Shockwaves were sent through the industry when it was first announced that Sebastian Stan had signed an unprecedented nine-picture contract to board the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the actor still thought he’d only end up making a solitary appearance in the franchise.
To be fair, a lot of non-comic book fans may have been under the same impression after Bucky Barnes was seemingly killed off in Captain America: The First Avenger, although readers would have been fully aware Steve Rogers’ best friend ultimately returns as the villainous Winter Solider.
However, in an interview with Vanity Fair, Stan revealed that once he was told on the day of shooting that his arm wouldn’t be getting covered in a green screen sleeve to set up his eventual comeback as the brainwashed super soldier, he believed his days were numbered.
“I certainly did not know that I would be playing the role for 10 years. I remember going in for the Steve Rogers role and not getting it. And then being told about this role and where it could go. But it didn’t seem like there was any commitment, really. I knew at the end of the story, I was going to fall off this train, and then I was going to be given this green sleeve.
That was the only indication I had that I could potentially be coming back. But no one said anything to me. Then, on the day we were shooting that scene, they were like, ‘Yeah, we’re not going to be doing that green sleeve.’ And I just thought, ‘Oh. That’s it. I’m just going to die on that train. There’s no coming back.’ But they just didn’t know what arm they were going to use or something, and it kept going from there.”
Since then, Stan has become one of the MCU’s most established veterans, going on to lend support in six further feature films and animated series What If…?, while he shared top billing with Anthony Mackie in Disney Plus series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
At the time, though, he must have been quietly disappointed that his superhero career looked to be over before it had even begun.