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When we think of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one of the first things that comes to mind is the iconic casting for so many characters. Robert Downey Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson seem almost inseparable from Tony Stark and Nick Fury, and Ryan Reynolds has taken ownership of Deadpool in a way few actors do with their roles. But while it’s hard to imagine other actors stepping into their shoes, other characters have been recast–some even more than once–just within the MCU. Some are almost invisible, some are conditional, but others are dramatic and impossible to miss.
Recasting happens all the time in Hollywood, often without us even knowing it, as some of the instances in the following gallery show. The Harry Potter films had to recast Michael Gambon as Dumbledore after actor Richard Harris passed away between the second and third films. Back to the Future filmed five weeks of scenes with Eric Stoltz before deeming him a poor fit for the role, and Michael J. Fox subbed in and shot his scenes overnight while fulfilling his obligations to his TV show, Family Ties.
Other recastings are more visible. The Dark Knight famously swapped Katie Holmes out for Maggie Gyllenhaal for the character of Rachel Dawes. Just this fall we have examples of television characters being recast. Over on Netflix, Liam Hemsworth will replace Henry Cavill as The Witcher’s Geralt in Season 4 (although it turns out he auditioned for the role some years ago). On the CW’s Superman & Lois, super-son Jonathan Kent was recast after actor Jordan Elsass left the role to focus on his mental health.
It happens all the time, but when your movies make up four of the top 10 highest-grossing films of all time, it’s just a little more visible.