Marvel Sacked Or Let Go These 21 Actors, Actresses And Directors

Having the opportunity to direct or feature in a Marvel movie might seem appealing to many, but sometimes it doesn’t work out when their perspective doesn’t go along with that of the studio.

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Meanwhile, others miss out on the chance since Marvel would choose a different approach, or simply because they make a mistake.

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Below are the list of 21 actors, actresses and directors who departed, were sacked or were replaced by Marvel, and the reasons behind:

1. Andrew Garfield starred as Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and was set to repeat his part in The Amazing Spider-Man 3.

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He was supposed to make the announcement alongside Sony CEO Kaz Hirai at a post-World Cup banquet in Rio de Janeiro in 2014. Garfield, however, was not feeling well after turning up late and had to withdraw from the event at the last minute.

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Unfortunately, Hirai omitted the announcement from his presentation, and Sony bosses were so furious with Garfield that they dismissed him and shelved the film.

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Following that, Sony reached an agreement with Marvel to bring a new version of Peter Parker into the MCU. In Spider-Man: No Way Home, Garfield gets a chance to reprise his role.

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2. Tobey Maguire portrayed Peter Parker in Spider-Man before Garfield. However, a salary conflict is said to have nearly lost him the sequel.

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For the first film, he was allegedly paid $4 million, while producer Laura Ziskin was reportedly paid more than $30 million. According to reports, Maguire thought his original offer for the sequel was too low in comparison to Ziskin’s previous salary.

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Then he started reporting issues related to his back. Despite the fact that he had previously been known to have back issues, studio executives reportedly believed he was using the problem as a threat, so Jake Gyllenhaal was cast in his place.

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Gyllenhaal was dating Kirsten Dunst, Maguire’s Spider-Man costar and ex-girlfriend, at the time.

The negotiations were interfered by Ron Meyer, the then-president of Vivendi Universal and Maguire’s future father-in-law. The actor was paid $17 million for the sequel after agreeing to medical tests to verify his back was in good enough shape.

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3. Doctor Strange was directed by Scott Derrickson, who was also set to direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

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However, he agreed to leave the project due to “creative differences,” as Marvel phrased it in a statement to Variety.

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Two years later, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige stated that no “creative disputes” existed.

Feige said to Empire, “There’s been some thought that that was the creative difference with Scott and Marvel, and it was not. Because we love that idea. The intention was that Strange would guide us into a much creepier side of the world.”

Derickson “wanted to do one movie, and Marvel wanted to do another movie,” so the two of them chose to produce The Black Phone instead, according to cowriter Steve Cargill, who departed the sequel at the same time.

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So, after the critically panned Spider-Man 3, Sam Raimi agreed to direct his first superhero film ever since.

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Raimi said to Collider, “I thought, ‘I wonder if I could still do it.’ They’re really demanding, those types of pictures. And I felt, ‘Well, that’s reason enough.’”

4. On FX, Donald Glover and his brother Stephen were set to conceive, produce, and direct an animated adult Deadpool series.

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The Glovers and FX, however, both dropped out of the project due to “creative issues.”

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In return, Donald posted a mock version of his “Finale” episode script on Twitter, with Deadpool slamming Marvel and reasoning that the show was canceled because “it just feels like everyone wants something different, but no one wants to do anything different to get it.”

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The “hilarious” Taylor Swift episode they wrote, Stephen added, “definitely was the last straw.”

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He continued on Twitter, “We definitely wanted to give Rick and Morty a run for their money and I think we would have. Proud of the gang.”

5. The initial director of Thor: The Dark World was Patty Jenkins.

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She departed the film only three months after signing on because she “did not believe that [she] could make a good movie out of the script that they were planning on doing.”

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Jenkins shared with Vanity Fair, “I think it would have been a huge deal —it would have looked like it was my fault. It would’ve looked like, ‘Oh my God, this woman directed it and she missed all these things.’ That was the one time in my career where I really felt like, Do this with [another director] and it’s not going to be a big deal. And maybe they’ll understand it and love it more than I do.”

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She added, “You can’t do movies you don’t believe in. The only reason to do it would be to prove to people that I could. But it wouldn’t have proved anything if I didn’t succeed. I don’t think that I would have gotten another chance. And so, I’m super grateful.”

Her position was taken over by Alan Taylor, although he was dissatisfied with Marvel’s direction as well. During post-production, his version of the film was significantly changed.

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6. In 1986’s Howard the Duck, Robin Williams was originally cast as the voice of the titular character.

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However, because the movie was made before Howard’s voice was recorded, the puppeteers read Howard’s lines — and his bill flapping matched their delivery. Williams’ improvisational technique was limited to pre-recorded movements.

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He left after three days because he thought he was “being handcuffed in order to match the flapping duck’s bill.”

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So Chip Zien’s agent called him and informed him that a ticket was ready for him at the airport counter and that he needed to get there as soon as possible.

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7. At first, Zachary Levi was cast as Fandral in Thor

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However, due to a scheduling conflict with Chuck, he had to withdraw.

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Stuart Townsend took his place.

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8. Townsend, on the other hand, didn’t stay long in the character of Fandral.

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He was replaced just before production began due to “creative disputes.”

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The same thing happened to him in The Fellowship of the Ring, when Viggo Mortensen stepped in at the last minute to play Aragorn.

The role was taken over by Josh Dallas.

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9. However, Dallas only appeared in Thor as Fandral.

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Due to his commitment to Once Upon a Time, he had to quit the job because “the timing wasn’t right.”

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“I’m bummed about it because I had such a great experience and great time making the first film and was really excited about coming back. Marvel and Disney tried to make it work,” Dallas shared with Entertainment Weekly.

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Finally, Zachary Levi was re-cast in the role, and he remained in it until Thor: Ragnarok, when he was killed.

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10. When the filmmaker decided to film an extra sequence with Thanos, Damion Poitier already had a little role (Man #1) in The Avengers. Poitier stepped in because the character hadn’t been cast yet.

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His debut as Thanos was uncredited, and the part was recast in Guardians of the Galaxy with Josh Brolin.

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Though Poitier was replaced as Thanos, he has a new position in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He was cast as one of Crossbones’ mercenaries in Captain America: Civil War. He also performed stunts in that film, and even in Thor: The Dark World.

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11. Ant-Man was initially written and directed by Edgar Wright. He first became involved with the project in 2003, when he wrote a treatment for Artisan Entertainment.

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He presented the treatment to Marvel Studios founder Avi Arad and president Kevin Feige in the early days of the studio, and they decided to utilize it as the basis for their MCU script.

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Wright’s Ant-Man was confirmed as part of Marvel Studios’ first roster in 2006, and he finished the script’s first draft in 2008.

He filmed a test reel, submitted many additional drafts, and advocated for Paul Rudd to play the lead. However, just as filming was about to start, Marvel required him to to revise the script and pushed back the release date.

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When the studio wasn’t pleased with his version of the script, they hired in-house writers to prepare a draft. However, because of the lack of Wright’s unique voice in this revised version, he chose to depart Ant-Man two months before the ultimate filming start.

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He shared with Variety, “I wanted to make a Marvel movie, but I don’t think they really wanted to make an Edgar Wright movie…Suddenly becoming a director-for-hire on it, you’re sort of less emotionally invested and you start to wonder why you’re there, really.”

Feige told Empire, “It was amicable and we sat in a room together and said this isn’t working.  I just wish I or he had figured that out somewhere in the eight years leading up to it.”

Peyton Reed stepped in Wright’s place as director.

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12. In Avengers: Endgame, Emma Fuhrmann reprised her role as Cassie Lang after a five-year time jump.

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The character would reappear in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania the following year, according to Disney’s Investor Day, although Kathryn Newton would play her.

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Unfortunately, Fuhrmann was unaware that her role had been recast until the public announcement.

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She remarked on Twitter, ” I was as sad as you all were to hear the news Thursday. I can only hope that this means there is something else for me in the future of the MCU.”

13. In The Incredible Hulk, Ed Norton portrayed Bruce Banner, and he was planning a sequel.

“I laid out a two-film thing: The origin and then the idea of Hulk as the conscious dreamer, the guy who can handle the trip,” he said to the New York Times.

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Marvel initially agreed his The Dark Knight-esque duology, but “as it turned out, that wasn’t what they wanted.”

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“We had positive discussions about going on with the films, and we looked at the amount of time that would’ve taken, and I wasn’t going to do that. I honestly would’ve wanted more money than they’d have wanted to pay me,” Norton added.

Marvel revealed in an announcement, “We have made the decision to not bring Ed Norton back to portray the title role of Bruce Banner in The Avengers. Our decision is definitely not one based on monetary factors, but instead rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members.”

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Then, Norton’s agent made an announcement as well, saying “This offensive statement from Kevin Feige at Marvel is a purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light. Here are the facts: two months ago, Kevin called me and said he wanted Edward to reprise the role of Bruce Banner in The Avengers…This past Wednesday, after several weeks of civil, uncontentious discussions, but before we had come to terms on a deal, a representative from Marvel called to say they had decided to go in another direction with the part.”

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It continued, “Counter to what Kevin implies here, Edward was looking forward to the opportunity to work with Joss and the other actors in the Avengers cast, many of whom are personal friends of his. Feige’s statement is unprofessional, disingenuous, and clearly defamatory. Mr. Norton’s talent, tireless work ethic, and professional integrity deserve more respect, and so do Marvel’s fans.”

Anyway, Mark Ruffalo stepped in to replace Norton as Bruce Banner, continuing the story with Marvel.

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14. Rodri Martín was asked to repeat his role as Pietro Maximoff’s Spanish voiceover actor in WandaVision. He previously recorded Evan Peters’ character in the X-Men franchise’s Spanish dub.

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Martín announced his wonderful news on Twitter, but he swiftly took it down and shut his account.

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The damage, nonetheless, had already been inflicted. Peters’ return in Episode Five was spoiled by the rumor that he would reprise his X-Men role.

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Martín was sacked, and Manuel Gimeno, who did the Spanish dub for Matt Murdock in Daredevil, was hired to record Pietro’s narration instead.

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15. Following the three Spider-Man films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jon Watts was set to oversee the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot.

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He did, however, decide to take a vacation from superhero movies after spending seven years on the Spider-Man trilogy.

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“We were looking forward to continuing our work with him to bring the Fantastic Four into the MCU but understand and are supportive of his reasons for stepping away,” Marvel Studios stated in a statement.

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Both Watts and Marvel Studios plan to collaborate again in the future. He did not leave the Spider-Man franchise, and Sony anticipates him returning in future sequels.

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There is currently no alternative director for Fantastic Four approved.

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16. Terrence Howard signed a three-picture agreement with Marvel, but he only appeared in Iron Man as Rhodey/War Machine.

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He was only offered 12.5% of the amount his original contract promised during compensation discussions for the sequel.

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“It turns out that the person I helped become Iron Man…took the money that was supposed to go to me and pushed me out,” he stated on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen.

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Don Cheadle took his place.

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17. On two episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Dillon Casey portrayed Will Daniels/Hive.

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He had an opiate addiction at the time, which led to his terrible start behavior. According to the Toronto Star, he said, “I was a 31-year-old man crying and yelling at work. This was bottom and there was no coming back.”

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He later received word that he would be fired the following episode. He apologized and stated that he was having a terrible time, saying, “I don’t blame you for killing [my character]. I’d do the same thing.”

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However, he quickly began his road to recovery. He joined a rehabilitation facility in 2018 and is now clean.

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He said, “I’m proud of myself. But I’m angry and shocked at what I was capable of doing…I’m physically healed but still have some emotional work to do. It’s hard to put the pieces together. What I do know is that I passed through the eye of a needle. And not everyone gets to do that.”

18. Captain America: The First Avenger was directed by Joe Johnston

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He discussed “the idea of doing a sequel back in the ’40s,” but also, “told the Marvel guys that there is a character that [he’s] really interested in called ‘The Winter Soldier’ and that if, ‘you guys decide to make that picture [he] would definitely be interested.’”

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Following The Avengers, Marvel chose to keep Steve Rogers in the present, and Joe and Anthony Russo were recruited to direct Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

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19. Having a three-picture deal with Marvel, Hugo Weaving only appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger as Johann Schmidt/Red Skull.

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He was requested to repeat his role in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, but he was also asked to be paid less than the amount he earned as Captain America in both films.

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Weaving shared with Time Out, “I actually found negotiating with them through my agent impossible. And I didn’t really wanna do it that much.”

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As a result, stand-ins and CGI were used to bring back Red Skull. His voice was fueled by Ross Marquand.

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20. In 2004, David Hayter reportedly signed a deal with Lionsgate to write and direct the Black Widow film.

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He worked on the script for the following two years, becoming so carried away with it that he named his newborn daughter Natasha after it.

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In Peter Hanson’s Tales from the Script: 50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories, Hayter describes his screenplay as follows: “She’s a freelance mercenary, and she’s called back to where she was brought up to face her past.  What I tried to do was use the backdrop of the splintered Soviet Empire…”

Lionsgate stopped out after a few female-led action films, notably Aeon Flux and Ultraviolet, failed at the box office. Hayter and Marvel shopped it around, but he, “never felt comfortable that [they] had found a place that was willing to take the movie, and the character, seriously.”

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Natasha Romanoff first appeared onscreen in Iron Man 2 in 2010, and her solo feature, Black Widow, was released in 2021. Hayter was not a part of any project.

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21. And finally, Emily Blunt was initially cast in Iron Man 2 as Natasha Romanoff.

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She had to withdraw out, though, because she was already contracted to do another film, Gulliver’s Travels, which she didn’t want to undertake.

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“It was a bit of a heartbreaker for me. I take such pride in the decisions that I make, and they mean so much to me, the films that I do,” she told The Howard Stern Show.

As a result, Scarlett Johansson was given the role.

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