The Marvel Cinematic Universe is loaded with great actors in supporting roles, from Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Douglas to upcoming additions like Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton. It’s names like those that help enrich the MCU; it’s harder to dismiss these movies as silly comic book fare when you have someone like Sir Anthony Hopkins playing Odin. As it turns out, that specific bit of casting wouldn’t have happened if Marvel went with an earlier choice: Mel Gibson.

While speaking with The Guardian to promote his new film, Blood Father, Gibson was asked if he was ever offered a role in a superhero film, to which he revealed, “Yeah, long time ago, to play Thor’s dad. But I didn’t do it.” Obviously. That role went to Hopkins, who has done more than a serviceable job with the eyepatch-wearing ruler of Asgard and father of the mighty thunder god.

Gibson didn’t turn down the part because he dislikes superhero films, necessarily:

Some are good. Some are kind of funny … Guardians of the Galaxy. Or the first Iron Man. And some of them are just like retreats. I mean you can watch them do Spider-Man five times…

The man has a point. Although the last two Spider-Man films were a mess, Marvel and Tom Holland have managed to get us excited for yet another reboot — no small feat given that the last film was only released in 2014.

Gibson went on to offer his thoughts on modern cinema as a whole:

There is a slight shift in film. But, then again, I think all films are suffering from people not being able to now open them with their name. It’s a different kind of business these days…I think you used to get more variety of stories, films and performances. You had more of a chance of a profound film experience. But that’s not gone. I think that has been relegated to the independent world – but they have to do it twice as fast for half the money.

Right again. There was a time when just being Anthony Hopkins or Robert De Niro guaranteed box office success. There’s a reason why these actors (Bruce Willis is another good example) are often starring in minor thrillers that usually hit VOD the same day as a handful of theaters — if they even make it to the theater.

At the same time, there are still some actors who are bankable on name alone, and perhaps not coincidentally, many of them are women, like Scarlett Johansson and Melissa McCarthy. And one of them is already in the MCU.

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