As the final battle of the Infinity Saga proved, the MCU is absolutely packed with characters. Even with 20 plus movies, their understandable focus on the major players left some starved for screentime.
This may be characters who’ve already left for good, either through death or just being written out, as well as perennial background characters. Moving forward, some of these background characters may get more screentime, but the fact remains that they certainly should have had more by now.
The likes of Jane Foster, who’ve been confirmed for bigger roles moving forward, have been left out here, but many characters have a future which is still up in the air. Either way, these characters deserved a lot more minutes than they got in the Infinity Saga.
For the stars of the show, the Infinity Saga was a near perfect character exploration. Such a laser like focus on Iron Man, Captain America and the rest though meant the supporting cast didn’t always get the benefit.
Given the success and popularity of the Infinity Saga, it’s not so much that things should have changed, just that these characters might feel like they could have contributed a bit more.
Edward Norton/Terrence Howard
This one’s a little bit of a curveball to kick things off. The other characters here are all actual characters, but Edward Norton and Terrence Howard still mark notable absentees from the MCU.
Their replacements, Mark Ruffalo and Don Cheadle, have both done brilliantly in their stead, with the Hulk and War Machine going on to become two of the most popular characters in the Infinity Saga. Clearly Norton and Howard would have tackled the role differently, and it’s interesting to think what might have changed had they stuck around.
Neither of them left for character or acting reasons, so it’s not like Marvel consciously wanted a different take. Norton had asked for more script responsibilities with Avengers, while Howard, the highest paid star of Iron Man 1, expected that arrangement to continue into the second film.
Norton seems like he wouldn’t have bought into the Marvel dynamic as well as Ruffalo, but by the same token might have better sold him as an outsider. Howard meanwhile played more of a pen pusher Rhodey, offering a keener contrast between Iron Man and War Machine.
As for how it would have worked though, we’ll never know.