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With continuity being key to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one would think that once you're done playing a role, you're done in the MCU. Apparently, this isn't so, as Zachary Levi got the scoop from Kevin Feige himself that actors can play more than one Marvel character.
Den Of Geek caught up with Levi as he was promoting his appearance in the upcoming NBC event series, Heroes Reborn. He revealed the status of his role as Fandral in the next installment of the Thor franchise, Thor Ragnarok, is officially pegged as unknown. And while he's perfectly okay with the possibility of a one-off in the realm of Asgard, there are plenty of other roles he's like to play in the Marvel Studios canon. Kevin Feige's sentiment on the idea of recasting actors in new roles is summed up by Levi thusly:
I had a very interesting talk with Kevin Feige early on about it all and he said, ‘Look, it doesn’t preclude you from playing another Marvel character.’ Chris Evans was The Human Torch and Captain America. Ray Stevenson was The Punisher and Volstagg. I did point out to him, ‘In fairness, neither Fantastic Four nor The Punisher was actually a Marvel movie. You were a part of it but they were produced by other studios.’ But he said, ‘Look, I totally understand that, but don’t worry about it.’ I don’t know, if there’s a right role that comes along and they want me to play it, I’d love to.
While the examples of Chris Evans and Ray Stevenson playing roles in Marvel films outside of the Marvel Studios rights barrier were mentioned, their crossover into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is basically seen as valid as if someone already in the MCU were to play two separate parts. So perhaps the key question to everyone’s identity in the Marvel Universe isn't who you play, but how it's explained.
For example, take a look at Paul Bettany's role as The Vision in Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Previous to his role in that film, he'd strictly been the voice of Iron Man’s digital butler, J.A.R.V.I.S. Yet someone thought it'd be a good idea to tinker with the origin story of Vision enough that J.A.R.V.I.S could become The Vision, leaving Paul Bettany with the chance to cross over into a physical performance. Though Fandral had already changed hands between original actor Josh Dallas and Zachary Levi in order for Thor: The Dark World to get underway, there was nary a word said about the change – so any sort of future Marvel role that Levi would inhabit would probably just happen without a hitch or a plot twist necessary.
Even if the Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn't come calling again, it's not like Zachary Levi is going to be short on work in the near future. He will be reprising his role as Flynn Rider in the TV continuation of Disney's Tangled, with the show set to premiere at some point in 2017. And, of course, there’s the aforementioned Heroes Reborn, which might be such a success that any characters that survive the series would be brought back for further rounds of superhero adventure. While his future options are open, keeping one foot in the Disney door should prove useful for staying in the loop on any possible involvement with the future of Marvel Studios.