4 Incredible Actors the MCU Utterly Wasted Leading Up to ‘Avengers: Endgame’

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has managed to snag a handful of Golden Globe and Oscar-winning actors to try tight suits and capes on for size. Landing actors with incomparable talent – either with the lure of money or the intrigue of playing a superhero or villain — several A-listers have appeared in Marvel films leading up to Avengers: Endgame. However, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has failed to put all of its best actors to use. Below, you will find five actors who the MCU failed — five actors with great potential that did not receive a chance to shine. 

Marvel Studios MCU
Marvel Studios’ ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Screening at The Fox Theatre | Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Avengers: Infinity War

Whether it be via shallow characterizations or narrative minimization, the characters below all received the short end of the stick. And, as a result, the actors in the suits, those with the potential to slay, felt unnecessary or wasted. 

1. Idris Elba: Heimdall in the Thor franchise

Idris Elba — the four-time Golden Globe nominee and one-time winner for Luther — portrayed Heimdall in the Thor franchise. In the Marvel comics, Heimdall is a secondary character whose role doesn’t extend far beyond what you see in the MCU; however, as Elba’s fame grew, the filmic landscape could have taken liberties with the source material in this area (as it so often does), giving the actor a chance to show his chops — maybe some heartfelt confessions or tearjerking sacrifices. Instead, the character operated within a confine — doing his job, and failing to ever feel like he was part of the big leagues. 

2. Cate Blanchett: Hela in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’

It goes without saying that Thor: Ragnarok utterly wasted its six-time Oscar nominee and two-time winner for Blue Jasmine and The Aviator. Blanchett is a force to be reckoned with, and the MCU made her a two-dimensional black and white villain, lacking complex internal motivations for villainy, reduced to a caricature of nefarious relentlessness. She was not a human; she was the bad guy dressed in black who scolded with a smirk. How surprising. How disappointing.

3. Michael Douglas: Hank Pym in the ‘Ant-Man’ franchise

While Michael Douglas boasts a substantial role in the Ant-Man franchise, his screentime is not a matter of concern here. Rather, his journey faced some minimizing narrative adjustments on the way to the silver screen. Hank is technically the creator of Ultron, not Tony Stark; thus, fans of the comics were disappointed to see the character lose such a vital aspect of his significance. 

Not to mention, Douglas is capable of more than cracking quick one-liners and deceiving the bad guys. The character could have walked into a mentorship role in Avengers mash-ups, providing wise insights to the younger folk less acquainted with all he has come to know prior to Avengers: Endgame.

4. Christopher Eccleston: Dark Elf Malekith in ‘Thor: The Dark World’ 

Eccleston — known for his impressive turns in Doctor Who, The Leftovers, The A Word, and more — was easily one of the most forgettable villains the MCU has ever seen. To make a long story short, he failed to leave a lasting impact as a villain for he doesn’t have enough lines, and the script doesn’t give the actor a chance to do his job…act. He may be a villain with motivations apart from opposing the super, but such motivations do not receive adequate exploration.