One of the great thrills of the MCU is seeing the same actors return to these iconic roles again and again. Some of these actors have been a part of the universe since the beginning, while others are quickly solidifying their place in it. Avengers: Endgame might mean the final appearance for some of them, so it seems like the perfect time to check in on which MCU actors hold the most appearances to date.
Before we look at the MCU’s MVPs, we’ll need to set some ground-rules. We’ll be counting all MCU feature films up to and including Captain Marvel. Though we know some heroes are confirmed for future films, we’ll stick to only those films that have been released. And while it might not be fair in all cases, post-credit scenes will be counted as appearances.
With all that out of the way, these are the actors who have appeared in the most MCU films.
10 Tied: Clark Gregg, Tom Hiddelston, Idris Elba, Anthony Mackie – 5
We kick things off with a four-way tie between some of the MCU’s most popular supporting characters. Clark Gregg first appeared as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson in Iron Man and helped hint at a larger universe. Throughout Phase 1, he remained the glue that held the burgeoning universe together. Coulson was eventually killed by Tom Hiddleston’s Loki who was a baddie who just kept popping up.
Loki bit the dust alongside Idris Elba’s Heimdall in Avengers: Infinity War. Both Hiddleston and Elba had been big parts of the Thor movies, but proved no match for Thanos. Finally, Anthony Mackie made his first appearance as Falcon in Captain American: The Winter Soldier and became a full-blown Avenger before getting dusted. While all these characters have died in the MCU, there’s hope for some of them to return someday.
9 Mark Ruffalo – 6
Mark Ruffalo was one of the few re-cast roles in the MCU after Edward Norton decided not to return as the Hulk in future films. But while he didn’t originate the role, Ruffalo has managed a solid number of appearances since debuting in The Avengers.
Ruffalo would return in the role for the subsequent Avengers sequels, Age of Ultron and Infinity War, as well as joining his buddy Thor for some intergalactic fun in Thor: Ragnarok. He was also able to pad his number of appearances with a couple post-credit scenes in Iron Man 3 and Captain Marvel.
8 Sebastian Stan – 6
It certainly pays to be friends with Captain America. Not only does he seem like a really nice guy, but you may get to join in on his superhero adventures. Such is the case with Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes who would later become a super-soldier himself as The Winter Soldier.
Stan has played Barnes in all three of the Captain America films, as well as join the team for the first time in Avengers: Infinity War. He also managed to sneak into a couple post-credit scenes in Ant-Man and Black Panther.
7 Don Cheadle – 6
James “Rhodey” Rhodes is another superhero sidekick who has become an increasingly big part of the MCU over the years. In another instance of recasting, Don Cheadle took over the part from Terrence Howard and brought War Machine to the big screen in Iron Man 2.
Since then, Cheadle has appeared in Iron Man 3, Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and the post-credit scene from Captain Marvel. And since he was one of the lucky few to survive “The Snap”, Cheadle will have more appearances in the future.
6 Gwyneth Paltrow – 6
Despite not being a part of the superhero team or really getting into the saving-the-world action at all, Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts has been a constant presence in the MCU since its very beginning. She has been by Tony Stark’s side in all three Iron Man films and made quick appearances in The Avengers, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Avengers: Infinity War.
Paltrow has outstanding chemistry with Robert Downey Jr. so it’s understandable they keep putting these two together. There are rumors she could have an important role in Endgame, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
5 Chris Hemsworth – 7
The God of Thunder is one of the most important heroes in the MCU and Chris Hemsworth is one of the most popular actors. But he is also one that seems to be least open to crossovers. Obviously, he has headlined all of the solo Thor films and he has joined his fellow Avengers in the three team-up films that have been released so far. His one other appearance was the Doctor Strange post-credit scene.
We all know he’ll be appearing in Avengers: Endgame, but there’s a lot of worry that film might be the last we see of Hemsworth and his massive biceps in the MCU.
4 Scarlett Johansson – 7
First appearing in Iron Man 2, Scarlett Johansson’s has been another staple of the MCU going way back. She also has the distinction of being the first female member of the Avengers, which is thankfully no longer the case.
Johansson has jumped around to plenty of different franchises, appearing in The Winter Soldier and Civil War, as well as all of the Avengers films. She is also seen in the post-credit scene for Captain Marvel. With her guaranteed role in Endgame and her own solo film finally coming, she is soon going to be rising high on this list.
3 Samuel L. Jackson – 9
Nick Fury has been a key character for the MCU as the man responsible for bringing all these extraordinary heroes together to save the world. Samuel L. Jackson has been the ideal man for the job as one of the few actors with enough authority to play Fury.
Jackson has been a major player in the universe with appearances in Iron Man 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron and Captain Marvel. He is also the king of post-credit appearances, showing up in Iron Man, Thor and Infinity War.
2 Robert Downey Jr. – 9
Robert Downey Jr. – the man who started it all. It’s hard to imagine a time in which this man was a longshot to play a superhero. Downey Jr. proved to be the perfect man to play Tony Stark/Iron Man and he has really embraced the character, playing him nine times in ten years.
Along with the three Iron Man films and the three Avengers films, Downey Jr. has also shown up in The Incredible Hulk, Civil War, and Spider-Man: Homecoming. After seeing him in this role for so long, it’s hard to think it could soon come to an end.
1 Chris Evans – 10
The Captain has finally taken the crown! The last member of the big four Avengers to get his solo film, Captain America has emerged as the heart of this franchise. A lot of that has to do with Chris Evans fantastic performance in the role.
Evans was first reluctant to take the part. Since then, he has appeared in The First Avenger, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, The Winter Solider, Age of Ultron, Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Infinity War, as well as post-credit scenes in Ant-Man and Captain Marvel. It’s fair to say he’s warmed up to the idea of playing Cap.