Benedict Cumberbatch was almost cast as one of the MCU’s worst villains

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Image via Marvel Studios

While it’s a problem that’s largely been rectified in recent years, one of the very few sticks the Marvel Cinematic Universe could justifiably be beaten with during its early years was a severe lack of memorable villains.

Sure, many of the current big bads still fall into the “evil mirror version of the hero” trope, but we’re a long way away from the underwhelming likes of Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash or Corey Stoll’s Yellowjacket. However, you could make a very well-founded argument to call Thor: The Dark World‘s Malekith the worst of the worst, something star Christopher Ecclestone would probably agree with.

During a recent interview to promote Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Benedict Cumberbatch revealed that he was offered the role, but wisely turned it down in the hopes that he’d “rather hold out for something more juicy”. Suffice to say, he got his wish, but fans still can’t believe he almost went under the prosthetics as the maligned Dark Elf.

Thor: The Dark World may have undergone an unexpected reappraisal among the MCU faithful, but it still spent almost a decade as the single worst-reviewed feature-length installment in the franchise’s history until Eternals came along to claim the unwanted distinction of being the sole Rotten entry.

Prior to Taika Waititi’s Ragnarok coming along, there wasn’t exactly an outpouring of adoration for the God of Thunder’s solo adventures in general, while the complexion of the mythology as we know it could look entirely different had Cumberbatch taken the plunge as Malekith.