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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is moving into uncharted territory with its next phase of films and series. As the universe expands, it will have more roles available.

The MCU has been so successful in the past that this gives Marvel carte blanche to cast pretty much anyone they want (including A-Listers) in each part without risking future success. In the latest round of castings, there have been plenty of unknown or little known actors cast in prominent roles, and MCU fans aren’t minding that one bit. 

Some of the major stars cast in the MCU

The MCU has some serious star power behind it. Consider some A-listers who have inhabited the universe: 

  • Anthony Hopkins, a legend of stage and screen, played Odin. 
  • Cate Blanchett, an Academy Award winner, played Hela, the goddess of death
  • Robert Downey, Jr. starred as Iron Man
  • Natalie Portman plays Jane Foster, Thor’s love interest and eventually, the woman who will assume the mantle of Thor
  • Lupita Nyong’o, another Academy Award winner, played Nakia
  • Bradley Cooper’s face may not be in the MCU, but his voice plays an important part as Rocket Raccoon

Some other actors may not have been award-winners but were nonetheless famous at the time of their casting. Scarlett Johansson has received multiple Academy Award nominations and also logged time as Black Widow.

Chris Evans starred in plenty of big-budget Hollywood films before being cast as Captain America. Chris Pratt had appeared in the sitcom Parks and Rec and films like Moneyball and Zero Dark Thirty before he got the call to play Star-Lord. 

But while the MCU is buoyed by stars, there are plenty of relatively unknown actors who got their first big break from appearing in a Marvel film. 

The previously unknown actors who got an opportunity in the MCU

Consider the actors who had yet to make it big before the MCU who are now regarded as household names: 

  • Chris Hemsworth’s only splash on the big screen prior to 2011’s Thor was with a small but important role as Captain Kirk’s father in 2009’s Star Trek reboot. Now? He’s as recognizable of a star as there is. 
  • Dave Bautista was well known to wrestling fans where he appeared as the WWE’s Batista, but pre-2014 he hadn’t appeared in many notable films. That all changed with Guardians of the Galaxy, where he starred as Drax.
  • Tom Hiddleston’s turn as Loki hasn’t just led to more roles in other films, it’s also enabled him to star in his own Disney+ series.

It’s clear that even though the MCU is supported by stars, it can also be a bit of a starmaker. 

Why fans are happy unknown actors are flooding the MCU

President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige
President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

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MCU fans took to Reddit to welcome the newest announced cast members of the next phase of the MCU. One fan noted that unlike many other Hollywood franchises, this recent slew of castings included some people who aren’t exactly household names: 

“I love how most of this cast is relatively unknown (with the exception of the star-studded Eternals cast) and that they will likely grow massively bc of these roles.”

Right now, Marvel has a lock on the most successful franchise in cinema. That means they can cast pretty much anyone they want in any role. The fact that they’re filling many of these parts with unknowns is a good sign to fans. It means they’re taking creative chances on performers who may not be big stars today but could become big stars after getting this kind of opportunity. 

You can always expect to see stars in the MCU, but don’t be shocked when they gamble on someone who hasn’t had a chance like this before. Based on their track record, they’re likely to be right.