Some aspiring actors dream of getting the chance to star in a superhero movie. For the massive ensemble cast of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that has become a reality. Stars like Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth are now synonymous with their MCU counterparts.
But some actors have it a lot harder than others when it comes to bringing their characters to life. Case in point, Don Cheadle and Mark Ruffalo share a similar challenge during filming movies like Avengers: Endgame. And it has nothing to do with both of them stepping into established MCU characters.
‘Avengers: Endgame’ is a visually ambitious piece of cinema
Both Cheadle and Ruffalo — who play War Machine and Hulk, respectively — play key roles in Avengers: Endgame. Their characters are among the survivors of Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) fateful snap at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. So they appear throughout Endgame as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes mount a desperate effort to reverse the decimation of half of all life.
No superhero epic has attempted such an audacious story. And in order to execute it, directors Joe and Anthony Russo needed to use all the latest technology. Green-screens were, of course, integral in creating the environments the movie’s heroes find themselves. But it also helped bring many of its characters to life, including Thanos himself.
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Don Cheadle and Mark Ruffalo felt the movie’s scope more directly
Like Brolin, Cheadle and Ruffalo found themselves intimately involved in the technical side of production. War Machine’s massive armor and Hulk’s muscular green physique mean the stars each need to don motion-capture suits on set. While acting under such circumstances is a challenge, Cheadle took solace in the fact he and Ruffalo were in it together, he told Variety.
Mark and I get to share that misery. Everyone else is walking around in their cool clothes. Mark and I are walking around in these unitards with symbols and dots and balls attached all over them. Mark has it worse than anyone because he has to wear that rig over his face. … Both of us are walking around in these suits and we just look at each other — we wanted to be actors, right?
In the finished film, Cheadle and Ruffalo’s efforts both paid off though. Cheadle makes the very best of a limited storyline for War Machine in Avengers: Endgame. And although some fans have taken issue with where Hulk’s story went, Ruffalo continues to prove why he is the best Hulk — and Banner, of course — we’ve seen thus far.
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Ironically, War Machine and Hulk both have uncertain MCU futures
War Machine and Hulk push the story forward in Avengers: Endgame. But the movie doesn’t indicate where the heroes might show up next. Endgame resolves several characters’ arcs, such as Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans). And others, like Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) are headlining Disney+ shows.
Cheadle has confirmed his MCU contract is complete. So it’s unclear if Marvel plans to bring War Machine back into the fold at some point. The character was introduced as a close ally to Iron Man. With Downey out of the picture, War Machine could be positioned as a senior member of the next Avengers line-up. But there’s no team-up movie on the way (yet).
As for Ruffalo, nothing is official. But rumors are swirling that Hulk will appear on the upcoming She-Hulk Disney+ series. Based on the comics, Ruffalo’s character could be a pivotal part of She-Hulk’s origin story. If he does appear, his storyline could even serve as the standalone Hulk movie Ruffalo never got the chance to star in. Only time will tell.
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