Being a featured actor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe certainly comes with perks aside from the long-term commitment to the role beyond the films. WandaVision stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier stars Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, and Loki star Tom Hiddleston all spoke to Variety as part of their Virtual TV Fest about their respective MCU journeys and opened up about how it's benefitted their careers.
WandaVision Stars Came Long Way from MCU Supporting Roles
"We all have a number sign above our heads when we make independent films [for] whether or not we can sell them internationally to help get financing," Olsen said. "If we want to do that, it does allow us to be able to do that. So, I think that's a great benefit to being a part of such a huge international franchise." The WandaVision star was originally introduced alongside Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the twins Wanda and Pietro Maximoff in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The actress would appear in the subsequent three Avengers films along with the third Captain America film in Civil War in 2016 before starring in the Disney+ series alongside Bettany, who originally just voiced J.A.R.V.I.S. as Tony Stark's (Robert Downey Jr) AI before having a physical form as Vision in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Anthony Mackie on TV Skepticism
Also making his MCU debut in the 2014's The Winter Soldier was Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon, who became Steve Rogers' (Chris Evans) modern-day best friend. Sebastian Stan's Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier made his debut alongside Evans in 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger and make subsequent appearances in every sequel of the standalone franchise along with Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Endgame (2019), and a post-credit cameo in Black Panther (2018). When Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige came calling about Falcon and Winter Soldier, Mackie wasn't sure at first. "I had an idea of what was cooking, but I didn't think it was going to be a TV show," he said. "I was very afraid and very disappointed when I heard it was going to be a TV show because I didn't think we could take the scope of what we had just done in all these movies and then put it on TV and it would work. I didn't want to be the first failed entity of Marvel. You have all this amazing stuff and then this one thing sucks and it just happens to be me. … I thought it was going to be like Batman and Robin — the original one — where it was like, 'Pow! Bing!'"
Mackie admits he was wrong. "When you become a part of the Marvel franchise, it's almost like summer camp," he said. "When you show up to set, it's everybody and you never miss a beat. Some people have kids, some people bought a car, some people did this, so it's like you going back to seeing all your same friends over and over." Aside from the closely-guarded MCU secrets everyone involved on set has to sustain, Hiddleston recalled the can of worms he opened when he asked about networking. "There was a whiteboard, I'm afraid," he said. "I said to Kate Herron, our director, 'Would it be helpful if I gave everybody all the information at the same time?' And Kate and Kevin Wright, our producer, were like, 'That's a brilliant idea.' Shamefully, it then became a Loki lecture." For more on how the actors kept in touch with Feige and what it means to bear the responsibility of their roles in the MCU, you can go to Variety.
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