Skip To Content
  • Viral badge

Marvel Aged Down America Chavez So Xóchitl Gómez Could Play Her, And 20 Other Times The Stars Aligned To Make A Celeb's Marvel Dreams A Reality

Being Spider-Man was basically Tom Holland's destiny!

Watching a Marvel movie can make you feel like anything is possible — and some of the actors and directors have certainly proven that to be true in their own lives.

Through a mix of luck, manifestation, and just plain hard work, plenty of people have gotten their biggest Marvel wishes granted.

Here are 21 famous people whose Marvel dreams came true:

Warning: Spoilers ahead for everything from Iron Man to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness!

1. Ryan Reynolds was introduced to the Deadpool comics in 2004. In an issue released shortly after, the character described his unmasked face as "Ryan Reynolds crossed with a shar-pei" — immediately sparking the actor's desire to play him in a movie.

Reynolds got 20th Century Fox's attention, but they debuted Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine rather than a solo film. So, he handpicked writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and director Tim Miller to ensure Deadpool would be more faithful to the source material.

Ryan Reynolds as the less comic-accurate version of Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine

The solo film spent about four years in development hell before leaked test footage inspired fans to campaign for its full release. Deadpool finally hit theaters in 2016.

Ryan in the full comics-accurate costume in the first Deadpool film

2. At 13, Xóchitl Gómez thought she was too young to play America Chavez, who was written to be around 18. Despite her worry that Marvel wouldn't even consider her, she submitted her audition tape.

She got a call back only a few months later because Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness screenwriter Michael Waldron was in the process of reenvisioning the character as a young teen rather than a young adult.

So, Gómez dedicated herself to stunt training for hours a day so that "if [she] potentially got a test audition, [she] could blow their minds." Finally, Marvel flew her to London for a screen test, and a few days later, she booked the role.

3. In 2020, Comicbook.com said to John Krasinski, "I know you can't answer if you're going to play Mister Fantastic, but you have to play Mister Fantastic, right?"

Krasinski called it "the best question-answer ever." He said, "I think to be a part of the Marvel world would be amazing anyway, and the fact that people would even consider me for that level of a part would be amazing. I genuinely have had no conversations or don't know anything that's happening with that."

Two years later, he made a surprise cameo as an alternate universe's Mister Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

4. Samuel L. Jackson was a huge Marvel fan who regularly purchased an entire box of comic books from his favorite local comic shop. So, in 2002, when The Ultimates writer Mark Millar designed the rebooted version of Nick Fury after his favorite actor, Jackson definitely noticed.

He had his agents call Marvel, who apologized for using his likeness without his permission and promised to let him play Nick Fury if any onscreen adaptations were ever made.

A few years later, Marvel began developing Iron Man, and director Jon Favreau came up with Nick Fury's post-credits scene as an Easter egg. Of course, the scene launched the Avengers franchise, keeping Jackson in the role since 2008.

5. During the Avengers: Age of Ultron press tour, Elizabeth Olsen told Screen Rant that she'd like to see a future for Wanda Maximoff based on the House of M storyline from the comics.

She said, "If she could have two fake babies and everyone tell her that they don't really exist, and then her just go nuts, that would be unbelievable, but I don't think they're gonna do that. It might be a little too dark for the Marvel universe."

Wanda with Vision and their two kids in WandaVision

However, seven years later, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness followed the exact storyline that Olsen described.

how it started vs. how it's going (elizabeth olsen edition) #multiverseofmadness

Screen Rant / Marvel Studios / Via Twitter: @noradominick

6. In 2018, Elizabeth Olsen again manifested Wanda's future when she told Elle that she'd like to raise the neckline on her character's costume so "it would just not be a cleavage corset."

Wanda in her original costume, which features a low-cut shirt with a jacket over it

Three years later, her new Scarlet Witch costume debuted in the WandaVision finale — and she got to help design it.

Wanda in her Scarlet Witch costume, which does not show any cleavage

"She knows what she has to do better than anybody, having done this for years now," director Matt Shakman told Entertainment Tonight. "It's one thing to look amazing. It's another thing to actually function."

7. In 2018, Marvel let the public know that a Shang-Chi movie was in development, so Simu Liu tweeted at them about potentially playing the lead.

OK @Marvel, are we gonna talk or what #ShangChi

@SimuLiu / Via Twitter: @SimuLiu

The higher-ups at Marvel didn't see the tweet, but Liu went through "a long and arduous audition process, and he completely nailed every audition," as casting head Sarah Finn told the Hollywood Reporter.

In 2019, Marvel introduced him as Shang-Chi at San Diego Comic-Con. Two years later, he made his MCU debut in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

8. While Andrew Garfield was studying at University of London's drama school, he would practice Tobey Maguire's lines from Spider-Man (2002) in the mirror.

"I was very high at the time," he told The Graham Norton Show.

Garfield played a new version of Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012). Then, he cameoed alongside Maguire — whom he calls "my Spider-Man" — in Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021).

Andrew and Tobey together as different version of Peter Parker in a scene in Spider-Man: No Way Home

9. After making two low-budget films, director Jon Watts was interested in making a coming-of-age movie. So, when Marvel — impressed by his thriller Cop Car — invited him in for a meeting, he "took all of those ideas [he] had been working on and kind of projected them" onto the studio's potential Spider-Man reboot.

Watts didn't think he'd get the job, but he continued to "bother" people at Marvel and Sony. He sent them a mood reel and several storyboarded sequences because he "thought it was going to be really good practice for pitching to big studios."

In the end, he got the job directing Spider-Man: Homecoming and stayed on for the rest of the trilogy. He told Den of Geek, "I haven’t gone back and watched that thing that I made, but I think it’s pretty close. I was really clear upfront about how I saw the movie. And everyone was on board, so I feel like we captured that tone."

Jon Watts in a group hug with the main cast of Spider-Man

10. In a 2013 red carpet interview, Tom Holland said he'd like to play Spider-Man "in 10 years' time."

However, within the next few years, he found himself going through a seven-month audition process for the role. When it was down to him and six other actors, he had a successful screen test with Robert Downey Jr., then he "rang [his] mum afterward and was like, 'I think I’ve got it.'"

Six weeks later, he and another actor flew to Atlanta for a screen test with Chris Evans. However, he didn't know he booked the role until he saw the news online.

He told Variety, "I got my computer...I type in 'Marvel.' I’ve still got the article saved on my computer. It said, 'We would like to introduce our new Spider-Man, Tom Holland.' I broke my computer, because I flipped it up in the air."

11. A year before pre-production began on Iron Man 2, Scarlett Johansson met with Jon Favreau and Kevin Feige to discuss potential Marvel roles for her — including Black Widow.

She reportedly dyed her hair red before her next meeting with Favreau to help convince him that she was right for the role. She also told him, "If this doesn’t work out, I’m an actor for hire, so call me anytime."

At first, Favreau cast Emily Blunt. However, when a scheduling conflict prevented her from accepting the role, he called Johansson. She told Parade, "I’ve basically made a career out of being second choice."

12. When Netflix canceled Daredevil, Vincent D'Onofrio wasn't ready to say goodbye to Wilson Fisk. He told Screen Rant, "I so badly want to play that character again. I love that character. I just have to wait for Marvel to ask me."

He also promoted a fan-created campaign to bring Daredevil back.

Welcome to #SaveDaredevil https://t.co/ldSvV0DCNT

Twitter: @vincentdonofrio

He finally got the chance to reprise his role when Feige decided that Kingpin would be the perfect villain for Hawkeye on Disney+.

More recently, Variety reported that a new Daredevil series is in the works at Disney+. However, Marvel has yet to formally announce anything regarding the show, so we'll just have to see if another appearance from D'Onofrio (in a flashback or otherwise) is in the cards.

13. Teyonah Parris was introduced to Monica Rambeau when fans started dream-casting her in the role on Twitter. She told the A.V. Club, "That initially piqued my interest."

In the WandaVision episode of Marvel Studios Assembled, she revealed that, when she was cast in a secret Marvel role several years down the road, she asked her agent, "What if it's Monica Rambeau?"

She told Entertainment Weekly, "I feel so special and honored to be able to walk in her shoes and bring her story to life. I hope that me playing this character (a) gives a group of people who are underrepresented a chance to see themselves, and (b) seeing my face and my Black body helps them engage with Black women and our humanity."

14. When Elsa Pataky was 15, she felt a connection to the Thor legend, so she got his symbol tattooed on her arm. She told Vogue Australia, "The legend he had was so beautiful and I wanted to keep it."

A close-up of the tattoo on her upper arm; it essentially looks like two X's stacked on top of each other

In 2010, she met and married Chris Hemsworth. A year later, he was cast as Thor.

Pataky brought her special connection with the god of thunder to the silver screen when she served as Natalie Portman's stand-in for a kiss scene in Thor: The Dark World.

15. Chris Hemsworth is 6'3", so he often lied and said he was shorter when he wanted to audition for a role he was "totally wrong for, physically" — but that changed with Thor. He told the Radio Times, "The brief for the audition for Thor said: must be over 6'1", which I’d never seen before!"

He felt that his first audition with director Kenneth Branagh went well, but he never heard back — and his younger brother Liam actually made it much further in the process!

Liam's success both frustrated Chris and motivated him to give it another shot. He told W Magazine, "My manager called them up and said, 'You know, [Liam]'s got an older brother. Can we bring him back in?'"

"It's a little family, sibling rivalry sort of kicked up in me. Then it moved pretty quick from there. It was cool," he said.

16. When Taika Waititi was first in talks to direct Thor: Ragnarok, he created his own sizzle reel, which consisted of clips from other movies set to "Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin.

From the get-go, Feige agreed that the song could be perfect for the soundtrack — but Led Zeppelin is notorious for not letting their music be used in movies.

Production on the movie was almost completed when music supervisor Dave Jordan finally got the go-ahead to use "Immigrant Song" in a teaser trailer as well as the film itself.

View this video on YouTube

Marvel Studios / Via youtube.com

"When we had the first cut of the trailer and showed Led Zep, they understood how perfect the song was for this character. I think it wouldn't have happened if we didn't start the conversation with them really, really early on," Waititi told Business Insider.

17. As director Ryan Coogler considered what kind of film he wanted to make after Creed, he "was grappling with something [he'd] kind of been scraping at [his] whole life, which is [his] cultural identity, and what it means to be African." He planned to travel to Africa after production wrapped.

Then, Marvel called, and those ideas shaped his pitch for Black Panther. He told Rolling Stone, "I was very honest about the idea I wanted to explore in this film, which is what it means to be African. That was one of the first things I talked about. And they were completely interested."

So, he took a trip to Africa, traveling from Cape Town to Lesotho to Kenya. His experiences with the people he met and the places he saw "informed as much about the movie as any of [Marvel's] comics."

18. Jon Favreau fought to cast Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in Iron Man, but Marvel told him, "under no circumstances are we prepared to hire him for any price."

After Favreau delivered the bad news, Downey responded, "With your permission, I’m going to hold out hope" — and it inspired the director to go to bat for him again.

Favreau got Downey another screen test, which landed him the part. He went on to play Iron Man for 11 years.

19. Sam Rockwell was initially in the running to play Tony Stark as well, but he didn't make it to the screen tests.

However, Favreau brought him back into the MCU's fold for Iron Man 2, casting him as the villainous Justin Hammer. He told the A.V. Club, "In a way, I think Jon was basically saying, 'This is your chance to be Tony Stark. This will be your version of Tony Stark.'"

Rockwell continued, "We gave [Hammer] the glasses and kind of sleazed him up a little. But that’s exactly right. It was a chance to do Tony Stark."

20. In 2013, Barry Keoghan used Twitter to ask Stan Lee to make him a superhero.

@TheRealStanLee Stan Lee, Please Make me a SuperHero :).

Twitter: @BarryKeoghan

Six years later, his wish came true when he was cast as Druig in Eternals — and he took to Twitter to celebrate.

2013....The power of Belief ❤️🐺 @MarvelStudios https://t.co/vjnHKePfBg

Twitter: @BarryKeoghan

"There aren't a lot of opportunities where I'm from [Summerhill, Dublin]. To see a lad from a working-class area on screen — it'll give kids that chance, not only in acting but in other things to go, 'He's up there doing a superhero movie, maybe I could do this, maybe I could do that.' So I hope that comes across," he told CNET.

21. And finally, the first time Marvel talked to Brian Tyree Henry about playing Phastos in Eternals, he asked how much weight he'd have to lose, but director Chloé Zhao responded, "What are you talking about? We want you exactly as you are."

Henry told Variety, "It just triggered me to be an 11-year-old kid who is watching these superhero movies, and not ever seeing anyone like me reflected."

"I would take these posters and put them in my locker, and just hope that one day there will be somebody representing me in the way you know that I am," he said.