Some of the biggest names behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe gathered for a massive group photo in October 2017, but the photo doesn’t include everyone. Getting 80-plus people together for a group photo and a day of celebration is certainly impressive.
But what’s also impressive – and in some cases, sad – is the sheer number of people who played integral roles in getting the Marvel Cinematic Universe off the ground and into prominence, yet aren’t in the photo at all. Perhaps they were busy on the day the celebration was happening, or perhaps they weren’t deemed important enough to be included. In either case, there are a lot of people missing from the photo.
MCU Phase 1 Actors Missing
Considering that this photo shoot was meant mostly for superheroes, it would be strange for the studio to include villains, but that’s exactly what they did. A handful of villains are there but not all. Jeff Bridges, who played the shared universe’s first villain, Iron Monger, in Jon Favreau’s Iron Man is missing, as is Mickey Rourke, who played Ivan Vanko in Iron Man 2. On that note, Justin Hammer actor Sam Rockwell and original Howard Stark actor John Slattery are also missing. And considering that Don Cheadle is included in the group photo, it might’ve been awkward for everyone if Terrence Howard, who played James Rhodes in Iron Man, also showed up for the photo shoot.
What’s interesting is that The Incredible Hulk director Louis Leterrier showed up for the photo shoot, but virtually no one from his movie did. William Hurt, who reprised his role as Thunderbolt Ross in Captain America: Civil War, is there, but Edward Norton and Liv Tyler are both missing, as is Abomination actor Tim Roth. Then again, having Norton in the photo alongside Mark Ruffalo might’ve presented yet another awkward situation.
Chris Hemsworth and Jeremy Renner, who both first appeared in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor, are Avengers, which is why they’re in the photo. But despite directing that film, Branagh isn’t in the photo, and neither are Natalie Portman and Stellan Skarsgård, who played Jane Foster and Erik Selvig, respectively. Portman not being there makes sense on some level, but Skarsgård’s character had a hand helping Loki obtain the Tesseract in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers. And along those lines, both Tom Hiddleston and Anthony Hopkins – who played Loki and Odin, respectively – aren’t in the photo, and neither are Idris Elba (Heimdall), Jaimie Alexander (Lady Sif), and the Warriors Three: Ray Stevenson (Volstagg), Tadanobu Asano (Hogun), Josh Dallas (Fandral), and Zachary Levi (who played Fandral in Thor 2 and Thor 3).
As for Captain America: The First Avenger, the people from that film in the photo shoot are Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, and Hayley Atwell. Director Joe Johnston, Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark), Stanley Tucci (Dr. Abraham Erskine), Tommy Lee Jones (Col. Chester Phillips), Toby Jones (Dr. Arnim Zola), and Hugo Weaving (Red Skull) are all missing. And while all the aforementioned names are certainly important, perhaps the biggest missing person is Clark Gregg, who was the connective tissue for Phase 1 and is now shepherding the TV side of the MCU. Not including Gregg is detestable and an egregious mistake. As it turns, though, Gregg might have been invited but couldn’t make it.
MCU Phase 2 Actors Missing
Phase 2 is when the Marvel Cinematic Universe really hit its stride and started attracting more top-tier actors to join its ranks, yet many of those actors are missing from the group photo, such as Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce, who played Trevor Slattery (not the Mandarin) and Aldrich Killian in Iron Man 3. William Sadler, who’s played President Ellis in film and on TV, is missing as well, as is the film’s director, Shane Black, but it’s possible he was busy in principal photography on The Predator at the time.
And to keep the trend of missing villains going, Christopher Eccleston (Malekith in Thor: The Dark World), Robert Redford (Alexander Pierce in Captain America: The Winter Soldier), and James Spader (Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron) are all missing, which is strange since Frank Grillo is there – and he played smaller (in-universe) villain, Crossbones. Plus, while a number of actors from Ant-Man are in the group photo, including Michael Peña, both T.I. and David Dastmalchian aren’t, and neither is Corey Stoll, who played the film’s villain, Yellowjacket. And since Edgar Wright still received story credit on the film, should he have been included as well… or is there a bit of bad blood there?
James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy took the MCU to the next level and expanded the franchise into the cosmos for the first time since 2011’s Thor. And while the Guardians are present in the photo, one person is missing: Bradley Cooper. Whereas Vin Diesel performed motion-capture as Groot, Rocket Raccoon is mostly played by Sean Gunn (who is in the photo), while Cooper merely provided his voice. That may explain why Cooper isn’t in the photo, but considering how big a character Rocket is, it’s still surprising. Plus, Lee Pace (Ronan the Accuser), Benicio del Toro (Taneleer Tivan, a.k.a. the Collector), and members of the Nova Corps – Glenn Close, John C. Reilly, and Peter Serafinowicz – are also nowhere to be found.
Elizabeth Olsen has played Scarlet Witch twice so far, but it’s strange that her on-screen brother, Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Quicksilver), isn’t in the photo. Perhaps he was running too fast for the photo to catch him… or he didn’t see the photo coming?
MCU Phase 3 Actors Missing
On some level, it makes sense that a number of actors who played smaller-named characters in the MCU during Phase 1 and Phase 2 are missing, but why, then, are actors who played smaller-named characters in Phase 3 present in the photo? And as was the case with the previous phases, Phase 3 is missing quite a few villains: Michael Keaton (Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming), Cate Blanchett (Hela in Thor: Ragnarok), Daniel Brühl (Helmut Zemo in Civil War), Andy Serkis (Klaw in Black Panther), Michael B. Jordan (Erik Killmonger in Black Panther), Mads Mikkelsen (Kaecilius in Doctor Strange), and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Mordo in Doctor Strange).
While a number of supporting actors and actresses are in the photo, there are still quite a few that are missing: Jennifer Connelly (Karen in Homecoming), Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia in Black Panther), Martin Freeman (Everett K. Ross in Black Panther), and Marisa Tomei (Aunt May in Homecoming), and Zendaya (Michelle in Homecoming).
Sure, that’s a large number of people, but perhaps the most shocking Phase 2/Phase 3 actor to be missing from the group is Josh Brolin, who’s playing the shared universe’s big bad villain, Thanos. Brolin first appeared in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, but we’ve included him in Phase 3 because he’ll be making his actual debut in Avengers: Infinity War. But not including the one actor who’s playing the entire saga’s main villain is strange, especially since everyone else is there.
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