7 Actors Considered To Play Thor (& 7 For The Hulk)

7 Actors Considered To Play Thor (& 7 For The Hulk)

Casting the perfect actors to play Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was integral to The Avengers’ success. If the iconic superheroes weren’t being played by actors who were both perfect for their roles and shared impeccable on-screen chemistry, then Marvel’s ambitious crossover epic wouldn’t have worked nearly as well as it did. Two roles that proved to be difficult to cast were Thor and the Hulk.

It was tricky to cast Thor because finding a human who can convincingly play a god is easier said than done, and it was tricky to cast the Hulk because they had to do it twice.


Updated on July 21st, 2022 by Colin McCormick: With the release of Thor: Love and Thunder, Chris Hemsworth becomes the first MCU star to lead four solo movies. He also further cements his iconic role as the God of Thunder making it impossible to picture anyone else taking on the role so successfully. Of course, there were other exciting choices floating around the role of Thor as well as that of the destructive hero, Hulk. While things seemed to turn out for the best, fans can take a look at some more casting decisions that might have been.


Alexander Skarsgård

The Northman Red Band Trailer

Alexander Skarsgård is an actor of incredible range. He has starred in outrageous comedies like Zoolander, intense dramas like Big Little Lies, and wild action movies like Battleship. But his recent role as a vengeful Viking in The Northman makes it easy to see why he was nearly cast as Thor.

RELATED: 10 Best Alexander Skarsgård Movies, According To Rotten Tomatoes

Skarsgård confirmed to MTV that he discussed the role both with director Kenneth Branagh and Marvel boss Kevin Feige. He even claims that he got to try on the iconic costume before Chris Hemsworth was chosen for the role. Interestingly, his father Stellan Skarsgard went on to play Erik Selvig in the Thor movies.

Liam Hemsworth

Though Chris Hemsworth is the most famous of them all, the Hemsworth family has produced an impressive amount of stars. Liam Hemsworth is the star of such movies as The Hunger Games while Luke Hemsworth stars in Westworld as well as cameoing in Thor: Ragnarok and Thor: Love and Thunder.

However, there was nearly a much different dynamic in the family as Chris Hemsworth told MensXP he was initially passed over for the role only for his brother Liam to become a top contender. Chris Hemsworth also added that it would be fun to see Liam pop up as a multiversal variant of the classic Marvel hero.

Tom Hiddleston

Tom Hiddleston as Loki

Although Tom Hiddleston ended up being the ideal choice to play Loki, the trickster god isn’t the part that he was initially up for. He first screen-tested for the role of Thor before the Marvel casting team realized he was better suited to play his mischievous brother.

Hiddleston proved to be so popular as Loki that no matter how many times he dies, the MCU keeps bringing him back even deeming him worthy of his own spinoff in the MCU.

Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

In the earliest development of Thor, Brad Pitt was under consideration for the title role. He would’ve brought established star power to the MCU and his take on the God of Thunder would undoubtedly have been different than Chris Hemsworth’s.

Pitt has yet to play a major role in a superhero franchise, but he did make a hilarious cameo appearance as the Vanisher in Deadpool 2.

Channing Tatum

Channing Tatum in Magic Mike

Channing Tatum was considered for both the role of Thor and Steve Rogers. However, he never made it to the shortlist for either of these parts.

Tatum has proven himself in a number of action movies over the years but has yet to take on a superhero role. But despite plans within the Fox universe falling through, there are still many fans who think Tatum is the right actor to play Gambit in the MCU.

Charlie Hunnam

Charlie Hunnam as Jax Teller in Sons of Anarchy

Prior to the casting of Chris Hemsworth, Charlie Hunnam got pretty far in the casting process for Thor. He even did a screen test in the role of the God of Thunder.

While Sons of Anarchy has provided Hunnam with lasting success, he’s struggled to get a franchise off the ground. He turned down the role of Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey, which was probably a smart move, and his attempt at launching a King Arthur cinematic universe bombed hard at the box office.

Daniel Craig

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale

Marvel’s first choice for the role of Thor was Daniel Craig. However, his commitment to the James Bond franchise prevented him from taking the part.

RELATED: Daniel Craig’s 10 Best Movies (That Aren’t 007), Ranked By IMDb

This forced Marvel to broaden their search for the perfect actor to play Thor, eventually landing on Chris Hemsworth, who’s undeniably better-suited to the part than Craig.


Mark Ruffalo

Mark Ruffalo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Obviously, Mark Ruffalo is the actor who plays Hulk in the MCU and he will be reprising that role in season 1 of She-Hulk Disney+. But he was not the first actor to play the role in the MCU.

The Incredible Hulk was the movie that introduced the big green hero to the cinematic universe with Edward Norton playing the role. But in an interview with Empire, director Louis Leterrier admitted to that Ruffalo was his first choice before Norton took on the role. As fate would have it, Norton was uninterested in continuing on in the role and Ruffalo took over in the MCU’s biggest recasting yet.

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey in Wolf of Wall Street

Matthew McConaughey is one of the few Hollywood superstars who have yet to play some role in a superhero project. However, the Oscar-winning actor did apparently try to join the Marvel universe years earlier without any luck.

When speaking to the Happy Sad Confused podcast, McConaughey talked about his love of the 1970s series about the character and approached Marvel about getting involved in their Hulk projects. According to McConaughey, their response was “No, thank you.”

Eric Bana

Eric Bana in Hulk

When The Incredible Hulk was first in development, the producers weren’t sure whether to reboot entirely or build on from Ang Lee’s 2003 Hulk movie.

Marvel approached Eric Bana about reprising his role as Bruce Banner from that movie, but the actor wasn’t interested in playing the Hulk enough to commit to the massive multi-movie contract that the studio wanted him to sign.

Liev Schreiber

Liev Schreiber in X-Men Origins Wolverine

Before Edward Norton was cast to play Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk, Marvel considered Liev Schreiber for the role. If he’d landed the part, it might have prevented him from committing to starring in Ray Donovan.

RELATED: The 10 Best Teams That The Hulk Has Joined In The Comics

Schreiber has since played two supporting roles in non-MCU Marvel movies: Victor Creed in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Wilson Fisk in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

David Duchovny

David Duchovny in The X-Files

David Duchovny was under consideration for the lead role in The Incredible Hulk before Edward Norton was cast and quickly butted heads with the Marvel brass.

Duchovney’s best television roles include The X-Files and Californication for their incredibly long runs, Duchovny wouldn’t have been as overwhelmed by the decade-long commitment required by the MCU than the other Avengers actors.

 Dominic Purcell

Dominic Purcell in Prison Break

Dominic Purcell was considered to play Bruce Banner, although his chiseled physique is closer to Lou Ferrigno than Bill Bixby. The actor had previously played Marvel’s version of Dracula in Blade: Trinity.

Although Purcell didn’t get to play Banner, he has found success in the CW’s DC franchise, playing Heat Wave in both The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow.

Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker

Joaquin Phoenix was on the shortlist to play Bruce Banner, but he turned it down as he was reluctant to sign on for a multi-movie contract. Marvel later offered him the role of Stephen Strange and he turned it down for the same reason.

What attracted Phoenix to his Oscar-winning role in Joker was the fact that Warner Bros. didn’t make him commit to sequels and were happy to let the movie stand on its own.

NEXT: 10 MCU Actors & Their Best Role Before Joining The MCU, According To IMDb

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Ben Sherlock
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Ben Sherlock is a writer, comedian, independent filmmaker, and Burt Reynolds enthusiast. He writes lists for Screen Rant and features and reviews for Game Rant. He’s currently in pre-production on his first feature (and has been for a while, because filmmaking is expensive). You can catch him performing standup at odd pubs around the UK that will give him stage time. Previously, he wrote for Taste of Cinema, Comic Book Resources, and BabbleTop.

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