Over the years in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we’ve certainly learned there's no single role, no matter how small, that is restricted to the movie an actor is cast in. Heck, Gwyneth Paltrow signed on for the Iron Man movies and famously forgot she showed up in a Spider-Man movie. Over the past decade, Marvel has done all kinds of sneaky things to keep all its films interconnected.
Back in 2013, Bill & Ted actor William Sadler portrayed the fictional U.S. President Ellis in Iron Man 3 and later returned for a few appearances in ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It turns out he also filmed something for 2015's Ant-Man that never saw the light of day. In his words:
Ahead of the 70-year-old actor’s return to play Death once again with Alex Winter’s Bill and Keanu Reeves’ Ted, William Sadler recently spoke to Lights, Thunder, Action! about his brief run-in with the MCU. Although the franchise never made room for President Ellis after Iron Man 3, we now know there were originally some additional plans in place for the character. He was going to be part of 2015’s Ant-Man in some “silly” scene, but it was ultimately cut out.
It is fascinating to think about how much of the MCU happened without more cuts to the MCU’s version of the U.S. President. Much of the Captain America movies touched on politics and policy, but William Sadler didn’t have much chance to shine outside his role in Iron Man 3. It's also interesting that of all the movies, it was Ant-Man he was going to come back for – a smaller scale heist film, as far as the universe is concerned.
In some ways, it makes sense though. Before the MCU, the president showing up in a comic book movie, or any action movie for that matter, to give a big speech or form some kind of annoyed relationship with our hero had become a cliché in movies that the studio may have wanted to get away from. Plus, there’s so much going on outside of the president for these movies to touch on.
Even so, William Sadler was an awesome addition to the MCU and we do wish we could have seen him in further installments. The actor is famous for his roles in some of the most beloved movies in the ‘90s including The Shawshank Redemption, Die Hard 2 and The Green Mile. He’ll return to his wacky villain role of Death after almost thirty years for Bill & Ted Face the Music, coming to select theaters and VOD on August 28.
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Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.