Marvel contracts are always hotly-debated. Knowing when certain Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) stars could be leaving their characters behind can often clue us in on future plans at Marvel Studios. Conversely, signing on the dotted line could also factor in to future spin-offs and unexpected team-ups, as has been the case for many an MCU movie down the years.
Below, we're going to take you through the major Marvel contract news, including quotes from many of the major MCU actors who will be sticking around in Marvel Phase 4 and beyond. That even includes a look at the story everyone can't stop going on about: Spider-Man returning to the MCU.
Tom Holland's contract situation is a tricky one. His deal suggests he may not have long left to play the webhead, even though the Sony/Marvel situation has resolved peacefully. So, grab a pen and paper and get jotting down Marvel contract lengths of your favourite stars.
Sebastian Stan (The Winter Soldier)
Sebastian Stan is in it for the long haul. The Winter Soldier actor told Newsarama back in 2014 that he signed a nine-movie contract with Marvel. He’s currently appeared in five – Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame – and had a fleeting cameo in the Black Panther post-credits scene. Even if that one ‘counts’ as an appearance, he still has three movies left. Plus, there's the small matter of the Disney Plus Falcon and the Winter Soldier TV show, and it has been reported that Disney Plus contracts "don't negate appearances in future Marvel movies." Speaking of…
Anthony Mackie (Falcon)
The man who plays Sam Wilson told Men’s Health that his original deal was for 10 movies, though it’s implied that the terms of the deal – which should go for everyone on this list with upcoming projects heading to Disney+ – has been re-jigged slightly as Falcon and the Winter Soldier counts as a TV production. With Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron, Civil War, Ant-Man, Infinity War and Endgame behind him, that leaves Mackie with four more movies to play with.
Josh Brolin (Thanos)
Inevitably, questions have been asked about Josh Brolin’s future in the MCU after Thanos’ defeat in Avengers: Endgame. His contract has not turned to dust just yet – because he doesn’t have a multi-picture deal. “I'm on a one movie to one movie basis,” he said during an interview with Variety.
Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch)
Despite having a considerable role in the MCU, Elizabeth Olsen hasn’t made details about her Marvel contract public. The Hollywood Reporter revealed that she has been signed on to a six-to-eight episode contract for the upcoming WandaVision, and she also has at least one more movie to come: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Paul Bettany (Vision)
Much like his WandaVision co-star, very little has come out about Paul Bettany’s Marvel contract. He’s appeared in various guises (both as J.A.R.V.I.S. and Vision) across eight movies. If he has signed for a specific amount of movies, his Disney Plus show won’t affect his current deal.
Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange)
THR’s blowout feature on Marvel contracts and how much money the actors are making is a good a reference point. In it, the trade publication claimed that Cumberbatch only has one more movie left on his Marvel contract. At San Diego Comic-Con 2019, we found out what it was: Marvel Phase 4 movie, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. However, Cumberbatch has been positioned as a mainstay in the MCU, and chances are a renegotiation post-Multiverse of Madness is in order.
Tom Holland (Spider-Man)
Tom Holland is back in the MCU! Even better, he's confirmed for Spider-Man 3 in July 2021, and a future Marvel Studios film. So, you can mark him down for two more flicks... at the very least.
At the time of the month-long split, Variety was reporting that Sony was lining Tom Holland up for two more Spider-Man movies, though it's unclear whether they will be part of Sony's own Spider-Man universe or have folded into the Marvel deal.
Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
File this one firmly under rumour. Chris Hemsworth has supposedly signed a contract for that will see him through until Thor: Love and Thunder, plus Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Nothing official on that just yet, though the God of Thunder is definitely returning for the fourth Thor movie, so we can pencil Hemsworth in for at least one more rodeo.
Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow)
As befitting her character, Scarlett Johansson isn’t restrained by one concrete contract. Instead, as she told Collider back in 2015, her “contract is kind of mutating, I guess… [it has] morphed to fit the demand of the character.” Despite being killed off in Avengers: Endgame, those ‘demands’ will see ScarJo pull out the head-scissors takedown once more for, presumably, her final Marvel appearance in the Black Widow movie.
Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye)
Jeremy Renner’s Marvel contract was supposedly up after Avengers: Endgame. Variety Fair reported as much back in 2017. Renner, though, is staying put in the MCU – at least on the TV side of things. He’ll be starring in the Hawkeye series in 2021.
Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther)
Deadline has the scoop on this one. If nothing has changed since 2014 then Boseman only has one movie left on his current deal: Black Panther 2 in Phase 5. That’s because he signed a five-picture deal half-a-decade ago and he’s appeared in four MCU movies: his debut in Civil War, his own standalone movie, plus the two most-recent Avengers films.
Mark Ruffalo (Hulk)
Like Tom Holland, Ruffalo’s situation at Marvel is a little more complicated than some of his peers. His character – Hulk – is attached to Universal when it comes to standalone movie rights. This could be goodbye for Ruffalo anyway, though. He revealed to Collider that he has a six-movie contract, starting from 2012’s The Avengers. Counting that, alongside Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: Ragnarok, and two other Avengers movies means he has one more MCU movie left. No news yet on whether he’ll be returning.
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Kevin Feige revealed to THR back in 2015 that not only are actors signed up for a minimum three-movie deal across the board, Rudd is on a “three-plus-plus” deal. That means, with four appearance already and a fifth in Ant-Man 3 on the way, there’s scope for him to appear in other MCU movies down the line.
Evangeline Lilly (The Wasp)
Lilly has not said a word (at least publicly) about her Marvel contract, which makes the question of how long she has left – if any – a difficult one to answer. Paul Rudd (above) was signed to a minimum three-movie deal. Lilly, for her part, has already appeared in three: Ant-Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and Avengers: Endgame. She will also appear in Ant-Man 3.
Brie Larson (Captain Marvel)
The Hollywood Reporter said Brie Larson had signed a seven-movie contract in 2018. Larson, though, immediately disputed those claims on Twitter. She’s currently featured in Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame, and will star in Captain Marvel 2 post-2021. Depending on who you believe, she may have another four films to run on her deal after that.
Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury)
Samuel L. Jackson’s contract is officially up with the MCU. He told AV Club last year that he was on a “nine-picture deal,” which was completed when Jackson put on the eyepatch once more in Spider-Man: Far From Home. Of course, these things can be renewed (and considering the end of Far From Home, very well could be), so it might not be time to say goodbye just yet.
Don Cheadle (War Machine)
Nothing new to report on Don Cheadle’s side of things, who last appeared in Avengers: Endgame. For what it’s worth, there are currently no plans for him to appear in any Phase 4 movie or TV show, and he isn’t listed in the dozen-strong cast for the 2021 Disney+ animated series, What If…?
Chris Pratt (Star-Lord)
The all-singing, all-dancing Star-Lord actor doesn’t want to leave Marvel, contract or no contract. He’s scheduled to at least appear in Guardians of the Galaxy 3 but told Slash Film “it doesn’t matter how many [movies] I have contracted, because I’m going to continue working with [Marvel].”
Dave Bautista (Drax)
Much like his Guardians character, Drax, Bautista is pretty blunt. In the wake of director James Gunn’s firing, he tweeted out that he would only appear in Guardians of the Galaxy 3 because he was “legally obligated” to. That implies that, at the very least, Drax is back for one more Marvel movie, though things may change after Gunn was re-hired earlier this year.
Zoe Saldana (Gamora)
Saldana’s Gamora has left things open-ended with her character’s ‘return’ in Avengers: Endgame. That movie indicated the search for our Gamora was still on, though Saldana hasn’t publicly revealed any details about her Marvel contract in any past interviews.
Yet another Guardian that we know very little about contract-wise. Gillan originally signed a one-picture deal for the original Guardians of the Galaxy, though that has (obviously) been overruled since as she’s appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Infinity War, and Endgame. Expect her to return for Guardians 3.
Bradley Cooper (Rocket Raccoon)
Very little is known about Cooper’s Marvel contract. The Guardians seem to be the absolute best at keeping Marvel’s secrets safe – which might be why they have a threequel on the way.
Vin Diesel (Groot)
He is Groot, yet having grown from lowly twig to moody tree-based teenager over the course of a few Marvel movies, it’s not clear whether he’ll be sticking around to turn back into the huge creature from the original Guardians. Yep, Vin Diesel is almost definitely back for Guardians of the Galaxy 3, but beyond that things are a lot more unclear.
What about Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr.?
Both of Marvel's major old guard members said their goodbyes in Avengers: Endgame. Robert Downey Jr.'s Marvel contract has expired and it's unlikely he'll be back. Evans is also done with Marvel, tweeting out his goodbyes in late 2018. Sob.