We’re going to keep this piece free of spoilers for Avengers: Endgame. For more detail including spoilers, look at some of our recaps. It’s not ruining anything that Endgame represents, which is an end of sorts. Regardless of how specific character arcs may or may not wrap up in the movie, we’ve long known that this project represents a culmination of everything Marvel’s presented to date, beginning with Iron Man in 2008.
This got us thinking, not only about what people moving on permanently might do, but what we can next expect outside of the MCU for some of its biggest stars. Even for those who will continue in the franchise, we’ve reached a massive crossroads, and it feels like a fun opportunity for all involved to try something new – something to capitalize on success while taking a break from the superhero thing.
In most cases we don’t really know what is next for these actors – but we had some fun coming up with ideas.
Robert Downey Jr. – A Political Drama
Robert Downey Jr. has flirted with politics before in films. One can even argue that Tony Stark has some political undertones at times. But it might be fun to see him fully embrace the role of a fast-talking modern politician. This is a world that seems to be more interesting to people than ever before, such that many now consider politics to be pop culture.
There is surely no shortage of ideas out there for dramas in the category, and few could craft as interesting a role in this world as Downey Jr. We could imagine him as someone running for mayor of a small town, as an outsider presidential candidate, or even as a campaign manager taking center stage, as opposed to an actual politician. Any of these would really give him a chance to flex his acting muscles – perhaps in a way Tony Stark hasn’t in a few years.
Chris Hemsworth – A King Arthur Film
Guy Ritchie just rebooted King Arthur, in fairly ridiculous fashion. Rotten Tomatoes also mentioned some potential Arthurian content among TV fantasies that could fill the void left by the impending end of Game Of Thrones. But neither of these should keep Chris Hemsworth from getting to play fiction’s favorite king. He was more or less born to play Thor, but this is another role that would fit him like a glove.
Chris Evans – A Sports Movie
This is a matter of personal opinion, but some might argue that Evans has grown into himself more than any other actor in the MCU. He has gone from being a somewhat stiff, uninteresting protagonist to being a likable character with a real pulse to him. We’d just like to see him capitalize on this transformation and take on a role in which he really gets to show some emotion. A protagonist in a sports movie usually gets to do just that – plus, he has the physique to pull off just about any player or coach he could be asked to play.
Scarlett Johansson – Black Widow
We won’t spend much time on Scarlett Johansson here because she’s the only one of the bunch we’d prefer to see in a future MCU project. The Black Widow movie – about which there have been various rumors in every direction – simply has to happen with hopefully sequels in mind. She has become one of the best characters within the MCU and also its most under-served.
Mark Ruffalo – A Villain
Here too we won’t spend too much time because it’s not a very specific idea. But Mark Ruffalo has pretty much nailed the disheveled-good-guy routine. It would be fun to see him try something different and take a sinister turn, regardless of what genre it happens in.
Tom Holland – A Gambling Drama
It has been a while since we had a good gambling drama, probably because of the changing nature of gambling. Casinos and smoky back rooms have always made for good backdrops, but they’re just not relevant to modern audiences. Instead, the gambling world is run digitally. Bonus-fueled casino sites come out of New Zealand and Australia to to reach an international audience; European poker rooms run giant tournaments. It’s a different world, and if a drama can be made out of it, it will have to be done in a modern way, revolving around a young, tech-savvy protagonist. It seems a fun role for Tom Holland. We can just imagine him in a grey hoodie getting into some kind of trouble in the digital gambling world.
Chadwick Boseman – A Romantic Comedy
Chadwick Boseman has emerged as one of the better young actors working today, largely through heroic parts. He has brought T’Challa, Jackie Robinson, and Thurgood Marshall to the big screen. He was a sports star in Draft Day as well. It’s all been good work and also a collection of larger-than-life characters. He might be doing his own career a favor if he goes for a different tone altogether before long. He could go the villain route, as we suggested for Ruffalo, but it would also be nice to see him depict a more everyday good guy – and show a little humor – in a romantic comedy.
Paul Bettany – A Writer Drama
Bettany is one actor we know to be participating in Marvel projects right around the corner, as he and Elizabeth Olsen will keep the Vision-Scarlet Witch action going (reportedly with a 1950s vibe) on the new Disney+ streaming service. But we have a somewhat specific desire to see him play a writer in a one-off drama as well. He has built to pull off the persona of a measured academic, and his most fun role to date could still be his over-the-top portrayal of Geoffrey Chaucer in A Knight’s Tale.