Marvel Studios has had success casting big-name actors in the past to bring legitimacy to the MCU and attract new viewers. Casting established actors limits the use of superhero costumes like masks and helmets, as seen in the Multiverse Saga. Marvel’s trend of casting A-list actors for glorified cameos can be distracting and less immersive, affecting the overall storytelling in the MCU.

A specific part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe casting process in the Multiverse Saga has become a big problem. The MCU has a solid record when it comes to casting its heroes. It took big risks, including tapping Robert Downey Jr. for Iron Man and casting relatively unknown Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston as Thor and Loki. Subsequently, even the decision to choose comedy actors like Chris Pratt and Paul Rudd as Star-Lord and Ant-Man seemed odd at first but proved to be the right decision. After the Infinity Saga, however, Marvel Studios needed to rebuild the MCU, which included the introduction of new characters for the Multiverse Saga.

Since kickstarting the Multiverse Saga in 2021, Marvel Studios has introduced several fresh players to the MCU. Some of them debuted via their own origins projects such as Shang-Chi, the Eternals, Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, and She-Hulk — all of them are expected to return to the franchise and become the next face of the universe. Meanwhile, others were part of bigger endeavors either as supporting characters to their current stories or as a set-up for their future in the franchise. In recent years, however, Marvel Studios has fallen into a casting trend, and it is increasingly becoming clear that is going to be a problem.

Why Marvel Tries To Cast Big Name Actors

Due to its success and popularity, Marvel Studios has been able to nab big-name stars for their projects. In the Infinity Saga, they have been able to lock in the likes of Jeff Bridges, Kurt Russell, Josh Brolin, James Spader, and Robert Redford to play villains. Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chadwick Boseman, and Brie Larson on the other hand, went on to play heroes. Having established reputations in Hollywood, Marvel Studios understandably wants to cast well-known actors to bring in more viewers to watch their movies and TV shows.

Granted that the MCU is already the most popular franchise in the world, but it doesn’t hurt to appeal to the viewers who aren’t exactly invested in the superhero sandbox. Bringing in someone who is already well-known in Hollywood can help in that regard. Those who don’t particularly follow the franchise may be inclined to catch the Ant-Man films because they are fans of Douglas and Pfeiffer, or watch Eternals because it features a star-studded cast, with Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek. The same goes for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings as it marks legendary Asian actor Tony Leung’s first Hollywood blockbuster.

Related: The MCU Is Still Repeating Iron Man’s Avengers Mistakes 8 Years On

In its earliest years, Marvel Studios bringing well-known actors helped bring legitimacy to the MCU. Before it became the household name that it now is, the franchise started with humble beginnings. Kevin Feige and his team took a massive risk to make Iron Man by casting Downey in the lead role. While he was already known in the business, he wasn’t an A-lister. However, by surrounding him with a solid cast of award-winning actors such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, and Terrence Howard, the public suddenly had faith in the movie. This approach was repeated in The Incredible Hulk with Edward Norton and William Hurt, and Thor with Anthony Hopkins.

Superhero Masks, & Helmets Are Sidelined For Actor Recognition

Casting established actors has its perks, and it served the MCU well in the Infinity Saga. That being said, it also has its drawbacks, which are becoming increasingly clear in the Multiverse Saga. One of the several disadvantages of bringing recognizable faces into the franchise is that it essentially limits the use of typical superhero costumes such as masks and helmets. Emilia Clarke’s Gi’ah in Secret Invasion is the perfect example of this. As a shape-shifting Skrull, she desired to live freely in her own skin. However, she was barely in her alien form in Secret Invasion because hiding Clarke would have defeated one of the purposes of casting her.

Related: Thor’s Hammer Knows The Future: Wild Avengers Theory Explains Confusing Age Of Ultron Scene

In earlier phases, MCU’s most prominent heroes such as Iron Man and Captain America rarely wore their headpieces — even if they were significant elements of their costumes. Marvel Studios found a way to feature Downey’s face when wearing his Iron Man suits by showing it while he figures things out from the inside. Chris Evans eventually ditched the headpiece from his first Captain America costume as the MCU went on. Ms. Marvel appears to be following this suit, with Kamala Khan ditching the mask she wore in her show in The Marvels. Meanwhile, Hawkeye and Kate Bishop never even wore masks in the MCU, although they do in the comics.

Marvel Movies & Shows Become Less Immersive Through Stunt Casting

In the Multiverse Saga, Marvel Studios seems to take casting A-listers to the next level. Instead of bringing in recognized actors to help carry their projects, they simply cast them for glorified cameos. At this point, the MCU is already an established brand on its own, which means that its solid fan base will likely be enough to keep it going in the near future. Now, they can afford to bring in big-name actors just for fun appearances. They don’t necessarily add to the storytelling, and anyone else could play the part. However, there’s a shock factor seeing a popular actor essentially doing a guesting stint.

Related: 10 Steps To Saving The MCU’s Multiverse Saga Before It’s Too Late

This is the case with Billy Murray in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Evan Peters in WandaVision, and even John Krasinski in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Currently, there are no plans for further exploring their characters beyond their initial appearances. Meanwhile, there’s a different category of high-profile actors who joined the MCU in the Multiverse Saga, who are expected to play a bigger role moving forward, but there is still no word when they will resurface. Charlize Theron in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Harry Styles in Eternals, and Brett Goldstein in Thor: Love and Thunder fall into this category.

Unfortunately, continuously doing this negatively impacts the MCU’s storytelling. If A-lists’ characters don’t necessarily have any significant effect on their projects, seeing big stars playing them can actually be distracting, which results in a less immersive experience. Some may find them even shoehorned just for the sake of adding a recognizable actor to a Marvel movie or TV show. What makes this more interesting is that Marvel Studios doesn’t have to rely on these types of casting anymore. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has gotten big enough to carry itself. Instead, they have to focus on solid stories moving forward.

Key Release Dates

The Marvels

Deadpool 3

Captain America: Brave New World

Marvel’s Thunderbolts

Blade (2025)

Marvel’s Fantastic Four

Avengers: The Kang Dynasty

Avengers: Secret Wars

 Marvel needs to stop this.  Read More