Here we are, well ensconced within Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the MCU continues to impress. [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) was, in my opinion, the best superhero film ever, so it is safe to say we are off to a good start. We're now 13 films in (I know, it really doesn't feel like it!), so I thought it might be good to have a look where we stand with regards to the actors' contract situation. It is well documented that each of the main stars signs multi-film deals, so 13 films in some are bound to be running out. Let's have a look at the state of play:
Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man)
Where better to start than the man who started everything off - Robert Downey Jr. Unless you have been living in some sort of MCU-less bubble, you will be well aware that Iron Man was the birth of the MCU. In 2008, Marvel took a huge risk and began a long-form story that would ultimately culminate with The Avengers in 2012. RDJ initially signed a five-film deal that would take him from Iron Man all the way through to Avengers: Age of Ultron. After that he renegotiated his contract to cover appearing in Captain America: Civil War and the two-part Avengers: Infinity War.
Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America)
Another of the figureheads of the MCU, Captain America has played an important role in five films so far - his own three films and the two Avengers films (his cameo in Thor: The Dark World does not count for this). There was a time when it seemed that Evans was done with superhero films, and acting in general, when he hinted that he would finish his Marvel contract and then opt to move behind the camera. He swiftly backtracked a couple of days after making these comments and stated that he had two films left, and he said this after Avengers: Age of Ultron. So essentially, Captain America has only one film left on his contract, which will most likely be Avengers: Infinity War.
What we don't know is if Avengers: Infinity War counts as one or two films in the complicated world of Marvel contracts. We do know that Chris Evans commented on his contract situation last year and he said rather emphatically "If Marvel wants me, they got me." So we could yet see more of Steve Rogers.
Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow)
First introduced in Iron Man 2, the Black Widow has became a key component of the Avengers as a whole. So far, she has appeared in five films and the rumours are her contract is a three-film deal which covers the Avengers films, and any other films that are worked out on an individual basis. This could all change however, as Marvel's Kevin Feige has hinted that they are very open to the possibility of a Black Widow solo-film.
And let's be honest, who doesn't want to see more of Scarlett Johansson?
Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
Everyone's favourite Norse god was noticeably absent from Captain America: Civil War (along with someone else, more on him in a minute). This was briefly touched upon in the film when the characters say they have no idea where Thor is. Perhaps he is finally deciding to pull his weight at home in Asgard, especially after his freaky vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Hemsworth signed a six-film deal and has so far appeared in four - the two Thor films and the two Avengers films. Production is already underway on Thor: Ragnarok so that leaves the obvious choice being an appearance from the Thunderer in Avengers: Infinity War. Again, this again brings the question of how many films the two-part Infinity War counts as in contractual terms...
Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk)
The Jade Giant was another who was conspicuous in his absence in Captain America: Civil War. He chose to leave the Avengers at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, so it does make sense that he would keep a low profile. Ruffalo was contracted for six films and it doesn't take long to count how many films he has been in. His Hulk has appeared in the two Avengers films (the cameo in Iron Man 3 does not count). We will next see him in Thor: Ragnarok which is said to be the beginning of a three-film story for the character. But so far we have that and Avengers: Infinity War on his contract. This leaves us with another film, so could it be we finally get a Hulk solo film starring Mark Ruffalo? Planet Hulk, anyone?
Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye)
The sharpshooting archer signed a four-film contract which began with The Avengers - his introductory cameo in Thor does not count towards his deal. So far, he has appeared in three of his four films. This is despite his seeming retirement in Avengers: Age of Ultron. With one more film to go, it seems highly likely that this will be Avengers: Infinity War. (It also seems increasingly likely that Infinity War counts as one film in these contracts!)
Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury)
A third notable absentee from Captain America: Civil War was Nick Fury. After the character's heavy involvement in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the fall of SHIELD, it did seem strange that he didn't get involved in the Sokovia Accords. However, fear not! Samuel L. Jackson still has two films remaining on his nine (!) film deal AND he has made it very clear he would like to negotiate a new one. This means we have every chance of seeing him in the remainder of Phase Three and beyond!
So that is the original Avengers covered. I'm now going to briefly summarise the rest:
Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch): Two films so far and confirmed for Avengers: Infinity War.
Paul Bettany (Vision): Has recently signed a deal though didn't confirm its length. As Vision has an Infinity Stone lodged in his head, let's safely assume he will play a role in Avengers: Infinity War!
Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier): Not including his debut appearance in Captain America: The First Avenger, Sebastian Stan has signed a whopping NINE picture deal!
Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon): Cap's new best mate has signed up for as many films as he could. He has already appeared in four films so expect to see even more of him!
Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spider-Man): Possibly due to the deal Marvel and Sony have made, Spidey's contract has been kept quiet. That said, we have his solo-film coming up and don't count him out of Avengers: Infinity War!
Chadwick Boseman (T'Challa/Black Panther): Debuted in Captain America: Civil War and has his solo-film coming up. Signed a five-film deal.
Don Cheadle (James Rhodes/War Machine): Appeared in four films to date and his contract has not been publicly disclosed. However, where Stark goes, Rhodey follows, so don't rule him out.
Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man): Signed a five-film deal and has appeared in two so far. With Ant-Man and the Wasp following up his solo film that means that he could well appear in Avengers: Infinity War as well.
Evangeline Lilly (Hope Van Dyne/Wasp): Though she has not officially appeared as The Wasp yet, we know she will in Ant-Man and the Wasp. She has signed a multi-film deal and has stated she would like to fulfil it.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Expect to see much more of Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista as well as hearing the vocal talents of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel. After their highly successful debut the Guardians will have a sequel and MUST appear in Avengers: Infinity War - I mean, who isn't in that film?!
Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Stephen Strange): He hasn't even made his debut yet but at an educated guess he probably has a minimum of three films on his deal. His character could allow for a crossover with both the earthbound and cosmic MCU.
Tom Hiddleston (Loki): The breakout villain of the MCU has signed a six-film deal. He has three films under his belt and we can safely say that wherever Thor goes, his brother will cause mischief. So expect him in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War as one of Thanos' lackeys.
Josh Brolin (Thanos): The big bad of the MCU was first introduced in the post-credit sequence of The Avengers, but Josh Brolin first appeared as the character in Guardians of the Galaxy. Details on his contract are not fully known, but we know he will play a part in Avengers: Infinity War as the villain.
So there you have it, basically EVERYONE will be in Avengers: Infinity War, but from the deals we can see there are so many further stories to tell...
Who is your favourite character/actor? Let me know in the comments! :)