ByKristin Lai, writer at Creators.co
MP Staff Writer, cinephile and resident Slytherclaw // UCLA Alumna // Follow me on Twitter: kristin_lai
Kristin Lai

The Avengers is one of the highest-grossing films of all time. But what made The Avengers the critical and financial success that it is today? Of course, it’s impossible to attribute this to just one thing. As a fan, I can say that one thing that has been a driving force in my love for the franchise is the choice of characters. The chemistry between all of the Avengers, as individuals and as a group, is just plain awesome.

If we take a look back things could have turned out very differently had these alternate Avengers been chosen instead. So let us briefly take a glimpse into the castings that could have been.

Iron Man

Believe it or not, Tom Cruise had been rumored to play Tony Stark since the late 90s. The Iron Man movie had been discussed for years and bounced from studio to studio until it hit New Line in 2004. Yes, Tom Cruise waited around to play Tony Stark for years.

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise

In 2006, when Marvel got the rights to Iron Man back, Cruise was over it and the role went to the superlative Robert Downey Jr. Other rumored contenders for the role included Sam Rockwell, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Nicholas Cage.

The Hulk

As admirable as Edward Norton’s portrayal was, it was made clear that it was a one-time thing. So who was next up at bat? Apparently, it was none other than Joaquin Phoenix.

Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix

While I’m sure that Phoenix would have been able to play Bruce Banner and the Hulk well, he was preoccupied with his documentary I’m Still Here. Luckily for us, Marvel decided to go with Mark Ruffalo instead, and boy am I glad they did!

Captain America

Steve Rogers
Steve Rogers

Who could possibly play Steve Rogers other than Chris Evans? Well, Marvel had quite a few ideas. Their second choice was The Office funnyman, John Krasinski.

John Krasinsk
John Krasinsk

I love John, but I don't think I can really see him playing an action role. This definitely would have been a good way to find out. Ah well, best not to dwell on these things. Some other names that are rumored to have come up in casting discussions were Chace Crawford, Mike Vogel, and Scott Porter.

Thor

Thor
Thor

During the casting for Thor, it is said that Kenneth Branagh was holding meetings with Alexander Skarsgård. I can totally see it. The brooding Scandinavian actor is practically a god anyway.

Alexander Skarsgård
Alexander Skarsgård

While we can’t say why plans fell through with certainty, at least someone else from the Skarsgård clan was able to be a part of the franchise. Alexander’s father, Stellan, played the role of Dr. Selvig. It is reported that Channing Tatum was also being discussed, but he didn’t look the part enough.

Black Widow

Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson

Don’t get me wrong, I think Scarlett Johansson makes a great Natasha Romanoff, but the near casting of Emily Blunt is pretty fun to think about. Her characters range from sarcastic and harsh to goofy. The only thing that’s really missing from her repertoire cape and super gadgets.

Emily Blunt
Emily Blunt

While the role of Black Widow wasn’t anything to write home about in Iron Man 2, she would have been given the time to shine in [The Avengers](movie:9040). Instead, Fox used a contractual option to have her play Princess Mary in Gulliver's Travels. Yikes.

Hawkeye

Hawkeye
Hawkeye

Before Chris Evans was offered the role, it was also rumored that Jensen Ackles might play Captain America. He has since denied any attachment to the project. However, multiple sources claim that his audition went so well that he was later approached for the role of Hawkeye in The Avengers.

Jensen Ackles
Jensen Ackles

If this was a possibility, the chances of Ackles taking up the role were likely pretty slim due to his commitments to the CW's Supernatural.

Loki

Tom Hiddelston
Tom Hiddelston

Tom Hiddelston is Loki and Loki is Tom Hiddelston. As far as I'm concerned the two are synonymous for each other. But way back when, Kenneth Branagh is rumored to have been considering Josh Hartnett for the role.

Josh Hartnett
Josh Hartnett

This isn’t the first time Hartnett’s name has been brought up in conjunction with a superhero franchise, and it probably won’t be the last. I hope that, for the sake of his eyebrows, Josh will one day be able to don a super suit. Until then, I'm happy to watch him in [Penny Dreadful](series:817319).

All in all, I'm more than happy with the cast we ended up with! But it's always fun to think about the other potential choices and imagine how different these now iconic characters could have been.

Now we just have to wait until May 1st for [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](movie:293035) to be released to see the cast reprise their roles. Waiting is just the worst.

Poll

If you had to, which actor would you choose to replace the current Avenger?

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