8 Movies You Didn’t Know Starring These MCU Actors Before They Were Superheroes

The year 2008 marks the beginning of one of the greatest film franchises in the history of cinema: the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Of course, the comic book superhero movies were there, like the Blade trilogy with Wesley Snipes, the whole x-men movies, perhaps the most popular, Sam Raimi Spider Man franchise. That being said, even the best superhero movies weren’t the only box office dominating draw they are today.


When Iron Man came out in 2008, it was more or less a gamble. No one expected a movie to kick off a billion dollar franchise that now has dozens of interconnected Disney+ movies and series across multiple franchises. Due to the fame and fortune of the MCU, actors who play prominent superhero roles naturally see their careers reach new heights, gaining worldwide recognition. Of course, before joining the mega-franchise, MCU actors are, after all, still actors, trying to make the best careers for themselves. This often involves playing smaller roles in blockbuster movies before becoming famous. Indeed, here’s a look at eight notable films featuring MCU actors before they were superheroes.

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8/8 Home Alone 3 — Scarlett Johansson

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Hughes Entertainment

Although home alone 3 wasn’t as critically successful as its predecessors, it still did quite well upon release. Its mixed reception was likely the result of the absence of Kevin McAllister, played by Macaulay Culkin, in favor of Alex Pruitt (played by Alex D. Linz), as well as the change of director, from Chris Columbus to Raja Gosnell. However, home alone 3 presented a young Scarlett Johansson like Molly, Alex’s sister. To prove how long ago that was, the actress recently watched the movie with her daughter to see if she recognized her (via People).

Related: 11 Actors Who Almost Got Cast In Major MCU Roles

7/8 21 Jump Street—Brie Larson

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Relativity Media

21 jump street is an action-comedy buddy cop starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as police officers Schmidt and Jenko, who are forced to relive their high school days when assigned to an undercover mission as a high school students to prevent the spread of a new drug. In a minor role, Captain Marvel herself Brie Larson plays Molly, who is one of the drug kingpin’s friends and Schmidt’s love interest. Although it was one of Larson’s breakthrough roles, she did not return for the sequel as the directors admitted they could not find a place for the character in the story.

6/8 Notorious — Anthony Mackie

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bad boy movies

Following the life and murder of rapper The Notorious BIG/Biggie Smalls, Famous is a biographical drama that stars Jamal Woolard as Wallace, Angela Bassett, Derek Luke and, yes, our new Captain America, Anthony Macky, like Tupac Shakur. Incidentally, Mackie tried to convince the producers to let him rap a bit in the film, but they didn’t budge (per MTV, via The Playlist). Nonetheless, it was a great honor for the MCU actor to land such an important role early in his career.

5/8 Star Trek – Chris Hemsworth

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Paramount Pictures

The 2009 star trek The film is the 11th in the franchise and follows James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) aboard the USS Enterprise as they battle Nero. In his first feature film, Chris Hemsworth plays James’ father, who died aboard the USS Kelvin at the start of the film while fighting the Romulans. He reprized the role very briefly and only in voice in the sequel. Star Trek Into Darkness. Just two years later star trekof course, Hemsworth made his MCU introduction in Thor.

4/8 Kill Your Darlings – Elizabeth Olsen

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Killer Movies

Directed by John Krokidas in his feature debut, Kill your darlings is a biographical drama film about the college years of some of the Beat Generation’s early writers, such as Lucien Carr and Allen Ginsberg. The film garnered very positive reviews, mainly due to the excellent performances of Daniel Radcliffe and Dane DeHaan in the aforementioned roles. And, yes, even Elizabeth Olsen stars in the film as Edie Parker, wife (at the time) of Jack Kerouac. For Olsen, this movie sits in the few years between graduating from NYU and joining the MCU as fan favorite Wanda Maximoff.

Related: Should The MCU Have Ended After Endgame?

3/8 Her – Chris Pratt

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Annapurna Pictures

Having received five nominations at the 86th Academy Awards, it’s safe to say that the romantic sci-fi drama His was a huge success. We do know that Theodore Twombly’s character is played by Joaquin Phoenix and the AI ​​virtual assistant he falls in love with is voiced by Johansson. But, you may not remember Chris Pratt stars in the film too. He is even proud tweeted about it in 2013: “I’m in a movie with Joaquin Phoenix directed by Spike Jonze. It’s called #HER I have a supporting role. Last night I misspelled Jonze.” Around the time of HisPratt was best known for his role in Parks and recreation, and had only played small roles in major films. The following year, however, would mark his debut as Star-Lord in guardians of the galaxy.

2/8 The Secret World of Arrietty – Tom Holland

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Studio Ghibli

Animated by Studio Ghibli and written by Hayao Miyazaki himself, The secret world of Arrietty is a fantasy film about a family of tiny people who secretly live within the walls of a typical house and steal human food to survive. This may come as a surprise, but for the English dub, we mean Tom Holland as Sho, alongside names such as Saoirse Ronan, Mark Strong and Amy Poehler. Many only discovered this information after Holland rose to fame as the MCU’s Spider-Man, of course.

1/8 Atonement – Benedict Cumberbatch

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Relativity Media

Based on the 2001 novel of the same name by Ian McEwan, Atonement is a romantic war drama starring James McAvoy and Keira Knightley in the lead roles. The plot spans six decades, starting in the 1930s, and tells the love story between Robbie Turner (McAvoy) and Cecilia Tallis (Knightley). Benedict Cumberbatch stars in the film too, in the small but central role of Paul Marshall, whose major crime in the 1930s has serious repercussions for everyone else. For Cumberbatch, that role came just a few years before his breakout tour in sherlockwhich, in turn, came years before Doctor Strange in 2016.

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