Plenty of actors have tackled multiple roles in Marvel projects before, with Josh Brolin and Chris Evans playing Cable and Johnny Storm for Fox before suiting up as Thanos and Captain America for Marvel Studios, while Ryan Reynolds played Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity half a decade before he debuted as Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
However, Gemma Chan is in a category all by herself after becoming the first name to play two prominent characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, following up her bit-part as Captain Marvel‘s Minn-Erva by taking top billing in Eternals as Sersi.
The fact that the former is a blue alien and the latter looks very much like a human help blur the lines between the two comic book figures, and in a new interview with Coup de Main magazine, the actress reflected on getting a second and much more substantial bite at the MCU apple in the intergalactic epic.
“I am very lucky in that this is my second time; I feel very fortunate. It was as much of a surprise to me, as to probably everyone else, but I feel very, very lucky to be part of this film, and amongst this incredible, talented cast. I certainly wasn’t expecting to be back. I had run into Kevin Feige on the awards circuit when I was promoting Crazy Rich Asians and he just came up to me and said, ‘Oh, we loved your work in the film, and we would love to have you back.’
And I just thought he was being nice. I thought: ‘Who knows if that will ever happen? And maybe sometime in the distant future… you never know’. I wasn’t expecting to be called in. I did a screen test for Sersi quite late in the game. It just caught me by surprise, but I was really, really happy to get the call.”
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It’s a unique position for the 38 year-old to find herself in, having brought a pair of cosmic characters to life in two science fiction-inspired comic book blockbusters that released a little over two and a half years apart, and Chan has been singled out by critics as a highlight of the otherwise-polarizing Eternals to reinforce that it was the right call to give her another shot at the franchise.