In comics, if writers want to have, say, Doctor Strange pop-up in a Spider-Man run for a couple of panels, all they need to do is clear it with the higher-ups and get it drawn. In the movies, well, it’s not so simple.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a sprawling behemoth. The highest grossing movie franchise of all time, it’s now fourteen films deep and has a good ten more in the pipeline (with plans going even further into the future), and core to this success has been crossovers – the ability to have characters team-up in The Avengers or otherwise cameo in other films. However, there’s a barrier – one that’s not creative, but legal. Every single one of the dozens of actors signed to the studio each has their own, personal contract for a set number of solo and crossover films. It’s an interlocked web of legalese and can be very tricky to keep track of. To help clear it all up, we’ve broken down the deals of every major star to find out how long they’ve got left on the MCU coil.

A note on contracts: usually the number of films an actor is signed up for isn’t publicly announced, but revealed through interviews with the star. While these give us a snapshot of the situation, these are very much open to change with additions and renegotiations. A key example of this Avengers 4many actors who originally signed up for three team-up films are set to appear in both Infinity War and its untitled sequel being shot back-to-back, likely the result of cast-wide contract discussions. With that established, let’s break down the current MCU slate.

Robert Downey Jr – Tony Stark/Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark uses Jericho Missile in Iron Man How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: 3 (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers 4).

The first star of the MCU, Robert Downey, Jr. originally signed on for three Iron Man movies and The Avengers (his cameo in The Incredible Hulk is uncredited). His contract has been extended three times since – first to include Avengers 2 and 3, then Captain America: Civil War, and finally Spider-Man: Homecoming.

The prospect of an Iron Man 4 has been teased a lot over the years, but as we move further into Phase 3 and a changing makeup of the MCU, that looks less likely. For now, his last set appearance is in Avengers 4.

Don Cheadle – James Rhodes/War Machine

war machine don cheadle iron man How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: Unknown

Don Cheadle’s played James Rhodes four times since replacing Terrence Howard in Iron Man 2 and presently isn’t confirmed for any later films – he’s one of the few actors to not be linked directly to Infinity War or Avengers 4. It’s unlikely his time as War Machine over given where his story left off in Captain America: Civil War, though, meaning he will probably pop up in these films or later. The length of his contract is also a mystery, although seeing as he joined in the early days of the franchise it’s likely no more than six (explaining the slowed appearances).

Iron Man’s Supporting Characters

Based on her absence since 2013 and comments from the actress herself, Pepper Potts looks to be finished with the MCU. However, it’s not clear if her contract actually ran out with Iron Man 3 or she simply hasn’t been asked back.

Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan looks to be in a similar situation, although as he is going to appear in Spider-Man: Homecoming, the chances of a further extension are a bit more likely.

Chris Evans – Steve Rogers/Captain America

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers in Captain America Civil War How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: 3 (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers 4)

Marvel originally wanted Chris Evans on a nine-movie contract, but he negotiated them down to six: a trilogy of solo movies and three Avengers films. This deal comes to an end with Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4. Evans hasn’t been shy about eventually wanting to hang up the star-spangled suit, although recently has hinted he would have no qualms about an extension. For now, though, Avengers 4 is his end.

Beyond his six movies, Evans has had a couple of cameos in Thor: The Dark World and the upcoming Homecoming. The latter was uncredited, so didn’t affect his total, while Homecoming likely required renegotiations – as it did with RDJ.

Sebastian Stan – Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier

 How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: 6 (Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers 4, others unknown)

Despite three major roles in each Captain America films, Sebastian Stan is nowhere near done with his massive nine-movie deal to play Bucky Barnes. The last time he was seen was in Civil War‘s mid-credits scene being put in stasis in Wakanda, although it’s looking unlikely he’ll actually appear in Black Panther, instead returning to the fray in Avengers: Infinity War. Long-term, Bucky is expected to follow his comic counterpart and take up the Captain America mantle from Steve Rogers, meaning he could be the lead of an eventual Captain America 4 (and more).

Anthony Mackie – Sam Wilson/Falcon

MCU Falcon 1 How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: at least 2 (Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers 4)

Although he’s unlikely to take up the shield like Sam Wilson in the comics, Anthony Mackie has still become an essential part of Captain America’s team since his introduction in The Winter Soldier, returning in Age of Ultron and Civil War. He’s back in Infinity War and, while the actor hasn’t divulged the length of his contract, he has said it extends beyond that and Falcon won’t die in the team-up. It probably isn’t as hefty as Stan’s, but he’s likely to live beyond Steve Rogers.

Captain America’s Supporting Characters

Emily VanCamp has a multi-picture deal, with her roles in The Winter Soldier and Civil War setting up Sharon Carter, although whether Marvel will use her depends on how long Chris Evans sticks around.

Despite being a different sort of character, Hugo Weaving is in a similar boat, with a contractual obligation to return but no interest yet by the studio.

Chris Hemsworth – Thor

Chris Hemsworth in Thor Ragnarok How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: 3 (Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers 4)

Like Evans, Chris Hemsworth appears to have been given the standard six film contract, saying around the release of Age of Ultron he had only one Thor and two Avengers movies to go (Ragnarok and Infinity War/4 respectively). Unlike Evans, he’s made little comment on his thoughts on the future, so whether someone else will become worthy or he’ll be coerced to come back for more is unknown.

Tom Hiddleston – Loki

Thor Ragnarok Trailer Loki Daggers How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: 3 (Thor: RagnarokAvengers: Infinity War, Avengers 4)

Tom Hiddleston originally signed a six-movie contract, which covers his essential role in the Thor trilogy and parts in the first three Avengers films (he wasn’t in Age of Ultron, but did film a scene). Presumably, he’s had similar contract extension as he’s also set for Avengers 4. His future beyond that depends both on whether Marvel want to finally off the character (after multiple death fakeouts) and what the plans are for Chris Hemsworth – you can’t really have Loki without Thor.

Thor’s Supporting Characters

Idris Elba hasn’t revealed the length of his contract but is now on his fourth film with Ragnarok. If Infinity Stone rumors are true then he may only have one or two turns left.

Stellan Skarsgard has a five-film contract, which he’ll round off with Avengers: Infinity War. Fellow human Kat Dennings also had other films set, but looks unlikely to return.

Anthony Hopkins will be back as Odin in Thor: Ragnarok, his third film in the series. What this says of his contract is unknown.

Mark Ruffalo – Bruce Banner/Hulk

Thor Ragnarok Trailer Ruffalo Hulk How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: 4 (Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers 4, another unconfirmed)

Mark Ruffalo is also on Marvel’s six film contract, but because getting him in a solo film – either due to rights or creative issues – has proven tricky, he’s not really chipped into that; he’s only appeared in The Avengers and Age of Ultron (on top of an excellent post-credits sting to Iron Man 3). He’s next up in Planet HuThor: Ragnarok and will like the others be back for Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4. That leaves a final, unknown movie at some point in the future. Of course, because Hulk is a less strenuous role – it’s a mix of standard set acting and mo-cap – it’s possible Ruffalo can be brought back for more (and, if not, it’s not like they’ve not recast Bruce Banner before).

Hulk’s Supporting Characters

William Hurt presumably signed a multi-film contract when he joined The Incredible Hulk which brought him back for Captain America: Civil War. Whether he’s set for any more is currently unknown.

Something similar was likely intended for love interest Liv Tyler and future Leader Tim Blake Nelson, but the general avoidance of that movie makes it unlikely (although rumors have surfaced of Tyler playing a part in Infinity War).

Benedict Cumberbatch – Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange with magic weapons How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: at least 4 (Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers 4, Doctor Strange 2)

Benedict Cumberbatch is the relatively new kid on the block, debuting just last year as Stephen Strange, so with all the previously-discussed contract endings is being tipped as the new core of the MCU. The actor is yet to elaborate on how many films exactly he’s locked in for, however, it’s at least four – he’s got an extended cameo in Thor: Ragnarok, is set for Avengers 3/4 and a sequel is pretty likely. Presuming Marvel wants a trilogy of solo movies, that’s at least six, but as crossovers are the name of the game he could have signed on for as many as nine.

Of course, because Cumberbatch is coming later in the evolved MCU, it’s likely his contract is less rigid as the earlier films, with smaller parts like his Ragnarok appearance worked in as a contingency.

Doctor Strange’s Supporting Characters

Chiwetel Ejiofor was very secretive about whether he’d be back for any more sorcerer action in later MCU movies, but after Doctor Strange‘s post-credits scene it’s clear he’s at the very least locked for a sequel. Benedict Wong is also going to stick around, with Wong confirmed for Infinity War (and thus suggesting a big multi-film contract).

The other major player who may return is Rachel McAdams, but the actress has been very quiet on future commitments.

Chadwick Boseman – T’Challa/Black Panther

Captain America Civil War New Concept Art Black Panther How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: 4 (Black PantherAvengers: Infinity War, Avengers 4, other unannounced)

The other actor with franchise carrying in his future, Chadwick Boseman is reportedly signed for five films, which with Captain America: Civil War out of the way means he’s got room for two solo movies and two Avengers films. Given T’Challa’s importance going forward, however, it would be strange for that to be the end; odds are there’ll be renegotiations if – as expected – Black Panther is a major success.

Black Panther’s Supporting Characters

Black Panther sees the return of both Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaw and Martin Freeman as Everett Ross. Both have been rather coy about their contracts, so their respective futures after the 2019 film are unknown (although Freeman has a better bet of being a proper recurring role).

The status of the new actors in the movie – Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi and Forest Whitaker as Zuri chief among them – is unclear, although some are sure to stick around with Boseman for later Wakandan adventures.

Tom Holland – Peter Parker/Spider-Man

Tom Holland in Spider Man Homecoming How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: 5 (Spider-Man: HomecomingAvengers: Infinity War, Avengers 4, Spider-Man: Homecoming 2, another unconfirmed)

Tom Holland’s contract with Marvel and Sony to play Spider-Man was originally set as six films, in the grand tradition of Marvel presumably meaning three solo movies and three team-ups (the only difference being that the latter are coming earlier in his run). However, with Sony now trying to grow their own Spidey shared universe, it looks like the studio deal may not be as long-term as first hoped – while Holland’s appearance up to Avengers 4 and Homecoming 2 in 2019 is set, Kevin Feige recently commented that the future beyond that was unclear.

Spider-Man’s Supporting Characters

The supporting character who’s probably going to appear the most is Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May, who is set for Homecoming and could conceivably have a brief part in the Avengers films.

It’s likely that most of his Queens-based high school supporting cast – Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds, Laura Harrier as Liz Allan, Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson, Zendaya as Michelle and Angourie Rice as Betty Brant – will also have multi-picture deals to cover his solo outings given the repeated talk of trying to follow the Harry Potter formula.

Scarlett Johansson – Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow

Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: at least 2 (Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4)

Scarlett Johansson’s Marvel contract is the most mysterious out of all the stars, with her future beyond the imminent Avengers films unknown. This is likely because, unlike the other stars, she’s been topping up her contract throughout the franchise, rather than seeing out an obligation – she originally just signed for Iron Man 2. That said, with Natasha Romanoff a staple of SHIELD, the Avengers and the general MCU makeup, it’s unlikely she’ll be wrapping up anytime soon. The big question, of course, is if she’ll ever get that solo film.

Jeremy Renner – Clint Barton/Hawkeye

Captain America Civil War Trailer 2 Hawkeye Shot How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: 2 (Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4)

It took a while to get it out of him, but in 2014 Jeremy Renner revealed that he’d originally signed on with Marvel for three Avengers movies and a Hawkeye standalone. There’s obviously been some renegotiation and leeway in that – he first appeared briefly in Thor and played a key role in Captain America: Civil War. It’s possible that Avengers 2.5 was used as an alternate to the highly unlikely solo film, although it’s also probable there’s been some unknown contract renegotiations.

Paul Rudd – Scott Lang/Ant-Man

Ant Man Paul Rudd How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: at least 2 (Ant-Man and the WaspAvengers 4)

According to Paul Rudd, he signed an explicit three-movie deal with the proviso of more opportunities in team-ups, although later comments suggest his deal is an expanding one like Johannsson. This makes figuring out how big Scott Lang will be in the MCU tricky. He followed up Ant-Man with Civil War and in 2018 has a sequel with the Wasp (with a possible Avengers 4 role), which takes him past that initial number even though two are team-ups. It’s likely that, if Ant-Man and the Wasp is a hit, then he’ll be able to work in a threequel.

Evangeline Lilly – Hope van Dyne/The Wasp

Hope Wasp Suit How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: at least 2 (Ant-Man and the Wasp, Avengers 4)

Evangeline Lilly has the distinction of being the only actor confirmed for Avengers 4 but not Avengers 3; according to the actress, to maintain the reveal of the Wasp for Ant-Man and the Wasp, she’ll sit out Infinity War before appearing in the second part a year later (meaning the same is likely true of Rudd, although he’s unconfirmed). Previously she’d cited a multi-film contract without elaboration, which this definitely fits. If Rudd is going to be back for more, though, it’s likely his new partner will be too.

Ant-Man’s Supporting Characters

Michael Douglas has said he doesn’t have any contract for a sequel, but may be open to discussion.

Their exact contract situation hasn’t been made public, but both Michael Pena and David Dastmalchian will appear in Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Elizabeth Olsen – Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch

elizabeth olsen scarlet witch costume How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: at least 1 (Avengers: Infinity War)

Joss Whedon originally stated that both Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson had signed three-picture deals, although in the wake of Quicksilver’s death he said it was more illusion that truth. If it is actually the case for Olsen, Infinity War will be her final locked film after appearances in Age of Ultron and Civil War (as well as a mid-credits cameo in The Winter Soldier). The actress herself has been rather coy, only talking on the topic after Age of Ultron when her Cap involvement was still unconfirmed.

Paul Bettany – Vision

Mind Stone in Vision in Avengers Age Of Ultron How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: at least 1 (Avengers: Infinity War)

Paul Bettany was in the MCU from the very start as J.A.R.V.I.S., a very easy voice role that meant he didn’t even have to watch the films. The A.I.’s transformation into Vision brought the actor into the set (and extensive makeup). His contract for the role isn’t known; after Age of Ultron and Civil War, he’s set for Infinity War, but Bettany hasn’t revealed any concrete details about how long he’ll be part of the series. That Infinity Stone in his head that may spell doom for the character, although there’s also the concern of his romance with Scarlet Witch, linking the actor’s time in the MCU with Olsen’s.

Samuel L Jackson – Nick Fury

MCU Fury 1 How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: 2 (unannounced)

When he first appeared in Iron Man, Samuel L. Jackson’s nine-picture deal seemed endless. Now, after appearing as Nick Fury in all manner of films he’s only got two movies left, explaining why – after Age of Ultron – Marvel’s been using the character a lot more sparingly. Despite not being confirmed for either, Jackson has hinted he may appear in any and all of Avengers 3, 4 and Captain Marvel.

Chris Pratt – Peyer Quill/Star-Lord

Chris Pratt as Star Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 copy How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: 4 (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers 4Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3)

Chris Pratt is the only Guardian of the Galaxy to publicly speak about his Marvel contract, revealing he signed up for three standard GOTG movies and two others. Given the openness of the team’s future, that takes his obligation through to the recently confirmed Vol. 3. And because that film will end this iteration of the Guardians, it’s unlikely he’ll be around much longer than that.

UPDATE: Pratt has since said he’d be open to extending his contract.

The Other Guardians

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Concept Art How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: at least 4 (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers 4Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3)

The other Guardians actors haven’t been as open about their future Marvel obligations, although following from the expanded team’s confirmations for Infinity War and Pratt’s comments and how Vol. 3 is the “end” then it’s fair to presume the same is true for them. Bradley Cooper/Sean Gunn and Vin Diesel could have a little more life as Rocket and Groot respectively due to the relative simplicity of their obligation and the characters’ popularity, but that is still the subject of serious speculation.

The additions – especially newcomer Pom Klementieff as Mantis – may have different deals, although neither Karen Gillan or Michael Rooker have openly discussed contractual obligations.

Guardians’ Supporting Characters

Despite sitting out Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Benicio del Toro will be back as The Collector in Avengers: Infinity War (and possibly its sequel) and with his contract length unknown may be in even more.

Also possibly returning in the MCU’s cosmic expansion are Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone, who debuted in Vol. 2 and according to James Gunn have clear significance outside of just those films.

Josh Brolin

Thanos with Infinity Gauntlet How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: at least 1 (Avengers: Infinity War)

Although he’s the big bad of the MCU so far, Josh Brolin may not actually appear in all that many movies. Thanos at the end of The Avengers wasn’t played by the actor, who debuted properly in Guardians of the Galaxy and returned for Age of Ultron‘s mid-credits scene. What his contract actually entails is unknown, but with no other appearances planned until Avengers: Infinity War, it’s not as sprawling as some of the heroes. Whether he returns in Avengers 4 depends entirely on the plot of the previous film, but that will surely be the end of his time.

Brie Larson

Captain Marvel Brie Larson fan art cropped How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: at least 1 (Captain Marvel)

She’s not set to make her big-screen debut for another two years (unless there’s a surprise Infinity War cameo), but it’s clear Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers will be essential to the future of the MCU. As of now she’s only confirmed for her standalone film, but there’s sure to be many more appearances planned.

Cobie Smulders

Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill in Avengers Age of Ultron How Many Movies Do MCU Actors Have Left On Their Contracts? [UPDATED]

Films left on contract: 5

Cobie Smulders says she signed an eight-movie deal with The Avengers and so far has only used up three of those (although its not clear how her Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. appearances factor into that). With Nick Fury’s screentime limited, she may be end taking the weight of running S.H.I.E.L.D. going forward.

Next: Every Marvel Cinematic Universe Project Currently In Development

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