1. Tom Cruise as Iron Man
As it happens, Tom Cruise was the first actor considered for the role of Iron Man, before Robert Downey Jr. came into the picture. Seriously considered, too – Marvel was in talks with him about the role. When the time to begin making the movie arrived, however, Cruise changed his mind – so Robert Downey Jr., as the second choice, stepped in.
2. Nicholas Cage as Superman
If you have a crazy enough imagination to see Tom Cruise as Iron Man, here’s your next challenge: younger Nic Cage in the role of Superman, in a film directed by Tim Burton. Tough to tell whether it’s a shame or a blessing that this never actually came to pass.
More recently, Cage was also reportedly considered for the role of The Green Goblin in Norman Osborn’s 2002 Spider-Man. As we all know, that part ended up going to Willem Dafoe.
3. Emily Blunt as The Black Widow
Before Scarlett Johansson became Natasha Romanoff, AKA Black Widow, in Iron Man 2, Emily Blunt was the first choice. The only reason why Blunt didn’t take the role was, because she couldn’t fit it into her schedule – Gulliver’s Travels was set to be filmed at the same time.
4. Adrien Brody as The Joker
Few superhero movie performances have left such an impression as Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker in the 2008 Batman film The Dark Knight. Interestingly, though, as The Dark Knight was being cast, Adrien Brody expressed an interest in the role and was considered for it.
When the character of The Joker came back in Suicide Squad in 2016, Brody was again in the running for the role, but missed it again – the job went to Jared Leto.
5. Sandra Bullock as Wonder Woman
Before the 2017 Wonder Woman film with Gal Gadot in the title role, there were several failed attempts at bringing the beloved superhero to the big screen. One of these was instigated by producer Joel Silver, who planned a Wonder Woman film around 2005 and had a script written for it by Joss Whedon.
Sandra Bullock was considered the top choice for taking the title role, and even received backing from Lynda Carter – the actress who played Wonder Woman in the iconic 70s TV series.
6. Helen Hunt as Jean Grey
If this seems like an unlikely match, that’s because it is. But that doesn’t make it any less true. Helen Hunt was the first choice for the character of Jean Grey, before the studio decided to go with Famke Janssen – for undisclosed reasons.
7. Joaquin Phoenix as Doctor Strange
Rumour has it that Joaquin Phoenix was the producers’ first choice for Doctor Strange, the role that ultimately went to Benedict Cumberbatch. Phoenix is not known for an affinity towards CGI and green screen, so that could be part of the reason why he decided not to accept the part.
8. John Krasinski as Captain America
Though he’s been involved in lots of other project, John Krasinski is still most closely associated with his role as Jim Halpert on The Office. Had things gone differently, he might’ve also been known as Captain America.
Krasinski actually auditioned for the role, but ended up backing out – and the job went to Chris Evans.
9. Liam Hemsworth as Thor
We all know Chris Hemsworth does a marvellous job portraying the legendary Thor, but did you know that his younger brother Liam was the first to audition?
Liam Hemsworth was Kenneth Branagh first choice for the role. But, with two auditions and, allegedly, a good word from Joss Whedon, the job went to Chris. Liam starred in the Hunger Games instead.
10. Glenn Howerton as Star-Lord
Guardians of the Galaxy was a real game-changer for Chris Pratt. With his role of Star-Lord, he went from the lovable goofball he portrayed in Parks and Recreation to becoming an A-Lister. Had Pratt turned the role down, though, Glenn Howerton was the studio’s backup. Best known for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Howerton has yet to make an appearance in a Marvel production.