Hiroyuki Sanada is set to make the jump from the X-Men universe to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a supporting role in Untitled Avengers. Marvel Studios kicked off 2017 with the start of production on Avengers: Infinity War and its followup, Untitled Avengers. During the concurrent shooting of both films, they decided to separate the shooting schedules to make things easier on themselves and focus on one movie at a time. The result of this was Infinity War wrapping production in the middle of the summer, and Avengers 4 starting up shortly after.
In the weeks since, production on Untitled Avengers has continued to move along with sets in Atlanta built to resemble Japan. With Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) linked to Yakuza scenes and Jeremy Renner possibly taking on a new persona, there continues to be a push for part of the story to take place outside of the United States – and the newest cast member could be a further indication of that.
Deadline has revealed that Hiroyuki Sanada will soon film a supporting role for Marvel Studios. The unusual thing about this report is them stating it is for Infinity War (a film that has already wrapped) and not for Avengers 4 (which is currently filming). This may just be a simple mistake as all indications point to his involvement being more likely with the Japan scenes.
Sanada is a proven veteran in the movie industry, receiving awards praise from Japan, but also appearing in The Wolverine in 2013, Life last year, and has now lined up a role on Westworld season 2. Not only is he a great actor, but also an expert martial artist. Based on the information we’ve so far received about Avengers 4, he could fit into the story in a few ways.
While it is not yet clear why the Yakuza factor into the fallout of the Avengers’ battle with Thanos, Sanada would be more than capable of leading them. Another possibility could be him being part of Hawkeye’s transformation into Ronin. Hawkeye has yet to show that he is as skilled with a katana as he is a bow, but Sanada could play a trainer that he seeks out. In either of these potential scenarios, it would give Sanada a potentially prominent supporting role and also one that would highlight his skills in combat.
That all said, how he could factor into the story is up for debate as the true size and identity of his role have not yet been revealed. Supporting roles can vary in sizes, and the secrecy surrounding both of the next two Avengers movies could mean fans are left waiting for quite some time to know for sure who he is playing, possibly even until watching the film. Even if that is the case, the addition of Sanada is an exciting one that may signal an even greater presence for Japan in the story than initially thought.
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