9. Ben Kingsley - Iron Man 3
What Everyone Expected
Fans rejoiced when the brilliant Ben Kingsley was cast as Iron Man's iconic comic book foe The Mandarin in Iron Man 3, given both his Oscar-winning acting chops and the fact that Kingsley's casting would seemingly avoid any potentially iffy Asian stereotypes associated with the source material.
The trailers teased The Mandarin as a ruthless, fiercely intelligent terrorist who posed the greatest threat to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) yet, and with an actor as statuesque as Kingsley in the role, it was easy to believe it.
What We Got
As it turned out, Kingsley wasn't playing The Mandarin at all, but rather an actor stooge, Trevor Slattery, who was employed to act as a proxy Mandarin, allowing the supposedly "real" Mandarin, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), to operate undetected.
And while the Mandarin twist left many fans outraged, it was at least a clever subversion of audience expectations based on an actor's prominence.
Who could've ever expected that acting vet Kingsley would end up playing a comic relief character, while the lesser-known Pearce would transition into the primary antagonist role in the film's second half?
It wasn't a choice that worked for everyone, but as a cinematic parlour trick, it was mightily effective indeed.