Not considering its interconnected storytelling between franchises, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is perhaps best known for its spot-on casting, matching actors to their roles better than nearly any other studio in the superhero game over the past 13 years. This started right at the beginning with examples like Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man, and the success has continued in this department ever since.
With Phase 4 of the MCU fully underway on Disney+, fans are seeing even more examples of perfect casting both in projects already released and projects on the way. Kathryn Hahn stole the show as the witch Agatha Harkness in WandaVision while Simu Liu appears to be perfectly embodying the MCU's master of martial arts in the first trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Coming along with this trend of castings is news of an almost-appearance from an actor who has some experience with Marvel, although he hasn't been in a Marvel Studios project...yet...
BEN BARNES TACKLES THE MCU QUESTION
In an Instagram Live session with Rotten Tomatoes, via Twitter user @wccnda, actor Ben Barnes revealed that he was almost cast for a role in Marvel Studios' The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Barnes is well known by Marvel fans for his role as Billy Russo AKA Jigsaw in Netflix's The Punisher series.
While Barnes didn't reveal the specific role, he spoke on how director Kari Skogland "messaged [him] saying she was doing (The Falcon and the) Winter Soldier" and that there was possibly a role for him in the series. However, he couldn't take it due to scheduling on Netflix's Shadow and Bone production.
"And [Kari Skogland] actually messaged me saying she was doing [The Falcon and the Winter Soldier] and that there might be a character for me in it. And I was just about to do Shadow and Bones, so I didn’t even know what it might be."
Notably, Skogland worked with Barnes on Episode 4 of The Punisher's first season as well as on 2015's Sons of Liberty miniseries.
A PUNISHER STAR MAKING THE MCU TRANSITION?
Ben Barnes had a large supporting role in all but one episode of Marvel's The Punisher series, which was part of the Defenders collection that ran on Netflix from April 2015 to January 2019. Additionally, this isn't Barnes' first time almost taking on a role in one of Marvel's projects.
In November 2019, Barnes revealed that he was in initial talks for another mystery Marvel role, but that it would have conflicted too closely with his filming schedule for The Punisher.
As for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the one role that initially comes to mind for Barnes to have played is that of John Walker. Barnes has nailed darker characters like Billy Russo in past performances, and John Walker seems like the only role in Falcon and the Winter Soldier that would've fitting and substantial enough for someone with Barnes' resume and star power.
At this rate, no matter how long it may take, it seems inevitable that Ben Barnes will find his way into one of the MCU's future movies or Disney+ shows. With Marvel Studios' penchant for casting the right actors with their perfect roles, it hopefully won't be long before Barnes returns to the thrilling world of comic book movies again.
As for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the final episode of the MCU's second Disney+ show will premiere on Friday, April 23.