With over thirty movies and several TV series, the MCU has been stacked with incredible actors playing iconic comic book characters. But more than a few have played more than one role in the same universe. Or should we say multiverse now? And some of these multitasking performers are pretty well-known names. We’ve come up with ten actors who played more than one MCU role. Although, we are limiting this list to crucial speaking roles. Many folks have played multiple bit parts and non-speaking background players in the MCU, and we’ve chosen not to count them. Also not counted are folks like Chris Evans and Idris Elba and Oscar Isaac, who played Marvel characters in non-MCU movies.
Linda Cardellini (Avengers: Age of Ultron/Endgame, Hawkeye, Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3)
Linda Cardellini of Freaks and Geeks and Dead to Me played Laura Barton (who may or may not be S.H.I.E.L.D. operative Mockingbird) from Avengers: Age of Ultron to Hawkeye. But more recently, she broke our hearts as the anthropomorphic otter Lylla in Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3. We’re still a bit traumatized to talk too much about Lylla, but Linda Cardellini is a national treasure.
Michelle Yeoh (Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings)
We first saw Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh in the MCU in a brief cameo as Alita Ogord, one of the Ravagers from the end of Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2 (and a future 31st-century Guardian from the comics). She had a much bigger role as Ying Nan, the kick-ass aunt of Shang-Chi from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. We could see this screen icon returning to either role in the future. She’s Michelle Yeoh, we say let her play whatever she wants, whenever she wants.
Alfre Woodard (Captain America: Civil War, Luke Cage)
Oscar-nominated actress Alfre Woodard had a fairly prominent role in Luke Cage as Mariah Dillard, the cousin of Mahershala Ali’s Cottonmouth. However, she first appeared in a small role, as the grieving mother of a son who died in Sokovia, who confronts Tony Stark in Captain America: Civil War. Now, some folks don’t think the (former) Netflix Marvel shows count as MCU proper, but as long as it’s still an open question, we’re choosing to count them.
Clancy Brown (Daredevil, The Punisher, Thor: Ragnarok)
The great Clancy Brown, who famously voiced Lex Luthor for Marvel’s “Distinguished Competition” in the ‘90s Superman animated series, voiced the fire giant Surtur in Thor: Ragnarok. But he also played Colonel Ray Schoonover, a.k.a. the Blacksmith, in both the Netflix Daredevil and The Punisher series. He’s just really good at playing an unrelentingly slimy guy. And he has a fantastic speaking voice. We’re down for him having a third role in fact. We just want to hear him say evil things with that distinctive voice.
Gemma Chan (Captain Marvel, Eternals)
Gemma Chan first popped up in the MCU as Minn-Erva in Captain Marvel, the blue-skinned alien soldier who was part of the Kree Starforce. But just a few years later, Gemma Chan would keep her natural, Earth-born hue and play Sersi in Eternals. The latter character is more likely to appear again than the former.
Kenneth Choi (Captain America: The First Avenger, Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Kenneth Choi first made an appearance in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger as Private Jim Morita, one of Cap’s Howling Commandos during World War II. Six years later, he appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming, as the principal of Peter Parker’s high school. The production tied these characters together, by making Principal Morita into Private Morita’s grandson. There are even photos of himself as his own grandfather in his office.
Patton Oswalt (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Eternals)
Patton Oswalt is a huge comics nerd in real life, so it’s no wonder he’s played a few MCU roles. He portrayed multiple characters referred to as ‘the Koenigs,” who were all identical to one another, on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Then, he showed up in a post-credits cameo as Pip the Troll in Eternals, alongside Harry Styles’ Starfox. We just hope the CGI on Pip is a little more convincing next time.
Tsai Chi (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings)
Actress Tsai Chi first appeared in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. playing Agent Melinda May’s mother, Lian May. She was a retired agent herself, who had a bit of a complicated relationship with her daughter. She played an entirely different kind of matriarch recently, in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. In that film, she played the grandmother of Katy (Awkwafina), who didn’t look like she could hurt a fly.
Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange)
Benedict Cumberbatch is our Sorcerer Supreme (or he was, until Wong took over after Infinity War). But in his first Doctor Strange movie, he also played the dread Lord Dormammu of the Dark Dimension, so he faced off against himself in the film’s climax. Does that mean Strange and Dormammu are somehow related? Ok, probably not. It was more likely that Cumberbatch wanted to be both hero and villain in the climactic confrontation. But it’s a fun fact most viewers never noticed.
Laura Haddock (Captain America: The First Avenger, Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2)
Actress Laura Haddock had a brief cameo as a love-struck autograph seeker in Captain America: The First Avenger. She cornered Cap in the USO show, and the two made googly eyes at each other. In 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, she played Star-Lord’s dying mother. Later, she reprised the role in a flashback in Vol.2. Although her first appearance was barely a cameo, we’re including her because it lends credence to the fan theory that autograph lady was actually Star-Lord’s grandmother, and his grandpa might have been Steve Rogers! It would surely explain how Peter Quill was the only child of Ego’s to survive. A bit of good old super solder genes might have helped.
Now, should Avengers: The Kang Dynasty or Secret Wars officially canonize the pre-MCU Marvel films? Then this whole list will be much longer. We’ll just have to wait and see how big the Marvel multiverse expands to by the end of Phase 6.