If we’re being honest, everyone reading this will gladly swap in their careers for one as a cast member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There’s no shame in admitting it either; you get the best out being an actor and are launched into superstardom – what’s not to love? Actors who were unknown, such as Tom Hiddleston and Tom Holland (before being cast in their star-making roles), are now household names and fangirls around the world scream their names until they go hoarse. Starring in the MCU also gives you the best kind of exposure and will lead to better roles that can validate one as a superstar and a serious actor.
Robert Downey Jr. was at his absolute lowest just a couple years before Iron Man made him the biggest star on the planet. Chris Pratt was known only as the funny guy from Parks and Recreation; the list goes on and on. One thing you need to remember, though, is that after being cast in the MCU, you’re effectively an employee of Marvel and Disney. This means you need to stick by the rules or there will be dire consequences (and this is not even a joke).
The MCU has become notorious for having staunch rules that actors absolutely have to follow. The cast has always been apprehensive about going past these rules; even in a joking sense. Disney takes the MCU very seriously, so their rules are etched in the minds of the cast members.
Here are 25 Things The MCU Cast Isn’t Allowed To Do.
25 Can't Get Out Of Shape
You can’t have a superhero with a huge belly, can you? While that may be realistic in a way, it won’t look nearly as good on-screen. You might have noticed every superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe seems to be ripped.
Robert Downey Jr started this trend in Iron Man, which was a surprise considering he beefed up at 43-years-old. Now, a beefed up superhero is the norm and chubbier guys like Chris Pratt have toned up and remained that way. Let’s hope they make the most of cheat days.
24 Can't Talk About The Film
If your name is Tom Holland or Mark Ruffalo then you know exactly what we mean by this. Mark Ruffalo, in particular, caused a ruckus when he almost accidentally gave away the ending of Avengers: Infinity War where he came close to revealing that half of the heroes were snapped away.
Although Tom and Mark are the most guilty with spoilers, they aren’t the only ones not allowed to talk about the films; everyone involved needs to keep mum.
23 Can't Talk To Each Other
Obviously, they can talk to each other, but only as far as the scene they are shooting is concerned. As we all know, Avengers: Infinity War had the most heroes onscreen for any movie ever, but none of the actors that weren’t involved with one another knew what was going on in the rest of the film other than their own arcs.
This means that, for example, Chris Pratt was left unaware of the storyline that the heroes in Wakanda were going through, nor could he have asked.
22 Aren't Allowed Input
This has become very clear to any actor joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe in recent years, but back in 2008 – a time when superhero movies were singular in universes – this wasn’t so apparent.
Edward Norton, who was in The Incredible Hulk, wasn’t brought back for The Avengers due to the clashes he had with the higher-ups over the direction of The Incredible Hulk.
Norton was involved in a lot of rewrites, too; something that doesn’t fly anymore.
With Norton’s removal set as an example, now stars need to adhere to the plot.
21 Can't Wear The Same Costume
No actors ever do get to keep the costumes they wear in their films as it’s the property of the film studio. However, if you were an actor in an MCU film, then you shouldn’t get too attached to a particular costume.
You might have noticed that most of the superheroes don’t carry forward the suits they wore in the previous films. This is because of Marvel’s intent on keeping these characters new and fresh and adding intrigue to the most recent film.
20 Scarlet Can't Keep The Same Hairstyle
Since 2010, Scarlett Johansson has been in Iron Man 2, The Avengers, The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame, and the one thing that has remained consistent about her is her ever-changing hairdo.
Black Widow’s spy status has meant she has dabbled with a number of hairstyles to keep herself incognito to some degree. Despite being Earth’s Mightiest Hero, she can’t retain the same hair. This means Scarlett needs to sit back and let the hair and makeup department do their magic each time.
19 Tom Holland Can't Interview Alone
In the leadup to Spider-Man: Homecoming, this kid had a lot of interviews to face, and he didn’t do so good in them. Tom Holland would accidentally give away information piece by piece as the interviews rolled on and it became a significant issue for Marvel.
He accidentally livestreamed a confidential Marvel document without realizing what he was doing.
For the junket of Avengers: Infinity War, Tom was paired with Benedict Cumberbatch so that the latter could prevent him from giving anything away.
18 They Can't Say No To Cameos
If and when the time comes for your cameo in a Marvel movie, you’d best be prepared to film it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a smaller role character or of peak importance, you’re going to have to go through with it.
We saw this in Thor: The Dark World when Loki impersonated Thor’s good friend Steve Rogers. Chris Evans appeared onscreen for all of twenty seconds for this cameo, but had to film it from off the set.
17 Have To Attend All Promotional Events
We all would love to be in a mainstream actor’s shoes and go all across the world in fancy jets and exotic hotels, and then be serenaded on the red carpet for the big movie premiere; however, this novelty will run thin when you’ve got to do this every single time.
Actors can’t opt out of red carpet events or promotional events when it comes to the MCU movies, and this can be a very draining process. You have to be looking your best and be on your best behavior at all times.
16 Can't Disclose Payments
With the pay gap between men and women being a major issue now, this might not last forever but at the moment the actors aren’t allowed to state just how much they are making from these films.
These movies pay top dollar, so if you’re a normal everyday job person like us, just one paycheck will seem eye-popping, but for these big-time actors, some paychecks might not seem the heftiest. If these actors aren’t happy with these payouts, they can’t do much other than taking it.
15 RDJ Will Always Make The Most Money
Avengers: Infinity War had no single protagonist, but that didn’t stop Iron Man from being front and center in all its marketing. While you could argue he was the most important Avenger, Robert Downey Jr still made way more money than Chris Evans in Civil War.
This was despite the fact that Chris was the one playing the title role.
The film was on his back and he was the one supposed to carry it, yet Chris didn’t make nearly as much as RDJ did, and there’s nothing he can do about it.
14 Can't Be Vocal About Displeasure
As we said earlier, even if you hate filming your scenes in MCU movies, you have to deal with it. Idris Elba was vocal about his displeasure in working on the first two Thor movies when he said the filming wasn’t fun. He claimed Taika Waititi made Thor: Ragnarok fun to shoot but didn’t hold back on the first two.
However, Idris made these comments after he had completed filming of Avengers: Infinity War, with Heimdall’s role finished.
13 No Short-Term Contracts
Back in 2008, Samuel L. Jackson was revealed to have signed a nine-picture contract to appear as Nick Fury in the MCU. At that time, it was mind-boggling as to why Marvel wanted him to sign on for a seemingly impossible length. Now, that nine-picture deal seems minuscule considering the number of films the MCU puts out yearly.
Sebastian Stan, rumored to be the next Captain America, still has a number of movies remaining in his contract; Marvel never signs someone on for a film or two.
12 Can't Leave Contracts Midway
Looks like Idris really should have thought it through when he signed up as Heimdall because he shows up again on this list. Reshoots always occur on MCU films (read on below for more) and Idris was called in for reshoots of Thor: The Dark World mere hours after finishing up on Mandela.
The actor didn’t want to come in but was reminded he was under contract and would be in breach if he said no. You don’t want to be on Marvel’s bad side ever.
11 Can't Not Be Funny
Within the films, it seems as if every character has a streak of immaturity they can’t control. At least on one occasion, something childish will be done by the main character of the film and it will be played for laughs.
The comedic angle also remains in real-life as, during press junkets and appearances, the main actors are the most animated you’ll find.
They need to be funny and engaging at all times – no dry personality accepted.
10 Director Can't Go Against Studio Demands
Joss Whedon was the one who helmed The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2012 and 2015, so it was a surprise he gave up the opportunity to film Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. His reason given was that filming the second film was draining for him.
He had to fight to keep several scenes in the films while Marvel would also force him to include Thor’s vision scene in order to set up Infinity War and Ragnarok. He had no option but to acquiesce to these demands.
9 Can't Say No To Toy Likeness
The films don’t make as much for Marvel as merchandising does. This involves distributing toys, games, brands, and a lot more with the superheroes plastered onto them. As an actor is providing his likeness by playing the hero, they are naturally supposed to be the model used for the toy to be sold.
The actors cannot opt out of this toyline branding and will be sold in that form.
On the other hand, they do make a ton in royalties due to these toys so it’s doubtful they’ll be complaining.
8 TV Show Cast Can't Show Up In Movies
If you watch the TV series of the MCU for references to the films, then you’d best stop watching now, because none of that happens. While the occasional indirect mention might be referred to on the shows, there has never been any reference to the them in the films.
As far as Marvel is considered, the TV and film series are in the same universe but through different mediums, and they don’t want to confuse fans who aren’t familiar with both with what’s happening. Sorry, TV actors.
7 Can't Reveal If They're Not In A Film
Everyone noticed the lack of Hawkeye in promotions for Avengers: Infinity War. Being an original Avenger, we all expected him to be among the most marketed characters. His absence was explained when he didn’t show up in the film.
Jeremy Renner, however, implied Hawkeye was in the movie.
He could’ve easily told everyone that wasn’t the case, but it would’ve ruined the reveal of him being retired. So, if you’re not even involved with the film, you still can’t talk about it.
6 Can't Ask The Studio Either
The secrecy behind the filming of Avengers: Infinity War got out of hand so much that the cast wasn’t trusted with the actual scripts. A number of fake scripts were around while all of them got scripts that only showed their roles and not the other actors’.
It was just Benedict Cumberbatch who was privy to the events of the whole movie as Doctor Strange had that information. The studio wouldn’t relent to telling anyone else anything about the movie.
5 Can't Say No To Reshoots
Principal Photography comprises just a little over half of the work required from the actors; it’s the reshoots that complete their job. The filming of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame required the actors to come back and reshoot their scenes once more.
This had to be done despite the principal part of filming having taken place months before.
When Marvel calls you for reshoots, you’re expected to drop everything and come on back. We already gave you the example of Idris Elba over this matter.
4 Can't Say No To Extensive Makeup
If you were cast in Guardians of the Galaxy, then you have no option but to endure for hours on end in the makeup chair. The aliens in Marvel films are depicted in a colorful fashion and this kind of skin tone isn’t easily applied.
A lot of hours are dedicated to skin makeup and painting.
The actors can’t argue with this because it affects the continuity. Karen Gillan was required to shave off her whole hair for Guardians of the Galaxy and followed through with this.
3 Mark Ruffalo Can't Have Solo Hulk Film
Fans have been asking for a solo Hulk film since The Avengers showed how awesome Mark Ruffalo was in that role. 2003’s Hulk and The Incredible Hulk both severely underperformed at the box office and this was believed to be the reason why we haven’t had a second film in the MCU.
This wasn’t really the case as Mark Ruffalo revealed the reason was that Disney didn’t have rights to the Hulk character and would not be able to distribute the film.
2 Can't Say Whatever They Want On Social Media
James Gunn’s firing last year wasn’t because he had made comments on his Twitter account while being employed by Marvel; they had been released a decade previously. Still, Marvel didn’t hold back and sacked him.
Now, more than ever, the actors have to watch what they say.
James has been given a reprieve in DC due to the lengthy amount of time that’s elapsed since his comments were made, but if someone were to mess up now, there’s no way Marvel will let them off the hook.
1 Can't Meet Cast During Filming
Paul Bettany isn’t grouped together with the MCU originals despite the fact that he has been with Marvel since the first Iron Man. This is because he was rarely seen in promotions and never seen onscreen due to voicing J.A.R.V.I.S.
According to Paul himself, he would record his lines separately in a room. After his part was done, he would promptly be paid for his contribution and be sent on his way. Paul was never on set for the Iron Man films even though he was in all of them.