- Several actors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have played multiple roles, often starting with minor characters and later taking on larger parts.
- Actors like Alfre Woodard, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Gemma Chan have portrayed different characters in both Marvel Television shows and MCU movies.
- The pattern of actors assuming more than one role in the MCU will continue, with Mahershala Ali set to play Blade after previously portraying Cottonmouth in Luke Cage.
Most of the actors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been confined to one single character, but there have been several over the years who have played multiple roles. In franchises as big as Marvel Studios’ shared universe, minor actors often find themselves assuming larger roles down the line or taking up voice roles that keep their appearance off-screen.
While the Multiverse Saga has meant that more multiversal variants have been popping up – usually portrayed by their original actor – a multitude of actors have also portrayed very separate characters in the MCU. Several of these actors portrayed characters on Marvel Television’s shows, including Agents of SHIELD and Netflix’s Defenders shows, but there are also a few who played minor roles in the MCU proper before being gifted larger parts. This pattern is set to continue when Mahershala Ali assumes the role of Blade in the upcoming MCU movie after portraying Cottonmouth in Luke Cage, as he’ll join many other actors who have assumed more than one role in the MCU timeline.
Every Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie Ranked Worst To Best
Over 15 years and 33 movies, the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have redefined blockbuster cinema. But how do all the films stack up?
Alfre Woodard Played Mariah Dillard & Miriam Sharpe
Appeared Luke Cage & Captain America: Civil War
Alfre Woodard debuted as Mariah Dillard in Netflix’s Luke Cage, the cousin to Mahershala Ali’s Cottonmouth, who eventually succeeds him as the owner of Harlem’s Paradise. With the release of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, Woodard became one of the first actors to assume a double role in Marvel-related projects, as she had the minor role of Miriam Sharpe, a woman who approached Tony Stark about the untimely death of her son in Sokovia. Woodard’s appearance in these two projects raised many questions about the continuity and canonicity of Marvel Studios’ films and Marvel Television’s shows.
Benedict Cumberbatch Played Doctor Strange & Dormammu
Appeared In Multiple MCU Movies
Benedict Cumberbatch is best known in the MCU for portraying Stephen Strange, a.k.a. Doctor Strange, but the Sherlock actor also assumed the role of Dormammu in 2016’s Doctor Strange. Cumberbatch provided the motion capture and voice for the looming villain in the Dark Dimension, designed to act as an evil reflection of Strange himself, so there was perhaps no better actor for the job. With Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ post-credits scene teasing Doctor Strange and Clea’s journey into the Dark Dimension, it’s possible that Cumberbatch will assume the role of Dormammu once again in the MCU’s future.
Clancy Brown Played Surtur & The Blacksmith
Appeared In Thor: Ragnarok & Daredevil
Clancy Brown has a long history of both voice acting and live-action performances, and both have been on display in the MCU. Brown voiced Surtur in Thor: Ragnarok, the villain who was instrumental in bringing about Ragnarok and destroying Asgard. Brown also appeared in live-action as Colonel Ray Schoonover, a.k.a. the Blacksmith, in Netflix’s Daredevil and The Punisher, one of the leaders of Operation Cerberus who was responsible for Frank Castle’s family’s deaths. Brown marked another actor who made the move from Marvel Television to the MCU proper, though not in the same role like Charlie Cox, Vincent D’Onofrio, or Jon Bernthal.
Damion Poitier Played Thanos & A Crossbones Mercenary
Appeared In The Avengers & Captain America: Civil War
All eyes were on Damion Poitier in The Avengers’ post-credits scene, where the actor portrayed the original version of Thanos in the MCU. The role of the Mad Titan would later be taken over by Josh Brolin, who played Thanos from Guardians of the Galaxy until Avengers: Endgame, with his appearance changing drastically from the deep purple alien in The Avengers to the more natural Thanos showcased in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. While Poitier missed out on playing Thanos permanently in the MCU, he would later appear in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War as one of Crossbones’ mercenaries in Lagos.
Enver Gjokaj Played Officer Saunders & Daniel Sousa
Appeared In The Avengers & Agents of SHIELD
Enver Gjokaj originally appeared in The Avengers as New York City Police Officer Saunders during the Battle of New York, but this minor role led to a much larger part to play in Marvel Television’s Agent Carter and Agents of SHIELD. In the former, Gjokaj debuted as Daniel Sousa, a worker at the SSR and love-interest to Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter. Gjokaj would reprise this role for the final, time-traveling season of Agents of SHIELD, where the original plan was to have Sousa and Saunders revealed to be the same person, though this idea was eventually scrapped.
Gemma Chan Played Minn-Erva & Sersi
Appeared In Captain Marvel & Eternals
After portraying the blue-skinned Minn-Erva in Captain Marvel, a member of the elite Kree team, Starforce, and one of the film’s minor antagonists, Gemma Chan went on to have a starring role in a Phase 4 MCU project. Eternals saw Chan assume the lead role of Sersi, a member of the Eternals who defies the mission of her Celestial creators. Gemma Chan is much more likely to return as Sersi, potentially in the MCU’s Eternals 2, particularly since there have been calls for a continuation of the story set up in Eternals, as the Phase 4 film is widely regarded to have failed the interesting and complex characters.
Imogen & Isabella Poynton Played Duranna & Lila Barton
Appeared In Guardians Of The Galaxy & Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Imogen and Isabella Poynton are twin actors with a history of sharing roles, which they’ve done twice in the MCU. The Poynton sisters first appeared briefly in Guardians of the Galaxy as Duranna, the daughter of Nova Corps agent Rhomann Dey, residing on Xandar, who were saved by Rocket during the film’s final battle. The two actors later played the young Lila Barton in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but were eventually replaced by Ava Russo after several years had passed for the events of Avengers: Endgame and Hawkeye.
Joe Russo Has Played Many MCU Roles
Appeared In Multiple MCU Movies
The Russo Brothers are best known for their directorial contributions to the MCU, but Joe Russo has also featured himself in his various Marvel Studios projects. Russo portrayed Dr. Fine, the doctor who operated on Nick Fury, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He later played Theo Broussard in Captain America: Civil War, the psychiatrist who was killed and impersonated by Baron Zemo. Russo’s most recent role in the MCU came during the opening moments of Avengers: Endgame, where the director played Bobby, a member of Steve Rogers’ support group who opened up about his life during the Blip.
Judy Greer Played Maggie & War Pig
Appeared In Ant-Man & Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3
Known for her voice acting roles, Judy Greer appeared in live-action for Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man, assuming the role of Cassie Lang’s mother and Scott Lang’s ex-wife, Maggie. Greer reprised this role for Ant-Man and the Wasp, though she was curiously absent from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, despite Cassie having a much larger role in the Phase 5 film. Greer more recently voiced War Pig in the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, one of the High Evolutionary’s creations who seeks to capture Rocket, though she is quickly killed by Adam Warlock.
Kenneth Choi Played Private Jim Morita & Principal Morita
Appeared In Captain America: The First Avengers & Spider-Man: Homecoming
Unlike most of the other actors on this list, Kenneth Choi’s two MCU roles are actually connected in-universe. Choi made his MCU debut in Captain America: The First Avenger as Private Jim Morita, a member of Steve Rogers’ Howling Commandos, who battled with Captain America during WWII. He reprised this role for Agent Carter and briefly in Agents of SHIELD. Choi later appeared as Principal Morita in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, the principal of Peter Parker’s high school, and also the grandson of his The First Avenger role – memorabilia and photos of his grandfather can be seen in his office.
Laura Haddock Played Meredith & An Unnamed Character
Appeared In Captain America: The First Avengers & Guardians Of The Galaxy
Laura Haddock’s first MCU role was remarkably small, appearing as a woman wanting Captain America’s autograph in Captain America: The First Avenger. Haddock later appeared as Peter Quill’s mother, Meredith, in Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Director James Gunn joked that Haddock’s The First Avenger character could actually be Meredith Quill’s mother, though this hasn’t been confirmed. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law also hilariously teased that Haddock’s character in The First Avenger was the woman to take Steve Rogers’ virginity – something which Jennifer Walters reveled in knowing.
Linda Cardellini Played Laura Barton & Lylla The Otter
Appeared In Avengers: Age Of Ultron & Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3
Linda Cardellini has portrayed Laura Barton in the MCU since Avengers: Age of Ultron, seeing much more development as Hawkeye’s wife and a former SHIELD Agent herself in Hawkeye on Disney+. In the MCU’s Phase 5, however, Cardellini was tasked with voicing Lylla the Otter in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, one of the High Evolutionary’s experiments from Batch 89. Lylla helped Rocket develop into the intelligent Guardian of the Galaxy, though she was unable to fly away with him after being freed from her cage.
Matt Gerald Played Melvin Potter & An Unnamed Character
Appeared In Daredevil & The All Hail The King Oneshot
Neither of Matt Gerald’s roles in the Marvel Universe have been major, as he originally appeared in the Marvel Studios One Shot All Hail The King as an inmate at Seagate Prison who briefly gets into an altercation with Trevor Slattery. Although Gerald’s role in Netflix’s Daredevil was significantly larger, it still wasn’t a starring role, as he portrayed Melvin Potter in the Netflix series, an unassuming designer who created clothing for both Wilson Fisk and Matt Murdock, as well as designing Daredevil’s signature suit and accompanying weapons.
Michelle Yeoh Played Aleta Ogord & Ying Nan
Appeared In Guardians Of The Guardians Vol. 2 & Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings
Michelle Yeoh’s role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was nothing more than a cameo, appearing as Aleta Ogord alongside other members of the Ravagers, teasing the introduction of Marvel Comics’ original Guardians of the Galaxy team. Phase 4 would provide Yeoh with her time to shine, however, as she brought the character of Ying Nan to life in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Nan is Shang-Chi and Xialing’s aunt and one of the guardians of the mystical dimension of Ta Lo, helping to protect their world and the MCU’s primary world from the dangers of the Dweller in Darkness.
Mikaela Hoover Played Floor The Rabbit & Nova Prime’s Assistant
Appeared In Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 & Guardians Of The Galaxy
Mikaela Hoover originally appeared as Nova Prime’s assistant in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, but since James Gunn has a habit of reusing actors from his previous works, Hoover also made a voice appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. During the Phase 5 film, Hoover voiced Floor the Rabbit, an experiment of the High Evolutionary’s from Batch 89 who was imprisoned with Rocket, Lylla, and Teefs. Floor unfortunately never made it free from the High Evolutionary’s grasp, but her friendship inspired Rocket to eventually become a Guardian of the Galaxy.
Nathan Fillion Played Kyln & Master Karja
Appeared In Guardians Of The Galaxy & Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3
As a frequent collaborator with director James Gunn, Nathan Fillion appeared in both 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and 2023’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. In the 2014 film, Fillion portrayed a blue alien prisoner in the Kyln, who threatens Peter Quill but is incapacitated by Rocket and Groot. For Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Fillion portrayed Master Karja, a security officer at the Orgoscope who comes into contact with the Guardians team while they’re on their life-saving mission. Fillion was originally going to appear in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as Simon Williams, a.k.a. Wonder Man, but these scenes were cut.
Patrick Brennan Played Marcus Daniels & Audrey Nathan
Appeared In Agents of SHIELD & Captain Marvel
First appearing on Agents of SHIELD as Marcus Daniels, a villain with the ability to control Darkforce, Patrick Brennan’s other MCU role was even smaller. In Agents of SHIELD, Daniels had an entire episode dedicated to his stalking of Phil Coulson’s ex-girlfriend, Audrey Nathan, the cellist, but in Captain Marvel, Brennan appeared only as a bartender in an establishment attended by Carol Danvers and Nick Fury. Brennan’s roles mark one of the few times the character on Marvel Television’s shows is more exciting than that in the MCU proper.
Patton Oswalt Played The Koenigs & Pip The Troll
Appeared In Agents Of SHIELD & Eternals
Patton Oswalt had a secondary role in Agents of SHIELD, appearing in nine episodes total as the Koenigs, identical siblings of an indeterminate number, with it being one of the series’ longest-running jokes that they all look exactly the same. More recently, however, Oswalt made the move into the MCU proper during Phase 4’s Eternals. Not only did Eternals’ post-credits scene debut Harry Styles as Eros, a.k.a. Starfox, but Oswalt appeared as the CGI-created Pip the Troll, though it’s unclear when Pip the Troll might see some further development in the MCU.
Paul Bettany Played JARVIS & Vision
Appeared In Iron Man & Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Perhaps the most well-known MCU actor to portray two roles – both of which are also strikingly similar – is Paul Bettany. Bettany could originally be heard as the voice of JARVIS, Tony Stark’s AI assistant, but during Avengers: Age of Ultron, JARVIS became part of the concotion that allowed Vision to emerge, providing Bettany with his first official acting role in the MCU. Vision was later killed by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, but Phase 4’s WandaVision marked the creation of the new White Vision, who is next expected to be seen in his own solo MCU spinoff series, Vision Quest.
Peter Mensah Played General Joe Greller & Qovas
Appeared In The Incredible Hulk & Agents of SHIELD
Peter Mensah originally appeared in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk as General Joe Greller, a soldier working with General Thaddeus Ross to track down and capture Bruce Banner, a.k.a. the Hulk, then portrayed by Edward Norton. Later, however, Mensah was gifted a slightly larger role in Marvel Television’s Agents of SHIELD, which saw him play Qovas. Qovas was one of the leaders of the Confederacy who was trying to obtain Gravitonium and a selection of Inhumans from humanity in exchange for providing protection against the oncoming attack of the Mad Titan Thanos.