If you haven’t yet seen—or weren’t even acutely aware of—the appearances of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in Spider-Man: No Way Home, then we’ve ripped that Band-Aid off together now.
The reappearance of Sony’s first two iterations of Spider-Men led to the biggest box office draw since the start of the pandemic, with fans eagerly lining up to see their returns in the film.
But it was more than simply paying homage to growing excitements about multiverse concepts. Indeed, Disney and Marvel appear committed to bringing back their classic characters from other films to serve real roles and bigger purposes beyond mere fan service.
Many are already speculating about what Marvel has in store for Maguire and Garfield as rumors of Tobey Maguire’s role in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness swell. They’re also talking about other characters from past franchises who might return.
Here’s our take on which Marvel characters we want to see make a comeback within the franchise’s growing multiverse.
8. Eric Bana’s Hulk
The 2003 film Hulk isn’t a traditional comic book film. It’s more of an interpretation of the Hulk by Oscar-winning filmmaker Ang Lee. However, ignoring the film’s premise—detailing that would require an article of its own—Eric Bana’s portrayal of Bruce Banner remains captivating.
The character’s internal struggle is perhaps the best and purest interpretation of what Bruce suffers because of his mutation. Seeing him again would represent an interesting shift for the MCU, as his interactions with Mark Ruffalo’s variation could become profoundly riveting.
7. Jake Johnson’s Peter B. Parker
Drafting a voice actor to perform their character in live-action is next to impossible in most circumstances. But in the case of Jake Johnson’s Peter B. Parker? It wouldn’t be a stretch.
Johnson’s own acting prowess—and peculiar resemblance to Peter B. Parker—could see him jump the gap between the film styles, and we can only imagine what kind of impact that would have on the MCU.
Peter B. Parker is Miles Morales’ mentor, the (almost) down-and-out version of Spider-Man who aged with regrets and bitterness. Seeing Johnson in live-action is something no Spidey fan would want to miss.
6. Shameik Moore’s Miles Morales
One of the main issues with No Way Home (yes, there are issues, it isn’t perfect) is how there are no more limits on the possibilities surrounding the multiverse within the MCU.
Meaning, if we did see Jake Johnson’s Peter B. Parker, we’d also demand to see Shameik Moore’s Miles Morales. Like Johnson, Moore could use his acting abilities to portray Miles in live-action, though the slight-but-obvious age difference would need explanation.
We’re getting Miles Morales at some point—the time has come for that rendition of the character to emerge—and a multiverse version of Miles with Shameik Moore could be a cinematic gold rush.
5. Jon Bernthal’s Punisher
It’s almost certain that we’ll be getting Jon Bernthal back in the MCU. Marvel has no choice now after bringing back Charlie Cox’s Daredevil and Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin. Plus, Kevin Feige knows fans wouldn’t accept another actor as Frank Castle after Bernthal’s performance.
With that in mind—and a reported deal already inked for Bernthal’s return—let’s look at where he could fit in.
Frank Castle is a character that’ll have his own series within the MCU, but re-introducing him in one of the up-and-coming Marvel TV series is best for all involved. That would sufficiently tease Castle’s own series down the line while giving him time with other MCU characters.
4. Dafne Keen’s Laura Kinney
There’s an undercurrent of fan hope that Dafne Keen’s Laura Kinney will reprise the role as the MCU’s Wolverine, mainly because Hugh Jackman would be near-impossible to recast so soon after he vacated the role.
Continuing with Keen in her role would legitimize Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine within the MCU—even if only in a small way—as her father.
More than paying lip service to Jackman, Keen’s Kinney is the perfect replacement. Her performance in 2017’s Logan is the continuation of Logan’s heritage, and her ferocity in the MCU would represent Marvel’s chance to commit to a new and different iteration of Wolverine.
3. Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones
Watching Krysten Ritter’s iteration of Jessica Jones through three seasons of her TV show gave audiences a wonderfully reluctant heroine. Her hard-drinking and fiery personality is a bright spark in Netflix’s Marvel shows, alongside Jon Bernthal’s Punisher and Charlie Cox’s Daredevil.
Watching as Jessica recovered from the effects of Kilgrave and the personal hell he put her through became essential viewing for any Marvel fan. Having Ritter back would make sense with Cox and D’Onofrio’s returns—and perhaps this time they could get The Defenders right.
2. Josh Brolin’s Cable
Here’s what we know: Ryan Reynolds is working on the Deadpool 3/Reboot right now, so he’ll be making the trip from one universe to the MCU. What we don’t know is… who’s going with him?
Setting aside fan calls for Zazie Beetz’s Domino, Josh Brolin’s Cable is the other character fans really want to see return.
Of course, Brolin obviously portrayed Thanos—an iconic role that earned him critical praise—but the vast differences in the roles and appearances of the two characters should ease any concerns of doubling up.
Witnessing him and Deadpool come to the MCU with sarcastic comments in-tow? Exciting! Plus, Brolin is reportedly eager to come back.
1. Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine
We have to start by saying this: Hugh Jackman should definitely NOT ruin the ending of Logan by returning to the MCU. Jackman’s Wolverine died in a manner that no other superhero has died in, with final moments as profound as any scene in any superhero movie.
Of course, fans want it anyway. They want it badly. There’s no way to replace Wolverine in the MCU—perhaps aside from using Dafne Keen in his place—without drawing comparisons and disappointment.
Hugh Jackman’s return would be a coup for Marvel and Kevin Feige (who’s apparently desperate to get him back). Jackman’s character is a cinematic icon in the same league as Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man or Michael Keaton’s Batman. It’s a note of perfect casting.
Jackman has reportedly turned down the opportunity to return multiple times, citing Logan as his perfect final bow—which, of course, it was—so it appears unlikely he’ll ever come back.