Actors were cast in films during the Golden Age of Hollywood, and performance results in those films or how well the films went at the box office, then subsequently hired in more films. They may achieve superstar status if they become well-known enough. However, the times are changing.
Intellectual properties are becoming the ultimate highlight. Iron Man and Captain America are the actual stars of the Avengers movies, not Robert Downey, Jr. or Chris Evans. Today, landing a job in a huge franchisee is the best route to becoming a movie star. As a result, there have been several instances when lesser-known actors have become Hollywood superstars as a result of securing a role in the MCU, the world’s most popular film franchise. Here are 8 celebrities whose careers have been permanently changed as a result of the MCU.
#1 Chris Pratt
Chris Pratt was only known for portraying the foolish, though well-intentioned doofus Andy Dwyer on Parks and Recreation before James Gunn took a risk on him by choosing him as Peter Quill/Star-Lord in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film. No one expected him to portray an action hero. But then he abandoned the Andy baggage, bulked up, and transformed into a mix between Han Solo and Indiana Jones, becoming an unexpected phenomenon. He’s now one of the most well-known actors in the world, with prominent parts in films such as Jurassic World and The LEGO Movie (s).
#2 Robert Downey, Jr.
Robert Downey, Jr. was a major movie star when he was younger, but not nearly as influential as he is now. His substance abuse and public controversies resulted in a stay in rehab and the thought that his career was already over. But, with 2008’s Iron Man, Marvel took a risk on him, banking on a return, and he was welcomed back into the Hollywood mainstream. Downey was greeted with wide arms by the moviegoing audience, and he celebrated the mother of all comebacks. He can now expect a salary of up to $50 million for a single film, and he’s starring in other series like Sherlock Holmes and the impending Dr. Dolittle revival.
#3 Cobie Smulders
Most performers who star in popular television series have a hard time getting rid of their character’s identity once the show is no longer on the air. However, when Joss Whedon selected Cobie Smulders as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill, Nick Fury’s closest comrade, he ensured that she would continue to work in films after How I Met Your Mother finished. We no longer see Robin Scherbatsky in numerous films; instead, we see Cobie Smulders leaving the sitcom limitations and starring in action films like Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Smulders still has a promising future in the MCU, as seen by the Infinity War post-credits sequence and the Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer.
#4 Paul Rudd
Paul Rudd was once recognized mainly for his roles in “bromantic comedies” alongside Jason Segel and Seann William Scott. In fact, he became the face of the subgenre as a whole. However, after he was cast as Ant-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, his acting career began to shift. It’s strange since the Ant-Man films aren’t terribly serious — in fact, they’re among the MCU’s silliest and most humorously toned films. Still, with dramatic parts in movies like The Catcher Was a Spy and Mute, filmmakers have begun to position Rudd in a more serious light.
#5 Tom Hiddleston
Before Kenneth Branagh chose him as the mischievous deity Loki in 2011’s Thor, Tom Hiddleston was a little-known Shakespearean performer. He rapidly became a popular figure among Marvel fans as well as average audiences, resulting in his part in the larger series being considerably extended, notably as the antagonist in the first Avengers film. Hiddleston is now a massive celebrity, which means he’s receiving high-profile films like Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak and AMC’s spy thriller miniseries The Night Manager, as well as that his more highbrow performances in Shakespeare have caught the attention of casual audiences. He’s even been considered to succeed Daniel Craig as James Bond.
#6 Dave Bautista
Making the transition from professional wrestler to Hollywood celebrity is difficult. Former wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is now the world’s biggest Hollywood actor. Athletes either go into B-action movies like Stone Cold Steve Austin or play humorous characters like John Cena to spoof their formidable appearance. However, because of his portrayal as Drax the Destroyer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Dave Bautista is following the example of The Rock and becoming a true cinematic star. Following the success of Guardians of the Galaxy, Bautista landed parts in blockbusters such as Spectre and Blade Runner 2049, as well as a lead role in the forthcoming action-comedy Stuber opposite comic Kumail Nanjiani.
#7 Anthony Mackie
Anthony Mackie was best known for supporting parts in Oscar-winning films such as 8 Mile, Million Dollar Baby, and The Hurt Locker before taking on the role of Falcon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But it wasn’t until he joined the Avengers that he became a star. He’s now had a lot of options to demonstrate his versatility as an actor. He’s acted in comedies such as Seth Rogen’s R-rated Christmas frolic The Night Before, action thrillers such as Triple 9, and socially conscious thrillers such as Detroit and The Hate U Give. Furthermore, he’ll be filling the main role from Joel Kinnaman in season 2 of Netflix’s cyberpunk science fiction thriller Altered Carbon.
#8 Sebastian Stan
Sebastian Stan was recognized — if he was recognized at all – for small appearances in productions like Gossip Girl and Hot Tub Time Machine before playing Bucky Barnes in Captain America: The First Avenger. The First Avenger didn’t make him a major sensation, but when he reappeared in The Winter Soldier as a programmed mercenary with a mechanical arm in the current day, audiences’ attention was peaked. Producers began casting Stan in significant roles in Oscar-baiting dramas like I, Tonya, The Martian, Logan Lucky, and Nicole Kidman’s detective thriller Destroyer after watching him manage Bucky’s conflicted psyche as he fights his own indoctrination and attempts to become a hero again.