Your Favorite MCU Actors Have Starred in a Ton of Non-Marvel Movies Together
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is more than a decade in and shows zero signs of slowing down. At its current rate, it seems like every star in Hollywood will appear in a Marvel Studios production at one point or another. But more incredibly, the MCU stars have a tendency to pop up even in movies not based on Marvel Comics.
Some of these pairings make sense outside of the MCU. After all, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson have a long-standing friendship that predates their shared MCU screentime. Likewise, Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson hit it off before Captain Marvel entered the picture.
For our look into their non-MCU appearances, we’re only considering movies with at least three MCU actors among the cast. Our goal isn’t to reveal every single movie in which Marvel actors have shared the screen. So, of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list. But hopefully, it highlights some of the most notable instances in which actors teamed up outside the MCU.
Earth’s Mightiest Heroes take on other franchises
Considering how in-demand some of these stars are, it’s remarkable how many of them pop up in other franchises. Perhaps the most high-profile example is The Hobbit trilogy. While some actors also share the screen in The Lord of the Rings movies, The Hobbit doubles-down on current or future MCU stars.
Martin Freeman, of course, popped up in the MCU as Everett Ross. Then there’s Andy Serkis, Cate Blanchett, Lee Pace, Evangeline Lilly, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Hugo Weaving. Even Richard Armitage has a small role as a HYDRA agent in Captain America: The First Avenger. We’re pretty sure Marvel Studios is copying off of The Hobbit‘s casting sheet.
Kong: Skull Island — part of Warner Bros.’ MonsterVerse — also has a strong MCU presence. Larson and Tom Hiddleston play the heroes, alongside Jackson and John C. Reilly. Lastly, the J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek films feature lead roles for Zoe Saldana and Karl Urban as well as appearances by Cumberbatch and Idris Elba. Even Chris Hemsworth briefly shows up.
Some Marvel heroes appeared in Oscar contenders
Black Panther has so far been the only real Oscar contender in the MCU, winning three Academy Awards. But MCU actors have also collaborated on other awards favorites. Most recently, Taika Waititi — who voices Korg — co-stars in and directed Jojo Rabbit, featuring Iron Man 2‘s Johansson and Sam Rockwell.
2015’s The Martian has even more MCU stars, including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Peña, Sebastian Stan, and Benedict Wong. Donald Glover — who plays Aaron Davis briefly in Spider-Man: Homecoming — also has a small role in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi drama.
2013’s American Hustle unites Christian Bale of the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder with Peña, Bradley Cooper, and Jeremy Renner. Speaking of Renner, the MCU’s Hawkeye stars in Oscar-winning Best Picture The Hurt Locker with Anthony Mackie, Guy Pearce, and Lilly.
Fans have never seen their MCU stars like this
Paul Thomas Anderson’s directorial debut, 1996’s Hard Eight, is among the oldest films to feature numerous MCU actors. The crime thriller’s cast includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Reilly, and Jackson. Spike Lee’s Oldboy remake features Jackson as the villain and a shocking dynamic between Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Olsen’s characters.
Meanwhile, the 2011 romantic comedy What’s Your Number? offers a ton of MCU stars, including Evans, Mackie, Freeman, and Chris Pratt. Likewise, Jon Favreau’s 2014 drama Chef features not only the director himself but also Johansson, Bobby Cannavale, and Robert Downey Jr.
The Iron Man actor then stars alongside Mark Ruffalo and Jake Gyllenhaal in David Fincher’s 2007 thriller Zodiac. And future Thor: Love and Thunder co-stars Natalie Portman and Tessa Thompson star in 2018’s sci-fi horror film Annihilation, as does Wong.