Can Marvel Actors Play Multiple Characters in the MCU?
When Joaquin Phoenix turned down the lead role in Doctor Strange, it was because he couldn't handle the multi-picture deal enforced by Marvel Studios. But a plethora of other actors and actresses are turning down certain roles in these superhero adventures for a completely different reason. They're afraid a better character might come along. And it would be impossible to play two different characters in the MCU, right? Well, maybe not. Zachary Levi, who plays a smaller, yet very important role in Thor: The Dark World, posed this question to Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige. And his answer may surprise you.
Some where surprised to see Chris Evans win the title role of Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger. Simply because he'd already played Johnny Storm (aka the Human Torch) in both 2005's Fantastic Four and the 2007 sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Some felt it was overkill to have the same actor playing two different Marvel characters. Some thought it was unfair. But both movies came from two different studios. And what Fox is doing with its stable of Marvel superheroes is vastly different from Disney's approach. In the end, it all seemed to work out. And it's not the first time, either. Ryan Reynolds played a key role in Blade: Trinity before becoming Deadpool. But again, two different studios, two very different approaches to the material.
What if the same actor wanted to play two very different roles in two different films planted firmly in the MCU? Fans might not like the idea, but it doesn't sound so far fetched to Kevin Feige. In a recent interview for his upcoming villain role in Heroes Reborn, Zachary Levi reveals that he had a similar question. Speaking with Den of Geeks, the actor was asked if he'd be returning to play Fandral, one of the Warriors 3, in the 2017 sequel Thor: Ragnarok. He doesn't seem to know at this point.
"I have no idea. They have not told me anything. I hope so. I think that'd be pretty fun to get the gang back together, the Warriors Three. But there's a reason why the movie's called Thor and not The Warriors Three. They've got to do what's right for Thor. I think they're shooting for next summer so it really just depends on when in the summer. I know when they're going to shoot, only because, like everyone knows, when the film's actual releasing because Marvel's already slotted all that out which I think is again the following November which is what the last Thor was. So they've got to shoot it next Summer. I don't know. It'd be a lot of fun but there's also a lot of other Marvel roles that I'd love to play one day. If I never get to play Fandral again, I got to do it once and it was a great group to work with."
So, Zachary Levi definitely has his sights set on playing a different Marvel character somewhere down the road, which isn't too far fetched, as he's nearly unrecognizable in his blonde Fandral get up. A follow-up question was posed to the actor. Was it possible for him to show up in a different movie set within the MCU. He says sure.
"I had a very interesting talk with Kevin Feige early on about it all and he said, "Look, it doesn't preclude you from playing another Marvel character." Chris Evans was The Human Torch and Captain America. Ray Stevenson was The Punisher and Volstagg. I did point out to him, "In fairness, neither Fantastic Four nor The Punisher was actually a Marvel movie. You were a part of it but they were produced by other studios." But he said, "Look, I totally understand that but don't worry about it." I don't know, if there's a right role that comes along and they want me to play it, I'd love to."
Zachary Levi smartly points out that the dual roles played by various Marvel actors thus far have been from separate studios. Kevin Feige apparently doesn't think that matters. So far, we've actually seen two actors in the MCU playing two different characters. Though one is kind of a Catch-22. Of course it makes sense to have Paul Bettany play Vision after he voiced Tony Stark's helpful A.I. assistant Jarvis. One is an extension of the other. Enver Gjokaj, on the other hand, played a young cop in Marvel's The Avengers. Though, it wasn't a prominent role and not necessarily based on any particular character in the Marvel comic books. He would go onto play Daniel Sousa in Marvel's Agent Carter. We know these aren't the same characters, as the movie and TV show are set decades apart.
A big factor in whether or not an actor gets to hold down two roles in a Marvel movie is fan reaction. While fans seems to balk, at first, about Chris Evans playing two very prominent members of the Marvel superhero family, no one said a word when Ray Stevenson jumped from playing Frank Castle in Punisher: War Zone to playing Volstagg in Captain America.
What this all boils down to is the fact that we'll probably see Vin Diesel show up in the flesh for a Marvel movie, even though he already gave voice to the extremely popular Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy. Same goes for Rocket Raccoon's Bradley Cooper. But this is still a bit different, as we've never seen their faces in this expansive comic book world.
How do you feel about one actor playing two or more characters in the MCU? Do you want to see Zachary Levi get a second chance at another character? Or should he be done with it? Personally, I think he'd make a great Longshot. But it's never been decided where Longshot will wind up. Like Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, he is a character that is shared between Fox and Marvel. He was once an X-Men, but he also has extensive ties to Doctor Strange. Perhaps Zachary Levi can make the leap to 20th Century Fox to take on his second Marvel character?