Avengers: Endgame is on track to become not only one of the biggest movies of this year, but of all time. Anticipation for the film has been built up by its dual purpose as both the direct sequel to the similarly huge hit, Avengers: Infinity War, and as the final chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first ten years. Though, as indicated by Marvel Studios next slate of releases, it by no means spells the end of the franchise as a whole. Thanks to a certain Snap-happy, purple alien, the top-billed cast is considerably smaller than the army of high profile actors that filled out its predecessor, though a lot of familiar faces remain. Most importantly – and thematically – the original six founding Avengers: Chris Evans as Captain America, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye.
To their numbers, we can add Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon, Don Cheadle as War Machine, Danai Gurira as Okoye, and Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts. That's a whole lot of A-List talent in one three-hour cinematic extravaganza, something that's been a key selling point to convert non-comic book lovers to the MCU from the very beginning. You might think you know all there is to know about these stars, but we're here to prove you wrong with some obscure tidbits that probably flew under your radar.
22 CAPTAIN AMERICA? NO THANKS
Though it's hard to imagine anyone else frisbee-ing that vibranium shield around, Chris Evans was hesitant about taking the role of Captain America. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor admitted the nine-picture contract gave him "little panic attacks."
He turned down Marvel's first offer but, clearly keen, the studio then dropped the terms down from nine films to six. Still, Evans' answer was the same. "It's the ultimate job offer, on the biggest scale. I'm supposed to say no to this thing. It felt like the right thing to do." In the end, Robert Downey Jr. talked him around.
Gwyneth Paltrow's beauty and lifestyle business "Goop" has become infamous for churning out bizarre tips and products. Psychic vampire repellant spray, coffee enemas, camel milk and a steamer for your nether regions are just some of the questionable items the site has sold.
All, of course, with a massive price tag and suspect health benefits. Despite all the jokes at her expense, Paltrow's side hustle has been going strong for a decade now. An impressive run that the actress may have ruined when she confessed on Jimmy Kimmel Live in 2017, "I don't know what... we talk about!"
20 A RUDDY GOOD JOKE
If you regularly watch Late Night With Conan O'Brien, you should know what to expect by now every time Paul Rudd is invited on as a guest. The actor has made appearances on the talk show that span 15 years, and in that time, he's kept up the same prank.
Whenever Rudd has a movie to promote, rather than bring an appropriate clip from said movie to share with the host and his audience, Rudd instead plays the same scene from the obscure '80s film, Mac and Me. All these years later, it still gets Conan every time.
19 MAKE 'EM LAUGH
Of all the Endgame cast, few have had as long and storied a career in Tinseltown as Robert Downey Jr.. As well as becoming an honorary member of the Brat Pack of young Hollywood heartthrobs in the '80s, Downey Jr. found early success when he was cast in Saturday Night Live in 1985.
He was brought in by returning creator Lorne Michaels along with Anthony Michael Hall, Jon Lovitz, Randy Quaid, and others, to breathe new life into the flagging program. Unfortunately, Downey Jr. didn't have the talent for comedy he does now and wasn't asked to return for the next season.
18 ALL DOLLED UP
A lot of actors go by different names when they launch their careers. Sometimes this is to avoid being confused with an already-famous person of the same name, other times it's just an image thing. For Brie Larson, who is French-Canadian, the change was to make sure her name stuck in people's minds better.
Brie Desaulniers doesn't quite roll off the tongue for non-French speakers, so she decided to go for something simpler. Weirdly, her inspiration for a new surname came from her favorite childhood toy: an American Girl doll named Kirsten Larson.
17 MOTHER OF THANOS
Josh Brolin, while famous in his own right, also belongs to a famous Hollywood dynasty. Years after the passing of Brolin's mother, his father, James Brolin – also a well-known actor – married the iconic actress and singer, Barbara Streisand in 1998.
While not biologically related to Streisand, Brolin has a close relationship with his songstress step-mom. He affectionately referred to her as a "typical Jewish grandmother" after she became intensely involved in the birth of his first child. (We like to assume Brolin is a much better dad than his Marvel movie counterpart...)
16 A BAD IMPRESSION
Quite a few of the Avengers have hosted or made appearances on Saturday Night Live, including Bradley Cooper, who provides the snarky voice of Rocket Raccoon. In 2009, Cooper used his time on the sketch show to poke fun at then-Batman actor, Christian Bale.
Specifically, Cooper parodied Bale's viral rant from the set of Terminator: Salvation where he yelled at a production staff member for interrupting his performance. This might have made for a slightly awkward work environment when Cooper and Bale went on to star alongside each other in 2013's American Hustle...
15 I KISSED A WIDOW
Many a song has been written in a celebrity's honor, whether they know it or not. In the case of Katy Perry's breakthrough hit single, "I Kissed A Girl," it's the latter. Perry told Steppin' Out magazine in 2008 that she came up with the idea for the song after seeing Scarlett Johansson's photo in a magazine.
"I was with my boyfriend at the time, and I said to him, 'I'm not going to lie: If Scarlett Johansson walked into the room and wanted to make out with me, I would make out with her. I hope you're okay with that."
14 A MODEL CAPTAIN
Mystery Date is a board game where players try to find the right romantic match by choosing the right outfit and date activities. The 2005 version included a brand new set of matches to modernize the classic, one of which – a suitor named "Tyler" – looks exactly like Chris Evans.
Evans has never confirmed or denied whether he did work as a mid-'00s board-game model, but the resemblance is so uncanny that if it isn't him, the only other explanation is some illusionary doppelganger magic courtesy of Loki.
13 BALD-FACED LIES
Proving her commitment to playing psycho-cyborg, Nebula in the Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers films, Karen Gillan always voluntarily shaves her head to better look the part under all that blue makeup and prosthetics.
When she did this to prepare for the first Guardians film, her bold new look generated a lot of strange rumors, including one that claimed she donated her shorn locks to the hair makeup department of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Gillan denied this while speaking to the BBC at the film's premiere, calling it a "miscommunication."
12 MOVER AND SHAKER
While making a guest appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden, Don Cheadle's awkward early years in the entertainment industry were brought up. Cheadle explained that he went to an audition for a music video in the late '80s to support a friend, and choreographer Debbie Allen took a liking to him.
Despite insisting he couldn't dance properly, Allen was determined to cast him anyway. Just head over to YouTube and watch Angela Winbush's "It's The Real Thing" if you want to see Cheadle getting funky in an orange boiler suit.
11 MOMMY DEAREST
It's not unusual for showbiz people to keep family members in their inner circles. The Kardashian Klan is a noteworthy example, with "Momager" Kris overseeing all of her daughters' careers at one point or another. Scarlett Johansson also had a momager of her own.
The actress was represented by mom, Melanie Sloan from the age of nine. However, at age 26, she fired Sloan, telling Vanity Fair that, "Once I got married [to actor Ryan Reynolds] I felt that I needed to cut that chord." Things got messy after that when Sloan claimed she'd been put out of pocket.
10 NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Robert Downey Jr. took on the part of silent film star, Charlie Chaplin for Richard Attenborough's 1992 biopic, Chaplin. The role saw him earn his first Oscar nomination, and share a screen with Marisa Tomei – the future Aunt May of the MCU.
Downey Jr. might have been helped in his preparation for the project by Chaplin's former home, which he took up residence in between 1989 and 1994. The Spanish-style Los Angeles villa is worth around $2 million and later became home to Kelly Osbourne.
9 ARROW GUY
Given that his specialist skill appeared a little lacking compared to his fellow Avengers, Hawkeye is sometimes the butt of a lot of MCU fans' jokes. This wasn't helped by the fact that he didn't even get proper billing until his second appearance.
Before The Avengers, Clint Barton had a small cameo in Thor, standing poised to down the Asgardian as he tried to reclaim Mjolnir. Those with sufficient comics knowledge easily figured out who Jeremy Renner was playing, but everyone else would have been left in the dark as he was left uncredited.
8 DREAM COME TRUE
Chris Evans opened about his childhood celebrity crushes to E! Online in 2017. "Elisabeth Shue from Adventures in Babysitting and Karate Kid... Lori Loughlin was a big one. [...] Sandra Bullock was a big one too... Like when I was like in seventh or eighth grade."
Evans' boyhood dreams came true in 2008 when he got to star alongside number three on his crush list, Sandra Bullock, in the movie Street Kings. Evans also touched upon his tap dancing talents in the same interview, saying that he'd love to star in a biopic about musical film star, Gene Kelly.
7 SOUND AND VISION
Actors are often jacks of all creative trades and, proving this, several of Endgame's female cast have branched out into music careers over the years. Brie Larson attempted to become a teen pop idol but quickly turned to acting instead.
Scarlett Johansson has released two albums, while Tessa Thompson apparently has a "secret music career" in L.A. Gwyneth Paltrow found unexpected musical success when her song from the 2000 movie, Duets became a No. 1 hit in Australia. The film was helmed by her father, Bruce Paltrow.
6 A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS
We all have a film that takes us right back to our childhoods, usually something animated, and usually something age-appropriate. Not so much for Brie Larson, who had an unusual pick when selecting her favorite films for The Criterion.
Speaking about The Game, an R-Rated movie starring Michael Douglas by David Fincher, Larson said: "I saw this when it came out. I was seven. It was my favorite film. I must have watched it 40 times." Little did she know she was destined to share the MCU with the veteran actor.
5 MARTIAL ARTS MASTER
After struggling to maintain his sobriety for years, Robert Downey Jr. turned to the martial art of Wing Chun for support. Not only did he find the help he desperately needed, but the spiritual discipline changed his entire life for the better.
"I can't even say how much it's impacted my ability to stay well and focussed," he told Oprah. He even incorporated Wing Chun into action sequences for Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes movies, and is currently working towards his black belt.
4 PRETTY IN PINK
It's weird to think that an A-Lister like Gwyneth Paltrow could get upstaged by a piece of clothing, but that's exactly what happened when she attended the 71st Academy Awards in 1999, and bagged her first Oscar.
The pink Ralph Lauren dress she wore quickly became the main talking point of the night, with public adoration becoming so great, it was thought have to single-handedly brought the pale pink shade back into fashion. The dress even has its own Wikipedia page.
3 TALL ORDER
Trekkies will remember that Chris Hemsworth's first notable film role was playing Captain Kirk's father, George Kirk, in J.J Abrams first Star Trek reboot movie. But it wasn't the role Hemsworth originally had his eye on.
Speaking to More Content Now, he said that he'd auditioned to play James Kirk, but failed to land the part. Later, when he was asked to come back in to audition for George, he found out that the only reason Abrams didn't cast him as George's son was simply because he was too tall.
2 DOCTOR, DOCTOR
Before becoming Guardians of the Galaxy's Nebula, Karen Gillan was best known as Amy Pond, assistant to the Eleventh Doctor in the long-running British sci-fi series, Doctor Who. But, Gillan actually appeared in the show much earlier than some Whovians might realize.
She played a small part in the historically-themed episode, "The Fires of Pompeii" during David Tennant's run as the titular time traveller. Funnily enough, the episode also featured future Doctor, Peter Capaldi in another supporting role.
1 JUST MY TYPE
As well as acting, directing and making music, Brie Larson has another more unusual string to her artistic bow. Speaking to The Guardian in 2013 she revealed that, in between takes on her films, she enjoys designing new typefaces.
"I made three or four different fonts during Short Term 12 [...] I definitely look like a weirdo with scraps of paper everywhere and the alphabet over and over again." She added that she developed the hobby as a teenager as a creative way to cope with stress.