The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a franchise that has dominated the film industry. Beloved for its iconic casting that ranges from Robert Downey Jr. to Robert Redford, this world of superheroes and super villains has increasingly peaked the interests of acting legends – and has even made relatively unknown actors into legends themselves. For these performers, the MCU is a franchise worth fighting for, not only for its fun and imaginative world, but also for its rich characters and narrative arcs.
Yet, there have been some actors that have actively chosen not to don the suit and cape. Choosing to stray from the popular discourse of today’s filmmaking era, these are some of them who have spoken about their disinterests to joining the franchise. Some may even surprise you.
Shooting to fame as Rachel Green in Friends, Jennifer Aniston‘s career is undoubtedly iconic. With numerous acting awards under her belt, Aniston has broken hearts in Marley & Me, made people laugh in We’re The Millers, and emotionally moved viewers in The Morning Show.
Sadly, it’s unlikely that Aniston will ever join the world of Marvel – or even anything within the superhero genre for that matter. In an interview with Variety, she described “big Marvel movies” as “diminishing” to the quality of cinema, and that she has no interest in “living in a green screen”.
Between Shaun of the Dead, and the Mission: Impossible and Ice Age franchises, Simon Pegg has entertained the masses. Having been deemed the supposed “poster child” of geekdom with his staring role in Star Trek, supporting roles in Doctor Who and cameos in Star Wars, Pegg is an actor who loves to embrace his nerd side.
Yet despite all this, Pegg has stated in an interview with the Radio Times that he believes comic-book movies are “dumbing down” the film industry and “taking our focus away from real-world issues”. Where he does have a supporting role in The Boys, that show is a political satire that parodies the superhero genre. As such, it’s unlikely fans will see him in any Marvel project.
Best known for playing everyone’s favorite sassy assistant in The Devil Wears Prada, Emily Blunt is a joy to watch on screen. With numerous accolade nominations and wins, Blunt has brilliantly jumped from genre to genre. A Quiet Place, Into the Woods, Sicario – every picture different from the other, but just as riveting.
Blunt is no stranger to the Marvel universe. Where her husband, John Krasinski, appeared in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, she herself was offered the role of Black Widowin Iron Man 2of which she had to turn down due to contractual obligations. Since then, she has spoken about her current hesitation to joining the superhero world. On The Howard Stern Show, Blunt expressed how the genre was “exhausted” as society is “inundated” with “all the movies” and “the endless TV shows as well”.
As the action star most known for his hard-boiled characters, Jason Statham isn’t one to shy away from physically demanding roles. From leading the Transporter trilogy, to his most recent features in the Fast & Furious franchise, Statham has been labeled one of the most “bankable stars in the world” as his films have generated billions for the industry.
Surprisingly, however, in an interview with I 400 Calci, he has confirmed that he has “no ambition” to join the likes of Marvel as it seems like “anyone can do it”. Pinpointing heavily on their reliance on “stunt-doubles and green screens”, Statham believes the genre doesn’t reflect the “authentic” old school ways that have inspired him.
Winning two Academy Awards for Mystic River and Milk, along with many other accolades and nominations, Sean Penn is one of the most prolific actors of this age. With other classics like I Am Sam and even a writer-directorial success of Into the Wild, Penn is one of the big names that has yet to join the MCU.
Sadly, this is not likely to occur since he has never made a single franchise film. In an interview at the Cannes FIlm Festival, Penn expressed how much he missed when the cinemas weren’t all “razzle-dazzle, Cirque de Soleil movies”. He even criticized Marvel for how they’ve “claimed so much time in the careers of so many talented people”.
From Mean Girls, to Mamma Mia, to Jennifer’s Body, to Ted 2 – Amanda Seyfried‘s filmography has been an iconic staple to the world pop culture. Within in these last few years, its even become a critical success thanks to Mank and The Dropout, which saw Seyfried receiving an Oscar nomination and an Emmy win. Yet, despite these successes, she has still not found her way to the MCU – and sadly it won’t be likely.
In fact, Seyfried is another actor who turned down a Marvel role. Before Zoe Saldaña, Seyfried was offered to play Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy. Unfortunately, she was turned off by the prospect of spending long hours in the make-up chair, as seen in her interview with ComicBook.com, where she described it seeming like “hell on Earth”. More recently with the Associated Press, she even confirmed that she still has “no interest” in joining the “big superhero movies”
Where he’s mostly recognized as Harold Lee from the Harold & Kumar movies, as well as Sulu in the Star Trek franchise, John Cho is an actor that’s proven his versatility. Always conscious about playing characters that break the mold of Asian stereotypes, Cho has garnered critical success for his leading performances in Searching and Columbus.
When it comes to the superhero genre however, Cho has stated how it isn’t very appealing. In a Vulture interview, he explained that he doesn’t “particularly want to diet or work out like crazy” for a movie, and even pointed out his issue with the “indentured-servitude contracts”. So from the looks of it, fans shouldn’t get their hopes up to seeing him mix with their favorite MCU heroes.
Making waves in the 90s and 2000s, Rose McGowan captivated audiences in indies and cult classics alike such as The Doom Generation, Scream and Grindhouse. She even became a television icon through Charmed, where she played Paige Matthews – one of the “Powers of Three”.
Joining the MCU, however, is not something that’s likely to be in her future. Posting on Instagram, McGowan called the superhero genre “tent-pole films” that “lack complexity” and was “lazy average male filmmaking”. She even attributed these “boring” films to one of the reasons why she ultimately quit acting. Yikes.
Shooting to fame with his performance in Call Me By Your Name, Timothée Chalamet has only continued to prove his all-star talents. With huge commercial and critical successes like Little Women, Lady Bird and Dune, Chalamet has earned several accolade nominations and wins – solidifying him to be one of the greatest young actors of this generation.
Funnily enough, Chalamet has history with the Marvel universe as he initially auditioned for the role of Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Sadly, since then, he has expressed to Timethat due to some advice he received from “one of [his] heroes” – he’ll likely never star in any Marvel project. It’s “no drugs and no superhero movies” for him.
From Taxi Driver to The Accused to Silence of the Lambs, Jodie Foster is another actor that is frequently regarded as one of the greats. Starting her career at a very young age, she has gone on to win multiple Academy Awards as well as other accolades that include the honorary Cecile B. DeMille Award. Foster has also become a successful director of projects like Black Mirror and House of Cards.
But when it comes to the MCU, Foster has given mixed signals to her interests. In a Radio Timesinterview, she expressed her belief that movies of the superhero variety were “ruining the viewing habits […] of the world”, and even compared them to the likes of “fracking – you get the best return right now, but you wreck the Earth”. And yet, according to Deadline, Foster was quoted in a recent Q&A stating how she’d “like to do a Marvel film” as she pinpointed her admiration for Black Pantherand Iron Man. Very confusing.