The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a huge success since its inception eight years ago. With fourteen films grossing more than $10 billion across the world, the MCU has become an essential part of comic book culture, established a plethora of popular characters, and set the precedent for superhero movies as a whole. It's hard to imagine the superhero genre of Hollywood without their input, which is staggering and very impressive for such a short period of time.
A huge factor in this movement has been the casting of major A-list actors. It seems every household name is appearing in a Marvel movie these days, which only adds to the appeal of the film itself. However, with the success comes the inevitable pitfalls for certain long-term thespians; salaries to match their commitment, their increasing age, the risk of typecasting, burnout in the role, dedication of time, and creative neglect. Where these risks haven't presented themselves to any of the major MCU players just yet, as time wears on, surely the top brass at Marvel have taken this into account. After all, they must have a contingency plan now they are nearing the ten-year mark?
Thankfully, the answer is a simple one. Yes, they do, and if recasting is required, it seems they have a plan in place. However, these are a way off yet Marvel has revealed that each actor is signed on for several more movies.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Fiege expressed his thoughts to Variety during an interview and revealed that recasting everyone's' favorites is of no immediate concern. He hinted that a plan is in place should this happen. The magazine asked him outright whether Marvel would consider recasting their biggest stars once they move on from their roles. Fiege answered with the following.
"Luckily we don't have to make that decision anytime soon. There are a lot of movies that everyone is signed on for, and we get to enjoy them for a long time. Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man, and right now I can't envision anyone else. Chris Evans has embodied Captain America as well as any actor has ever embodied an iconic pop-culture figure like that. I go back to Chris Reeve as Superman as the gold standard, and I think Evans is right there. I couldn't imagine anybody else. But you also look to history: We have a new Spider-Man right now who was in our Civil War film and is in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and the audience has embraced it. And you can look to Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, and Batman as characters that last longer than any one actor playing them. There's a precedent for it in other franchises that suggests it's possible. But right now I don't want to think about it and don't need to think about it."Fiege's comments may relax a few of the die-hard Marvel fans, and they indicate that nothing is going to change the Marvel landscape for the time being. Hollywood life is a complex beast, but money is usually king, and if an actor can't secure a role to their liking, it usually causes a rift. As films progress and the role demands more, money is usually increased and perks added to keep the actor happy. This is a natural process in the movies. As it happens, this doesn't seem to be the case with the MCU actors as of yet, so it seems that things are running smoothly at Camp Marvel.
Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth are major stars. Their presence in the MCU is ultimate and key, a major factor in the studio's success, and to see these actors step down from the roles of Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor respectively would seriously dent and, for want of a better word, undermine all the hard work that Marvel has injected into the past eight years. These three characters are now iconic in cinematic superhero folklore, and it's because of the people portraying them. They resonate with the audience on so many levels. Can anyone else bring Tony Stark's charm and embodiment to the screen so effortlessly? Can you imagine anyone else bringing credibility to Thor, a God with long blond hair? Would Captain America seem so astute and patriotic without Evans behind it?
Thankfully, it seems Marvel have used some of their box office gross to secure the long-term services of these actors, and many more around them. There will be moments of uncertainty -- Robert Downey Jr's future in the role of Iron Man has already been questioned, as revealed by Cinema Blend. This is a natural progression when featuring in a role for the best part of a decade, but inevitably it comes down to the actor and studios -- they make the final decision, and you can bet that Marvel has a plan in place should any of their top stars grow bored of their roles. Fiege has hinted that the landscape is steady at the moment, which is excellent news for all concerned, but nothing lasts forever, even in the world of superheroes.
[Featured Image by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures]