Before Kurt Russell Joined the MCU, He Nearly Starred in a Hated DC Film

Kurt Russell is one of Hollywood’s most popular and beloved stars. Russell has been acting since he was a child, and has appeared in everything from action epics to cult-classic comedies. While his romance with Goldie Hawn has helped him to become an inspirational figure to fans around the world, it is his undeniable talent that has kept him a top draw in the entertainment industry for decades. While Russell is an esteemed member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), years before he landed a role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, he was in talks to star in a much-reviled DC project: Batman Forever

Kurt Russell played a villain in the MCU

Russell was a Hollywood veteran by the time he landed a role in the MCU. In the 2017 film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Russell played Ego, Peter Quill’s father and a celestial. After welcoming Quill and his friends to his home planet, Ego introduces the hero to his powers of creation, admitting that he was exploring Earth when he met and fell in love with Peter’s human mother.

Unfortunately, Ego isn’t all that he seems to be — and by the end of the film, Star-Lord and his fellow Guardians discover his evil plan to consume every world that he can reach. Russell’s charm and natural charisma suited the role of Ego perfectly, and while he turned out to be a villain in the end, it was impossible not to be drawn into the picture that he painted for his son. 

What role in the DC Universe was Kurt Russell in talks for?

kurt russell mcu
Kurt Russell attends the UK screening of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” at Eventim Apollo on April 24, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. | Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

Many years before Russell scored the role of Ego, most knew him as a hard-hitting action star. His status as an action icon helped him get into the running for the coveted role of Batman in the 1995 film superhero film Batman Forever. According to BuzzFeed, while Kilmer was the first choice for the role of Bruce Wayne, Russell was also one of the actors considered for the part.

Billy Baldwin was also in the running, but in the end, both Russell and Baldwin lost out, with Kilmer scoring the part. Ultimately, things probably worked out for the best for Russell, since Batman Forever proved to be a very divisive film in the fanbase. Many fans and critics slammed the campy tone of the film, speaking disapprovingly of the broadly comedic characters played by Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones.

These days, Batman Forever is widely considered to be one of the worst Batman films made, although it didn’t quite receive the same revulsion as its 1997 follow-up, Batman & Robin

Kurt Russell’s son is a member of the MCU as well

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Russell went on to become an even bigger star in the years that followed Batman Forever. He appeared in such high-profile films as The Hateful Eight, Death Proof, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and the Fast & Furious franchise. Critically acclaimed for his range and versatility, Russell is more popular than ever at the age of 71.

In 2021, Russell’s son, actor Wyatt Russell, also became a member of the MCU when he landed a featured role in the Disney+ series The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. The younger Russell revealed that he turned to his father for advice, admitting that he recommended that his son get a superhero costume that would allow him to use the bathroom unimpeded, according to CBR. He also said that the senior Russell advised him to focus on the character, rather than the pressure of being in the MCU: “I approached it just like a normal character and didn’t put too much pressure on the fact that it was Marvel.”