When it comes to Marvel's Cinematic Universe, the casting of characters has so far remained pretty defiantly stable. Sure, Edward Norton handed over the ego-driven reins of the Hulk to Mark Ruffalo, and Fandral suddenly became Zachary Levi somewhere between the first and second Thor movies, but - for the most part - the actors who originated a character have been allowed to continue on in the role, even when appearing on the small screen.
That, though, seems about to change.
Variety has just revealed that British actor James D'Arcy is now onboard Marvel's Agent Carter - as Edwin Jarvis.
And no, you're not getting muddled up with names - that's the same Edwin Jarvis from the comics. There's a slight problem there, though. For a generation of Marvel fans, this is Jarvis:
Or, rather, J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony Stark's robot butler.
Which means this new Jarvis, played by D'Arcy, is an entirely different character to the Paul Bettany-voiced version (who we'll be seeing a whole lot more of in Avengers: Age of Ultron).
Or, at least, so it seems.
It's entirely possible that - in an ideal world - Marvel would have cast Bettany himself to play the part. It's also possible, however, that D'Arcy has been brought in with a very different intention in mind - to bring a whole new element of history into the MCU.
After all, as Executive Producers Steve McFeely and Christopher Markus put it to ComicBook.com, this Jarvis is very much his own man - but also an integral part of the larger Marvel story.
As McFeely puts it:
“We’re going to have Jarvis, the original Jarvis, who is Howard Stark’s butler, who is then going to be an important part of the show, and then go on to become whatever he is to Tony Stark, and that’s an important part of the show.”
Which, as Markus suggests, will have repercussions later on:
“The weird continuity is sometimes sort of mindblowing...So that guy is sort of the inspiration for the computer that Tony Stark made, that will later do…it’s all very interconnecting through no fault of our own.”
Which, if true, would mean the MCU is heading in a very different direction with Jarvis than in his comic-book heritage. I mean, he traditionally looks like this:
As opposed to the far more conventionally dreamy D'Arcy:
So, he'll still be a butler - and you'd have to think that some of his background as a boxer and World War II RAF pilot will be retained - but pretty much everything else looks set to be altered.
After all, in the comics, he's the only real constant within The Avengers - with even Captain America pointing out that he's the team's most consistent member - all the way back to the mid-1960's.
Now, though, he seems more likely to be a bad-ass associate of Agent Carter's who - sometime before the events of Iron Man - either dies or retires. Or, alternatively, has some as yet unforeseen involvement in the creation of J.A.R.V.I.S.
Which would then make the fact that he isn't being played by Paul Bettany kind of weird again.
And...now my brain hurts.
On the plus side, [Marvel's Agent Carter](series:1119765) keeps looking better and better, huh?
What do you guys think? Does it matter that Paul Bettany isn't playing Jarvis in Agent Carter?