Karl Urban’s Wasted MCU Potential Can Never Be Redeemed
The Marvel Cinematic Universe uses big-name actors in large and small roles. Look at Thor: Ragnarok, which featured Chris Hemsworth as the star but also a hilarious cameo from Matt Damon. Most movies with Damon in it would have him all over the poster. In the MCU, it was just another day at the office and another pleasant surprise for the audience.
Another star who played a small but pivotal role in Ragnarok was Karl Urban. While Urban’s role was important, he was also given a definite ending. Some fans see this as a missed opportunity.
Karl Urban’s experience bringing comic book roles to life
While Urban did star in the MCU, it’s not his only comic adaptation experience. He’s currently the lead actor in Amazon Prime’s streaming hit series The Boys. In that show, he portrays Billy Butcher, a foul-mouthed former government agent who helps hunt and police secretly evil superheroes.
While the show is very much an ensemble, there’s no doubting who is the straw that stirs the drink. Urban’s Butcher is the show’s central focus, injecting the show with plenty of energy — and cursing. If Urban got paid by the four-letter words he uses, he’d be approaching Bill Gates’s money.
Urban also played the character Judge Dredd in that comic’s latest film adaptation. The character was first brought to life by Sylvester Stallone in the 90s. What’s interesting about these roles is that they are star turns for the actor, who’s often been relegated to supporting roles. Take the MCU, for example, where he’s but a side character.
Karl Urban in the MCU
In Thor: Ragnarok, Urban portrays Skurge the Executioner. According to the MCU wiki, Skurge is an Asgardian who’s recruited to the villainous Hela’s side as her henchman. While he spends the majority of the movie simply looking on and silently disapproving while Hela’s reign of terror continues, he redeems himself in the final act. He sacrifices himself to save his fellow Asgardians before perishing at Hela’s hand.
Say whatever you want about Urban’s run in the MCU, but one thing is for certain: it’s over. The character had a well-developed arc and an important part of the story. But he wasn’t really a major character, and the idea of bringing him back from the great beyond is highly unlikely.
Why fans are disappointed Karl Urban’s MCU potential can never be redeemed
A recent Reddit thread featured MCU fans discussing actors they thought Disney “short-changed.” One poster pointed out Urban, saying:
“Part of the reason I was really excited to see Karl Urban play Skurge the Executioner was because of his lead role in Dredd. Probably one of my few complaints about Ragnarok was that they underused him and then killed him off.”
Urban’s got so much talent that it does feel wasteful to only use him for one film. Killing off his character absolutely made sense, but now there’s no chance he’ll return for a future Thor film. But the truth is, the opportunity wasn’t lost when Marvel decided to kill him off. It was in their decision to cast him as Skurge.
When you look at Urban’s range and versatility, he could have been cast as a much higher profile character. Casting Urban as a major hero or even a big villain would have been perfect. Urban would be fantastic as a top-tier heel such as Dr. Doom or possibly as Spider-Man nemesis Norman Osborn.
Marvel missed out by killing off Urban’s character and possibly by casting him in the role they selected. Fans will always have his great performance in Ragnarok to look back on, however, and that’s more than most performers can say.