These Movies & Shows Starred The Avengers Cast Long Before They Became Superheroes

Originally Published: 

Now that fans have seen their favorite superheroes in Avengers: Endgame, some for the last time ever, it's time to avenge the fallen movies and TV shows from whence these same stars came that pre-dated the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sure, it's not easy saying goodbye, but let this list of movies and TV shows starring the Avengers before they were the Avengers will help make it a little easier.

These are the projects that Marvel fans might not know from some of their favorite stars, but definitely shouldn't be forgotten. This is Robert Downey, Jr. way before he became Tony Stark and his facial hair got oh so much more intricate. (Seriously, where is the guide to grooming from Iron Man?) This is way back when Scarlett Johansson wasn't yet ScarJo or the highest grossing actress of all time. This is what all the Chris' were up to way before they ever donned a cape. Turns out, the stars of the Avengers were always pretty awesome, even if some fans hadn't quite realized it yet.

In between seeing Endgame for the tenth time in the theaters, diehards should think about subbing in some of these movies and TV shows from the comfort of their own homes. Hopefully, you'll love them all 3,000.


Chris Evans In 'Not Another Teen Movie' (2001)

Way before he was Captain America or even Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four, Evans was not another teen star in this parody of She's All That, 10 Things I Hate About You, and all your other teen faves. He even got to sing a little, which will make you want to see Evans dreams of being in a musical come true.


Scarlett Johansson In 'Ghost World' (2001)

ScarJo might not be the star of Ghost World, but as Enid's sarcastic bestie Rebecca she makes being uncool very, very cool.


Robert Downey, Jr. In 'Home For The Holidays' (1995)

RDJ as Holly Hunter's sweet, hilarious, and eccentric little brother in this Thanksgiving dramedy will make you want to see your siblings more often than just the holidays.


Mark Ruffalo In 'You Can Count On Me' (2000)

If you prefer Bruce Banner over the Hulk, check out Mark Ruffalo in this drama as Laura Linney's rebellious brother who becomes an unlikely babysitter to her young son (Rory Culkin).


Brie Larson In 'Scott Pilgrim vs. The World' (2010)

As if the actor who plays Captain Marvel doesn't already do it all, this comedy based on the graphic novel of the same name, has Larson showing off her vocals. Yes, this movie, which also stars fellow Avenger in Chris Evans, will take you down the Brie Larson was once a pop star rabbit hole.


Chris Hemsworth In 'The Cabin In The Woods' (2011)

Sure, this movie didn't come out until after he was officially Thor, but the horror-comedy written by Joss Whedon proved Hemsworth is a comedian at heart. And lucky for us, the MCU realized that too.


Jeremy Renner In 'The Unusuals' (2009)

Yes, The Hurt Locker would be the obvious pre-Avengers choice for Renner, but it's this short-lived TV dramedy about a group of, yes, unusual NYC police officers might make you finally love Hawkeye. At the very least, you'll likely love seeing Renner team up with Amber Tamblyn.


Karen Gillan In 'Selfie' (2014)

Sure, she was amazing in Doctor Who, but it's the gone too soon Selfie that shows just how good Gillan is at morphing into different characters. Here, it's a self-absorbed Eliza Dolittle-type Instagram influencer. Selfie was cancelled after one short season, but it was way ahead of its time, and not just because it knew that John Cho is an irresistible leading man.


Chris Pratt In 'Everwood' (2002-2006)

Warner Bros. Television

Rewatch Parks & Recreation forever and always, but also watch the teen soap Everwood where this Chris played the adorable Bright Abbott, who goes from broody philandering football player to A+ boyfriend. Seriously, Bright and Hannah forever.


Tom Holland In 'The Impossible' (2012)

Holland became Spider-Man pretty early in his career, but before then he starred in the 2012 film The Impossible, a disaster drama about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that shows he's been an expert crier since he was a little kid. No surprise, you'll be crying throughout the film, which also starred Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts as his parents.


Sebastian Stan In 'Gossip Girl' (2007, 2009-2010)

Before he was Bucky Barnes, Stan was Carter Baizen, a recurring GG character that got close to Serena under false pretenses. No spoilers here, you'll have to watch the first three seasons of the show to find out how Carter makes the Winter Soldier look good.


Paul Rudd In 'Clueless' (1995)

Paul Rudd's babyface makes it hard to believe he's been making movies since 1995, but there's no mistaking that his turn in Clueless (his first movie!) as Josh is the reason that a whole lot of people love Paul Rudd. Sorry, Ant-Man.


Anthony Mackie In 'Half Nelson' (2006)

Anthony Mackie and Ryan Gosling star in Half Nelson. Need I say more about this 2006 film directed by Captain Marvel's Ryan Fleck? Well, I will: it's a drama that follows Gosling's Dan Dunne, a teacher with a cocaine problem, as he tries to save his student (Shareeka Epps) from following her absentee dad, played by Mackie, down a dangerous path. It's devastating and heartbreaking and definitely worth watching.


Don Cheadle In 'Ocean's Eleven' (2001)

Cheadle plays one of the more serious Avengers, so it's only fitting that one of his most memorable roles is Basher Tarr in the heist remake Ocean's 11. Let's assume Rhodey wouldn't appreciate any of Basher's shenanigans — or his English accent.


Benedict Cumberbatch In 'Atonement' (2007)

It's hard to remember anything in this movie beyond that Atonment library scene with Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, but it's also hard to forget Cumberbatch's creepy Paul Marshall, who sets the whole plot in motion.


Zoe Saldana In 'Center Stage' (2000)

You'll be dancing and feeling alright after you watch this ballet drama that casts Saldana as a dancer with something to prove.


Tessa Thompson In 'Veronica Mars' (2005-2006)

Before she was butting heads with Thor as Valkyrie, Thompson was fighting with Veronica Mars as Jackie Cooke. Don't worry, though, it all worked out in the end, which is why you should definitely go back and watch the 12 episodes she appeared in, whether you're a Marshmallow or not.


Chadwick Boseman In '42' (2013)

Before he was playing Black Panther, Boseman starred as American hero Jackie Robinson in this biopic about the first black player in Major League baseball.


Elizabeth Olsen In 'Martha Marcy May Marlene' (2011)

Olsen played the titular role in this thriller about a woman who just escaped an abusive cult, but is still haunted by the memories of her time there. Let's just say Martha Marcy May Marlene makes Wanda's life look like a cakewalk in comparison.


Benedict Wong In 'Marco Polo' (2014-2016)

This two-season Netflix original epic has Wong playing Kublai Khan, who's a marital arts experts in the actor's capable hands. And no surprise, an adversary for the Italian explorer who's trying to storm Khan's court.


Samuel L. Jackson In 'Pulp Fiction' (1994)

Well, where do we start when it comes to the man who's Hollywood's most bankable star (according to Maxim)? With the obvious. If you love Jackson then you have to watch Pulp Fiction where he is a tour de force as the sermon-giving hitman Jules Winnfield. Pro tip: watch while eating a Big Kahuna Burger for the full experience.

Some of the Avengers might be gone, but let's make sure their pre-MCU roles are forgotten anytime soon.

This article was originally published on