Kevin Feige Changed His Mind About the MCU’s Future After Major Actor Ditched Iconic Role

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Kevin Feige talking with RDJ and Mark Ruffalo

Credit: D23

Kevin Feige changed his mind about how to handle the MCU’s future after losing Joaquin Phoenix due to the actor not wanting to be stuck in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a long time.

(left to right) anthony mackie, kevin feige, and chris evans at d23 expo
Credit: Disney

Related: Joaquin Phoenix Ditched Doctor Strange, Leaving Cumberbatch as Replacement

The MCU is a vast expanding story that usually requires actors to stick around for ten or more years. If Marvel is interested in hiring an actor to play one of their iconic super heroes, the actor would know they would be in a long contract that would place them in several Marvel projects. While this could be exciting for some actors, it’s also terrifying to others.

Phoenix was in serious talks to play Doctor Strange but decided not to take the role after feeling like he would be forced to play the super heroes for several years. Benedict Cumberbatch took the role due to his availability and the rest was history.

Joaquin Phoenix as Joker
Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

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Now, some Marvel actors might not return to play their characters again. Oscar Isaac has received a lot of praise for playing Moon Knight in the Disney+ series, but the actor has no contract forcing him to reprise the role. This normally concerns fans that they might not get to see certain super heroes return, but it might just be Feige’s way of avoiding another actor like Phoenix ditching the MCU.

Marvel Studios’ former production lead attorney Paul Sarker shared in a recent interview what the process looks like when an actor is considering joining the MCU:

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange
Credit: Marvel Studios

“So, as I said, it’s rare that it would be on my radar, because normally. lawyers are only involved when there’s a deal that’s pretty much close, right? Like the business, the agent, the manager, and the talent have read the script. They’re familiar with the role, they’ve agreed to financial terms, they’ve agreed to basically the schedule and we just paper the deal. So if someone is interested, but ultimately declines because they don’t like it creatively, or it doesn’t fit their schedule, it’s not going to get to my desk, right? So most of those things that people pass on, that’s at the casting stage, and that’s a whole other thing.”

Thor trying to pull stuck Mjolnir out of rock
Credit: Marvel Studios

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Sarker also admitted that he has seen a lot of different casting decisions over the years and shared how some actors almost got to play iconic characters like Iron Man or Thor:

“So Sarah Finn runs casting for all the Marvel stuff and  you can read about it online. Someone like Emily Blunt was supposed to be Black Widow. But yeah, definitely reasons they went with Scarlett Johansson. I think Tom Cruise was supposed to be Iron Man, but he wanted too much money. So they went with Robert Downey Jr. and then hindsight, it looks like that was the right decision. And I think there were a handful of people that were testing for Thor, including Tom Hiddleston. Because they went with Hemsworth, which I think was the right choice, obviously. I mean, he’s, he’s amazing. I can’t even imagine anyone else playing Thor.”

Iron Man and Black Widow
Credit: Marvel Studios

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He admitted that Phoenix’s situation was unique to everything almost working out until the actor walked away from the role due to not wanting to be forced to play the characters for years to come:

“But to be perfectly honest, the Joaquin Phoenix thing was unique to me, because there was a deal and because it was pretty far along. And we were hopeful that it would close, but it didn’t. And that happens. And that to bring it back full circle, things like that may be why Kevin is saying we don’t want to do these super long-term deals because we want to see what works and if it works, and people want to do more than we’d love to have [them]. We don’t want someone to feel like they’re forced.”

Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch in 'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness'
Credit: Marvel Studios

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This definitely explains why Marvel doesn’t have long contracts anymore which is good because it keeps MCU fans not knowing what to expect. When Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans were reaching the end of their contracts, fans wondered if Marvel would end up killing the actors off due to their MCU tenure seemingly coming to a close.

Now Marvel fans don’t know if some super heroes will return or not and that’s okay, but it would be good to know what to expect for at least the next few years.

Anthony Mackie as Captain America
Credit: Marvel Studios

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The MCU is just beginning to add more super hero teams into the Marvel universe because now, the Avengers need all the help they can get. It is only a matter of time before we see the Young Avengers, Illuminati, Defenders, Midnight Sons, X-Men, Fantastic Four, and the Thunderbolts enter the MCU.

Do you wish Marvel kept their long-term contracts for actors? Let us know what you think!

Phase Four has started off with a lot of content for Marvel fans to look forward to in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On Disney+  you can watch Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, and She-Hulk on August 17. For movies, Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness is now on Disney+ with  Thor: Love and Thunder in theaters right now, and of course, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever releasing on November 11.

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