How long do Marvel's biggest MCU stars have left on their contracts?

For the first time in a while, we don’t quite know what the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe holds beyond Avengers 4.

A lot of our favourite superheroes ended Avengers: Infinity War as piles of dust, but while we’re pretty sure most of them will be back in the sequel, it doesn’t mean they’re all going to survive it and appear in future MCU movies.

So we thought we’d have a dig into what we know about the contracts of the biggest Marvel stars and what they’ve said about their futures to make some educated guesses on how long exactly they have left in the MCU.

Note: This is, of course, all subject to change as Marvel rarely – if ever – confirms how long an actor’s contract is and there’s always the scope for extending the current ones.

The Original Avengers

The biggest change in Phase 4 of the MCU could be the lack of the original Avengers stars that firmly established it as the most successful franchise around. Earlier this year, Chris Evans told Good Morning America that Avengers 4 will mark the end of his contract – and a lot of his co-stars’ contracts, too.

“A lot of our contracts are through,” he noted. “Myself, [Robert] Downey Jr, [Chris] Hemsworth, we all started roughly at the same time, and I think we all through Avengers 4 kind of wrap it up. I don’t know what’s next – but by 2019, that’s it.”

What’s more, a Vanity Fair piece from last year speculated that along with Evans, Robert Downey Jr and Chris Hemsworth, Avengers 4 would also mark the end of the contacts for their Marvel co-stars Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner as well.

While we might be saying bye to some of those stars (even if Evans isn’t revealing anything), we know that there’s a Black Widow solo movie in the works. Marvel denied that Johansson was pocketing a $15 million pay cheque for the movie, but it’s hard to imagine them doing it without her.

It could be a prequel, though, so the solo movie doesn’t guarantee that Black Widow survives the day in Avengers 4.

As for Hemsworth, he appeared to confirm that his contract was up after next year’s sequel, but also seemed open to continue in the MCU after the success of Thor: Ragnarok. “I felt like we re-invented [Thor],” he noted. “There is a bigger platform now to continue if we want to.”

Moving on to Samuel L Jackson, he noted before the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron that he had two movies left on his contract. If post-credits scenes count, one of those was Infinity War and he’ll also be seen (de-aged) in Captain Marvel.

However, he’ll probably be appearing in Avengers 4, too,and we also know that he’ll be popping up in Spider-Man: Far from Home, so his contract has probably been changed since Age of Ultron, although we don’t know for how many more movies.

Before Avengers Assemble, Ruffalo noted that he had a six-movie contract with Marvel, which seems to fit with the original claims that he’ll be done after Avengers 4, if we include his post-credits cameo in Iron Man 3 as one of his six movies.

And finally, we know that Tom Hiddleston didn’t exactly start the MCU as one of the Avengers, but he did complete his redemption arc in Thor: Ragnarok and Infinity War, even if he didn’t last that long in the latter.

It’s been reported that he also signed a six-movie deal with Marvel before Thor and, despite his death in Infinity War, we know that Loki will be popping up in Avengers 4 (potentially in a flashback), which would wrap up that contract, if that report was accurate.

After all, how many times can someone come back from the dead?

The ‘New’ Avengers

Having been introduced in Captain America: The Winter Soldier‘s mid-credits scene, Elizabeth Olsen‘s Scarlet Witch has become one of the team, but we don’t actually know anything confirmed about her Marvel contract.

Scarlet Witch was one of the victims of Thanos’s Snap, but has been teasing Avengers 4 so we assume she’ll be back. There is no guarantee that she’ll survive beyond that, though, or we can hope that her and Vision live happily ever after… Maybe.

Talking of Vision, the situation is the same with Paul Bettany. Not much is known about his contract, so Avengers 4 could be the end for him, too. (Yes, we know he’s been part of the MCU since Iron Man as JARVIS, but it feels more like he’s one of the new Avengers after joining the team at the end of Age of Ultron.)

One star we do know more about is Sebastian Stan, who revealed before The Winter Soldier that he signed a nine-movie deal with Marvel. “I think I actually have nine,” he told Newsarama, although it’s not clear if that included Captain America: The First Avenger and its sequel.

Either way, it means he’s actually set to last longer than Chris Evans in the MCU as even with an appearance in Avengers 4, he’ll have starred in seven Marvel movies, leaving at least two movies on his contract. Could he become the new Captain America?

Or maybe the new Captain America will be Anthony Mackie‘s Falcon? After all, he’s joked that he ‘ain’t dying’. “I’m not going to die. I ain’t going nowhere,” he said at Wizard World Cleveland before the release of Infinity War.

Shows what he knows, though, since Falcon was one of Thanos’s Snap victims, too.

As for Don Cheadle (again, yes we know he’s been around since Iron Man 2, but he joined the Avengers in Age of Ultron), he wouldn’t even “talk about” whether he was in Infinity War, so don’t expect to know his contract.

An educated guess would say that if he signed a standard six-movie contract, Avengers 4 would mark his last MCU appearance…

Guardians of the Galaxy

Now then, the situation with Guardians of the Galaxy stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Baustista, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel is certainly a lot more complicated than it was earlier this year.

Even though we don’t know much about Phase 4, we did know that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 was going to be part of it. Well, until James Gunn was fired as director and the movie was indefinitely postponed as a result, that is.

We’d be surprised if the third movie didn’t happen at some point as we assume all of the main stars have a contract for it, according to Bautista anyway.

“Where I’m at right now is that if [Marvel] don’t use [Gunn’s] script, then I’m going to ask them to release me from my contract, cut me out or recast me,” he explained to ShortList in August 2018. “I’d be doing James a disservice if I didn’t.”

However, he later told Digital Spy that because of Gunn’s exit, it’s not clear if the Guardians’ story in Avengers 4 would be affected. “It’s on permanent hold for now, and that may make a difference in what they do with our characters in Avengers 4,” Bautista noted.

For now, we can assume that all the key players have at least Avengers 4 and Guardians 3 on their contracts, but beyond that, it’s unclear…

Marvel Phase 4

Before we know what state the MCU will be left in after Avengers 4, our best guess for the future of the MCU and who’s got movies left on their contract are the movies that we know are coming.

Tom Holland will return as Spidey in Spider-Man: Far from Home and it’d be a bit depressing if that sequel turned out to be an Infinity War prequel. In 2016, Holland told The Hollywood Reporter that he’d signed on for three solo movies and three appearances in other movies.

So, including Avengers 4, he’s fulfilled his three other appearances and after Far from Home, he’s got one solo movie (at least) still to come.

Moving to Wakanda and, according to Deadline, Chadwick Boseman signed a five-movie deal with Marvel that started with Civil War.

That would mean that the already-confirmed Black Panther 2 would mark the end of Boseman’s current deal – although unless the sequel is an unexpected flop, don’t expect that to be the last we see of T’Challa.

While we wait to hear if we’ll get an Ant-Man 3, we do know that Paul Rudd signed a “three-plus-plus” deal with Marvel to “appear in other things”, according to Marvel boss Kevin Feige. If we count the “plus-plus” as his appearances in Civil War and Avengers 4, then that leaves the option of a third solo movie.

And while we don’t know anything about his co-star Evangeline Lilly‘s contract, we doubt that they will go ahead with an Ant-Man movie without The Wasp, given how well-received the sequel was this summer.

All we really know about Benedict Cumberbatch‘s contract is that there is a Doctor Strange 2 in the works, so he’s got at least two MCU appearances left.

If, like Holland, he signed a six-movie deal (including appearances in other MCU movies), that means he’s possibly got another movie after that. But with neither Marvel nor Cumberbatch talking about his contract, we don’t know for sure beyond the sequel.

And last, but by no means least, is Brie Larson, who will make her MCU debut in Captain Marvel next year, before showing up in Avengers 4.

Larson is widely expected to be a major part of Phase 4 and even though she was rumoured to have signed a seven-movie deal across multiple franchises, Larson denied this on Twitter by saying simply: “This is not true.”

So we can’t rule out a Captain Marvel death in Avengers 4, but that would be a MASSIVE surprise.

Avengers: Infinity War is available to buy on Blu-ray, DVD or digital download. Avengers 4will be released in the UK on April 26, 2019, and in the US on May 3, 2019.

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