Is Marvel going to lose a ton of talent?
Related: Marvel Says They Will “Refuse to Listen to the Fans” Moving Forward
It has been more than a decade since the Walt Disney Company purchased Marvel Studios, after Marvel Entertainment’s Iron Man (2008) movie brought a ton of success to the brand, and catapulted Robert Downey Jr. back into the spotlight. Marvel Studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe has come a long way since those days, with the initial three Phases (named the Infinity Saga) culminating in Phase Three’s ridiculously popular conclusion, Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). Helmed by brotherly directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (no, they’re not coming back to Marvel), Endgame saw the original six Avengers retire in their own ways, and Robert Downey Jr. (whose return to the MCU has been much-discussed) as the well-loved Tony Stark/Iron Man sacrifice himself to defeat Josh Brolin’s Thanos, while Chris Evans as Steve Rogers fully relinquished his Captain America title.
With that, the ultimate superhero epic and comic book fantasy was brought to the big screen. However, it appears that as of late, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has experienced a noticeable decline — and it’s leading the superhero-focused studio to some surprising consequences with regard to their acting talent.
The Marvel machine has cooked up a brand new Multiverse Saga, and consequent Big Bad to rival Josh Brolin’s frightening Thanos, in Jonathan Majors’ arguably more terrifying Kang the Conqueror. The new storyline for the MCU concerns the Council of Kangs, as teased during Phase Five’s first entry, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023). As Phase Five and Phase Six carry on, an adaptation of the Secret Wars storyline from the Marvel Comics is slated to develop, including much-anticipated X-Men and Fantastic Four entries that will presumably ramp up to Avengers: The Kang Dynasty (2025) and Avengers: Secret Wars (2026) — as teased by Kevin Feige himself at San Diego Comic Con’s Hall H.
Related: Watch Out Tom Holland — Marvel Star Reportedly the New Spider-Man
What is the X-Men plan in the MCU?
Following Disney’s 20th Century acquisition and amalgamation, the X-Men franchise being rebooted or merged into the mainline MCU universe is a no brainer — especially as Feige is already heavily hinting at crazy Secret Wars plans, which involve Multiversal variants of Marvel heroes all fighting bad guys at the same time. Think Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), but with adamantium claws. The rumors and speculation have flown avidly around Taron Egerton‘s alleged entrance into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The most intensely rumored role for the actor being that of Wolverine/Logan, a member of the X-Men previously (and currently, after Ryan Reynolds’ explosive Deadpool 3 announcement) played by Australian actor Hugh Jackman in 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios) X-Men Universe. Now, it seems that these two variants of Wolverine might never meet — as despite previously expressing a lot of enthusiasm for the role, Egerton is showing significantly less excitement for joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in this new interview.
Why are potential Marvel stars turning down Marvel Studios?
With so many future films setting up brand new stories and characters, as well as Feige already allegedly planning Phase Seven, several actors, including like Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) have also been earmarked Marvel faves. This list of highly likely Logan actors has long included Egerton most known for his role as Eggsy/Gary Unwin in the Kingsman franchise, who has been a Marvel shoe-in since day one. However, the young Welsh actor who had previously expressed a huge interest in the franchise, seems to have changed his mind about joining the MCU.
Sitting down with Total Film magazine for their March 2023 issue, The Direct reports that the British actor is seriously reconsidering future MCU roles. Egerton shares that the previous role he mentioned as “up for grabs” is one that he’s “too old for… now”, and that the “ship has probably sailed”. However, the “whole Wolverine thing” is something he directly addresses, and he explicitly admits that it might not be what he “want[s] any more”. He expands on loving Marvel, having “enjoyed watching them over the past 10, 15 years” — however, he explicitly says that it “may not be the right thing for him any more”, and that he might be “past” that point:
I’d never say never, and I do love those movies. I’ve really enjoyed watching them over the past 10, 15 years. But whether I… You know, it may not be that they’re the right thing for me any more. I think maybe I’m past the point where that felt like the right thing [for my career].
The Golden Globe-winning star who played Elton John in Rocketman (2019) and Jimmy Keene in Black Bird (2022) is currently working with Apple TV on a biographical drama about the Tetris creator — and clearly finding the gleam of the Marvel machine less and less appealing. It seems that Egerton really enjoyed his time on Black Bird, and would rather do more of that than Marvel at the moment. Unfortunately, all of this could indicate a dubious Marvel Studios’ future.
Could we see an exodus of talent in Marvel Studios?
The recent reports following the prior Incredible Hulk actor no longer wanting to return to Marvel work, alongside talks of superhero fatigue and quality decline have created rumbles — not just in fan circles, it seems, but in acting and directorial ones as well.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe, with the exit of players like Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans, alongside pumping out a ton of Disney+ straight-to-streaming TV series, has likely eroded the reputation of Marvel Studios within the industry. Many have talked about the movies being “confusing” and “same-y”, on top of being heavily CGI-inflated (creating huge workplace issues in the VFX industry), as well as suffering from a lack of consistent quality, as compared to previous Phases. If the trend of turning down arguably the biggest player in the industry gains traction, it’s possible that existing talent will leave their roles since Marvel Studios has shifted to signing “project-by-project” contracts with its stars. Additionally, now that actors like Simon Pegg, big-name directors like James Cameron, Ridley Scott, and Martin Scorsese have expressed their outright dislike for Marvel, it appears that what seemed to be eternal goodwill is shifting. Will big stars leave for greener pastures — to no longer stand for hours in front of green screens? Benedict Cumberbatch might decide that his acting talents lie beyond Doctor Strange. But only time will truly tell.
What do you think of Taron Egerton not being Wolverine, and willing to turning down a Marvel Studios offer? Share your thoughts in the comments below!