In a few weeks, Marvel fans will be able to witness Jeff Goldblum's anticipated debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe when the quirky screen legend plays the Grandmaster in Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok. Goldblum's omnipotent ruler presides over Sakaar, where gladiators do battle for the entertainment of the gathered masses. But as it turns out, we almost saw Goldblum in an earlier Marvel film, as Marvel President Kevin Feige explains:
I think we spoke to him or offered him a role in Captain America: The First Avenger. I think the role of the senator that was part of that USO tour in the first Captain America film. And he either wasn't available or wasn't interested or whatever. And thank goodness, because that would have just been a small thing and instead we got to wait for the Grandmaster, which is about as amazing as a Jeff Goldblum 'Goldblum-iness' could be.
The part that Kevin Feige mentions to Uproxx is so small, I barely remember it being in the movie Captain America: The First Avenger, let alone the actor who played it (with all due respect). So yes, I have to agree with Kevin Feige that a role that size would have been a waste of Jeff Goldblum's talents... specifically, the unpredictable weirdness that Goldblum brings to almost every role.
What this speaks to, though, is the Herculean effort that Marvel goes to in order to cast their supporting roles with classic silver-screen icons, so that the MCU, in time, will be a galaxy of brilliant character actors and A-list mega-watt stars. Yes, they eventually got Jeff Goldblum into a meatier role as the Grandmaster. But that means he joins an MCU "family" that also includes Robert Redford, Cate Blanchett, Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Douglas, Angela Bassett, and the Dude himself, Jeff Bridges. There's "good company," and then there's the roster assembled by Marvel for their supporting roles.
It wasn't meant to be. And then, it WAS meant to be! Taika Waititi cast Jeff Goldblum in Thor: Ragnarok, where he's trading barbs and sharing scenes with Marvel powerhouses Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo and the beloved Tom Hiddleston. And they are making room for newcomers Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson and Karl Urban in the growing tapestry of the MCU. We think, in clips like the one above, that the Grandmaster is a perfect fit for the type of delivery that Goldblum brings to his characters. Are you glad that Marvel waited? Weigh in below, and then head over here to grab your Thor: Ragnarok tickets before the movie opens on November 3.