When it was released, no one had ever quite put together a superhero team movie like The Avengers. It's the only team whose cinematic version came out long after its individual characters had their own movies - and this was by meticulous design. We may have forgotten, but it was a four-year wait.
By the time 2012 came along, we had already seen Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America. This means that writers didn't have to waste much time on origin stories or additional character development in The Avengers before getting into the meat of the team-up story. It was still an origin story, but it focused on how they came together instead of where they came from. Of course, audiences loved it, and they still do. Twenty MCU movies later, and we're still talking about the recent Avengers: Infinity War movie while anxiously awaiting the next one.
However, this doesn't mean fans can't wonder "what if?" We all have different casting preferences and many wonder what might have been had other actors been cast in the roles. Would these alternate choices have been better? We may never know.
However, luckily for us, we have some dedicated Avengers enthusiasts who have used their design skills to imagine others in the iconic roles. We're also using the term "Avengers" loosely here — as far as we're concerned, if anyone has ever fought alongside the Avengers in the MCU or comics or appeared in Avengers: Infinity War, then they are an honorary Avenger.
Here's a peek of what could have been with the 20 Avengers Fan Castings Better Than What We Got.
20 The Wasp - Morena Baccarin
Even though Morena Baccarin already plays a role in the X-Men movie universe as Deadpool's girlfriend Vanessa, this theoretically shouldn't have stopped her from being cast as The Wasp in the MCU. After all, look at Josh Brolin. He played Cable in the X-Men universe as well as Thanos in the MCU.
Bacarrin looks stunning here as The Wasp, and she has the right amount of charm and physicality to bring the role to life. Sci-fi audiences are already familiar with her, as she appeared as Inara Serra in the cult hit Firefly and Anna in V. Evangeline was great in the role, but it would have been fun to see Baccarin's take on the diminutive and intimidating Ant-Man ally.
19 Quicksilver - Ryan Gosling
The MCU's version of Quicksilver met his demise in Avengers: Age of Ultron. His superhero career ended barely after it had just gotten started. However, many fans thought the characterization was weak, and his fatal sacrifice failed to get anyone too emotional. After all, we had just met the guy.
Ryan Gosling has a history of playing characters with a quiet strength, someone who listens more than they speak.
His slow, deliberate take on things would have been a great juxtaposition against Quicksilver's super speed powers. Plus, had they actually cast Gosling in the role, it is more than likely that Quicksilver probably would have survived. On top of that, with Gosling's star power, he probably would have received his own movie at some point.
18 Black Panther - John Boyega
John Boyega got a supercharge to his star power with 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens. With all of that extra box office heat, we're sure he could have been an excellent candidate to play the lead in Black Panther. He certainly has the acting chops and has already proven his box office draw with one of the biggest franchises of all time.
Chadwick Boseman is certainly no slouch. His turn at Black Panther resulted in one of the most successful Marvel movies of all time, breaking several box office records. However, had the script been the same, we're sure Boyega could have pulled similar numbers. As it stands, it's doubtful he could have been filming Episodes VIII and IX while doing work on the Avengers movies. However, we can't help but wonder how it might have been.
17 Spider-Man - Jensen Ackles
Jensen Ackles has played Dean Winchester on Supernatural for 14 seasons and counting. The astoundingly popular show pulls in great ratings season after season. However, here, we have a caveat. The second attempt at a Spider-Man franchise, the one starring Andrew Garfield, may have been the perfect place for him.
Sony was going for a darker, grungier Spider-Man, but still wanted to retain touches of humor throughout. Ackles would have been perfect for this universe, and maybe could have even helped Sony reach an elusive third movie. This version of Spider-Man is now put to bed, however, as the Tom Holland version reigns supreme. Ackles would have been a great adult Spider-Man, but he's a little long in the tooth to be playing a high school kid.
16 Ant-Man - Nathan Fillion
Marvel's humorous take on a superhero who can shrink definitely feels like the right approach. It is sort of counter-intuitive — how does one improve the odds of beating the bad-guy by becoming exponentially smaller? Clever strategy and even more clever writing make Ant-Man a quirky hero who thrives on improvisation. Ant-Man just finds a way.
Nathan Fillion is a master at comedy, as he's even found the subtle humor in semi-dramatic roles.
Plus, he had romantic chemistry with Baccarin before in Firefly, so had she been cast as The Wasp, it would have made for an amazing pairing. We love Paul Rudd, but this version would have been fun, too.
15 Scarlet Witch - Lilly Collins
As an actress, Lilly Collins certainly has the pedigree to be playing the supernatural Scarlet Witch. Starring in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, she played Clary, a half-angel Shadowhunter who defended New York against demons and other evil forces.
Scarlet Witch, played by Elizabeth Olsen, defends Earth against evil enemies such as Ultron and Thanos. Her magical origins are a bit murky, but in the movies, we discover that she obtained powers as a result of experimentation with the Mind Stone in Loki's wand. Collins is practically the same age as Olsen, only being a month younger. This is no dig on Olsen's performance, but if she were to ever drop out, Collins would be a shoe-in for the role.
14 Spider-Man - Donald Glover
If anyone has ever doubted Donald Glover's acting chops, they need to immediately see Solo: A Star Wars Story. Glover plays the young Lando Calrissian as a smooth-talking, dashing player who flies one of the fastest ships in the galaxy. When he meets Han Solo, he unwittingly gets involved in a caper that costs him the Millenium Falcon. Glover is effortless and convincing in the role, easily evoking a younger version of Billy Dee Williams while making the role his own.
Anyone who plays Spider-Man has to have an innate sense of joy in playing the web-slinger as well as an impeccable sense of comic timing
. Glover has both of these characteristics in spades. He would also be the first person of color to play the role.
13 Doctor Strange - Hugh Laurie
Hugh Laurie was playing a genius and arrogant doctor who angered everyone around him long before the MCU was even a thing. In every episode of the eight seasons of House, Laurie's Dr. Gregory House would solve an impossible medical mystery while seemingly hating his patients and staff. Like Cumberbatch, Laurie is a British actor with considerable chops. Also like Cumberbatch, Laurie nails the American accent.
Unlike Marvel's Doctor Strange, Dr. House never develops supernatural powers, but wouldn't it be cool if he did? Seeing Dr. Gregory House's ego get cut down while training with The Ancient One would be worth the price of admission alone. Also, he would look great in that red cape.
12 Hawkeye - Charlie Hunnam
Charlie Hunham made a huge splash in Sons of Anarchy, a show often described as Hamlet with motorcycles. Playing the lead role in the series, his charisma was magnetic. Hunham is one of those guys who women want and men want to be.
His version of Hawkeye would be quite a bit hunkier than the Renner version of the character. Though fans have come to love Renner's version, it would be interesting to see a Hawkeye who looks like he could arm wrestle with Thor. Also, if one were to be consistently using a compound bow, wouldn't it make sense for their upper body to be ripped?
11 Black Widow - Emily Blunt
Emily Blunt's star power has increased considerably over the years. Though many fans may not think of her as an action star per se, it's certainly in her wheelhouse. In the tragically underrated Edge of Tomorrow, Blunt stars opposite Tom Cruise. She plays the tough and agile soldier who helps fight off the aliens that can see slightly into the future. She's the one who trains Cruise's character so that he can have a fighting chance.
Blunt also has the dramatic skills to play the former Russian agent with a dark past.
Her turn in A Quiet Place as the fearsome yet fragile mother is amazing to watch. As Black Widow, she would bring a lot to the table.
10 Captain America - John Krasinski
For most The Office fans, it's hard to see John Krasinski as anybody but Jim Halpert, the hilarious foil for Dwight. However, Krasinski has been breaking out of his typecast mold with several impressive projects. Recently, he directed and starred opposite his wife, Emily Blunt, in the critically well-received A Quiet Place. He's also earning great reviews in the Jack Ryan series, a character previously played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck.
Is there anything better than playing a secret agent working for the U.S.A.'s best interests? Also, wouldn't Krasinski be great with that 1950's "aw shucks" good guy attitude that Captain America is known for? He would definitely nail the character.
9 9. The Hulk - Rosario Dawson
Rosario Dawson already plays another character in the Marvel TV universe, that of nurse Claire Temple. Temple has no superpowers but she acts as an ally to Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage.
However, Dawson is used to playing heroic roles.
She plays the voice of Wonder Woman in DC's animated movies The Death of Superman and Justice League Dark. She also played the voice of Batgirl in The Lego Batman Movie. She seems to slip into the "tough girl" role pretty easily. Dawson has both the strong demeanor and the physicality to play She-Hulk or even a gender-bent version of the Hulk. With the help of the artist's depiction, we can also say that the green skin is a great look on her.
8 Iron Man - Matt Bomer
We can't say that Robert Downey Jr. needs replacing as Iron Man. After all, his wit and sense of humor carry the role, and he's the whole reason why the MCU took off the way it did. HOwever, there are rumors that his next stint as Iron Man might be the last. Also, with the Infinity Gauntlet in play, there's no reason an alternate Iron Man couldn't be snapped into existence in the next Avengers movie.
Matt Bomer certainly has the physicality to play him, and he's no stranger to superhero roles. Bomer played Ken, one of the "entertainers" in the Magic Mike movies. He also played the voice of Superman in Superman: Unbound. It's not hard to see him stepping into that iron suit and making it work.
7 Star-Lord - Aaron Paul
Aaron Paul was only supposed to be in a few episodes of Breaking Bad as Jesse Pinkman, but his chemistry with Bryan Cranston was so great that they just had to find a way to keep him. Pinkman was a perpetual loser who somehow muddled his way through crime, made unlikely allies, and found himself in a criminal situation that was much more than he bargained for.
Star-Lord took a similar journey. He was a criminal who met the other Guardians of the Galaxy after they were put in the same intergalactic jail and then found themselves unwittingly trying to save the galaxy. Paul would make a somewhat grittier Star-Lord than Chris Pratt's version, and although Pratt is great in the role, we can't help but wonder how Paul might run with it.
6 Doctor Strange - Joaquin Phoenix
This artist does a great job depicting Joaquin Phoenix as Doctor Strange. Phoenix has a dark intensity that not a lot of actors have.
However, it would be perfect for such an enigmatic character like Doctor Strange. Just look at those eyes.
Phoenix also has a wounded quality about him that would work extremely well in the scenes in which he struggles to regain the use of his hands. Phoenix has made a huge impact playing off-center characters, and these days it's no different. Stills are starting to leak of Phoenix as the Joker in the Joker standalone movie, and what we've seen so far is pretty creepy. It wouldn't be hard to imagine a guy like this going head-to-head against the evil Dormammu.
5 Iron Man - Sandra Bullock
If any woman were to step into the role of Iron Man, one would be hard pressed to find a better choice than Sandra Bullock. Like Robert Downey Jr., she is both tough and witty with an amazing sense of comic timing. As a veteran of movies of multiple genres, Bullock has the physicality, depth, and sense of humor to put on the iron suit and make the character fly.
It's also not hard to picture Bullock as a man-eater, just like Robert Downey Jr. played the role a womanizer. Adding a genius level intellect and a penchant for justice would make her even more indestructible. Audiences fall in love with her in practically every role, and this one would be no different.
4 Thor - Amber Heard
Amber Heard certainly has the blonde hair and the Nordic look that would be perfect for a female Thor. Her fame is on the rise with recent movies like Justice League and Magic Mike as well as the upcoming Gully. However, she's really ready to make a big splash as Mera, Aquaman's companion and underwater sidekick in DC's highly anticipated Aquaman. Like Mera, Thor is royalty of a mysterious kingdom. Also like Mera, Thor travels to our surface world to defend mankind against formidable threats.
In the comics, a woman assumed the mantle of Thor for an extended storyline. Anyone who is worthy is able to assume the mantle of Thor, so why not choose someone like Heard?
3 Gamora - Georgina Campbell
Zoe Saldana is great in the role of Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy, but it's not like she's hard-pressed to find acting work. She's already playing characters in two other huge ongoing franchises: Uhura in Star Trek and Neytiri in Avatar.
Georgina Campbell has quickly made her own name in the science fiction and the superhero genre, starring in big roles in Krypton, Dark Mirror, and the upcoming His Dark Materials for TV.
She also appeared with Charlie Hunnam as Kay in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Should Zoe bow out, Georgina Campbell is an excellent actress at the beginning of her career who could effortlessly slip into the role.
2 Star-Lord - Michael Fassbender
Michael Fassbender is on the verge of becoming an A-list star, and his performances never disappoint. Fassbender exploded on the superhero scene as the young and charismatic Magneto in X-Men: First Class. He accomplished what few had thought was possible — he did justice to the role the Shakespearean actor Ian McKellan made famous.
As Star-Lord, he would certainly come at it from a different background. Chris Pratt had his origins in comedy and played the role accordingly. Fassbender is not particularly known for his comedy and would lend more of a leading man vibe to the popular character. However, knowing Fassbender's acting skills, we think he could probably handle excellent comedic writing just fine.
1 Captain America - Alison Brie
Alison Brie has an adorable and quirky "girl next door" vibe about her, which is the perfect quality one would want for the female version of Captain America. Brie demonstrated her comedy chops in the cult TV hit Community as well as other hilarious movie like Sleeping With Other People.
As a gender-bent version of the character, Brie's natural comedic instincts would lend itself well to the character. As much as we love the way Steve Rogers is written, he's a touch uptight. Brie has an improvisational style and quirky way about her that would just add an interesting layer. Plus, since Captain America is from the 1940s, it would have been a blast to see how Brie's Cap would have reacted to how differently Western society treats women today.
What do you think? Are there any other actors you think should join the Avengers? Let us know in the comments!