multiverse of Marvel movies, either to reprise their roles or to take on some brand-new ones. Here are some of the actors who have explicitly said that they want to return to the MCU. (Oh, and be warned: There will be spoilers for many MCU productions here.) 

When the second season of the Netflix “Daredevil” show brought the criminal organization called the Hand into the world of Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), it also introduced one of the vigilante hero’s greatest supporting characters from the comics: Elektra, played by Elodie Yung. She next appeared in “The Defenders,” serving as an antagonist to Daredevil and his reluctant teammates Luke Cage (Mike Colter), Iron Fist (Finn Jones), and Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter). While her latter appearance ended in her apparent (albeit ambiguous) demise, anyone familiar with Elektra would know that even in the source material, death has not stopped the Greek assassin from resurfacing in Daredevil’s life.
At the Wizard World Virtual Experiences 2020’s Marvel Actors Panel, Yung expressed enthusiasm at the prospect of reprising her role, adjusted costume and all. “Let me tell you, I love this character because she’s so complex and broken,” said Yung, who finds Elektra relatable because of how “she’s got a lot of villain in her … and also a lot of good” (via ComicBook.com). She also shared how much she liked working without completely knowing where her character arc would end up: “Marvel [Television], in my experience, very secretive. So from the moment you start auditioning until the end of a series, you never know where it’s going.” Sadly, Yung couldn’t say for certain whether Daredevil’s former flame would formally debut in an MCU film or series anytime soon.

Before the deal between Sony and Marvel made it possible for Spider-Man to become Iron Man’s protege, there was Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins), the promising young inventor who helped Tony Stark get through his post-Battle of New York blues in “Iron Man 3.” However, it took six years before the character made another appearance in the MCU, and a rather unexpected one, at that: He showed up at Tony’s funeral in “Avengers: Endgame,” surprising many audiences who didn’t immediately recognize the teenaged Keener.
In an interview with IGN, Simpkins talked about how thrilled he was at the prospect of reprising his role: “When they gave me the call that I was going to do it, I was freaking out and screaming in the car.” Simpkins also shared that at the time, his return wasn’t set in stone yet, so he refrained from telling anyone — even his mother — about it, for fear of things going sideways.
The armored Avenger’s heroic sacrifice left a huge hole in the MCU, one that Simpkins would be more than willing to fill. When asked about the possibility of Keener donning one of Tony’s suits and continuing Iron Man’s legacy, Simpkins exclaimed that he was 100% on board. Interestingly, the time-traveling Young Avenger Iron Lad (a younger version of the villainous Kang the Conqueror) was also mentioned as an option that Simpkins would do “without a doubt.”

It’s not a stretch to think that Sterling K. Brown’s participation in the MCU was a one-and-done deal. After all, regardless of its significance to the plot, his role in “Black Panther” was a brief one. Brown played the role of Prince N’Jobu, the father of Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and uncle of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman). In his desire to extend aid to marginalized people outside of the African nation of Wakanda, N’Jobu works with an opportunistic criminal, Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), to smuggle out its most precious resource, a unique metal called vibranium. Because of this traitorous act, his brother T’Chaka (John Kani) ends his life — and barring any flashback sequences in succeeding “Black Panther” movies, it would be an interesting challenge to bring the character back.
However, Brown isn’t averse to the idea of reprising his role in the MCU, as reported by ComicBook.com. In response to fans who were asking about the possibility of Brown showing up in a future Marvel movie, the actor tweeted confirmation that he’s open to returning as N’Jobu, if necessary: “If there’s a way, I would be honored #WakandaForever” (via Twitter).

The MCU’s version of the Red Guardian turned out to be significantly different from his mainstream comic book counterpart, but David Harbour, the actor who brought the character to life in the 2021 film “Black Widow,” didn’t seem to mind. In fact, as he stated in an interview with Insider, he considers the role to be “one of the biggest gigs” of his life. And he’s certainly willing to reprise it, should Marvel require him to put on the red and white suit once more.
“I’m down for more,” said the actor, who also revealed that one of the Red Guardian’s most memorable scenes in the movie — when he sings “American Pie” to Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) in an attempt to reconnect with his adoptive daughter — was his own suggestion. In addition, Harbour shared two ideas about Red Guardian’s next on-screen adventure. In one scenario, audiences would get a glimpse of Russia’s answer to Captain America in peak condition via scenes of Red Guardian “back in his prime.”
Harbour’s other idea for Red Guardian’s return features him going down the same road Yelena did at the end of the film: “When he finds out that [Natasha] was on that cliff with Hawkeye and maybe the version of the story he hears is that Hawkeye pushed her off or something, it’s a moment when Red Guardian turns back to the guy he was. He now wants vengeance for her.”

One of the most shocking twists in “Black Widow” involved an alternative take on a classic Marvel villain. Whereas the Taskmaster from the comics is a highly skilled ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. operative named Tony Masters, the MCU version of the acrobatic antagonist is Antonia Dreykov (Olga Kurylenko), the mind-controlled daughter of the Red Room’s overseer, General Dreykov. The conclusion of the 2021 film saw Dreykov being set free from her father’s control after years of being used as a hired assassin. With this development for the character, Kurylenko believes that there’s more than enough story potential to earn Taskmaster a spot on the MCU’s roster of recurring stars.
In an interview with Slashfilm, Kurylenko shared a few ideas about where the character could go next: “The thing is, she could be always caught up in that power and manipulated again … It’s always a danger to keep away from being possessed and concentrate on keeping her freedom. But it doesn’t mean that she’ll succeed at it. And there’s always bad forces that will try to capture her, I would imagine.” 
Kurylenko added that she’d be more than happy to reprise her role, as she believes that Taskmaster is “too valuable and too skillful [for Marvel Studios] to let go.” She expressed the same sentiment in an Esquire interview, but clarified that it’s up to Marvel to decide if she (or Taskmaster) will get another chance in the spotlight.

In the “official” MCU, Josh Brolin lent his acting skills and imposing frame to the Infinity Stone-obsessed intergalactic tyrant, Thanos. By bringing the character to life across multiple films, Brolin cemented his place in MCU history as one of its most significant players. However, Brolin played another fan favorite Marvel character, the time-traveling mutant called Cable, in “Deadpool 2.” Since it’s a 20th Century Fox film, “Deadpool 2” was initially outside the boundaries of Marvel’s mainstream MCU continuity.
Still, with Disney’s acquisition of Fox and the MCU incorporating the concept of the multiverse into its films, anything can happen — and if comics creator Rob Liefeld were to be believed, Brolin would be delighted to get another shot at portraying the mutant gunslinger. ComicBook.com quoted Liefeld as saying that Brolin was “itching to be Cable again” because he really enjoyed the role. “He told me he understands how beloved his role as Thanos is, but he doesn’t look completely like Josh Brolin.”
Meanwhile, Brolin himself has revealed in interviews that Cable’s appearance in “Deadpool 2” was only supposed to be the start of the character’s cinematic journey. “Deadpool worked out very much in my favor. Deadpool was supposed to be four movies. Maybe there’ll be more — I don’t know what Marvel has in store — but it turned out to be one really fun movie for me” (via Ace Universe).

Among all the MCU-related productions for film and TV, “The Inhumans” stands out as the one that truly missed the mark, both in terms of overall quality and franchise potential. As revealed by The Hollywood Reporter, “The Inhumans” was initially among the highly anticipated movies slated for Marvel Studios’ Phase 3. Somewhere along the line, however, the property that some expected would replace the X-Men in Marvel’s cinematic pantheon was relegated to a TV show on ABC (via Gizmodo). Sadly, the first-ever attempt to tell the story of Attilan and its denizens in live-action ended up being less than satisfactory — which is perhaps why Black Bolt actor Anson Mount has not been shy about admitting which character he’d really want to play in the MCU.
According to ScienceFiction.com, Mount shared that it would be unlikely for the original TV cast to reunite for any Disney+ revival. He did admit, though, that he’d be interested to see “another shot” at bringing the property to life, even without him. Interestingly, Black Bolt isn’t actually at the top of the actor’s list of Marvel characters he’d like to portray — because a certain Cajun outranks him. “If you’d said ‘Pick your superhero that you want to play,’ that would have been my number two choice,” said Mount. “Number one would have been Gambit, and number two would have been Black Bolt.”

In past interviews, Crossbones actor Frank Grillo wasn’t shy when it came to speaking his mind about Marvel’s handling of the character in MCU films. During a 2021 appearance on the Lights Camera Barstool podcast, for instance, Grillo shared why he was initially hesitant to reprise his role in “Avengers: Endgame” (but eventually relented, at his son’s request): “The trajectory of Crossbones took a turn and he was out of the series really quickly, right? And I was a little pissed off about it because, y’know, I signed a seven-picture deal with them.”
However, Grillo has been equally candid about how much he’d like to play Brock Rumlow again, whether on the silver screen or on a Disney+ show. “I would love to do [a Crossbones series] just because I have never seen a character be on the screen so little and yet have such a fan following,” the actor said in a Forbes interview. “I scratch my head with it sometimes. I have a great relationship with Marvel and the guys there, but why didn’t they, even if it wasn’t with me, pursue that? Why isn’t Crossbones somewhere in the mix?”
Grillo returned to voice Crossbones for the Disney+ “What If…?” show — but by his own admission, he’d be just as eager to suit up: “Oh yeah. I often say ‘When Marvel calls, I pick up the phone'” (via Comic Book Resources).

Despite only briefly appearing on the Disney+ “Loki” series as the younger version of Sophia Di Martino’s Sylvie (the titular character’s Variant), “The Walking Dead” alumna Cailey Fleming has been vocal about how happy she was to be part of the MCU. She has also talked about the fact that she’d love to return to the role, which left a lot more to be explored after being limited to just a short flashback sequence.
In an interview with Insider, Fleming revealed that she felt “very, very excited” when she heard that she’d snagged a role in the MCU, due to her and her brother’s shared obsession with the Marvel universe. Describing the character as “fierce and powerful,” the young star expressed enthusiasm at the prospect of reprising the role, or even filling in the shoes of a different superhero or supervillain: “I would love to do something with dance in it or obviously something else in the MCU, maybe a new character or keep playing Young Sylvie.”

The connection between the Netflix Marvel shows and the MCU has always been tenuous at best, with the former only rarely referencing significant events in the films and the latter completely ignoring the TV shows (via IGN). Still, that hasn’t stopped Marvel fans from hoping that the likes of “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones” could somehow be folded into the MCU canon, mainly because of the masterful way the lead characters and their antagonists were handled.
For example, Vincent D’Onofrio’s performance as the perpetual pain in Matt Murdock’s side, Wilson Fisk aka the Kingpin, made fans so happy that calls for him to reprise his role in an MCU film never seem to end. Based on an interview with Screen Rant, the actor himself is just as ecstatic about the prospect of returning.
Responding (while not exactly responding) to rumors of his surprise inclusion in either “Spider-Man: No Way Home” or the Disney+ “Hawkeye” series, D’Onofrio said that he “so badly” wants to breathe life into Fisk’s character again, should Marvel Studios ever grant him another opportunity. “I just have to wait for Marvel to ask me. I think it’s very clear that I would, and the fans know that I would jump at the chance to play again. I just need to be asked.”

Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige have been particularly tight-lipped about the status of the Netflix Marvel shows. Whenever the question of reviving shows like “Luke Cage” and “The Defenders” pops up, Feige’s answers tend to be like the one he gave in a Deadline interview: “I’ve been at Marvel long enough to never say never about anything.” That said, if it were up to “Jessica Jones” star Krysten Ritter, she’d “absolutely just die” to play the tough-as-nails alcoholic private eye in an unquestionably canonical Marvel Studios production.
Ritter shared in an interview with Screen Rant that as a character, Jessica Jones “really, really resonated” with female audiences, particularly those who had survived abuse. “Not only because it was like a great role and she’s such a bad-ass, but that character has really resonated with people in a way that I don’t know who else has.” She added that she would certainly jump at the chance to wear the character’s signature get-up once again, should Marvel call on her to do so.
Rumors have surfaced that Ritter might show up as Jones on the Disney+ “She-Hulk” TV series, so fans just might see the ill-mannered investigator on the small screen again in the near future (via Comic Book Resources).

Judging from the number of times “Daredevil” star Charlie Cox has been asked if he would reprise his Netflix role in “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” MCU fans seem to be really excited at the prospect of seeing the blind lawyer from Hell’s Kitchen and the young hero from Queens bring their comic book friendship to the silver screen (via Digital Spy). While the actor has been notably careful about the way he responds to this question, Cox has not completely ruled out any future appearances in the MCU. In fact, he has even suggested ways in which Daredevil can integrate himself into the busy New York setting of the Marvel movies.
In an interview with ComicBook.com, Cox expressed gratitude at being able to portray Matt Murdock and his alter-ego for three seasons of the eponymous Netflix show. Moreover, as a self-admitted fan of the MCU films, Cox offered up some ideas as to how his character can work with the established heroes in the Marvel movies. “As a fan of the Marvel movies, I’ve loved the little stuff where they pop up here and there … I love the idea of Jessica [Jones] and Matt showing up in the background or Matt as a lawyer advising Peter Parker. That’d be really, really cool.” Given Spider-Man’s secret identity troubles in “No Way Home,” he’ll certainly need all the legal help he can get.

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