Bruce Campbell admits he turned down major roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before Sam Raimi joined the franchise with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The actor is well known for appearing in Raimi’s various films, most notably as Ash Williams in the Evil Dead franchise. Campbell has also made cameo appearances in each installment of Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, playing a different small part every time opposite Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker.
Throughout his career, Campbell has been fan-casted as numerous Marvel characters, most notably as Mephisto and Mister Sinister. The actor had sometimes shared his interest in playing some of these characters online, fueling internet rumors. However, outside of his trips into the Raimi-verse, Campbell hasn’t delved much into the superhero genre. He officially made his MCU debut this year with Doctor Strange 2, putting in another cameo. This time, he played a Pizza Poppa vendor who becomes the target of Doctor Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) ire. Campbell appeared in two scenes total, which appears to be the perfect length for him.
In an interview during San Diego Comic-Con, Campbell shares with Screen Rant that he side-stepped some big roles in the MCU over the years. The actor doesn’t mention which roles he was considered for, but hints that they were larger than what he wanted to commit to. Campbell admits:
When asked if Raimi’s entry into the MCU helped change his decision, Campbell acknowledges, “That does help. I tend to say yes when Sam wants to do something, yes.” The two have a partnership that goes beyond business, so it isn’t surprising that Raimi would be the person who could help Campbell alter his MCU decision. It’s unclear which characters Marvel discussed with Campbell, but it was recently revealed that he almost appeared as Mysterio in the canceled Spider-Man 4. Raimi himself confirmed that a Mysterio design was created for his appearance, citing it as one of the many possibilities for Campbell’s cameo in the movie. However, even that would’ve likely been a small part, perhaps indicating that even when faced with a bigger Marvel character, Campbell really is okay with saying no.
It’s no secret that the duo enjoys working together since Campbell appears in nearly all of Raimi’s films. It wouldn’t have felt right for Doctor Strange 2 to not include some kind of Campbell cameo, so it’s nice to see that he was happy to put aside his MCU reservations for his old friend. At the same time, this sparks a lot of questions over which parts Campbell turned down. What could the MCU have looked like had he played heroes like Iron Man, or villains like Thanos, for example? Since he doesn’t mention the characters he passed on, the possibilities are truly endless.
Next: Where Does Doctor Strange Fit In The Rest Of MCU’s Multiverse Saga