5 Actors Who Almost Made It To Our Marvel Movie Marathon

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From December 24 to 27, Marvel fans can tune in to CTV Sci-Fi Channel for a chance to revisit some of the most celebrated successes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, there’s one thing you won’t see during this year’s Marvel Movie Marathon: the actors who missed their chance to appear in the MCU.

If nothing else, the information below should help you see these films in a new light, as you consider what might have been—and what might have been lost. With that in mind, here are five actors who almost made it to the Marvel Movie Marathon.

Emily Blunt

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Emily Blunt turned down no less than two major Marvel roles: Natasha Romanov/Black Widow and Peggy Carter. While she has said these decisions were out of her control (“It just didn’t work out scheduling-wise with those two,” she explained in 2014), she believes everything turned out for the best. “I don’t think I would have been able to do a lot of projects that I’ve loved doing,” she said, referring to the long-term obligations that come with any Marvel contract. “I think that was a nerve-wracking prospect for me to not be able to choose, and the choices I have are often all I have.”

Liam Hemsworth

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It’s almost impossible to believe now, but even after auditioning for Thor, Chris Hemsworth failed to make the shortlist of actors considered to play the title character. However, his brother Liam was on that list, a fact that helped Chris get a second chance. He elaborated in a 2017 interview with W Magazine: “My manager then called up and said, ‘You know, he’s got an older brother. Can we bring him back in?’ So I did an audition in Vancouver in this hotel room with my mum reading Anthony Hopkins’ part. She must have nailed it because it got me back in the room and that second audition was a lot different than my first one. I came in kind of with a little, I guess, motivation and maybe frustration that my little brother had gotten further than me.“

Will Smith

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On the heels of 2008’s Hancock, many suspected Will Smith was in the running to play a more iconic superhero: the title character in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger. In a 2008 interview, Smith suggested that he was neither interested nor in contention (“If I’m in talks for it, they’re not talking to me,” he said), but that didn’t stop Stan Lee from nominating him for the role. “I would love us to do something with Will Smith,” he told Moviefone.

Edward Norton

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Unlike the other actors on this list, Edward Norton did play a character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he decided not to return as Bruce Banner/The Hulk when he was offered a chance to appear in 2012’s The Avengers. In the past, the actor suggested the time commitments of the MCU were simply too great, but he got a little more specific in a recent interview, acknowledging another important factor. “We had positive discussions about going on with the films, and we looked at the amount of time that would’ve taken, and I wasn’t going to do that,” he said. “I honestly would’ve wanted more money than they’d have wanted to pay me.”

Joaquin Phoenix

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Now that Joaquin Phoenix has successfully ventured into the world of comic book movies with Joker, there’s more reason than ever to wonder about the one that got away: Doctor Strange. While Phoenix considered playing the title character, he ultimately passed on the role, a decision he indirectly explained in a 2015 interview. “I’ve flirted with several of those films, having meetings and getting close, but ultimately it never felt like they’d really be fulfilling,” he explained. “There were too many requirements that went against my instincts for character. I’ve been spoiled. I’ve never had to make those compromises.”

To avoid missing your chance to play a role in (watching) our Marvel Movie Marathon, check out the complete viewing schedule below.

Tuesday, December 24

5:30 a.m. – Iron Man 2 (encores at 1:10 p.m. and 8:50 p.m.)

8:05 a.m. – Iron Man 3 (encores at 3:45 p.m. and 11:25 p.m.)

10:40 a.m. – Captain America: The First Avenger (encores at 6:20 p.m. and 2 a.m.)

Wednesday, December 25

4:30 a.m. – The Avengers (encores at 1:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.)

7:30 a.m. – Avengers: Age of Ultron (encores at 4:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m.)

10:25 a.m. – Captain America: Civil War (encores at 7:25 p.m. and 4:25 a.m.)

Thursday, December 26

7:30 a.m. – Ant-Man (encores at 4:50 p.m. and 2:10 a.m.)

9:50 a.m. – Thor (encores at 7:10 p.m. and 4:30 a.m.)

12:10 p.m. – Thor: The Dark World (encores at 9:30 p.m.)

2:30 p.m. – Doctor Strange (encores at 11:50 p.m.)

Friday, December 27

6:50 a.m. – Thor: The Dark World

9:10 a.m. – Doctor Strange