Why All These Actors Have Left the MCU Seemingly For Good
Joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe might seem like a dream come true for most. If given the chance, it seems almost natural to drop everything and become a part of the infamous franchise, right? Alas, that wasn’t the case for these celebrities. From becoming unhappy with Marvel itself, to falling victim with conflicting schedules, here are some of the reasons why MCU’s previous key players said their goodbyes to Marvel’s universe.
8. EDWARD NORTON
This was a decision that shocked most fans. No one really saw it coming when Marvel Studios made the announcement in 2010 that they will no longer be asking the ‘Incredible Hulk’ star, Edward Norton, to return to his role in Avengers. The company put out a press release saying that,
"Our decision is definitely not one based on monetary factors, but instead rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members."
Is it just us, or do we sense some major shade being thrown with this statement? Apparently not. Norton’s agent wasn’t impressed with their choice of words either, and called the statement “offensive.” Apparently, the studio unexpectedly cut off negotiations. Over the years, Norton has changed his story a couple of times too, though. In 2014, he told NPR that it was his decision to leave the role because he was looking to implement more diversity in his career.
Although, we still think there’s more to the story. Before 2010, there was already something going on between Norton and Marvel. When singing on the lead in ‘The Incredible Hulk’, Norton gave one condition - that he would be able to rewrite Zak Penn’s script. Even though Marvel agreed, and Norton’s added scenes were actually filmed, most of them had been cut before the release.
Of course, things went slightly downhill after this, with Norton refusing to do press for the film two months before it’s premiere. And it sounds like someone is still feeling a bit bitter over the event. A decade after ‘Incredible Hulk’s release, Norton took a jab at Marvel during Comedy Central’s ‘Roast of Bruce Willis’, saying:
"I tried to be like [Willis]. I did a big action movie called The Incredible Hulk. You know what went wrong? I wanted a better script."
7. TIM ROTH
You’ll remember Tim Roth from his role as the main villain, Emil Blonsky, in ‘The Incredible Hulk.’ And unlike our previous actor, Marvel really wanted to bring him back for the sequel to The Avengers. He told Crave Online:
"They were going to do it. They were thinking, in The Avengers 2 or something […] It just kind of got swept under the carpet I guess."
It isn't clear from what Roth said whether they were considering Abomination as the main villain, or if he would have been working with Ultron. Roth has since said he isn't confident about returning to the MCU, and considering the unlikelihood of a Hulk sequel, his doubts are understandable.
Although the exact role for the actor was unclear - whether he would have been working with Ultron, or they were considering Abomination as the main villain - Roth didn’t seem too confident about returning to the MCU. We can understand why, though - considering the unlikelihood of a Hulk sequel, it just doesn’t seem worth the risk yet.
6. TERRENCE HOWARD
The reason behind Terrence Howard’s departure from ‘Iron Man 2’ is simple: money. Howard opened up about what exactly happened in a 2013 interview with Andy Cohen. Shockingly, Robert Downey Jr. was apparently partially responsible:
"It turns out that the person that I helped become Iron Man… took the money that was supposed to go to me and pushed me out."
Marvel allegedly signed Howard up for three films. But, when the time came to make ‘Iron Man 2’, they apparently demanded that the actor took a 90 percent pay cut.
“And I called my friend, that I helped get the first job, and he didn’t call me back for three months.”
Things got so messy that Marvel threatened Howard with legal action after he publicly attacked Downey and Marvel. They weren’t happy with him sharing his side of the story, to say the least. We can see why Terrence did what he did, though. Apparently, the actor was cast before Downey and he even took a $1 million pay cut to help convince Downey to join the project.
“Am I gonna come back and be War Machine? I think they could have a huge franchise off of it, but f--- ‘em.”
5. NATALIE PORTMAN
This situation gets a little fishy. At first, when Entertainment Weekly questioned Chris Hemsworth and Kevin Feige about Portman’s absence in 2017’s ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, the two instantly assured that it had to do with the film’s narrative. According to Hemsworth, Thor and Jane Foster had broken up and Thor was enjoying being “ a solo cowboy.”
However, an earlier story suggests that the bad blood between Portman and Marvel started way before that - more specifically, when director Patty Jenkins was fired from ‘Thor: The Dark World.’ But, according to a report from THR, Portman was on the fence about acting in the Thor sequel, because she wanted to spend more time with her son. Which, of course, is understandable, since he was only 6 months at the time.
Many believe this wasn’t the actual reason though. Sources have stated that Portman was furious with Marvel for firing Jenkins since having a female direct such a big superhero movie for the first time ever is what convinced her to sign on.
4. RAY STEVENSON, ZACHARY LEVI, TADANOBU ASANO
2017’s ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ was an undeniable hit. But, there was one event that left fans absolutely livid. Let’s recall the scene where Hela arrives on Asgard. She instantly murdered two of the famous Warriors Three: Volstagg and Fandral.
Kevin Feige ended up commenting on the reason why Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi and Tadanobu Asano won’t be appearing in the MCU again. In a 2017 junket press conference, Feige said that the filmmakers wanted to put a bigger emphasis on the real threat that was Hela. He explained, "[The Warriors Three] had noble ends, mainly to serve the arrival of Hela.”
3. HUGO WEAVING
Even though we saw the Red Skull in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, not many people might be aware of the fact that it wasn’t really Hugo Weaving underneath all the prosthetics. Instead, Marvel had to replace him with ‘The Walking Dead’s Ross Marquand.
From what we’ve gathered, nothing bad happened that made Hugo want to leave the franchise (unlike the previous examples). Apparently, he just had different interests. The actor decided to turn his attention away from blockbusters in general. He shared with Collider:
"I think I've done my dash with that sort of film. It was good to do it and try it out, but to be honest, it's not the sort of film I seek out and am excited by."
2. DAMION POITIER
Of course, by now everyone can agree that Josh Brolin was perfectly cast for the role of Thanos. And even though we couldn’t possibly imagine somebody else filling in his shoes, Brolin actually wasn’t the first actor play the Mad Titan. Josh joined the crew in the 2014 ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, but it wasn’t Brolin who gave us that sinister profile in the mid-credits scene of The Avengers. In reality, that was actually Damion Poitier, best known as Duprez in HBO’s ‘True Blood.’
Apparently, Poitier was just as out of the loop as we were. In fact, the actor actually had no clue that he’d been cast as Thanos until he was sitting in the makeup chair. He said:
"I thought I was Kl'rt. I thought I was going to be Super Skrull, because the whole rumor was that the Skrulls were going to be in Avengers.”
Nothing suggests that Marvel booted Damion because they were unhappy with him. Instead, it was the fact that Brolin was just so right for the role. Kevin Feige told Collider:
"You look at [Brolin's] face and the performance he gives, he could be Thanos without any effects. He has that kind of face and that kind of gravitas to it."
1. AARON TAYLOR-JOHNSON
And finally, Taylor-Johnson’s departure ended up being an unexpected one for fans. After being killed off in 2015’s ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, viewers were left with many questions. Most people began to speculate that the characters death had something to do with Evan Peters being introduced as Quicksilver in the previous year’s ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ - before Disney acquired Fox.
In an interview with MTV in May 2015, Kevin Feige stated that Fox’s Quicksilver had nothing to do with the decision and that Quicksilver died in "every draft" of the script.:
"[Quicksilver's death] adds stakes to the ending of the film… to show repercussions to Ultron's actions, and also in a way to solidify Scarlet Witch's character, and Wanda's arc in the movie and where we'll see her in the next films."
Looking at how things have worked out for the MCU within the recent years, we’re sure that Marvel probably doesn’t have any regrets about cutting these actors. Although it would be pretty awesome to see the return of some of our favorite characters. Which characters reprise would you like to see the most? Share your comments below! And make sure to check out our other MCU related articles for the latest updates.