Mickey Rourke played Whiplash in Iron Man 2, but ended up clashing with the studio after much of his work was reportedly left on the cutting room floor (according to the actor, anyway).
Prior to shooting, it was said that Rourke spent time in a real prison to prepare, but Whiplash ended up coming across as a total goofball - something that was arguably more down to his performance than any cuts that may or may not have been made. Regardless, in the years that have followed, the Oscar-nominated actor has never shied away from tearing into Marvel Studios.
These days, much of Rourke's work seems to be of the "Direct-to-DVD" variety, but during lockdown, he's been spending some time binge-watching Law & Order: SVU.
In a lengthy Instagram post, he shares high praise for the popular TV series, but bizarrely decided to wrap things up by taking a shot at his former employers. "Respect to all of you," he says, "the work that you all do is real acting, not like that crap that all on Marvel shit."
Needless to say, Rourke is never going to return as Whiplash, and unlikely to ever want to tackle another comic book role. Check out his lengthy post about Law & Order: SVU (and Marvel) below:
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actors will never work with Marvel Studios again!
10. Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World)
Alan Taylor's history with Game of Thrones meant fans were hopeful his Thor sequel might embrace the tone and visuals fans of that Westeros-set series enjoyed.
Instead, he delivered a thoroughly generic film which is considered one of Marvel's worst.
How much of the blame lies at Marvel's door is up for debate, but Taylor publicly disowned James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy post-credits stinger at the film's premiere, and later described his "Marvel experience" as "particularly wrenching because I was sort of given absolute freedom while we were shooting, and then in post it turned into a different movie."
The filmmaker would add that "it's something I hope never to repeat and don’t wish upon anybody else." Terminator Genisys was similarly disappointing, though, so this blame game is unconvincing.
9. Mickey Rourke (Whiplash, Iron Man 2)
Iron Man 2 was another disappointing effort from Marvel in its early days, with so much time devoted to setting up The Avengers, Tony Stark was left a supporting character in his own film.
Sam Rockwell's Justin Hammer entertained us, but the villainous Whiplash was hard to endure.
Mickey Rourke claimed he spent months researching the role, even spending time behind bars to get into his character's mindset. Arguing that what ended up on screen was one-dimensional because most of his performance was cut, Rourke exclaimed that, "If they want to make mindless comic book movies, then I don’t want to be a part of that."
Did Marvel really cut his role down? If what ended up in the film was the best of it, we'd hate to see the worst because Whiplash was a real lowlight.
8. Edgar Wright (Ant-Man)
Long before the MCU was an interconnected world of stories, the odd scene here or there linking these films was enough for Marvel Studios.
As time passed, that changed, and unfortunately for filmmaker Edgar Wright, that meant making some changes to his Ant-Man screenplay. Kevin Feige brought writers in to connect the film to the rest of the MCU, and that didn't sit well with him. In what he's since called a "heartbreaking" decision, Wright left the project.
"They wanted to do a draft without me, and having written all my other movies, that’s a tough thing to move forward thinking if I do one of these movies I would like to be the writer-director. Suddenly becoming a director for hire on it, you’re sort of less emotionally invested and you start to wonder why you’re there."
If you work for Marvel, you are, in fact, a "director for hire," as you're being invited to play in the MCU sandbox. Sadly, that makes it unlikely Wright will return.
7. Hugo Weaving (Red Skull, Captain America: The First Avenger)
Hugo Weaving is no stranger to blockbuster franchises, but the actor has soured on them enough in recent years to sound downright bitter in the interviews he's so often part of.
After playing the villainous Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger, he said in 2012 that "it’s not something I would want to do again." Later, he would reveal that he was asked to reprise the role in the last two Avengers films, but turned the offer down when he could reach an agreement with Marvel Studios on money.
Weaving said he'd have done it, but with Ross Marquand replacing him, don't bank on it.
It would take a lot for Marvel Studios to convince Weaving to return, and given the actor's thoughts on films like this one, the two sides ever reaching an agreement is too much of a stretch.
6. Scott Derrickson (Doctor Strange)
Doctor Strange may have played it safe with the Sorcerer Supreme's origin story, but it was a visual delight, and a film that brought something new to the MCU.
Scott Derrickson was tasked with directing the sequel as well, but those tried and tested "creative differences" meant he left the project early in production. He wanted to deliver the MCU's first horror film, but Kevin Feige wanted to take the title hero into the Marvel Multiverse.
The filmmaker has chosen his words carefully while discussing his departure, but it sounds like there was a real clash of visions when it comes to how the sequel was set to play out.
Now, Sam Raimi is returning to the Marvel world for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Derrickson is moving on to other stories (primarily set in the world of horror).
5. Idris Elba (Heimdall, Thor Trilogy, Avengers: Infinity War)
In an interview released shortly after Thor: The Dark World's release, Idris Elba described working on Marvel movies as "torture." It seemed he hated playing Heimdall, and the gruelling reshoots were particularly problematic for the actor.
It seems Kevin Feige took that on board because the Asgardian was given a much larger role in Thor: Ragnarok...only to be killed off in the first few minutes of Avengers: Infinity War!
That had to sting, though the actor has since claimed he would return to the role if the opportunity presented itself.
We're not sure about that one because Elba has already moved on to the DC Universe for The Suicide Squad, and can't have been happy with the way his story ended. Unless he's been promised something big, we're not banking on seeing more of Heimdall in the MCU anytime soon.
4. Ed Norton (Bruce Banner, The Incredible Hulk)
Marvel Studios's earliest, most shocking high-profile falling out with an actor came during The Incredible Hulk's production.
Norton made a series of uncredited changes to the film's screenplay, and was more hands on than the studio probably would have liked. Demanding to be allowed to take part in the editing process as well, Kevin Feige said no, and the actor then refused to do anything to help promote the film.
He left the role shortly after, and Marvel recast him during Comic-Con in 2010 with Mark Ruffalo taking over.
After spending years slating Marvel and The Incredible Hulk, Norton said last year that he would be down with an MCU return. "Maybe as a baddie? Maybe I’ll write my own," he pondered. "I don’t know, I’m open to everything." We doubt it.
3. Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Avengers Age Of Ultron)
Joss Whedon directed two $1 billion blockbuster films for Marvel Studios, but when it came time to find a director for the two-part Infinity War, Joe and Anthony Russo ended up with the job.
There were frequent clashes during the production of Avengers: Age of Ultron, with Whedon forced to shoehorn in the poorly received visions Thor had, and Kevin Feige allowing him to include Captain Marvel...only to then swap her out with Scarlet Witch during post-production!
Whedon has since said that things got "really, really unpleasant" between him and Marvel, and given the negative publicity surrounding Justice League, there's no way he'll return to the MCU.
It's a shame, but not a shock all things considered.
2. Terrence Howard (Rhodey, Iron Man)
Iron Man teased the possibility of Rhodey becoming War Machine, but Terrence Howard never got the chance.
He wanted more money for the sequel, but Marvel Studios turned him down. That decision was reportedly made by Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter, a controversial figure who believed no one would notice if Rhodey was recast...because the character was played by a Black man.
Downey was paid less than Howard for Iron Man, but that changed with the sequel. "It turns out that the person that I helped become Iron Man, when it was time to re-up for the second one, took the money that was supposed to go to me and pushed me out," the actor has alleged.
"They came to me with the second and said ‘Look, we will pay you one-eighth of what we contractually had for you, because we think the second one will be successful with or without you.’" The role was recast, and the sequel was, in fact, a success.
1. Natalie Portman (Returning In Thor: Love And Thunder)
There's one actor who it seemed would never return to the MCU, but is now set to come back to an even bigger role.
Natalie Portman was left fuming when Marvel Studios parted ways with original Thor: The Dark World director Patty Jenkins over creative differences, and only starred in the sequel due to contractual obligations. Avengers: Age of Ultron wrote her out of the MCU, and she was M.I.A. in Thor: Ragnarok.
Meeting with Kevin Feige years later, it appears Portman realised the MCU had changed in her absence, and was convinced to lend her voice to Avengers: Endgame.
In 2022, Jane Foster will transform into the Mighty Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder. Anything can happen in the MCU, so perhaps there's still hope for the others listed here?