34 celebrities you probably didn't realise appeared in Marvel movies

Walt Disney Studios Motion PicturesDid you catch Matt Damon in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’?
  • Warning: This story includes spoilers with several cameos in “Avengers: Endgame.”
  • A bunch of celebrities and big actors have made cameos and appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • From Olivia Munn to Matt Damon, INSIDER rounds up the cameos you may not remember since “Iron Man” kicked off the franchise in 2008.
  • Visit INSIDER.com for more stories.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe isn’t just full of big stars now. Before Mark Ruffalo was stomping around as the Hulk and Lupita Nyong’o joined the fight in Wakanda, the Marvel movies were filled with celebrities.

Going back 10 years, there have been some pretty big cameos and appearances from actors you may have forgotten about or rising stars you missed entirely unless you did a recent movie binge ahead of the “Avengers: Endgame” release.

INSIDER rounded up the actors you probably forgot appeared in Marvel movies over the past decade. We’re looking specifically at the 22 Marvel Cinematic Universe movies that have been released. That doesn’t include “X-Men” movies from Fox and Sony’s “Spider-Man” saga. This story also includes celebrity cameos in “Endgame.”


Read more: The 25 biggest questions we have after “Avengers: Endgame”

Some of them are easier to remember than others. Sir Ben Kingsley played an odd villain in “Iron Man 3” and Don Cheadle famously replaced Terrence Howard as War Machine. Before Ruffalo was thrashing around as the Hulk, it was Edward Norton as the big green guy. Keep reading to see which stars appeared in the MCU.


“Modern Family” dad Ty Burrell appeared in 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk.”

MarvelBefore you recognised him as Phil Dunphy, he was romancing Liv Tyler in ‘The Incredible Hulk.’

He played Bruce Banner’s psychotherapist, Dr. Leonard Samson, before Mark Ruffalo took over the role.


Olivia Munn plays a reporter at the Stark Expo at the start of “Iron Man 2.”

Paramount/MarvelOlivia Munn can be seen in the first 10 minutes of ‘Iron Man 2.’

Before acting in Hollywood, Munn was a journalist co-hosting “Attack of the Show!” on G4. This cameo felt very fitting.


“House of Cards” star Kate Mara also appeared near the start of “Iron Man 2” to deliver Tony Stark a subpoena.

MarvelTony thought she may be waiting to go home with him. He was wrong.

Mara played a US Marshal who greeted Tony and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) at the film’s start.


CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, briefly chats at a restaurant with Pepper Potts and Tony Stark in “Iron Man 2.”

Paramount Pictures, MarvelElon Musk’s cameo happens 26 minutes into ‘Iron Man 2.’

Musk congratulates Potts on running Stark Industries. The real-life tech entrepreneur also briefly tells Stark he has an idea for an electric jet, something Tony says they will make happen.


DJ AM appeared as a DJ at Tony Stark’s birthday party in “Iron Man 2.”

Paramount Pictures, MarvelDJ AM kept the beats going at Stark’s house.

Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein died August 28, 2009 from an accidental overdose.


“The Leftovers” star Justin Theroux appeared briefly as a cop near the end of “Iron Man 2.”

Marvel, Jason Kempin/Getty ImagesYou probably never noticed this back when the 2010 sequel came out.

Gwyneth Paltrow has a short conversation with him after things go awry at the Stark Expo.

There’s another reason Theroux has a small cameo in the movie. He was one of the film’s screenwriters!


His co-star Carrie Coon appeared more recently in “Avengers: Infinity War” as a member of the villainous Black Order.

Marvel, Donna Ward/Getty Images for Tribeca Film FestivalCoon also recently starred on FX’s ‘Fargo.’

Coon played Proxima Midnight who faced off against Black Widow.

You can read more on the movie’s villains here.


Seth Green appeared in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment in “Iron Man 2” before taking on the role of Howard the Duck in 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Vince Bucci/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images, MarvelSeth Green can be seen in a quick flash in the beginning of ‘Iron Man 2’ as a fan in an elevator.

Green appeared briefly as a fan in an elevator as Tony Stark was leaving the Stark Expo.

Years later, he returned to the Marvel universe to voice Howard the Duck, a captive of the Collector (Benicio del Toro), in “Guardians of the Galaxy” and its sequel.


Rene Russo played Thor’s mum, Frigga, in the first two movies before she was killed off.

MarvelThor didn’t only have a famous dad played by Anthony Hopkins.

Frigga was killed in “Thor: The Dark World” by Malekith.


You may not remember that Tommy Lee Jones appeared as Colonel Chester Phillips in 2011’s “Captain America: The First Avenger.”

MarvelTommy Lee Jones in ‘Captain America.’

Phillips helped choose Peggy Carter to run S.H.I.E.L.D.


Before she was on “Game of Thrones,” Natalie Dormer had a small role in the movie.

Marvel, HBOAgent Carter was not happy when she caught Lorraine locking lips with Rogers.

Dormer’s Pvt. Lorraine started seducing Rogers when she knew who he was.


“Harry Potter” actor David Bradley appeared in the movie as a church keeper.

MarvelYou can see him near the start of the movie interacting with the head of HYDRA, Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving).

More recently, Bradley has been on FX’s “The Strain.”


Stanley Tucci’s Dr. Abraham Erskine recruits Steve Rogers to become a super-soldier.

MarvelTucci later appeared more incognito in the ‘Hunger Games’ movies.

Erskine sits down with Rogers before he undergoes the experiment.


You may not have recognised “Doctor Who’s” Christopher Eccleston as the villain of “Thor: The Dark World.”

Marvel, Jason Merritt/Getty ImagesEccleston also appeared on HBO’s ‘The Leftovers’ with Carrie Coon and Justin Theroux.

Eccleston played Malekith, who wanted to gather the aether – one of the Infinity stones – to rule the world.


He’s not the only “Doctor Who” star to appear in the Marvel Universe. Jenna Coleman had a small role in the first “Captain America” movie.

MarvelPoor Steve Rogers was sidelined in the background.

Before she was taken away in the T.A.R.D.I.S., Coleman attended an exhibit on future technology with Bucky Barnes.


“2 Broke Girls” actress Kat Dennings appeared in “Thor: The Dark World” as Jane Foster’s intern.

MarvelDarcy is just out here rooting for Jane’s relationship with the God of Thunder.

Darcy Lewis (Dennings) makes small talk with Thor before he whisks Jane off to Asgard.


“Westworld” actress Talulah Riley had a brief role in the movie, too.

Marvel, John P. Johnson/HBORiley’s character was filling Thor in on Jane Foster’s condition.

Riley played a nurse in Asgard.


Before he played Dr. Dre, Corey Hawkins was in the navy in “Iron Man 3.”

MarvelHawkins can be seen briefly in the third ‘Iron Man’ as part of the navy ops.

Hawkins went on to appear in “The Walking Dead” and “Kong: Skull Island.”


Joan Rivers had a brief cameo in the third “Iron Man,” too.

MarvelRivers appears in a small news segment.

Rivers gives some commentary on the look of James Rhodey’s red, white, and blue Iron Patriot armour.


“Community” fans were probably excited to see Danny Pudi in “Captain America: Winter Soldier” as a member of S.H.I.E.L.D.

MarvelPudi previously worked with the ‘Winter Soldier’ directors on ‘Community.’

Captain America, Falcon, and Maria Hill hold him at gunpoint so they can take over the communications room. Poor guy.


Glenn Close surprised fans with a role in “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

MarvelDon’t expect to see Nova Prime again.

Close played commander of the Nova Corps, Irani Rael. At the end of the 2014 movie, she was placed in charge of one of the six Infinity stones.

Thor revealed that Thanos wiped out her planet in order to acquire it.


“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” villain Taserface is Chris Sullivan from “This Is Us.”

Marvel, Frederick M. Brown/Getty ImagesThat’s Tobey from ‘This Is Us.’

You probably didn’t recognise him as one of the Ravagers.


Miley Cyrus voiced a Marvel character at the very end of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”

Marvel, Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for iHeart MediaYou probably couldn’t tell while watching the film.

If you stuck around through the credits, Cyrus lent her voice to Mainframe, who only appeared as a head at the end of the sequel.

Director James Gunn said at the film’s press junket in LA that he asked to have Cyrus in the film.

“I was watching ‘The Voice’ and I [thought] she’s so likable and her voice is awesome, she’s got the best voice. And then I asked Kevin [Feige], what do you think about casting Miley Cyrus as the voice of Mainframe? He was like well if you think we can get her… and I got her to do it,” he said.

It probably wasn’t too difficult. Cyrus is now married to Chris Hemsworth’s brother, Liam.


Ving Rhames showed up at the end of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” to honour Yondu’s death.

MarvelCharlie-27 pays tribute to Yondu near the film’s end.

Rhames played Charlie-27, one of the original members of the Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics. Charlie-27 is space pilot for Jupiter who’s the only survivor when his city gets destroyed by a group of aliens.

You can read more on him and the original Guardians here.


“Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” star Michelle Yeoh shows up in “GOTG Vol. 2” right after as Aleta Ogord.

MarvelMichelle Yeoh was also in ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and guest stars on ‘Star Trek: Discovery.’

Aleta was also one of the original members of the Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics.


Did you catch Matt Damon in “Thor: Ragnarok”?

Walt Disney Studios Motion PicturesDamon played Loki in the play-within-a-movie.

He played Loki in a play on Asgard. Apparently, he and Chris Hemsworth are friends, helping the scene come together.

He wasn’t the only famous face to show up during that scene.


Chris Hemsworth’s brother, Luke, played the role of Thor in the Asgardian play.

MarvelLuke Hemsworth got to fill in as Thor … sort of.

He’s another “Westworld” star who has appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


The family is rounded out with Sam Neill as their father, Odin.

MarvelDid you catch any of these?

You can read more on the surprise cameos here.

Sign up

here

to get INSIDER’s favourite stories straight to your inbox.


“The Walking Dead” actor Ross Marquand filled in as Red Skull in “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Marvel, Jesse Grant/Getty Images for DisneyMarquand surprisingly shows up in ‘Infinity War.’

Ross, known for his spot-on impersonations, takes over the role from Hugo Weaving. We learn Red Skull was forced to serve as the protector of the soul stone on Vormir after touching the Tesseract.


Trevor Noah has a small cameo in “Black Panther” you would never notice.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty ImagesTrevor Noah at the Grammys in 2018.

Fans noticed the “Daily Show” host plays the Wakandan AI, Griot, who helps Everett Ross pilot a ship in the movie.


A celebrity in the Marvel community, Thanos creator Jim Starlin has a brief speaking role early in “Endgame.”

Albert L. Ortega/Getty ImagesJim Starlin at the ‘Avengers: Endgame’ world premiere in Los Angeles, California.

Starlin is seen in the group therapy session that also includes a brief cameo from co-director Joe Russo.

“My film debut. Had a great time with some terrific folks, like Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the script writers,” Starlin said of the moment on Facebook. “When I wasn’t busy learning my one line or getting made up I had fun chatting with them. They and director Joe Russo were exceptionally open with me and for that I sincerely thank them, even though I had to keep my mouth shut for a year and a half afterwards.”


“Community” fans were probably shocked once again to see Ken Jeong make a small appearance in “Avengers: Endgame.”

Photo by Neil P. Mockford/Getty ImagesJeong briefly starred on ABC series ‘Dr. Ken’ before it was canceled.

Jeong plays the security guard who has to let a confused Scott Lang out of a cell. His character can be seen reading a collection of short stories called “Terminal Breach,” which features a short called “End-game.”

It’s just one of a few details you may have missed while watching the movie. You can check out our full rundown of callbacks and moments you may have overlooked while watching “Endgame” here.


ESPN fantasy analyst Matthew Berry appears briefly in “Endgame.”

FilmMagic, Getty Images ContributorMatthew Berry attends Sports Illustrated Saturday Night Lights on February 2, 2019.

Pay attention when Tony Stark and Captain America travel back to the events of “The Avengers” in 2012. Berry can be seen next to Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford). He’s one of his top aides.

Berry hosts “The Fantasy Show on ESPN Plus.” For what it’s worth, Disney, the company which distributes “Avengers: Endgame,” also owns ESPN. Thanks to an eagle-eyed fan who sent along a tip to INSIDER for this one.


Yvette Nicole Brown is another “Community” star who appeared in “Endgame.”

Frazer Harrison/Getty ImagesYvette Nicole Brown is also a ‘Walking Dead’ superfan.

The second “Community” cameo comes when Tony Stark and Captain America travel back to New Jersey in 1970 and she shares an elevator with the two.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.