As a movie franchise that has ruled the roost at the box office for many years, at times it can be easy to take the Marvel Cinematic Universe for granted.
After all, several movies and TV shows that take place within it are released each year. That said, when you think about the MCU creating so much stellar content that all exists within the same storytelling universe, it is simply amazing.
As a franchise that has introduced the world to many now-beloved characters, it has also done huge things for the careers of the actors who have been cast in it.
It often seems like you can’t go online or watch a talk show without an MCU actor popping up, as they've quickly rose to A-lister status. As such, the way they look today has likely been seared into the brains of most of us.
For that reason, we thought that it would be a lot of fun to look at some high school pictures of our favorite MCU actors.
In order for an image to be considered on this list, it first and foremost needs to feature an actor who has portrayed a character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Next, it needs to be a picture that was taken when the actor was in their high school years. That said, we did not limit ourselves to pictures that were taken solely for a yearbook.
Here are the 20 Hilarious And Embarrassing High School Pictures Of MCU Actors.
20 Zoe Saldana
If there is one thing that we all know about the entertainment business, it is that whenever something becomes immensely popular, it is bound to inspire anger in some people.
Over the years, many people have come out of the woodwork to criticize the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including someone as famous as James Cameron. Though it is something that we understand to a degree, one thing that we could never accept, however, is anyone who tries to pretend like the MCU doesn’t take big chances.
For instance, the largest gamble they’ve taken was the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Starring a ragtag group of heroes who even some ardent comics fan didn’t know well, its success was far from certain.
One of the stars of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, Zoe Saldana, was chosen to play the green-skinned Gamora.
Though it was far from the only blockbuster movie that she has appeared in, the role made her an even bigger star.
She also starred in the highest grossing movie of all-time, Avatar. Cast as a blue alien in the movie, lots of people have become very used to seeing Saldana under layers of makeup.
On the other hand, this yearbook photo of her from her high school days is something very few people would be used to seeing.
However, it is nice to see Saldana without all of that makeup for once.
19 Michael B. Jordan
As an absolute sensation upon its release, Black Panther has to be considered among one of the best MCU movies. It takes place almost entirely in the fictional land of Wakanda. Prior to its release, audiences knew very little about that world within the MCU.
As such, the filmmakers had the unenviable task of not only setting up a whole new society, but they also had to introduce a long list of new characters to an already well-defined franchise.
Fortunately for everyone, they cast some fantastic actors and created nuanced, entertaining and sympathetic characters. For instance, the movie's main antagonist, Erik Killmonger, quickly became one of the best villains in MCU history.
Given his fantastic performance in Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan’s acting career doesn't seem to be showing any signs of stopping. A fact that we are ecstatic about, as we can’t wait to see him continue to do his thing for decades to come.
Able to embody multilayered characters seemingly with ease, Jordan can draw a variety of emotions out of us with a single performance. For instance, we spent most of Black Panther rooting against his character, but we also empathized with the events in his life that turned him into a villain.
This image of Micahel from his youth is instantly amusing to fans. We can all relate to getting dressed up in uncomfortable clothes for awkward high school pictures.
18 Jeff Goldblum
It may be hard to imagine now, but for years, people saw comic books solely as a medium that appealed to kids. Thankfully, this is no longer the case today.
The stories that were once told exclusively in comic books are now enjoyed by millions of people of all ages each year. As a result, movies based on comics have been able to attract actors that are seen as legends in the movie industry.
Arguably beginning with the casting of Marlon Brando in Superman the Movie, it now seems like the MCU features an acting icon in each of its movies.
After all, people like Glenn Close, Anthony Hopkins, Tommy Lee Jones, and Angela Bassett have all appeared within the MCU so far. One of the most unique movies within the MCU is Thor: Ragnarok, and the acting legend Jeff Goldblum perfectly fits with its absurd comedy elements.
There are still a lot of actors who bring a no-nonsense energy to the craft of acting. As someone who brings the opposite of that, Jeff Goldblum seems like he was born to be an artist, as his eccentric behavior would not be embraced by many other professions.
This is something you can feel in many of his performances. For example, we can’t imagine any other actor laughing the way he does in Jurassic Park.
This photo of the young Goldblum is a sight for sore eyes. Though he looks pretty serious in the picture, we're sure that his infamous humor is hiding beneath the surface.
17 Elizabeth Olsen
As an entity that seems to be continuously growing, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has introduced us to many members of the Avengers superhero team.
As such, there are characters like Hawkeye, War Machine, and Quicksilver who tend to serve more of a background role. Another example of this is Scarlet Witch, who first featured in the MCU as a background character.
However, now (especially with Infinity War), we hope that she'll finally get her time in the spotlight. It would be a shame to keep her in the backgrond, as she is one of the MCU's most powerful characters.
Elizabeth Olsen is a very talented actor who has given several compelling performances. For instance, she was great in movies like Martha Marcy May Marlene, Kill Your Darlings, and Ingrid Goes West, among others.
On top of that, her résumé also includes several blockbuster hits, including Godzilla and several movies that took place within the MCU.
Now the most talked about member of her own family, Elizabeth Olsen clearly grew up in the shadow of her famous sisters, The Olsen Twins.
During those formative years, she posed for this yearbook photo in which it seems impossible to focus on anything other than her braces given her huge smile.
16 Tom Hiddleston
Long considered one of the best villains in Marvel Cinematic Universe history, in recent years, this has been up for debate considering the introduction of new villains, but it is still agreed upon by most fans that Loki is pretty awesome.
Introduced in the first Thor movie, he quickly became such a fan-favorite that he was soon cast to play the antagonist in the first Avengers movie as well.
Then the decision was then made to keep him firmly entrenched in the Thor movies in order to make sure that he was not overexposed. Though many fans missed his extra appearances, most agreed that this move made a lot of sense.
That said, if Loki hadn't moved over, we wouldn’t have received other awesome villains like Killmonger, The Vulture, or Thanos.
Though Tom Hiddleston plays the semi-evil God of Mischief in the MCU, he is the exact opposite in real life. Also, the guy appears to be awesome at everything he tries.
He is a great actor in several movies, including non-MCU movies like Midnight in Paris, Only Lovers Left Alive, and the show The Night Manager, which alone should be enough to hang his hat on.
Instead, he also has shown himself to be simply amazing at imitating people, singing, and even juggling. At least us mere mortals can take some solace in the fact that he had a hairdo that looks like it could have been seen in an N*SYNC photo shoot during his high school years.
15 Peter Dinklage
As a casting choice that was wrapped in mystery, once it was announced that Peter Dinklage would appear in Avengers: Infinity War, everyone wanted to know who he would play.
Obviously, this is a spoiler if you have not seen the movie, but he was cast as Eitri, the weapon forger who created Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, Stormbreaker, and the Infinity Gaunlet. In the movie, several major MCU characters seek Eitri out in order to take advantage of his brilliant mind.
Already well entrenched in the science fiction world long before he appeared in an MCU movie, Peter Dinklage is best known for a television role.
Cast as arguably the most popular Game of Thrones character, Tyrion Lannister, his performance has played a big role in his popularity among fans. He's also fantastic in other roles-- if you are a fan of Dinklage’s and you haven’t seen movies like The Station Agent and the British version of Death at a Funeral, then you are missing out.
That said, we’re sure that he would prefer if none of us ever saw this photo of him when he was younger.
In this image, he looks like he's too cool for school. He seems disinterested and bored. We wonder what would change if he knew how popular he would soon become on-screen.
14 Robert Downey Jr.
Tony Stark is solely responsible for the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If Tony Stark was less entertaining, the whole series would have started off on a much worse note.
More than that, his superhero alter ego, Iron Man, is one of the lead Avengers alongside Captain America to this day. Combining the ingenuity of someone like Batman with the sense of humor of the much smoother Spider-Man, Tony Stark is an interesting character. In fact, he would be cool even if he didn't have a suit.
As an actor who seemed to be poised to rise to the top of the movie industry in the early-nineties, Robert Downey Jr.’s personal life would sadly derail his career for a while. Since then, he has been able to clean himself up and has quickly rose to A-list status in recent years.
In fact, in 2015, he was the highest paid actor in the world and he has been near the top ever since then.
Salary aside, Downey Jr. has also managed to become one of the most celebrated figures in the business.
As someone with a lot to boast about these days, it seems like he would have been happy to tell you how awesome he was during his high school days too given the smug look on his face in this image.
13 Chris Evans
If Iron Man is the cool member who everyone looks up to, Captain America is their guiding moral light. Known for being so strict about his beliefs that he is incapable of bending when he thinks that he is on the right side of a fight, Captain America quickly became a fan-favorite for many.
More than that, though, his physical abilities are impressive, but it is his leadership qualities that make him truly valuable in a fight, as he can direct others with the greatest of ease while also giving his all in a battle.
In short, as far as fictional characters go, there probably isn’t anyone else in the MCU who is a better leader on the battlefield.
As an actor who began his career looking as though he was destined for the average lead role, Chris Evans has proven to be much more than that.
Clearly interested in taking on more interesting roles, his wry way of looking at the world made him perfect for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Not Another Teen Movie.
On the other hand, his more serious side came to play when he appeared in movies like Snowpiercer, Gifted, and The Iceman.
Of course, if you what he would look like as the typical jock in a '00s teen movie, you can check out his high school yearbook photo.
12 Bradley Cooper
As an actor’s profile grows and they become more popular, they get to demand larger and larger salaries. The reason why this is the case is because studios believe that having a huge star will help them promote their movie and makes it much more likely that their project will become a hit.
As such, when you hire someone like Badley Cooper to be in your movie, the basic idea is that a movie can use his image on posters and thus get the name of the movie out more easily.
However, when Cooper was cast as the voice of Rocket Raccoon in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, it limited the ways in which the MCU could capitalize on his fame. Thankfully for them, his performance helped Rocket become one of the most popular characters in the series.
As an extremely well-known actor, Bradley Cooper has appeared in blockbuster movies like The Hangover series, American Sniper, and many more. On top of that, he is also very talented, which has allowed him to be nominated for several Oscars and Golden Globe Awards.
Seemingly born to be a movie star due to his many talents, Cooper's career has certainly also been aided by his incredible looks.
However, most people were awkward when they were younger, and Cooper is no different.
In this image, the young Cooper can be seen sporting a mullet.
11 Chad Michael Murray
Though Chad Michael Murray only appeared in a TV show related to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he still played an important role in the franchise.
Unfortunately, Murray appeared in a show that was canceled too soon. Agent Carter, the TV spin-off that starred Captain America: The First Avenger’s female lead, featured a truly great cast of characters.
Focused on Agent Peggy Carter, who was played by Hayley Atwell, the series also introduced MCU fans to several other characters, including Chad Michael Murray’ Jack Thompson.
Though Jack was disliked for his chauvinistic actions and oversized ego, it was impossible to root against him when he was trying to take down villains.
Prior to watching Agent Carter, if we were asked to bet whether or not Chad Michael Murray would end up playing a part in the MCU, we would have placed all of our money against it.
Mainly famous for playing the lead character in the television teen drama One Tree Hill, Murray played his character well enough to amass a pretty sizable following. Still, that doesn’t exactly seem like the résumé that we would expect would land an actor in the MCU.
That said, he did a pretty great job playing his Agent Carter character too, so it seems like that perception is a real shame. Speaking of things that are unfortunate, it is too bad for Chad that he has to remember that haircut whenever he sees this photo of himself from his high school days.
10 Josh Brolin
Thanos first appeared in the first Avengers movie after the end credits during a time when we had no idea that it would be years before we really saw Thanos in full form on the big screen.
Though he had a short scene in Guardians of the Galaxy during which we learn that he is the one pulling Ronan’s strings, for a long time his only other appearance came during the credits of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
A whole lot of teasing, it could have been too much build up but when we saw Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War it was definitely worth the wait. Far more nuanced than many film villains, his motivations were interesting and seeing him grapple with our heroes was awesome.
The actor who portrays the Mad Titan, Josh Brolin, is the son of Hollywood legend James Brolin. Josh Brolin began his career back in the '80s, when he landed a lead role The Goonies.
Considering all of this, it seems like Brolin was destined for stardom. Since then, he appeared in countless other movies, including No Country for Old Men, True Grit, and Sicario, among others.
If Brolin’s role as the fearsome Thanos isn’t enough, he was also cast as the fearsome Cable in Deadpool 2. These two characters are both dangerous in their own right, making Brolin's high school photo look extremely out of place.
We can’t imagine an older Brolin sporting that toothy grin and carefully crafted hair anytime soon.
9 Michael Rooker
As a movie franchise that has something for virtually everyone, the Marvel Cinematic Universe features amazing special effects, great storytelling, humorous moments, and so much more.
Despite all of that, though, at the end of the day when we walk out of one of MCU's many movies, it is the strength of the characters that sticks with us.
One of the best examples of this is Yondu from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, who has particularly stuck with us. He is a fearsome warrior who uses the arrow on his head to destroy many people with incredible speed.
Yondu is a hilarious character, but he is also capable of being serious. Yondu is portrayed by Michael Rooker, an actor who has been a television and movie mainstay for decades, and if you ask us, he deserves far more credit for his work.
Rooker started his movie career when he played the titular character in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Almost always cast in a supporting role, Rooker can make a lasting impression with only a brief onscreen appearance.
He is able to pull in any audience’s attention with a single line of dialogue or an unusual movement. In fact, you can even cast Rooker as a background character and he will still seem like the center of attention.
Perhaps his talents date back to his high school days. His yearbook photo is a great example of his authenticity, as his crazy hair and solemm expression are instantly entertaining.
8 Chris Pratt
Often, the movies that go down in history are multifaceted. For example, just take a look at the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. It was a movie that left people feeling happy and overjoyed as they got to know the titular group of space pirates that had never been adapted for the big screen before.
Since the movie was so fun to watch, it's easy to forget how the first movie actually started. Guardians of the Galaxy began by showing a young Peter Quill in a moment of utter loss and despair.
In fact, the opening scene of the movie is among the most emotional in MCU history. Though he was firs only seen as a child, we later met the grown up version of Peter, who was played by Chris Pratt.
Pratt portrayed Peter as someone who was willing to do anything to save those he cared about, which ultimately gave the movie its emotional core.
Now one of the biggest stars around, Chris Pratt has Guardians of the Galaxy to thank for his rise to stardom.
Though Pratt worked hard to get into incredible shape to play the superhero on the big screen, he was known previously as a hilarious and overweight television character.
Cast as Parks and Recreation’s Andy Dwyer, Pratt's time on the show helped garner him some committed fans. Because of his time on the comedy show, we are sure that he would be ok with all of us chuckling at this yearbook photo of him.
7 Paul Rudd
Though he is often seen as a side character among the Avengers, Ant-Man first appeared in his very own movie. Unfortunately, he hasn't appeared too often in any Avengers movies, but we're hoping that he'll finally have a chance to shine in Ant-Man and the Wasp.
With the success of the first Ant-Man movie. Marvel proved yet again that they could make a successful movie out of any character who they chose. Of course, the fact that they turned his movie into one heck of a fun ride and embraced the silliness of him shrinking made all of that possible and managed to translate perfectly on the big screen.
The actor behind Ant-Man, Paul Rudd, spent the majority of his career eliciting laughs from people around the world. He appeared in countless comedy movies, including Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and Role Models.
Known for his comedy roles, it was interesting for many fans to see how he would pan out as superhero in the MCU among the ranks of Captain America and Black Widow, who are far more serious about their work.
Rudd wasn't only funny as an actor, though-- he also looks quite amusing in these two photos from his youth. His hair was pretty out of control for a while.
It is hard to imagine how he ever thought that long hair or a popped collar looked good.
6 Krysten Ritter
As a huge entertainment entity, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not only limited to movies-- it has also included short films and TV shows. However, for the most part, it is the MCU's many movies that have garnered the most attention from fans.
This is understandable given how awesome and grandiose their stories tend to be, but there is one way in which the shows are superior.
Take Jessica Jones, for instance. It has aired two seasons, with each season containing thirteen episodes that are nearly an hour long. As such, that show's fantastic main character has appeared on our screens longer than almost anyone else within the MCU. For that reason, we have gotten to know Jessica well and we can’t wait to see more of her.
As an actor who spent years being consistently cast as one character type, Krysten Ritter was known for playing the best friend of the female lead in a long list of movies and TV shows.
However, when audeinces got to see her play the troubled girlfriend of Jesse from Breaking Bad she finally broke free of that prison.
Subsequently seen in shows, such as Don't Trust the B---- , Ritter has now been cast in a variety of different roles. However, all of Krysten’s characters have her distinctive and gritty look, which made us think that she was just born like that.
This a huge contrast to the younger Ritter, who is seen here sitting in a dress with her classmates. However, she still looks very unamused.
5 Evangeline Lilly
Hope van Dyne first appeared as a supporting character in the first Ant-Man movie. Many fans were puzzled throughout the movie, wondering why Hope didn't receive a super suit of her own.
Though most fans enjoyed Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang, it seemed like Hope was far more competent and intimidating than he was in the movie.
Of course, considering the fact that her dad was being protective of her, it made sense that she wasn't able to get in on any of the action. Still, when it was first hinted at that we would see her suit up as The Wasp in the sequel, most fans were overjoyed.
Since then, fans have only become more excited, as The Was is one of the best Avengers team members in the comics.
Though she rose to prominence in the mid-2000s, Evangeline Lilly first became well-known due to her role as one of the main characters on the show Lost. The series was hugely popular at one time, and Lilly brought a level of realism to an often fantastical show, which overall helped everything work.
That wasn't the end of Lilly though, as she finally got her chance to shine in the MCU many years later. We expect her to bring the same gravitas to The Wasp that she does to all of her performances.
Lilly may be a full fledged hero on the big screen now, but she was still once a high school student. In this image, we can see Lilly with curly, short hair and a wide smile.
4 Sebastian Stan
In comics, there are certain things that fans have come to expect. One of the main things that fans now expect involves perishing popular characters. Though many of these characters will pass away countless times, fans know that they will eventually return in one form or another.
Though this is mostly explained away with stories involving the characters being alive all along or being given new life by some supernatural force, there are some characters who fans expect to stay buried. One of these characters was Bucky Barnes.
For this reason, it came as a huge shock when fans discovered that the happy-go-lucky sidekick had been brought back as The Winter Soldier, an accomplished assassin.
As a story that was adapted for the MCU, the twist managed to translate perfectly onto the big screen. As a character who brought a spy-like element to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Winter Soldier was a great addition to the franchise and, eventually, the Avengers.
Though he was best known for recurring TV roles not to long, Sebastian Stan has slowly been expending his career onto the big screen. This transition sped up incredibly when he was cast as Bucky Barnes in Captain America: The First Avenger, as Stan has since become a pretty big star.
He has been turning heads lately due to his amazing performances in The Martian, Logan Lucky, and I, Tonya, and at this rate, he will soon have a long list of acting credits.
However, we all had to start somewhere, and a young Stan can be seen in this image. Here, Stan might not have the hair, but he looks just as serious as Bucky Barnes.
3 Jeremy Renner
Described as the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the Avengers are made up some incredibly powerful beings-- oh, and Hawkeye too.
In all seriousness, a man who shoots arrows seems like a pretty laughable figure to be included in a team that consists of Thor or the Hulk. However, longtime comic book readers will know that he is an imperative member of the team, as his arrows are nothing to laugh at. He could easily be just as powerful in the movies.
However, the MCU has yet to give him his dues in any of the movies. In fact, his greatest moment to date was when he told the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver what they needed to hear to join the battle in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The actor behind the portrayal of Hawkeye, Jeremy Renner, has become a recognizable face and name but has yet to gain enough support to obtain a massive movie of his own.
After all, Jenner is mostly only known for his role as Hawkeye. However, he has appeared in countless other films, such as Arrival, The Bourne Legacy, and the Mission: Impossible movies, which all are led by more famous actors. He's also known for his roles in American Hustle, Wind River, and The Hurt Locker.
Though he may be a rising star now, this wasn't always the case, as seen by this yearbook photo.
Seen here with a mullet and buzzcut at the same time, the young Renner was a sight to behold.
2 Brett Dalton
Be forewarned, this entry includes major Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spoilers. Earlier on this list, we looked at some of the best villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, specifically Loki, Killmonger, The Vulture, and Thanos.
However, we didn’t mention Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’s Grant Ward among them because we know that many fans likely have no idea who he is. Introduced in the very first episode of the show, he came across as one of the most compelling good guys on the show-- at least at the time.
Little did we know that he would be ultimately revealed as a member of HYDRA. He would go on to do some incredibly awful things to the people who considered him a friend. Though he was a sympathetic character even when he turned, our hate for him grew with each awful act that he committed.
Brett Dalton has been absolutely phenomenal in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Unfortunately, Dalton has not been able to get another role that has given him nearly as much to do.
This is something that most fans are shocked about, considering that the series is linked to the MCU and he was one of the best parts of it. However, we can only hope that he gets the opportunities that he deserves soon.
In the meantime, it is great to see this younger version of Dalton. In this images, he looks almost like an entirely different person.
His face has yet to fill in, and in some ways, he still looks like a little kid.
1 Mark Ruffalo
As a franchise that is not afraid of recasting characters, the MCU has shown us James “War Machine” Rhodes, Fandral, Thanos, and several other characters who were played by more than one actor.
Still, the most notable example of this has to be the Hulk. It was Edward Norton who first played the character in The Incredible Hulk. However, later, due to creative differences, Mark Ruffalo took over the role.
Despite that, most fans were happy to see Ruffalo take on the role of Bruce Banner. It is fascinating to watch a character who has a lot of internal struggles and inner demons that he must deal with, and Ruffalo plays the part convincingly.
To say that Ruffalo is talented seems to be woefully understating things. He had roles in movies like You Can Count on Me, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Zodiac, and Foxcatcher, among others.
Overall, Ruffalo seems to fully commit to every role he takes on. As such, now that he has inherited the role of Bruce Banner and the Hulk, Mark portrays the characters perfectly.
Another example of how committed he is to whatever he does can be seen with this image. In this photo of Ruffalo from his high school days, he seems to be fully engaged and perfectly posed for the image.
What do you think of these images? Are you shocked at how different these MCU stars looked in high school? Sound off in the comments!