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Marvel Actors Who Were Big Fans Before They Joined The MCU

For most actors, it's likely to be an exciting career boost to be cast in an MCU film. The company's sheer size guarantees an actor's rise to fame, or at the very least, allows them to have a good time during filming. For example, Chris Hemsworth has openly discussed how "Thor: Ragnarok" and "Thor: Love and Thunder" director Taika Waititi made Hemsworth enjoy playing Thor again. Before Waititi's involvement, Hemsworth had portrayed Thor for six years, and he was beginning to grow bored of the character. However, since the release of "Love and Thunder," Hemsworth has openly said that he'd only return to Thor if Waititi's involved (via Vanity Fair).

Clearly, there's fun to be had on an MCU set. However, when a comics fan is cast in the MCU, that's likely to be a greater achievement for the actors. Not only would the filming process be more exciting, but it could also fulfill a childhood or career dream to play in a comic book property. Plus, as a fan, the actor is likely able to incorporate ideas and comments about the character they're playing, making the experience more collaborative. Much like Hemsworth's time with Thor. Another great example is Henry Cavill, who portrays Geralt of Rivia in "The Witcher." Cavill is a longtime fan of the franchise and works with production to ensure the story is close to the source material. There are many MCU actors who have gone through the same experience as Cavill. Here are 13 superhero and Marvel fans who were cast to join the MCU.

Tom Holland

Tom Holland may be a household name now, but before he was cast as Spider-Man in the Sony reboot, he was just trying to make a name for himself in Hollywood. Holland initially had his eyes for the stage, as he portrayed Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theater when he was a child. He went on to portray Lucas in the true story "The Impossible." To get the role of Lucas, Holland read a heartfelt letter during his audition that was so touching that it led to his casting (per The Hollywood Reporter).

It seems as though emotions have driven Holland for the majority of his career, as being cast as Spider-Man was a lifelong dream of his. Holland told The Hollywood Reporter that he was a massive Spider-Man fan as a child. He recalls having about 30 different Spider-Man costumes and even rocking the bedsheets. Prior to auditioning, Holland had an adult costume party where he dressed up as the web-slinger. Once he heard about the Spider-Man casting call, he begged his agent to get him an audition, and the rest is history.

Michael B. Jordan

Michael B. Jordan has worked on two Marvel projects so far in his career. The first is when he was cast as Johnny Storm in the 20th Century Fox "Fantastic Four" reboot. This role was originally played by another MCU actor, Chris Evans.

Jordan joined the MCU when he got cast as Erik Killmonger in 2018's "Black Panther." However, his love for Marvel started long before he began acting in their films. Specifically, it began when he was a kid. He loved the X-Men as a child, detailing that his favorite character is Iceman (per Highsnobiety Magazine). Jordan would watch the "X-Men" cartoons Saturday mornings and pretend that he had the characters' mutant powers. It's because of his love for comics that made him so honored to portray Johnny Storm, especially since, growing up, Jordan didn't have many comic book characters he could relate to. He said, "I have a whole lifetime of practicing to imagine [being] someone who didn't look like me. [...] That's the difference of growing up in a world without true representation." So when it came time to cast Killmonger, Jordan jumped at the opportunity to play an African-American comic book character.

Andrew Garfield

In 2012, Andrew Garfield was cast as Peter Parker in "The Amazing Spider-Man." The franchise went through a reboot after the end of Sam Raimi's original "Spider-Man" trilogy. Garfield took over the role from Tobey Maguire, the actor who was partially responsible for breathing life into the superhero franchise back in 2002 with "Spider-Man." Raimi's trilogy is beloved, so Garfield knew that he had big shoes to fill when taking over the iconic role. But it isn't just audience pressure he faced — Garfield is a massive fan of Maguire's Spider-Man himself.

Garfield grew up watching Maguire's Spider-Man, stating, "I grew up idolizing Tobey in that role, and he's such a huge part of that character for me, and [I'm] just [a] fan of him as an actor" (per Outlook). Garfield shared how devastated he was when Maguire took a step back from acting. It's why he was overjoyed to work with his childhood hero in "Spider-Man: No Way Home." He shares that their time on set was incredibly collaborative, allowing Maguire the chance to fall in love with acting all over again. "It felt very, very playful," he said, "like we were kind of two friends making a little Spider-Man short film and going, 'Wouldn't this be cool?'"

Simu Liu

Simu Liu joined the MCU in 2021, starring as the title character in "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings." However, prior to his casting in the box office hit, Liu made no secret of showcasing his fandom for the MCU. In fact, in some old Tweets, Liu jokingly asked Marvel for a job with the behemoth franchise (per ComicBook). One highlight is from July 2014, when Liu tweeted at Marvel "great job with Cpt America and Thor. Now how about an Asian American hero?" Luckily, it seems as though his persistence worked out for the better.

Aside from his social media fandom, Liu has crowned himself to be Marvel's No. 1 fan. He spoke about his love for Marvel in the "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" featurette, stating that he is "pretty much the biggest Marvel fan you could possibly imagine." We've got a super-fan on our hands.

Dave Bautista

Since his debut as the comical yet stoic Drax the Destroyer in 2014, Dave Bautista has been in two "Avengers" films, a "Thor" fourquel, and his two "Guardians" projects, as well as a litany of other mega-franchises, including the sci-fi epic series "Dune." Sadly, he has announced that he will be departing from the MCU following the third installment of the "Guardians" films, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3." In 2021, Bautista said this would be his final MCU project and that saying goodbye to the character would be a bittersweet experience for him (per ComicBook). But that he is forever grateful to have worked in "Guardians," which he cites as being the beginning of his journey in Hollywood.

However, his journey with Marvel starts way before his time in "Guardians," in fact. Bautista initially proclaimed himself to be more of a DC fan than Marvel. He told Collider, "My favorite Marvel film: 'Iron Man.' My favorite, I love it. That movie made me a fan of Iron Man, because up until then I really wasn't. Batman and Aquaman were my guys growing up, oddly enough. It just made me a fan and I started watching from then on and all the Marvel movies." Bautista isn't alone in his preference for the one that started it all — Jeremy Renner, Oscar Isaac, and Ethan Hawke all said the first "Iron Man" is their favorite of all the MCU's projects, the one that made them want to join the club.

Laurence Fishburne

As a man who's starred in both Marvel and DC films, you know that Laurence Fishburne's love for comic books is vast. In 2013, Fishburne was cast as Perry White in Zack Synder's "Man of Steel," reprising the role in 2016's "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." The following year, Fishburne moved to Marvel, where he plays the character Dr. Bill Foster aka Goliath in "Ant-Man and The Wasp."

In 2018, Fishburne shared the loving relationship he has with comic books as a whole (per Jam Monkey). "I started reading comic books when I was very young. Probably like 8 or 9 years old. And I always read DC and Marvel. I love them both." In fact, Fishburne told the director of the 2007 film "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" the comic book history between the Silver Surfer and Galactus. He used that as an argument for why he should be cast in the film, which he ultimately was, as the voice of the Surfer.

When it came to joining the MCU, Fishburne spoke with Marvel Studios' co-president, Louis D'Esposito, about his strong interest. While Fishburne is more a fan of Iron Man, the X-Men, Thor, the Avengers, Hulk, and Spider-Man, he eagerly accepted the role in "Ant-Man and the Wasp," as the character of Foster is an older man that loves comics. The perfect fit.

Winston Duke

Winston Duke rose to fame with his portrayal of M'Baku in the critically acclaimed "Black Panther." However, his connection to comics goes back much further. Duke moved to Brooklyn when he was 10 years old from Tobago (per Okay Player). He had a lonely childhood, as both his mother and older sister worked a lot, so he found comfort in the pages of comic books. He identified greatly with the idea that an average person could become special and make a difference. He especially felt a kinship with the character Spider-Man, as Duke himself often felt misunderstood and isolated as an immigrant.

As he got older, Duke got into acting in the theater, transforming his passion into a successful career. His breakout role as M'Baku holds a special place for Duke. He tells Vanity Fair that the character is "deeply attached to his community and the welfare of his people," which is something that Duke can personally relate to.

Clark Gregg

Clark Gregg is one of the OG actors in the MCU. His character, Phil Coulson, was first showcased in "Iron Man" back in 2008. He returned for "Iron Man 2" and "Thor" before being killed by Loki in "The Avengers." However, that isn't the end for Coulson, as he is brought back to life in the MCU television series "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

Gregg said that when he found out his character wasn't just a nameless agent but would be Agent Coulson, he geeked out (per BuzzFeed). As a fan of the comic, he says, he just about died from excitement. The character Phil Coulson, a fan of superheroes in the universe of the MCU and comics, has experienced many changes in the comics, but the one thing that seems to be a constant is that he dies and then comes back to life (via Polygon).

While it seems as though Gregg's time with the MCU may be at an end, he told ComicBook that he's grateful for his time. Gregg voices Coulson in "What If...?," 13 years after his original appearance in "Iron Man." Gregg is ultimately proud of his work and overjoyed that he got to join the MCU for such an extended period of time. Especially since he is such a fan.

Anthony Mackie

Anthony Mackie joined the MCU in 2014 when he was cast to play Sam Wilson aka the Falcon in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." However, his journey with comic books is quite different from others on this list. In 2020, Mackie broke down his career with Vanity Fair, where he revealed that he didn't grow up reading Marvel comics at all. Instead, it was his brother who held an interest and exposed him to the world of superheroes.

Mackie shares that he used to rip up his brother's comics when he was younger just to bother him. Ah yes, brotherly love. However, it seems as though some things stuck with him because when Mackie began his career in Hollywood, all he wanted to do was to play a superhero (and play in a Western). Once he was cast as Falcon, he found the character to be a culturally important one to play, he said, "not just for the African-American community, but just the veteran community in general. I think what that character represents [...] to America is very important, and I'm very honored to play that role." And now that he's playing Captain America, the importance of Mackie's role has reached new heights.

Iman Vellani

Iman Vellani joined the MCU in 2022 as Kamala Khanaka aka Ms. Marvel in the Disney+ series. Vellani shares that she discovered she got the part on her last day in high school. She got a note to join a video call that was filled with Marvel executives to share the good news with her. However, Vellani recalled that she was so starstruck because the Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was on the call and that she "didn't even notice [everyone else] because I am obsessed with Kevin Feige and Marvel" (via Telangana Today). She says she has Marvel posters up on her bedroom walls (per The Associated Press).

Feige himself shared with Empire that during the filming of "Ms. Marvel," he was surprised by Vellani's knowledge of comic books and of her character. He recalls that Vellani would carry a notebook with her on set with ideas and concepts about where her character could go based on her comic book knowledge. And luckily, he's open to hearing what she has to say, because if you have the expert, why not listen?

Xochitl Gomez

Xochitl Gomez took her super fandom to new heights as she adamantly decided to audition for the part of America Chavez in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." The character was initially supposed to be 18 years old, but Gomez decided to audition for the part when she was just 13. Luckily, she nailed her audition, making Marvel change the character's age to appropriately reflect Gomez's youth and enthusiasm (via People).

Now that Gomez is officially part of the MCU family, she's been seen attending every MCU movie premiere that she can — even other huge film premieres, like Jurassic World Dominon and Lightyear. She's a fan of everything. She has an infectious enthusiam to be involved with Marvel, and she's made a point of fangirling over other Marvel properties and cast members (via We Got This Covered).

Aside from being a fan of the MCU, Gomez feels that it is important for her to play such a strong character. She told People, "She is a powerful, smart, charismatic, queer Latina. The fact that she is on the screen and is important to the story will make people feel seen in a way that they have never been."

Tony Revolori

Tony Revolori portrays Peter Parker's high school bully Flash Thompson in "Spider-Man: Homecoming" and its two Spidey sequels. Due to his time in the series, Revolori wrote an article for Fandom detailing how deep his relationship with Marvel comics goes and outlining why it's such an honor for him to be a part of the MCU.

Revolori shares childhood pictures of him and his brother showing off Spider-Man toys. As a young boy, he says, he was deeply immersed in the Saturday morning cartoon era. He says he would watch the animated series of "Fantastic Four," "Spider-Man," and "X-Men." To this day, he feels a certain pull toward the X-Men, as he knows that the entire story is an allegory about racism. Growing up, he says, he always appreciated the response characters like Nightcrawler had when faced with discrimination.

Revolori auditioned for a small role in "Iron Man" and would later audition for the role of Peter Parker himself. When he didn't get either one, he was upset but wound up auditioning for and landing the role of Flash instead. It's ironic that Revolori admires Peter Parker because he's a bullied nerd who got the girl, only for him to play the bully. Revolori shares how being in the MCU allows him to meet other cast members alongside the late, great Stan Lee, a man he looks up to. It seems like dreams really do come true.

Jaimie Alexander

Jaimie Alexander portrays Lady Sif in "Thor," "Thor: The Dark World," and most recently in "Thor: Love and Thunder," as well as the series "Loki" and "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." The actress was absent in "Thor: Ragnarok" due to scheduling conflicts with her series "Blindspot" — and thank goodness she missed it, because the Warriors Three all get killed off by Hela (Cate Blanchett), and she may have narrowly missed the chopping block. With "Blindspot" done, audiences may see more of Lady Sif in future MCU films, as she's the only original friend of Thor's to have survived from his early adventures and is living on Earth in New Asgard. 

Speaking with Collider, Alexander spoke about her relationship with Marvel comics. She details that growing up with four brothers in Texas exposed her to comics at a very young age. She recalls reading Thor when she was in middle school and that one of her brothers was a big "Avengers" comic book fan. And as a true Marvel fan, she even shares her thoughts on Sif being a stronger character than DC's Wonder Woman. Because she's a fan of the character, Alexander is honored to be able to portray Lady Sif on the big screen. She argues that Sif is a strong female character and a good role model for young women.