There have been a lot of amazing actors in the MCU who didn’t land roles worthy of their talents. These are just a few of the most important examples.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe boasts one of the largest and most colorful cast of characters of any film franchise in history, due in large part to the talented actors who bring these beloved comic book heroes and villains to life. However, not all of the great MCU actors have come up with the best material to work with.
There have been many occasions throughout MCU history where a brilliant actor has come up short, either through lack of screen time or poor writing. And while this issue has become less prominent over the years, especially when it comes to villains, that doesn’t make worst cases hurt less. Here are just a few actors who have been wasted by the MCU.
Nobody plays cool and classy villains like Mads Mikkelsen. First rose to fame as Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, and has since portrayed Hannibal Lecter himself in the Hannibal T.V. series. But while the MCU did indeed bring Mikkelsen to play a main antagonist, it didn’t give him much to work with. Mikkelsen appears in 2016 Strange doctor as Kaecilius, an incredibly dark villain from the comics who only appeared in a small handful of issues.
The MCU’s Kaecilius is a sorcerer who betrayed the Masters of the Mystic Arts, leaving Kamar-Taj and swearing allegiance to the fearsome Dormammu. It is briefly mentioned that Kaecilius wishes to summon Dormammu so that humanity can have eternal life in the Dark Dimension, a goal driven by grief over the death of his family. However, the potential depth of Kaecilius’ character is never explored due to lack of screen time. He is even overshadowed by his master in the final battle, causing Dormammu to leave a much greater impression despite only appearing in one scene.
The only time that comes close to making use of Mikkelsen’s rank is the “Mister Doctor” exchange, which allows the usually stoic Kaecilius to show a brief touch of humor. Otherwise, he’s the typical bad boy with no sense of humor, no nuance or personality. Many fans have expressed their hope that Mikkelsen will return to the MCU as Doctor Doom, a major role that would allow the actor to really show his talents. The MCU has reused actors before (take Gemma Chan, who went from minor villain Minn-Erva in Captain Marvel to the protagonist Sersi in eternal), and Mikkelsen expressed an interest in playing Doctor Doom when Fox had a solo film in production by Noah Hawley. However, there has been no news about it as said film was quietly canceled.
It’s almost become cliche at this point to mention Malekith the Cursed, leader of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim, as the worst villain in the MCU, but he has his reputation for a reason. Malekith receives hardly any screen time or dialogue, making him more of a plot device than an actual character. And that’s a shame, because there is no actor more perfect for the role than Christopher Eccleston, best known for his role as the Ninth Doctor in Doctor who.
While the MCU’s Makekith is as boring as the bad guys come, the Malekith comic, created by legendary Thor scribe Walt Simonson – is a sadistic and insane schemer with a flair for the dramatic. And of course, any Doctor who A fan will tell you that Eccleston is downright fantastic at portraying wayward pranksters with a scary dark side. Just look at the iconic episode “Dalek” to see its enormous range on full screen. But alas, Eccleston’s talent was wasted on Thor: The Dark World, giving the MCU’s Malekith his well-earned bad reputation.
Unless you’ve seen Ant-Man and the Wasp Recently, you’ve probably forgotten that Walton Goggins was ever in the MCU. Possibly one of the best character actors working today, Goggins’ talent has shone through in everything from Justified a Sons of Anarchy a the hateful eight a Invincible. But while Goggins would be perfect for a major villain like Carnage or Mephisto, he was instead squandered as Sonny Burch, a very minor character in the series. Iron Man comics that don’t even have a supervillain identity. It is still possible that Burch will return in the future, especially since his mysterious employer was never revealed. Still, it’s a shame to see an actor like Goggins relegated to a supporting role.
Like Mikkelsen and Eccleston, Jude Law (aka Dr. Watson in Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies) is another perfectly chosen big baddie who didn’t get enough screen time to make a good impression. Appears as the main antagonist of Captain Marvel, the Kree military leader Yon-Rogg, but because his role as a villain isn’t revealed until the end of Act Two, Law doesn’t have much time to develop his character. In fact, his only memorable moment is when Carol knocks him down with a single plasma blast in the middle of a villainous monologue. With that said, Yon-Rogg survives the movie, fleeing Earth and returning to the Kree Empire to fight another day. As such, we may not have seen the last of Jude Law in the MCU.
This entry is certainly a scam, but it’s hard to pick just one actor who was criminally underused in the Thor films. The most obvious candidates are Jamie Alexander as Lady Sif and Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano and Ray Stevenson as Warriors Three, a group of comic book fan-favorite characters who are relegated to minor characters in the movies. The Warriors Three even have the dishonor of being unceremoniously slain in Ragnarok. However, even the most prominent supporting players end up getting very little attention.
Idris Elba had his fair share of great moments as Heimdall, only for him to die at the beginning of Endless war with little fanfare. Heimdall’s time in the MCU came to an end before he could be properly explored as a character, a sad fact that strikes even more after seeing Elba’s brilliant performance as Bloodsport in James Gunn. Suicide squad. Karl Urban shone as Skurge the Executioner, but ultimately received too little attention for his heroic sacrifice to leave the impact it should have. Not to mention Rene Russo as Frigga, a character whose prime came in Avengers Endgame, long after the character was killed by Malekith in The dark world. It could even be said that Anthony Hopkins’ Odin doesn’t live up to his full potential.
Both of a massive success and Ragnarok was, it’s hard not to deny that the Thor The movies have made some major mistakes in handling their supporting cast. For every beloved character like Thor, Loki, Valkyrie, and Korg, there is another character who failed to reach his full potential, despite being played by a talented actor. That said, Kat Dennings managed to come back as Darcy Lewis in WandaVision, and Sif is scheduled to return next year Thor: love and thunder. So hopefully this is a mistake the MCU will learn from.