Marvel Stars React to Hollywood Actors Strike

By Klein Felt Posted:
Marvel Florence Pugh Clark Gregg Don Cheadle

Some of Marvel's biggest stars, like Florence Pugh and Simu Liu, shared their reactions to the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) strike announcement. 

After being unable to come to an agreement with the studios, SAG-AFTRA leadership announced that as of midnight on July 14, the union and its members were going on strike. 

The actors join the Writers Guild of America in the first dual strike in Hollywood since 1960, and the first instance of SAG-AFTRA job action since 1980. 

This means that production on any SAG-AFTRA project (including anything within the MCU) will be halted until a new contract can be agreed upon.

Marvel Actors React to Actors' Strike

In the wake of the SAG-AFTRA strike announcement, a number of Marvel stars offered up their honest thoughts. 

On the red carpet of the Oppenheimer premiere in London, Yelena Belova actress Florence Pugh told Entertainment Tonight, "It’s a very tense day" but she is happy to be standing with her fellow actors is "a wonderful feeling:"

"They’re already affecting me. I mean they’ve affected the whole of Hollywood. It’s been going on for awhile whether it be writer, directors, actors. You know, its something that affects the entire industry. And it’s something that everybody needs to be taking seriously. In terms of what it feels like today, yeah, it’s a very tense day. But the fact that I’m here and the fact that I get to be with everyone is a wonderful feeling.”

Leading into the strike announcement Simu Liu told reporters (via NowThis News), "It’s important to all of us to stand in solidarity with our union" and that he hopes both sides can "come to a wonderful understanding:"

“It’s important to all of us to stand in solidarity with our union. I think it’s important. Our union is the entity that fights for our rights and fights for the on-set rights of everybody. We live in a rapidly changing landscape, and it’s important to show that solidarity. And if, and when we do strike, I mean obviously I mean I hope not. We hope that everyone’s able to come to a wonderful understanding. But it and when we do, they will have my full support.”

In a strongly worded tweet, Agents of SHIELD star Clark Gregg riffed on the turn of phrase "F*** around and find out," saying that "I feel like we are moving from the great f-ing Around into the finding of out" with the hashtag "PayYourArtists."

Gregg also shared his reaction to Disney CEO's comments about the strike and the studio's content output, with a simple "Bro..."

He followed this up with "In perpetuity. JFC," replying to SAG's claim the studios were asking the union to agree to background actors being able to be paid for one day's work to have their likeness captured by AI and used in perpetuity for no additional compensation.

The Avengers star also called upon California Governor Gavin Newsom for his support:

 "We need your support Gavin Newsom"

Don Cheadle, who can be seen now in the ongoing Secret Invasion Disney+ series, shared his response online, adding "to promote work..." to a list of activities actors have to refrain from during the strike.

Guardians of the Galaxy star Sean Gunn replied to the same list, remarking that "PROMOTION or PUBLICITY SERVICES" was missing:

"This tweet isn’t just confusing, it’s deliberately misleading. They left out the heading that SAG members can’t do those things for PROMOTION or PUBLICITY SERVICES."

Julian Hilliard, who starred in 2021's WandaVision as Billy Maximoff, returned to his Twitter account, sharing a brief "Back on, only to say…let’s go" with a flexing emoji.

Eternals star Kumail Nanjiani posted a similar message of support, posting an image that said, "SAG-AFTRA on strike!"

Thor director Kenneth Branagh weighed in in an interview with Deadline, calling this a "critical time in [the] industry:"

“I hope, as everybody does, that it solves itself quickly. But it’s such a critical time in our industry. The implications of what’s happening with that agreement go way beyond the membership of SAG-AFTRA. It’s an existential moment in in our industry."

He continued, hoping that the strike "motivates people to [get] back [to] that table and talking:"

"And I think it is not a surprise that its a difficult thing to thrash out. I do think everybody’s trying to get a fair deal. But I’m in solidarity with SAG. I’ve been a member for over 33 years. I think they’re doing the best they can. And I think it’s the way to go. Yes, we know everything’s affected. I hope that it’s going to be something that motivates people to be back at that table and talking.”

Another MCU director to chime in was Doctor Strange filmmaker Scott Derrickson. Derrickson tweeted, opining that "unions are the greatest thing this country has ever produced" and showing his support for both the writers and the actors: 

"In my opinion, unions are the greatest thing this country has ever produced."

And Doctor Strange writer C. Robert Cargill posted a GIF from his Marvel film of Benedict Cumberbatch's Stephen Strange uttering the line "I've come to bargain" with a tag for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

What Does the Actors' Strike Means for Marvel?

Of course, the most immediate result of the SAG-AFTRA strike when it comes to the MCU is those super-powered projects that are currently filming. 

While development on anything within the franchise has had to stop because of the writers' strike, a few Marvel Studios titles could move ahead with filming albeit without the presence of writers on set. 

A pair of these (Wonder Man and Daredevil: Born Again were shut down early), but the other two (Deadpool 3 and Captain America: Brave New World) will have to shutter production as the actors head to the picket lines. 

Given the ongoing writers' strike, delays to the MCU slate felt inevitable. The actors going on strike all but guarantee them. 

Another aspect where Marvel Studios is about to look a whole lot different will come with the promotion of any of its titles.

Depending on how long the strike goes, it could mean no press interviews or promotional tours for the likes of The Marvels, Loki Season 2, and Echo

No matter what happens, Marvel Studios and Hollywood as a whole is about to look quite a bit different. 

- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.