Ty Burrell (The Incredible Hulk)
Yes, that’s the dad from Modern Family. Ty Burrell has made his name as the loveable goofball Phil Dunphy in the ABC comedy, but he also has a small part to play in one of the MCU’s most forgotten movies. In 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, Burrell plays Leonard, Betty Ross’ short-term partner in Bruce’s absence but, like much of the cast from the Jade Giant’s solo film, wouldn’t return in future Marvel outings.
Olivia Munn (Iron Man 2)
To put Olivia Munn in such a sparse role in the MCU feels like a disservice – but that was the case for Iron Man 2. She was originally cast as a prominent fling of Tony Stark’s, and that got downgraded further to the role of newscaster during the movie’s opening at the Stark Expo. Munn caught the superhero bug, however, and went on to play Psylocke in X-Men Apocalypse.
Harry Dean Stanton (The Avengers)
A bonafide movie legend, the late Harry Dean Stanton starred in everything from Alien, to The Godfather Part II, to the Green Mile. In 2012’s The Avengers, Stanton plays a security guard who befriends Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner after he falls through an abandoned warehouse. The pair briefly chat in one of the movie’s quieter scenes, with Stanton’s character nudging Banner into meeting up with Tony Stark.
Donald Glover (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
It’s not often you can forget Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, aka Troy in Community, yet his bit-part in Spider-Man: Homecoming (playing Miles Morales’ uncle, Aaron Davis, no less) swung on by without much consequence. Whether this loose thread will get picked up again in future Spidey sequels remains to be seen, though it would be a shame to see such the talented singer-turned-actor consigned to just a handful of lines.
Martin Starr (various)
Remember the geeky bespectacled kid in Judd Apatow’s cult comedy series, Freaks and Geeks? He went on to play, uhh, a geeky college student in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. In a fantastic retcon, that character becomes the teacher that escorts Peter Parker’s class around Europe in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Jenna Coleman (Captain America: The First Avenger)
Doctor Who fans will instantly recognise Jenna Coleman from her turn as the Time Lord’s assistant Clara Oswald. She’s a little harder to pick out in the first Captain America, though, as she’s gone in a flash and only has a few lines. Coleman plays Bucky Barnes’ date, Connie, and appears very briefly during a scene at the Stark Expo.
Seth Green (Guardians of the Galaxy)
Another actor who you can’t recognise behind all the CGI and, in this case, feathers. Howard the Duck pops up during the Guardians of the Galaxy post-credits scene and chastises the Collector for letting Cosmo the Spacedog lick his face. He later appears in both the Guardians sequel and very briefly in Avengers: Endgame. Green, the master of many voices, has also played the likes of Peter Griffin in Family Guy and Joker in the Mass Effect series.
Ross Marquand (Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame)
The Red Skull changed actors in the near-decade between The First Avenger and Avengers: Infinity War. Hugo Weaving took his leave and in came Ross Marquand. The difference between the pair is almost indistinguishable, so it’s no surprise when many were left surprised that it was actually The Walking Dead’s Aaron caked underneath all that makeup.
Take a trip through the entirety of the MCU with our breakdown of the complete Marvel timeline.