One of the biggest topics of discussion amongst MCU fans is the debate about fan-casting for upcoming roles in Marvel Studios movies. These casting wishlists have only increased in quantity in recent years. With so many new characters coming down the pipeline in a short amount of time, fan-casting has become even more prevalent than ever.
At the front of this push has been the MCU's take on Wolverine, which has prompted the MCU faithful to cast actors like Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe, The Boys' Antony Starr, and Kinsgmen's Taron Egerton. Jurassic World's Bryce Dallas Howard has also been imagined as Marvel Studios' Invisible Woman, and even Bella Thorne has joined the party after being fan-cast as Lady Deadpool by some viewers.
While some of these fan-castings have actually come into reality (John Krasinski's Reed Richards in Doctor Strange 2, for example), the casting process is a beyond extensive one for Marvel Studios' top executives. Recently, the producer who has the most influence on casting the MCU's heroes shared her thoughts about the process and how it's affected by outside sources.
MCU Producer on Pressures of Fan-Casting
During an appearance on the This Week in Marvel podcast, Marvel Studios producer and head casting director Sarah Finn discussed the pressures of the casting process for the MCU, specifically touching on fan-casting.
With the MCU being so secretive yet public, Finn admitted that the team simply wants to make the casting decisions work, which adds its own pressure to the casting process for every movie and TV show:
"I think that it affects us just in terms of always, it’s not like we already don’t show up wanting to do our best every day and hoping that we’re gonna get it right all the time, but I think if anything, we want so badly to make it work, make it fun, make everyone enjoy it, and be successful for the fans. So I think it just adds to that sense of pressure, responsibility, and passion."
Finn also confirmed the long-standing rumor about actors not knowing what role or movie they're auditioning for with Marvel Studios, even apologizing to the listeners for that being such a big thing. She explained it as a way to "(protect) the actors" and "(protect) the directors" with the process being so mysterious and secretive, particularly to make sure that people feel comfortable with everything in place.
"Yeah, I know, I’m sorry, I’m sorry everyone, everyone I’ve ever had to put in that position, I’m sorry. But it is true that that happens. There’s a lot of times that people don’t know what role and what project they’re auditioning for, and that is because of the secrecy, and the secrecy isn’t there to make it hard for anybody, but it genuinely does protect the process. It protects the actors, it protects the directors, because this is a very mysterious process and it’s a learning process, and it’s a very collaborative and it’s a very vulnerable process, and we want people to feel comfortable and sometimes, having that secrecy, we don’t want it all over social media that someone’s in the mix, that just puts too much pressure on them."
Finn then explained the difficulty with fan-castings, which, while being "awesome and really fun to look at," may falsely set up expectations for characters that Marvel Studios is "actually heading in a really different direction" with. For the actors, the hope is to create "a blank slate" where they can work through everything without any external influence and put forth their best efforts:
"And then the fans, like you were saying, there are fan castings, there are fan expectations, and sometimes, that can be awesome and really fun to look at, but sometimes, people may not know that we’re actually heading in a really different direction here, so it’s not relevant, but we can’t really talk about that, but hopefully you’re gonna enjoy it, so there’s also things that we can’t share in the process. So what we’re hoping to do is create for the actors kind of a blank slate where they can come in with their instincts and just do their best work without having all of those external thoughts and pressures on them, and then we figure it out together.
Finn Continuing Casting Excellence for MCU
Almost nobody knows more about how to make casting work well than Sarah Finn, who has delivered iconic role/actor matches in the MCU for nearly a decade and a half. She saw teen heartthrob Chris Evans as Captain America and formerly unknown Australian star Chris Hemsworth as Thor in the franchise's earliest days, and that trend has only continued in the years since.
The biggest thing to take away from these quotes is not only Marvel's continued efforts towards secrecy, but the fact that that secrecy helps potential MCU stars deliver their best performances for casting decisions. Whether it's the actors Teyonah Parris for Monica Rambeau in WandaVision or even Tom Holland as the MCU's Spider-Man, giving the actors their best opportunity to shine only makes the project that much more successful.