actors playing two Marvel characters

When Chris Evans was sought after and eventually won the role of Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avengers, some fans were a little bent out of shape about that because the actor had already played the Human Torch in 20th Century Fox’s Fantastic Four. To some, it just seemed like overkill to have the same actor play two different Marvel superheroes.

However, as we’ve seen, the Marvel cinematic universe is far removed from what 20th Century Fox did with Fantastic Four or what Sony Pictures did with Spider-Man. And in the end, Chris Evans has turned out to one of the best parts of the Marvel cinematic universe, and easily one of the favorite Avengers on the team. So it all worked out.

But now that the Marvel cinematic universe has been established, is there a chance that we could see actors playing two Marvel characters in that comic book world? Thor: The Dark World star Zachary Levi reveals that he has spoken to Kevin Feige about that very question, and the answer might surprise you.

Making the publicity rounds for Heroes Reborn on NBC (one of the new fall 2015 TV shows we’re excited to see), Levi spoke with Den of Geek about whether or not he’ll be returning as Fandral for Thor: Ragnarok, and he doesn’t know at this point:

“I have no idea. They have not told me anything. I hope so. I think that’d be pretty fun to get the gang back together, the Warriors Three. But there’s a reason why the movie’s called Thor and not The Warriors Three. They’ve got to do what’s right for Thor.

I think they’re shooting for next summer so it really just depends on when in the summer. I know when they’re going to shoot, only because, like everyone knows, when the film’s actual releasing because Marvel’s already slotted all that out which I think is again the following November which is what the last Thor was. So they’ve got to shoot it next Summer. I don’t know. It’d be a lot of fun but there’s also a lot of other Marvel roles that I’d love to play one day. If I never get to play Fandral again, I got to do it once and it was a great group to work with.”

And this is where the interviewer followed up by clarifying whether or not Levi playing Fandral precludes him from playing any other characters in the Marvel cinematic universe. Levi had the exact same question when he was considering taking the role:

“I had a very interesting talk with Kevin Feige early on about it all and he said, “Look, it doesn’t preclude you from playing another Marvel character.” Chris Evans was The Human Torch and Captain America. Ray Stevenson was The Punisher and Volstagg. I did point out to him, “In fairness, neither Fantastic Four nor The Punisher was actually a Marvel movie. You were a part of it but they were produced by other studios.” But he said, “Look, I totally understand that but don’t worry about it.” I don’t know, if there’s a right role that comes along and they want me to play it, I’d love to.”

I’m glad Levi pointed out the difference between a role in Fantastic Four and The Punisher: War Zone and a role in the Marvel cinematic universe, because it does feel like it wouldn’t be as easy today to have an actor take on a completely different role having already been established as another character in the same comic book movie world.

However, we’ve actually already seen two instances of an actor playing two different characters in the Marvel cinematic universe. One of those instances made sense story-wise while the other is merely a casting decision.

The Vision - Daniel Sousa

Paul Bettany was the voice of Tony Stark’s digital butler JARVIS for three Iron Man movies and The Avengers. But in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Bettany became The Vision. This role switch made sense though since JARVIS was used to help create The Vision, so it wasn’t like having an actor take on an entirely different character in the traditional way.

The other instance features lesser known actor Enver Gjokaj, who played a young cop in The Avengers, but went on to play Daniel Sousa in the Agent Carter television series. This scenario is a little different than the one Zachary Levi is talking about since it’s not as if Gjokaj played a prominent, memorable character in the MCU before Agent Carter.

More than likely, the reaction from fans in the event of a scenario like this playing out will depend on the specific actor and character. After all, while some fans were in uproar about Evans playing Captain America after playing Human Torch, no one really cared about Ray Stevenson playing Volstagg after playing Frank Castle. Maybe that’s because barely anyone saw The Punisher: War Zone, but still, those fans should at least be consistent with their discrepancies.

The good news is that this means we might get to see Guardians of the Galaxy star Vin Diesel pop up elsewhere in the Marvel cinematic universe. The actor voices Groot in the cosmic comic book movie, but he has previously hinted at something else in the works with Marvel, possibly a role in Inhumans, and now we know for sure it’s not out of the realm of possibility. But again, Diesel is also playing a character where he isn’t seen as the character, thus making the transition easy.

Anyway, there’s a large pool of talent out there when it comes to casting new Marvel characters, so we likely don’t have to worry about doubling down on actors playing two different characters for awhile. Though it’s something Kevin Feige is comfortable doing, they likely won’t go out of their way to make it happen anytime soon.

How would you feel about an actor playing two different Marvel cinematic universe characters?

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