The Marvel Cinematic Universe recently hit a decade-long milestone. Throughout the past 10 years, the studio released more hits than misses. On the big and small screen, fans witnessed as some pretty epic friendships grew. Amongst these legendary friendships are Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes, Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. Rather than villains, the MCU has created some awesome frenemies. Technically, the whole of Captain America: Civil War was about how Tony Stark and Steve Rogers are frenemies (amongst other things).
While the characters captured audiences imaginations, the actors have also made some great friendships. Nothing warms an MCU fan's heart more than seeing them interact off-screen. Over the past decade, everyone has witnessed the birth of some amazing double acts. In addition to those double acts, however, there has also been behind-the-scenes drama. While a real life Marvel Civil War hasn't happened, there have been frenemies created from on and off set tension. Sometimes, they move past it. Other times, they just remain tense and keep things nice for the cameras.
Luckily for everyone, however, things behind-the-scenes seem perfectly nice between the actors. (Or so Marvel wants us to think.) Either way, here are the 10 Best Friends In The MCU (And 5 Frenemies).
15 Best Friends: Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson
This is a pretty easy pitch, but it’s unsurprising. Evans and Johansson worked on films together since 2004’s The Perfect Score. The film started a friendship that is almost 15 years and counting. It shows in the easy chemistry between the pair on screen and when they get to do press together.
In fact, rumors about the pair dating have been going on for years (Note: They’re not. Men and women can just be friends).
In an interview on Ellen back in 2015, Johansson said, “I probably know him too well.” Evans then pranked her by surprising her. Still you don’t make about 10 movies together without liking each other. Hopefully, there will be many more Evans and Johansson films in the future. Can’t let a good rapport go to waste.
14 Best Friends: Tom Holland and Jon Bernthal
One plays the snarky web-slinger known as Spider-Man. The other plays the tortured veteran on a bloody rampage to avenger the wrongful deaths of his family. Together? They’re pretty tight friends in real life.
Tom Holland and Jon Bernthal may have an age difference for their friendship, but true friends know no age limits.
Not only have both expressed an interest for their characters meeting, but they also credit the other in landing their MCU roles. While they were filming The Pilgrimage, both of them were also auditioning for their respective roles. Bernthal helped Holland put together an audition tape and read lines off camera. Holland filmed a reel with Bernthal where they both were “hunting” in order to push him to the forefront of the other contenders. The pair are clearly fond of each other. Maybe they’ll be the key to the long awaited MCU film and MCU TV crossover?
13 Frenemies: Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson
Black Widow and Hawkeye are true blue besties on the big screen. Not even facing off against each other during Civil War could tear their friendship apart, but things aren’t so nice off screen.
During press for Avengers: Age of Ultron, Renner (and Chris Evans) got into some pretty hot water when they called Black Widow some demeaning words in an interview.
Evans quickly apologized. Renner did as well, but later kind of retracted his apology when he defended his comments on Conan. He said, “Conan, if you slept with four of the six Avengers, no matter how much fun you had, you'd be [promiscuous].” Whether this comment was in jest or not, things seemed to have cooled between the pair. Although, Johansson did invite Renner to perform for the charity reading of Our Town. So perhaps, time heals all wounds.
12 Best Friends: Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans
While Tony Stark and Steve Rogers are more frenemies than actual friends, the same cannot be said for their actors. Downey and Evans have been good friends for years now. In fact, Downey was the one who convinced Evans to sign the multi-film contract with Marvel when the actor was on the fence.
The two seem to have a lot fun together when they are paired for press.
If that’s not impressive enough, then Downey actually medically helped out Evans. During the filming of that infamous helicopter scene in Captain America: Civil War, Evans hurt his arm. Downey took him to his trailer and helped with his injury. According to Downey in a PEOPLE interview, he wasn’t surprised. He said, “I say, ‘You know what? All the things he’s done, that’s the one that was going to injure him.’ I knew it.” Know your friends, after all.
11 Best Friends: Winston Duke and Lupita Nyong’o
With Black Panther breaking the box office, fans are definitely enjoying the affection between the cast members. A lot of them have surprising connections to each other. One of them is that Winston Duke (who plays M’Baku) and Lupita Nyong’o (who plays Nakia) have been friends for years.
The pair went to Yale School of Drama together. Funnily enough, Nyong’o gave Duke his campus tour!
Duke said, “She and I became really close because we shared that immigrant experience. We shared the idea of having really big dreams knowing that we'd left our own country." In addition, they went to see The Avengers together when it came out in 2012. Funnily enough, six years later their Marvel film Black Panther almost overtook the Avengers opening weekend box office (Black Panther made $202 million while The Avengers made $207 million).
10 Frenemies: Terrence Howard and Robert Downey Jr.
Back in the day, the best paid star in Marvel was actually Terrence Howard, who played Colonel James Rhodes in the first Iron Man. As many fans know, Robert Downey Jr was considered a pretty risky actor due to his previous addictions. In fact, Howard and director Jon Favreau went to bat for Downey to play Tony Stark.
While 2008’s Iron Man succeeded anyone’s expectations, things got a little dicey in the aftermath. Eventually, it led to Marvel recasting Howard with Don Cheadle.
Before this Howard and Downey were actually pretty close friends. With Iron Man, Downey’s star was on the rise, while Howard’s took a pretty swift fall after being cut from the MCU. Howard, reportedly, blamed Downey for his firing. It was pretty ugly. Things have seen to warmed again between the pair, asDowney’s on top of the world and so is Howard with Fox’s Empire.
9 Best Friends: Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch
Sometimes life can just amaze you with how many actors have known each other for years and years. One of those pairings is Tom Hiddleston (Loki) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange). The duo only appeared together briefly in Thor: Ragnarok. They met on the set of the 2011 film War Horse and have been friends ever since.
In fact, they are genuinely best friends. They hang out together. They were neighbors. They talk about each other in interviews.
In fact, Cumberbatch can imitate Hiddleston pretty perfectly. It’s actually pretty insane that they haven’t been in more projects together. Here’s hoping Loki and Stephen Strange have some scenes in Avengers: Infinity War. Dare fans hope for a spin-off team-up movie? Let’s dare to dream anyway.
8 Best Friends: Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan
When paired together in Captain America: Civil War, Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes had the kind of vitriolic friendship that fans love. In real life, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan are good friends and giant dorks.
While we don’t know how often these two hang out outside of Marvel, they’re almost always paired together for press and for conventions.
It makes perfect sense because it’s a double-act that has fans in stitches. In fact, there are multiple compilations of their greatest moments on YouTube. Recently, the duo has taken to hazing Tom Holland a little bit as well. It looks like it’s all in good fun though. Hopefully, the snark that made those Bucky and Sam moments so excellent in Civil War will spill over to Infinity War as well. Plus, fingers crossed, more press with Mackie and Stan!
7 Frenemies: Marisa Tomei And Robert Downey Jr.
Even if you end up as friends again with an ex, you're frenemies for a little while post break-up. During the 90s, Marisa Tomei (the New-New Aunt May) and Robert Downey Jr both dated and co-starred in some films. Tomei played opposite of Downey in his first Oscar nominated role for Chaplin. The two, for reasons, broke-up. Downey eventually went into rehab, married, and became Tony Stark. Tomei won an Academy Award for My Cousin Vinny, married and had other projects.
When RDJ and Tomei shared the screen again in Civil War, the chemistry between them definitely remained.
It definitely seems like they’ve became friends again. At least they’re friends off-screen because Aunt May will be probably, definitely, be mad at Tony Stark for a while. If they interact in Infinity War, then it will definitely be fun.
6 Best Friends: Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira
Let’s be real, who doesn’t want to be friends with Lupita Nyong’o? She just seems to be so cool. While Duke and Nyong’o have been friends for years, she only recently met Danai Gurira. Gurira is best-known for her work on The Walking Dead, but she is also a writer. In 2015, Gurira’s play Eclipsed opened Off-Broadway. Nyong’o was part of the cast as The Girl (Wife Number Four). Who knew that they would be starring in Black Panther in a couple of years?
Since then, however, Gurira and Nyong’o have been the epitome of Black Girl Magic and Women Supporting Women.
It also appears that their Black Panther work has led to other projects. In fact, the duo will work together on an adaptation for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah. So we can definitely expect more stellar work from this pair in the near future.
5 Best Friends: Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth
This duo may play frenemy brothers Loki and Thor on screen, but off screen? Well they’re definitely brothers from another mother.
From gag reels to watching them interact, it’s clear that Hemsworth and Hiddleston both genuinely like each other.
Hemsworth said to Collider, “We came into this, at the same point in our careers, with the same enthusiasm and love for these types of films, and just had a great time doing it.” Hiddleston agreed, “The fact that we get along, we just egg each other on. We raised each other’s game. We just had a really, really good time." If you’re going to spend a lot of time with another person, then they should definitely like them. Hopefully, they duo will work together on other projects once their Marvel contracts end, as there's no reason to break up this dynamic duo.
4 Frenemies: Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios
The studios of Hollywood are the truest frenemies that the world has ever known. At times, they can be each other’s best friends or their worst enemies. It's especially true with various copyrights. For years, since the MCU started, Marvel had been trying to get Spider-Man. Sony, meanwhile, blocked them at every turn. The Amazing Spider-Man franchise was essentially Sony blocking Marvel from getting the film rights back.
Eventually, Sony and Marvel made a deal that Spider-Man could appear in the MCU. With Tom Holland as the lead, the decision to return Spider-Man to Marvel has been widely praised. Meanwhile, however, Sony is trying to use the Spidey characters they have in other movies…without including Spidey. It’s pretty clear that this relationship is always going to be on the side of the frenemy.
3 Best Friends: Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson
Most fans may have found a NoTP with Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but there is a great friendship off-screen. Johansson and Ruffalo spend time together off set. After all, you don’t do duo publicity rounds with someone you hate. The pair genuinely appear to enjoy each other’s company.
During Age of Ultron press, Ruffalo took the questions Johansson was usually asked in an interview with Cosmo.
When Johansson put together a reading of Our Town to help raise money for Puerto Rico, she reached out Ruffalo along with Evans and Downey to perform. It’s always nice to see when actors playing heroes get together in real life to do something heroic. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see the Avengers assemble on Broadway one day. Now that would be fun.
2 Best Friends: Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie
The best kind of friends are the ones who make it seem like you’re not working at all. According to Chris Evans, Anthony Mackie is that kind of friend. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Evans said that when everyone is looking to have a good time, then Mackie is their man. After appearing together in The Winter Soldier, Mackie and Evans also starred in a second movie, Playing It Cool.
It seems like working together has sparked a friendship straight out of the pages of a comic book.
In gag reels and interviews, the two are often joking with each other. While it's not the Anthony and Sebastian show, the Anthony and Chris show is pretty great. Plus there's a greater chance of Disney songs. That's great because they are both Disney princes.
1 Frenemies: Hayley Atwell and Clark Gregg
This may be stretching the term “frenemies” a bit. Clark Gregg and Hayley Atwell appear to be pretty good friends in real life. Still a rivalry like theirs definitely puts them in the category. The Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. stars entered into an over the top Dubsmash War back in 2015 (Do people still use Dubsmash? If not, then bring it back). At first, it was a back and forth thing. Eventually, however, it became a Dubsmash War for charity. It was not only restricted to their casts either. Chris Evans helped Atwell with one while Supergirl’s Melissa Benoist assisted Clark Gregg.
Together, these frenemies raised almost $100,000 for Stomp Out Bullying! and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Still the lip syncs became so elaborate and epic, they had to appear on a second season episode of Lip Sync Battle to settle the score.
So who are your choices for the best friends in the MCU? And who do you think are frenemies?
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