The 5 MCU Actors Most Intimately Tied to Their Characters: Avengers Forever

When looking back on for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) decade-spanning saga, the consistently evolving landscape has seen its fair share of faces. Some actors come and go — appearing for one installment as a villain — while others are in it for the long haul, returning time and again to suit up as Avengers. After playing a hero for years, or merely meshing with the character so seamlessly, it can become difficult to draw a line in the sand, separating the role from the portrayer. Below, find the five MCU actors most intimately tied to the characters they play (starting with the least connected, and ending with the actor who has become fused at the hip with his character)

Avengers: Infinity War MCU
‘Avengers: Infinity War’ MCU | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

5. Tom Holland / Spider-Man 

Though Tom Holland has not been with the Avengers since the early days, Tony Stark’s protege has quickly become a vital ingredient in the filmic landscape. Further, his critical and audience acclaimed depiction has gone on to place the actor squarely in-line with Tobey Maguire’s beloved depiction. Holland accurately embodies the geeky and awkward Parker, yet also the quick-tongued combat cocky, neighborhood hero. While Tobey was a great Parker and Garfield was a strong Spidey, many argue that Holland is the best of both worlds. 

And, considering Holland’s portfolio wasn’t too robust before landing Spidey, it has become his most well-known role, which also makes it difficult to separate the actor from the character, as he starred in West End’s Billy Elliot and The Impossible when he was just a boy. 

4. Clark Gregg / Agent Coulson 

From The Avengers to Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D, Clark Gregg has appeared as Agent Coulson more times than you can imagine; if taking every episode appearance and movie installment into account, Gregg has portrayed an MCU character more times than any of his fellow MCU co-stars. With that stern and stoic disposition, yet child-like fascination with Rogers, Coulson became a fan-favorite, and Gregg’s face is now forever reminiscent of the agent. 

3. Josh Brolin / Thanos 

Josh Brolin portrayed the most formidable foe to ever challenge the Avengers in two installments — Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Emerging as the only villain to triumph over the league of extraordinary saviors, he became the most memorable threat. And, the actor behind him — though a far cry personality-wise from his character — grew glued to the calm hero with a god complex and a superiority streak. 

Josh Brolin’s voice, in particular, is what became connected to the character, as the distinct depth in each utterance works to characterize Thanos beyond the villain’s other attributes. 

2. Chris Evans / Captain America 

Chris Evans played Captain America for quite some time; he embodied the righteous man with an unwavering moral compass and a commitment to altruism seamlessly. And, he managed to make a “perfect guy” both likable and relatable! Chris Evans has also proved himself quite the gentleman in real life; he helps women with long dresses walk up the stage to claim their Oscars, and often refuses to spill the beans on his sex life when provoked. Though Chris Evans has passed the shield onto Falcon, he will always be the fans’ first and only Captain America. 

1. Robert Downey Jr. / Iron Man

The man responsible for kickstarting the saga, the man responsible for carrying the torch, the man whose quick-talking nature, air of confidence, and contagious energy aligned perfectly with Stark: the one, the only, Robert Downey Jr. 

Robert Downey Jr. played Iron Man for over a decade, and on press junkets, various interviews, and promotions, he seemed to embody the character more and more in his daily life (with each passing installment). The two fused with time, and RDJ now — following Dolittle — must continue to forge a separation with a character he so carefully aligned with for years.