Everyone wants to know what'll happen next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and based on what's out there about the actors' contracts, we can make some educated guesses. With so many fantastic performers in Marvel's stable, though, keeping track of it all yourself is a real headache. That's where we come in.
With Black Panther coming up early next year and Avengers: Infinity War bringing all your favourite superheroes together (for the first time, in a lot of cases), we've collected everything we know about the Marvel actors' contracts – here's how long Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, and company will be sticking around for this unprecedented undertaking.
Robert Downey Jr.
As the longest running hero of the MCU, Robert Downey Jr.'s contract has racked up so much ink that it's gone from being just a legal document to the stuff of legend. He was originally set to bow out of the MCU after five movies, ending with Avengers: Age of Ultron. His contract was then extended to include Captain America: Civil War, Infinity War, and Avengers 4 – which was originally conceived as Infinity War - Part 2. Once he's wrapped on the two Avengers movies, he'll have fulfilled his current obligations (his Spider-Man: Homecoming appearance was a separate deal). And while last year he dropped hints about Iron Man 4, co-star Chris Evans has told USA Today that "Downey is close[r] to reaching that point where he may walk away. And I don’t know how you replace Downey as Tony Stark." We'll have to wait and see.
The yin to Tony Stark's yang. Chris Evans has made it clear for a while now that he's only contracted for two more MCU movies - Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 - and recently confirmed via a big profile feature in The New York Times that he wouldn't be returning to the franchise once his contract was up: "You want to get off the train before they push you off". Does this mean that Cap will bite the dust in Avengers 4? Maybe, but his character could leave the MCU in a variety of ways, including taking early retirement - you can't say he hasn't earned it! - and that would leave him open to returning later down the line should Evans (and Marvel Studios) want it. Either way, Avengers 4 definitely looks like the end of Cap for now. "It’s going to wrap everything up," the actor said of the fourth Avengers movie.
Despite Marvel coming around to the possibility of a Black Widow spin-off, Scar-Jo's contract details are more difficult to pin down than anyone else's within the Marvel empire. Rumor has it that she has a three-movie deal that spans The Avengers trilogy, with all other appearances worked out on a film-by-film process. That might explain why she's been spotted on set during the filming of Infinity War – as of August, too, she was spotted in Atlanta by EOnline, most likely shooting the fourth Avengers movie. Consider her a lock.
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Thor: Ragnarok turned out to be the best Thor film by some distance, and its post-credits scene connects a few dots with the story to come in Infinity War. After Thor, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Doctor Strange, and Thor 3, Hemsworth has Avengers: Infinity War, it's sequel, and... that's it! Sadly the actor recently revealed that the upcoming Avengers 3 and 4 movies will see his current Marvel contract come to end: “My contract’s coming to an end, we’ve just finished the last two Avengers. Who knows what the future holds. We felt like we reinvented the last one in a big way. We might have a conversation if there’s another great script that comes along. But at the moment that’s it.” Does this mean there's no more Thor in the MCU after Avengers 4? *Sob*
The Hulk, AKA Bruce Banner, AKA Mark Ruffalo has wrapped up three of his six contracted movies: The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron and now Thor: Ragnarok (the Iron Man 3 credit scene didn't count). After that he'll be in Infinity War and Avengers 4. That leaves... *finger maths*... one more movie. Without a Hulk solo movie on the cards, who knows what that could be? Hopefully we haven't seen the last of the Thor/Banner partnership in Ragnarok - it really was a highlight of the film.
Even though we were first introduced to Hawkeye in Thor, that didn't count toward the four movies on Jeremy Renner’s contract. The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War constitute the first three, and reports claimed Ant-Man and the Wasp was the fourth – until director Peyton Reed debunked them as fake news. He's since been spotted on the set of Infinity War, which would fulfill that original four-film contract. And on top of that, he's been seen on the set of the fourth movie, sporting what looks like a serious change in costume. Perhaps, like Evans, he got a one-film extension on his original contract?
Olsen began her Marvel journey with a large supporting role in Avengers: Age of Ultron. She fared much better than her onscreen sibling Quicksilver, earning herself a spot in the Earth's Mightiest Heroes' new line-up. So how many more movies can we expect to see her unique skills? There's never been any confirmed word on her contract, but she's definitely in Infinity War – having been spotted filming in Scotland by multiple sources – and few name actors sign on with Marvel for less than three movies. So consider her highly likely for Avengers 4, too, but not yet confirmed.
Samuel L. Jackson
Fury's absence in Civil War didn't go unnoticed. Luckily Jackson's only completed seven of his nine contracted movies, which means we'll be seeing more of the former S.H.I.E.L.D. Director. When, though? We know he's appearing in Captain Marvel, coming in 2019, along with Brie Larson. As for Infinity War, the actor claims he hasn't been asked back for that one, or indeed the fourth Avengers movie. But that was in August, and filming is still going on. Who knows?
It was early in 2015 when Bettany revealed that he had indeed put ink to paper for a Marvel Studios contract. He seemed rather excited about it too, expressing the freedom it gives him for other work in between: in short, Marvel's his steady gig. He hasn't confirmed publicly how long his contract bends into the future, but, it definitely contains Infinity War after the man himself – or a body double – was spotted performing in Vision's costume during a March 2017 shoot. In October, too, Bettany posted an Instagram snap of himself putting the make-up on, suggesting he'll be in Avengers 4 too.
Remember before Civil War came out and everyone was certain that we'd see either a hint or a mention of Bucky taking over as Captain America? Well, that's because a) it occurs in the comics and b) Sebastian Stan is signed up for NINE MOVIES. That doesn't happen because your mom bakes Kevin Feige some fantastic cookies - it means your character is going places. So far, Stan's knocked out two of his contracted films (Captain America: The First Avenger was prior to signing, and the Ant–Man post-credits scene doesn't count) which leaves seven flicks. Infinity War is a definite and Avengers 4 was confirmed in September 2017, which leaves five more to go - and he's not on the official Black Panther cast list, either.