For those weary of Marvel blockbusters, the franchise is a monopolistic annoyance, slowly eating away at opportunities for smaller and less noisy films to flourish. The underlying fear is that one day, you’ll want to go to the movies and find that only superhero dreck is playing.
But in the meantime, Marvel itself faces a related issue: They’re running out of actors.
I mean no disrespect to Bad Bunny, who is a charismatic performer and by all accounts very fun to watch in a wrestling ring. And the first Latino lead in a Marvel movie? That’s a win. But when Sony, fresh off the disastrous comic book adaptation where Jared Leto plays a vampire named Michael Morbius, pushes the chips in on a new spin-off about a luchador who once fought Spider-Man… well, I think there’s a reason they didn’t score a more established actor. Hollywood basically has no other guy in the same age range, with the same background, whose celebrity profile compares to that of a pop star.
Weirdly, Marvel sort of prevents would-be stars from making their name within the brand, since the casts are always a bunch of A-listers earning huge paychecks for spending a few weeks in front of a green screen. Because it’s not designed to nurture or bet on new talent, Marvel’s pool of potential newcomers is rapidly shrinking.
Some double-ups are even more glaring than those mentioned here. Josh Brolin played the ultimate Avengers villain, Thanos, but also took the role of the time-traveling antagonist Cable in Deadpool 2 (a fact cheekily referenced by Deadpool in the film). Oscar Isaac has been the X-Men baddie Apocalypse, is now the star of the Marvel series Moon Knight, and voiced Spider-Man 2099, who is set to reappear in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.
Enough! I like Oscar too, but he’s not the only guy looking for work in his town. Even so, I bet Disney ends up sticking him in another Star Wars project and pretending the last trilogy never happened.
Dear god. It’s been 15 years since the MCU began, and they’re planning another decade? We’re halfway through “Phase Four,” and even that was only achieved by having regulars reprise their characters for the second, third or even fourth time. Once those well-known heroes are spent, it’s going to be a lot of scrounging around for material and trying to convince, like, Jason Statham to finally put on a costume and become “Doctor Bong.” I understand that you can keep making billions of dollars for a long time this way, but don’t be surprised if you’re ultimately derailed by the hiring process, not a run of commercial flops.