The Problem With Fan Casting MCU Movies, According to Marvel Casting Director Sarah Finn

Many movie fans are amateur casting directors, and that’s no different with Marvel films. For example, Brie Larson faced backlash for being cast as Captain Marvel. Fans reacted harshly when Marvel cast Zendaya in the Spider-Man movies. Even Natalie Portman’s Mighty Thor role upset some people. Die-hard fans typically have strong feelings about their favorite characters. So do the Marvel Cinematic Universe casting directors working on the films. Marvel casting director Sarah Halley Finn set the record straight about why fan-casting MCU movies can be problematic.

Sarah Halley Finn attends the 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' premiere in December 2021. As Marvel's casting director, Finn says fan-casting MCU movie roles complicates her job and go against the filmmakers' vision.
Sarah Halley Finn | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Wolverine is one of the MCU movies routinely being fan-casted

As the X-Men finally move from Fox to Marvel, fan-casting for Wolverine is well underway. 

Hugh Jackman’s portrayal made the adamantium-clawed mutant an instant fan favorite, and the move to the MCU means mutant/X-Men movies won’t be far behind.

Filling Jackman’s shoes won’t be easy, but rumors continue to swirl that Taron Egerton could be the front-runner. Time will tell if Egerton grows out his sideburns to play Wolverine. If he doesn’t land the role, then maybe it will go to one of the many actors rumored to be in the running to brandish the claws.

Daniel Radcliffe has repeatedly shut down Wolverine rumors. Pablo Schreiber admitted he talked to Marvel about various roles over the years. The Boys star Karl Urban once commented that he would be up for replacing Jackman as Wolverine, and a deepfake video with Scott Eastwood as Wolverine makes a convincing case for the son of screen legend Clint Eastwood to fill the role.

Fan-casting MCU movies is great for the fans, but Marvel casting director Sarah Halley Finn says it can go against what she wants to accomplish in her role.

Marvel casting director explains how fan-casting MCU movie roles complicates her job

Sarah Halley Finn joined the MCU immediately. She cast Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man, Chris Evans in Captain America, and Chris Hemsworth in Thor. Every MCU movie has included Finn having a significant say in casting. 

RELATED: ‘Fantastic Four’ Fans Theorize Perfect Cast for the New MCU Superhero Team 

Finn has routinely succeeded with her casting choices through every MCU phase, even if fans occasionally react negatively. Though seeing the fan choices for upcoming MCU roles is awesome for Finn (Ryan Gosling as Nova, perhaps?), one problem is that it can go against what she and the filmmakers envision, as she said during a podcast appearance (per The Direct): 

“And then the fans … there are fan castings, there are fan expectations, and sometimes, that can be awesome and really fun to look at. But sometimes, people may not know that we’re actually heading in a really different direction here, so it’s not relevant, but we can’t really talk about that … so there’s also things that we can’t share in the process. So what we’re hoping to do is create for the actors [a] kind of a blank slate where they can come in with their instincts and just do their best work without having all of those external thoughts and pressures on them, and then we figure it out together.”

Sarah Halley Finn explains how fan-casting MCU movie roles complicates things

Starring in a multimillion-dollar blockbuster movie based on a well-known intellectual property is stressful enough. Adding the external expectations from die-hard enthusiasts wondering if an actor is the right person for the role adds to the pressure. It can also go against Marvel’s overall vision, which is one way fan-casting MCU movies can be problematic for Finn.

Upcoming MCU movies in Phase 5 and beyond

RELATED: Zac Efron Wants to Join the MCU, Fans Already Have Casting Ideas 

The hotly-anticipated Black Panther sequel hits theaters in November 2022 and closes out MCU Phase 4. Fans won’t have to wait long for Phase 5 to start.

At San Diego Comic-Con 2022, Marvel Films boss Kevin Feige mapped out MCU Phase 5. It includes six movies and extends into mid-2024, with films hitting theaters every two to six months. When you add limited series on Disney+, every confirmed project in Phase 5 includes 12 properties over two years. 

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania kicks off Phase 5 in February 2023, and fans also get Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, The Marvels, and Blade in theaters before the year ends. 

Phase 5 concludes in mid-2024, and Phase 6 promises to expand Marvel’s roster. The Fantastic Four finally, officially, join the MCU, and an X-Men movie reboot likely won’t be far behind.

Marvel’s frantic pace gives enthusiasts plenty of opportunities to fan-cast MCU movies, which can make Finn’s job harder. Still, it can be exciting for fans to project which actors will star in the next Marvel blockbuster.

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