There’s a certain thrill that only a surprise cameo can bring to a movie. An actor or actress popping up suddenly for a brief, scene-stealing moment has always been a popular trope, and some performers have turned it into an artform. Bill Murray stole the show in Zombieland, Alec Baldwin’s turn in Glengarry Glen Ross is some of his best work, and Stan Lee is always a welcome presence in any Marvel movie he pops in on (which is pretty much all of them).
Fans also love to speculate on possible cameo appearances in upcoming movies, and 2017 has already had a couple of doozies with Ice Cube in xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage – because honestly, who expected them to acknowledge the existence of the second movie? – and a certain shock appearance in Split sent audiences buzzing out of cinemas. With so many comic book movies, sequels, and reboots coming this year, there’s plenty of room for more surprise appearances, so here are 15 Surprise Movie Cameos That Could Happen In 2017 and how they could fit into the story.
15 Johnny Depp (The Mummy)
While the announcement of a Shared Monster Movie Universe led to mass eye-rolling the world over, Universal is certainly putting their money where their mouth is. The first installment – now that they’re officially ignoring Dracula Untold – will be The Mummy, a mega-budget explosion fest starring Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe. They’ve also announced a starry lineup for the other movies, with Javier Bardem likely playing Frankenstein’s Monster and Johnny Depp set as The Invisible Man.
In The Mummy, Crowe’s Dr. Jekyll will be the head of The Prodigium, an organization that keeps tabs on the various monsters. He’s basically playing a Nick Fury-style role in this universe, which will lead to an eventual team-up with all the big names (which we're hoping will be dubbed The Monster Mash.
In that regard, it makes sense for The Mummy to tease future movies, and with Depp being the biggest name next to Cruise, a quick post-credit appearance from the Invisible Man wouldn’t be a huge shocker. They could even be lazy and having a double wrapped in bandages, and have Depp dub his voice in later.
14 Hayden Christensen (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)
Poor Hayden Christensen still receives plenty of hate for his time as Anakin Skywalker, and while his wooden turn in Attack Of The Clones is hard to overlook, he improved considerably in Revenge Of The Sith. It's also worth noting that even Daniel Day-Lewis would have struggled to make Anakin’s dialogue sound good.
Some fans have come to appreciate his work in recent years, and have even welcomed the notion of him returning to play Darth Vader someday. An early version of The Force Awakens would have featured the character as a Force Ghost, one who switched back and forth between Anakin and Darth. With Luke returning for a featured role in The Last Jedi, there’s a chance this concept could be reused.
It feels supremely unlikely the new trilogy won’t feature Vader somewhere along the way, and since the question of legacy is at the heart of this new saga, an appearance by Christensen doesn’t sound all that far-fetched.
13 Cary Elwes (Saw: Legacy)
By the time Saw 3D: The Final Chapter rolled around in 2010, the world had had its fill of Torture Porn horror. The series had also run out of steam, and the increasingly convoluted narrative was becoming hard to follow even for longtime fans.
Still, nobody really believed it was the “final” one; thus, the franchise is getting a reboot with Saw: Legacy, just in time for Halloween 2017. Story details are being kept to a minimum, but it will be in continuity with the other movies and will likely deal with the disciples of Jigsaw continuing his work.
That leaves plenty of scope for Cary Elwes to return as Dr. Gordon, who was the main character in the original movie and was eventually revealed as Jigsaw’s apprentice in The Final Chapter. Since Gordon is one of the most popular characters -- and one of the few left alive -- it’s highly likely that the good doctor will appear in at least a small role.
12 Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner 2049)
Anticipation is high for Blade Runner 2049, which finds acclaimed director Denis Villeneuve taking the reins from Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford returning as Deckard. The production has been playing its cards very close to the chest, with actors like Jared Leto and Dave Bautista cast in mystery roles and little being revealed about the story.
Like the title indicates, it will take place thirty years after the original and will feature Ryan Gosling’s new blade runner tracking down Deckard. According to a report, a replicant character from Blade Runner will also be returning, with the actor being digitally de-aged for the scene.
The obvious candidate is Sean Young, since her character Rachel fled with Deckard during the climax of the original, so a scene explaining her fate makes sense. It could also mean the return of Rutger Hauer’s Roy Batty, however, who is arguably the most iconic character that fits the rumor. It’s hard to know what the context of such a scene would be, but it would be poignant seeing the doomed replicant back on screen.
11 Michael Caine (Kingsman: The Golden Circle)
Kingsman: The Secret Service was a joyous ode to the campy Roger Moore Bond era, where tongue in cheek humor and over the top gadgetry was the order of the day. It also had a couple of standout set pieces, and great performances from veteran actors like Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, and Michael Caine.
By the time the end credits rolled, it looked unlikely that any of those three would be coming back for a sequel, but Firth’s return has been confirmed for Kingsmen: The Golden Circle, despite his character taking a bullet to the head. The world of the movie is hardly a hyper-realistic one, so if producers really want a character to return, it wouldn’t be hard to engineer.
On that front, it would nice to see Michael Caine back as Arthur, the treacherous founder of the service. Arthur met his end in the original, but maybe a flashback exploring the origins of the Kingsman could feature his character. In fact, a deleted scene from the original showed off a digitally de-aged Caine (seen above), so that’s one possible angle The Golden Circle could take.
10 Ken Watanabe (Kong: Skull Island)
Godzilla proved to be surprisingly divisive among fans. Many viewers complained that the title monster barely appeared, but others loved the film's "less is more" approach. There were also complaints about the death of a certain main character who had been driving the narrative up to the second act, and their replacement in that role in the film being quite bland.
These complaints didn’t stop Godzilla from becoming a hit, and Warner Bros soon announced plans for a Kaiju extended universe in which Godzilla will fight King Kong (aka the "MonsterVerse"). The big ape is getting his own movie in 2017 with Kong: Skull Island, featuring Vietnam-era soldiers running afoul of The King himself.
The 2017 adventure will undoubtedly feature some kind of easter egg teasing a future fight between the two monsters, and the most obvious way to connect them is through Monarch, the organization introduced in Godzilla that keeps tabs on big monsters. Ken Watanabe played Dr. Serizawa, the head of the project, so if there’s one man who could link the two franchises naturally, it would be him.
9 Luke Evans (The Fate Of The Furious)
Until Jason Statham turned up, The Fast And Furious movies weren’t known for having terribly compelling bad guys. They’re mostly an excuse for the heroes to drive fast and do ridiculous stunts, something that doesn’t often require a three-dimensional villain. Luke Evans’ Owen Shaw only stands out because his big bro Deckard is played by Statham, and Owen’s maiming during the sixth movie sets Furious Seven in motion.
That one opens with Owen in a coma and Deckard swearing vengeance on Dom and his crew. It was a good setup, and at least provided the villain with some form of motivation. The trailer for the latest entry in the series, Fate Of The Furious, reveals Deckard is reluctantly working alongside the gang to bring down a bigger threat, but once that’s resolved, he’ll likely go back to vendetta mode.
One route future entries could take is family versus family, with the Toretto clan on one side and the Shaw’s – including unseen brothers, sisters, nieces and extended cousins – on the other. A quick appearance by Evans would set that up nicely, since he’s unlikely to stay in that coma forever.
8 Sam Rockwell (Mute)
Warcraft didn’t quite live up to everyone’s expectations – or do much to change the image of video game movies – but Duncan Jones is far too interesting a filmmaker to dismiss because of one bad movie. Both Moon and Source Code were first class thrillers, and Jones’ next film, Mute, is a pet project he’s been trying to make for years.
The story follows a mute bartender played by Alexander Skarsgard, who tries to track down his missing wife in a futuristic Berlin. The stills and concept art alone make this one look exciting, and Jones has dubbed Mute a “spiritual sequel” to Moon.
In the past, Jones has spoken of how Sam Rockwell’s Moon character could pop up briefly, without providing any context for how. It hasn’t been confirmed one way or another if Rockwell actually will appear, but given the close relationship between Jones and the actor, the probability is high.
7 Keira Knightley (Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales)
The Pirates Of The Caribbean series is hardly a critical favorite, but considering the last movie made a billion at the box office, Disney is only too happy to keep the series alive. Dead Men Tell No Tales will see Captain Jack pursued by a ghostly pirate played by Javier Bardem, and during the course of the story, Jack will run into Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner, who sat out the fourth movie.
Turner is now in charge of The Flying Dutchman following the events of the third film, meaning he’s busy collecting the souls of dead sailors. A post-credit scene for At World’s End established that Will and Elisabeth Swann (Keira Knightly) had a son, and that he served his ten years as Captain before returning to them, making the timeline of the new movie a little confusing.
While Knightley has said she has no interest in returning to the series in the past, she’s might be coaxed into popping in for a scene to wrap up Will’s journey, and even set up an appearance in a future movie.
6 James Franco (War For The Planet Of The Apes)
James Franco may have received top billing for Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, but it was Andy Serkis’ motion capture work as Caesar that struck a chord with viewers. Franco’s character Will was entirely absent from Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes -- aside from brief video footage -- and is presumed dead following the outbreak of a virus in-between movies.
War Of The Planet Of The Apes is likely to wrap up Caesar’s storyline, with a decisive battle between apes and humankind that will (presumably) lead to the apes becoming the dominant species on the planet. It’s going to be an epic conclusion, and Caesar will probably be reflecting on his journey along the way.
That leaves room for a flashback cameo featuring Franco, or maybe another scene where Caesar is looking over video footage of his old friend. This would be a nice call-back to the first film and acknowledge the importance of Will to the series.
5 Willem Dafoe (John Wick: Chapter 2)
John Wick felt like an utter breath of fresh air to action fans back in 2014. Instead of being a comic book movie or CGI speculate, it was an old-fashioned action movie complete with pulpy dialogue, likeable characters, and great gunfights. It also reminded everyone why they fell in love with Keanu in the first place.
It presented a fascinating criminal underworld too, complete with its own unique rules and codes. John Wick: Chapter Two promises to dive deeper into this underbelly, which is a good thing. We may even get a glimpse of the legendary “impossible” job Wick pulled off before retirement, which was mentioned a few times in the original.
If the movie does look into John’s past, maybe Willem Dafoe’s kindly hitman Marcus could reappear. Marcus saved Wick’s life a couple of times throughout the story, but was eventually killed by the main villain. A scene or two giving some more context to that friendship wouldn’t go amiss; and who’s going to turn down more Dafoe?
Update: Welp, looks like we're 0 for 1 here.
4 Ryan Reynolds (Logan)
Deadpool famously took a long time to get off the ground, thanks to the lukewarm reception to the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Despite Ryan Reynolds cheerleading the project, it was years before it earned a greenlight, thanks to someone leaking test footage online. Reynolds' belief in the project paid off beautifully, and it now stands as the highest-grossing film in the X-Men series, despite being R-rated.
Fans would obviously love to see Deadpool team with Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine one last time, but that looks unlikely, since Jackman has long maintained that he's hanging up the claws after Logan. There was a report of Reynolds filming a secret cameo for the movie, but both actors deny this, and given the grounded tone of Logan, it’s hard to see where Deadpool would fit.
Fans are still holding out hope, however, pointing to the real-life friendship of the two actors and hints that Jackman could finally don Wolverine’s comic outfit. The working theory is that a fantasy comic book sequence could meld them together, which would be just lovely if true.
3 Jared Leto (Justice League)
Jared Leto’s Joker was a contentious part of Suicide Squad for a couple of reasons. Many felt his performance failed to live up to the standards set by the likes of Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger, and some even felt that his take on character was pretty annoying. Others felt Leto's added a fresh interpretation, but were annoyed that his importance to the plot had been oversold by the trailers, considering his relatively slim screentime. In this regard, even the actor was disappointed by the amount of Joker footage trimmed out of the final cut.
It’s all but inevitable he'll return, though, and it’s just a question of when. The character’s next appearance has yet to be confirmed, but an onscreen clash between Joker and Affleck’s Batman is inevitable. The character is responsible for the death of Robin in the DCU continuity, which the movies have yet to explore in great detail.
Justice League has plenty of characters already, but a quick appearance by The Joker to establish a future showdown is entirely likely; it would certainly make DC fans happy, too.
2 Scarlett Johansson (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
While she still hasn’t received her own solo adventure, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow has become a major part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She stole the show in The Winter Soldier and Age Of Ultron, and has gone from a bodyguard with a mysterious past to the conscience of the team in her time on screen.
Given the events of Civil War, it doesn’t feel like there’s much cause for The Avengers to appear in Spider-Man: Homecoming, especially given the smaller scale of the story. It’s well known that Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark will have s subtantial role as the titular hero's mentor, but for the most part, it looks to be Peter’s story this time around.
There were reports, however, that Johansson was spotted in Atlanta during the Homecoming shoot, suggesting that Black Widow could pop in and join the fun at some point. Maybe Stark calls on her for assistance during the story, or she’s there to tease something for the upcoming Infinity War. In any event, we wouldn't be surprised if RDJ is the only Avenger in Homecoming.
1 The Avengers (Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2)
Marvel fans will have an overdose in 2017 thanks to the triple threat of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, and Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2. It’s already confirmed that the latter film will have direct ties to Avengers: Infinity War, which is shaping up to be the biggest event in the MCU so far.
Director James Gunn has always maintained that Guardians stands alone amongst the other Marvel movies, and that while Vol. 2 will hint at future events, it's telling its own story. The obvious connective tissue between the film and Infinity War is Josh Brolin’s Thanos, who is finally getting out of his cool little rocket chair and getting in on the action.
Yet Gunn has been adamant Thanos won’t be physically appearing, and it will focus on the relationship between his daughters Gamora and Nebula. There’s still the question of the all-important credit tag, which will almost certainly tease Infinity War and the Guardians' connection to it. Our best guess is that it will tease their first meeting with The Avengers, and how they fit into the story.