To say we've been waiting all year for the April 26, 2019, debut of "Avengers: Endgame" is an understatement. The fourth film in the "Avengers" franchise promises to be one of the biggest events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In honor of the movie's debut, Wonderwall.com is checking up on the series' superhero stars to see how their lives have changed since they joined the Marvel family. Keep reading for more…
Robert Downey Jr. started it all when he played the title character in Marvel's 2008 action flick "Iron Man." The superhero is the alter ego of Tony Stark, a rich inventor who creates a superpowered suit that transforms him into an unstoppable force. The movie spawned two sequels and featured Robert in the role in several associated films including "The Avengers" and "Avengers: Age of Ultron."
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If Robert Downey Jr.'s breakthrough role was in 1987's "Less Than Zero," then his 2008 debut as Tony Stark in "Iron Man" was nothing short of a rebirth. The once troubled actor rose from the ashes of his former life as an on-and-off incarcerated addict to reclaim his glory as one of the top actors in Hollywood. Since the Marvel film's release, Robert's starred in several sequels and Marvel Cinematic Universe offshoots (like "Captain America: Civil War" and "Spider-Man: Homecoming") as well as another hit franchise, "Sherlock Holmes," in which he'll reprise the title character in an upcoming second sequel. From 2012 to 2015, Robert was listed as the highest paid actor in the world, earning upwards of $80 million per film role. He's been married to producer Susan Downey, a woman he credits with helping him get his life on track, since 2005. They welcomed a son in 2012 and a daughter in 2014. Along with "Avengers: Endgame," Robert will also star in the comedy "All-Star Weekend" in 2019.
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Mark Ruffalo was actually the third actor in the 2000s to play Bruce Banner aka the Hulk. After he stepped into the role in 2012's "The Avengers" — after it was played by Eric Bana in 2003's "Hulk" and Edward Norton in 2008's "The Incredible Hulk" — Mark's take on the character quickly became a fan favorite.
While hunky Mark Ruffalo was undoubtedly famous before his 2012 debut as the Hulk in "The Avengers," the three-time Oscar nominee definitely reached a new career milestone as our favorite green superhero. In addition to Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, he also stayed busy with several non-MCU films including "Foxcatcher" and "Spotlight" — both of which earned him Oscar nods. Along with his active film career, Mark's also a vocal environmental activist who in 2011 founded the nonprofit Water Defense, which focuses on keeping water sources "free from contamination and industrial degradation." In 2016, Mark took his activism to the front lines when he traveled to Standing Rock to support the Sioux Tribe in its fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Along with "Avengers: Endgame," in 2019, Mark's set to star in the drama "Dry Run." He's been married to actress Sunrise Coigney, with whom he has three children, since 2000.
We first met the elite sleeper agent Natasha Romanova, aka Black Widow, in 2010's "Iron Man 2." Played by Scarlett Johansson, Black Widow is a leather suit-donning bad a– who can kick butt and take names.
Although Scarlett Johansson had numerous theatrical successes before 2010, including her performances as Griet in "Girl with a Pearl Earring" and Cristina in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," her career since "Iron Man 2" ain't so shabby either. Along with reprising her Black Widow character for multiple Marvel movies, Scarlett also starred in "Don Jon," "Lucy" and "Her." In 2017, she headlined "Ghost in the Shell" and "Rough Night," which both flopped at the box office. That same year, Scarlett divorced second husband Romain Dauriac, with whom she had daughter Rose in 2014. In 2017, she struck up a new romance with "Saturday Night Live" star Colin Jost. Amidst it all, Scarlett's made time to speak out for causes she cares about, including Planned Parenthood and the Women's March. Along with appearing in "Avengers: Infinity War" in 2018, Scarlett lent her voice to the animated adventure "Isle of Dogs." Scarlett will soon headline her own Marvel action-drama, "Black Widow," which is reportedly due in theaters sometime in 2020.
Chris Hemsworth first wielded Asgard's mighty hammer in 2011's "Thor." With flowing blonde locks, arms like cannons and a savior's good heart, Thor became an instant sex symbol in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It's amazing to think that just two years after scoring his first big-screen role — in the 2009 sci-fi adventure "Star Trek" (in which he had a micro-part as James T. Kirk's father, George Kirk) — Chris Hemsworth landed one of the biggest roles of his lifetime playing the prince of Asgard in "Thor." Since 2011, Chris's name has been synonymous with Hollywood heartthrob. The hunky blonde actor continued to breathe life into Thor with two sequels (including 2017's hilarious "Thor: Ragnarok") and multiple appearances in other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Other well-received films Chris has made in recent years include "Snow White and the Huntsman" and "12 Strong." After "Avengers: Infinity War," Chris starred in the 2018 thriller "Bad Times at the El Royale." Up next, he'll appear in the 2019 "Men in Black" spinoff/sequel "Men in Black: International." He's been married to Spanish actress Elsa Pataky since 2010. They share three children — a daughter and twin boys — and are raising their brood in his native Australia.
Although he didn't arrive on the big screen until 2011's "Captain America: The First Avenger," Chris Evans' Steve Rogers/Captain America is actually one of the first Marvel superheroes who fought to save the world. That's because his transformation into greatness happened all the way back in the 1940s during WWII.
Chris Evans was actually in another superhero franchise, "Fantastic Four," before landing his gig as WWII-era superhero Captain America/Steve Rogers. Since Chris's debut in 2011, he's reprised the role in eight films in the series. Although he's an amazing action star, Chris is also pretty dang good at playing a regular guy looking for love in films like "Before We Go" and "Gifted." In 2019, Chris won't just star in "Avengers: Endgame" — he'll also headline the historical-thriller "Knives Out." Chris — who's said it's unlikely he'll return to play Cap after "Endgame" — split from comedy star Jenny Slate in early 2018 for the second time in recent years.
Chris Pratt plays Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, in the "Guardians of the Galaxy" movies. Peter is a half-celestial, half-human being who built a reputation as a thief and outlaw before joining the Guardians to help save the universe.
After his 2014 debut in "Guardians of the Galaxy," former "Parks and Recreation" star Chris Pratt took on another major action role — as dinosaur researcher Owen Grady — in the 2015 reboot "Jurassic World," which he followed with the 2016 epic Western adventure "The Magnificent Seven." After a busy 2017 starring in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" and making an appearance on then-wife Anna Faris's TV series, "Mom," Chris and Anna announced their split. In 2018, Chris reprised his role as Owen in "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom." He soon found love again with author Katherine Schwarzenegger and proposed in early 2019. Next up, he'll star in 2020's animated film "Onward."
Another Avenger who hails from "Guardians of the Galaxy" is Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana. Gamora, the last living member of the Zen Whoberis, was adopted by the man who killed her people. Once an assassin, Gamora turned her back on her evil ways to help the Guardians.
Just three and a half months after Zoe Saldana starred in the 2014 space-adventure "Guardians of the Galaxy," she gave birth to her first children, twins Bowie and Cy Perego-Saldana. Proving moms can do it all, Zoe continued her epic rise on the big screen, starring in films like "Nina" as Nina Simone and "Star Trek: Beyond," in which she reprised her role as Lieutenant Uhura. In 2017 — the same year she and husband Marco Perego welcomed son Zen — Zoe starred in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2." In 2018, she launched a new Latino-focused media brand, BESE. Zoe will reprise one of her other amazing characters, Neytiri, in four upcoming "Avatar" sequels beginning in 2020.
In 2015's "Ant-Man," Paul Rudd played Scott Lang, a retired professional criminal who struggles to find his way after being released from prison. Wanting to raise his daughter and make her proud, Scott's entire life changes when he comes across a miraculous suit that gives him special powers, including the ability to shrink to the size of an ant.
Paul Rudd has accomplished a lot since he starred in "Ant-Man" (which, by the way, Paul also helped write). He's been everywhere on the big and small screens, logging 14 film and TV appearances between 2015 and 2016 including projects like "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp," "The Fundamentals of Caring" and "Captain America: Civil War." In 2017, Paul produced and starred in "Fun Mom Dinner" and returned to the small screen for "Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later." Proving he has zero time to chill, Paul's starred in five films in 2018, including "Ant-Man and The Wasp" (he contributed to the screenplay for that one too). Paul's been married to TV producer Julie Yaeger since 2003. They share two children.
Sometimes, superpowers are earned, not given. In 2016's "Doctor Strange," Benedict Cumberbatch plays Stephen Strange, a renowned surgeon who loses the use of his hands in a terrible accident. While traversing the world in search of a cure, Stephen meets a master of the mystical arts and decides to become her apprentice, slowly learning to manipulate the forces of the world, becoming a powerful sorcerer in the process.
In 2016, the London-born actor known for his powerfully deep voice and immense onscreen talent didn't just star as the Sorcerer Supreme in the 2016 Marvel action flick "Doctor Strange" — Benedict Cumberbatch also appeared in another episode of his hit TV series "Sherlock," which culminated in three additional (and final) episodes in 2017 before the show went off the air. He's also since appeared in "The Current War" as great American inventor Thomas Edison and "Thor: Ragnarok," in which he briefly reprised his Dr. Strange character. Benedict has been expanding his family in recent years: In March 2017, he and theater director wife Sophie Hunter welcomed their second child, son Hal (whose name is said to be inspired by Shakespeare's "Henry V"), and in 2018, it was reported that he and Sophie were expecting their third child. In addition to joining forces with the Avengers in 2018's "Avengers: Infinity War," Benedict also starred in the films "Mowgli" and "The Grinch" and played the title character in the dramatic TV miniseries "Patrick Melrose." In 2019, he'll star in "Ironbark" and "1917."
In 2016, we met the new and improved Peter Parker, played by young Brit Tom Holland, in "Captain America: Civil War." Like the Hulk, Spider-Man had two previous incarnations — first with Tobey Maguire in 2002's "Spider-Man" and again in 2012 with Andrew Garfield in "The Amazing Spider-Man." Proving he was ready to take the mantle, Tom returned to the role in 2017's "Spider-Man: Homecoming."
Tom Holland's come a long way in a very short amount of time. Just four years after landing his first onscreen role, Tom was cast as the next Peter Parker/Spider-Man, launching him into a new realm of stardom. But he's also delivered quality work in projects outside the Marvel Cinematic Universe including in "The Lost City of Z" and "Pilgrimage." Tom's also sparked attention thanks to his dating life. In 2017, he was romantically linked to his "Spider-Man: Homecoming" co-star Zendaya. Up next for the young British heartthrob, along with "Avengers: Endgame," is the "Homecoming" sequel "Spider-Man: Far From Home."
If box-office numbers are any indication, then just about everyone in the world knows about "Black Panther" starring Chadwick Boseman. We first met T'Challa, the Black Panther, in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War." In 2018, he got his own Marvel movie: "Black Panther," which quickly became the third-top-grossing film of all time in the United States (behind "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and "Avatar") and the ninth-highest grossing film of all time.
Right now it's no stretch to say that Chadwick Boseman is one of the most popular actors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After launching the role of T'Challa, the crown prince of Wakanda, in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War," Chadwick starred in two additional films: the thriller "Message From the King" and the Oscar-nominated biographical drama "Marshall," which earned him critical praise for his portrayal of a young Thurgood Marshall. Finally, in 2018, the highly anticipated "Black Panther" arrived on the big screen. Of course, it shocked no one that the film opened at No. 1 and remained there for five long weeks. By the end of its theatrical run, "Black Panther" had earned more than $1.3 billion in ticket sales. In addition to 2019's "Avengers: Endgame," Chadwick is also slated to star in the upcoming action flick "21 Bridges." He's reportedly been seeing girlfriend Taylor Simone Ledward, a singer, since 2015.
Of course, there is no "Black Panther" without the support of the general of Wakanda's security force, Okoye, played by Danai Gurira (left). The sharp-tongued elite fighter is always by Black Panther's side, keeping him safe and honoring her vow to protect the royal seat of Wakanda.
Before Danai Gurira slayed on the big screen as General Okoye in "Black Panther," we all knew and loved her as Michonne on TV's "The Walking Dead." In 2018, she appeared in "Avengers: Infinity War" and on the ninth season of "TWD." Next up, Danai will star on the upcoming 10th season of "TWD," her final time appearing on the series.