In the sometimes difficult push-pull between the need for star power and the drive to cast the best possible actors, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has worked out a reliable formula: The leading superhero/villain roles tend to go to relative unknowns or less-than-world-famous character actors, while guest stars and supporting parts are often filled out by established stars with big names like Anthony Hopkins as Odin or Jeff Goldblum as Thor: Ragnarok's "Grandmaster."
One big name set to join the roster soon is actress Sharon Stone, though thus far nobody will say who she's playing - or even which one of the multiple upcoming Marvel movies she's in. However, in a recent interview Stone did drop an intriguing hint about her character.
The tidbit comes as part of a wide-ranging profile of older actresses in retirement-focused publication AARP, with Jane Fonda and Alfre Woodard also getting the spotlight on their long careers and recent big new roles (Woodard is set to play a major role in the Marvel Netflix series Luke Cage after having played a supposedly unrelated cameo role in Captain America: Civil War). As the article noted:
"Woodard's character is a villain in Marvel's anticipated Netflix series Luke Cage; Stone has been cast as a superhero — she'll only reveal that her secret power is heat — in a yet-to-be-named movie, also for Marvel."
When the casting was first revealed by Stone during a television interview several months ago, early speculation had centered on the possibility of Stone portraying Janet Van Dyne, a.k.a. the original Wasp, in the upcoming Ant-Man sequel Ant-Man & The Wasp; based on the actress having pointedly described the role as a "wee part" (Wasp shares Ant-Man's shrinking powers) and the fact that it would be a clever bit of stunt-casting to pair Stone with Michael Douglas, with whom she'd famously starred in the infamous erotic-thriller Basic Instinct in the 1990s. The character (who does indeed possess additional heat-related energy-blast powers) appeared in flashbacks in the first Ant-Man without showing her face, and the events of the film's climax suggested the possibility that her supposed "death" may not have been as certain as believed.
It's also possible that Stone could be playing any number of other characters, as "heat" is something of a broadly-defined term on multiple levels. Several upcoming features including Guardians of The Galaxy 2 and Thor: Ragnarok are set to feature large casts of supporting characters, along with many fans expecting the Marvel version of Death (who presents as female and a paramour of Thanos) to turn up in one or both films. Additionally, Doctor Strange has recently demonstrated that Marvel is not opposed to casting established female movie stars in roles traditionally viewed as male - opening the number of possibilities considerably.
Captain America: Civil War is in theaters now. Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2– May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.