The MCU Star Who Nearly Played a Lead Character in ‘Friends’

Can you imagine anyone else playing one of the lead characters in Friends? For a decade, the same actors portrayed our motley crew of family and friends who seemingly always had time for a cup of coffee at Central Perk. They lived in Manhattan in beautiful apartments and barely ever worked, but we believed it…because we wanted to.

Friends cast
Friends cast | Warner Bros. Television

There was Jennifer Aniston’s Rachel — with all her iconic hairdos and long-gestating romantic arc with Ross Geller (David Schwimmer). Then there was Lisa Kudrow’s Phoebe Buffay, who boasted an odd sense of humor and an ideal degree of unpredictability (plus an amusing knack for song…despite lacking vocal ability). And of course, who could forget Courtney Cox’s perfectionist chef Monica? Or, her beau — the man famous for turning any heartfelt moment into a joke, Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry). 

All of the actors from Friends have carried the sitcom’s legacy with them through life. No matter what else they do, they will always be a part of the cultural phenomenon that was and is Friends. The show, no matter how far into the past it becomes, continues to attract new audiences. However, what if the cast wasn’t the same? One character, in particular, was almost played by a Marvel Cinematic Universe actor and renowned director. Matthew Perry was not the first in line for Chandler. 

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MCU actor and ‘Iron Man’ director Jon Favreau nearly played Chandler in ‘Friends’

Jon Favreau is famous today for starring in multiple MCU movies, including Iron Man and Iron Man 2, both of which he also directed. He portrays Happy Hogan in the Infinity Saga, yet he has also served as an Executive Producer on multiple Marvel movies under the Disney umbrella. 

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Outside the MCU, the multi-talented actor/director/producer has been busy turning Disney animated classics into live-action spectacles. He recently directed The Lion King, yet previously directed the live-action reboot of The Jungle Book. He also directs The Chef Show, and he is famous for helming Elf. Yet, way back when, before Jon Favreau came to be involved in such critically renowned movies and box office successes, he was offered the role of Chandler Bing in Friends. 

As ScreenRant notes, Jon Favreau auditioned for Friends before the show’s 1994 debut. While Favreau came to the audition, and did a solid enough job to receive the offer, he wound up denying the gig to focus his attention on other projects. 

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Favreau appeared on ‘Friends’ as Monica’s love interest, Pete Becker 

Those who remember Friends well will remember that Favreau did appear on the show as a recurring guest-star for a six-episode run. Favreau portrayed one of Monica’s love interest prior to her developing romance with Bing — he was the rich boyfriend, Pete Becker. 

While playing a Monica love interest was a cool gig — one Tom Selleck got to try on for size too — Favreau was nearly Monica’s main man! If Favreau didn’t turn down the offer, he would be one of the many actors who has become part of the show’s globally recognized image.

Everything must work out for the best. If Favreau was on Friends for a decade, he may have never received the opportunities needed to bring us Iron Man, which led to an entire franchise of successful films.