Without question, Marvel reigns supreme at the box office, and being cast in a Marvel film is often a golden ticket to instant stardom for an actor – especially if they end up in an Avengers movie.
It’s amazing to look back at childhood photos of the most famous actors and see how far they’ve come. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of Avengers actors’ childhood photos, ranging from the adorable to the downright heart-breakingly cute.
Tom Holland Spider-Man
t’s no secret that the Spider-Man character has been in turmoil for decades, having been the subject of a war between the ascendant Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment, who have a tight grip on the character’s film rights.
But when Tom Holland was pretending to be Spider-Man, aged just three, did he realise he’d end up portraying the web-slinger on the silver screen? That cheeky smile says: maybe.
Not only was Rudd young, but look at that magnificent hair! He’s also dropped the tie, unlike those losers Matt Bailey, Mike Roberts and Karl Myers.
Benedict Cumberbatch – Doctor Strange
Once upon a time, Benedict Cumberbatch was a classically trained actor who brought Sherlock Holmes to a new, swooning audience. However, Cumberbatch’s performances (as well as his cumbersome, meme-worthy name) soon caught the attention of executives across the pond, and he landed the role of interdimensional kaleidoscope wizard Doctor Steven Strange.
Chris Hemsworth – Thor
Chris Hemsworth is part of one of Hollywood’s newer acting families, alongside brothers Liam and Luke, who all got their start in Australian soaps. Hey, if it can work for Kylie Minogue, it can work for hunks too!
Yet before he was the God of Thunder, it looks like Hemsworth was the god of getting his hair cut by his mother. Those were the days.
Robert Downey Jr – Iron Man
Robert Downey Jr has had a rollercoaster of a career that few could have predicted, including struggles with alcoholism and drug abuse that have dogged his adult acting life. He went sober, but it wasn’t until 2008’s Iron Man that Downey Jr truly returned to his A-list status, ending up as the highest-paid actor in the world.
Downey Jr’s first acting role was in 1970’s Pound, aged only five; the film was written and directed by his father. Before even then, however, this remarkable photograph was taken, featuring Robert and his sister Allison enjoying some ice cream. Who knew that he’d grow up to act in Doolittle?
Tom Hiddleston – Loki
Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t the only actor to make the jump from classical acting to the MCU. In fact, both he and Tom Hiddleston have had well-received turns as Hamlet!
However, a young Hiddleston is unrecognisable in his early days. Where are those flowing, glossy locks?
Chris Evans – Captain America
Chris Evans’ first run at comic book movie stardom was a bit of a damp squib – all the more ironic when you consider that his part was as the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four. Evans rebooted his career with Captain America: The First Avenger. He hasn’t looked back since.
Still, maybe Evans should look back with childhood photos this adorable! Now, we know what you’re thinking: since when did Chris Evans have such big cheeks? Just remember, he’s the one on the right.
Jeremy Renner – Hawkeye
Back in the day, Jeremy Renner’s first role came in the poorly-received National Lampoon’s Senior Trip, in which he played a slacker. Since then, Renner has carved out a career in Marvel blockbusters, even if he stars as one of the most derided superheroes of the group.
Maybe Renner and Hawkeye would get more respect if he’d maintained this remarkable hairdo and sweater combo. Mullet or spiked hair? The real question is: why not both?
Cobie Smulders – Maria Hill
For Cobie Smulders, getting a role in The Avengers truly marked hitting the big-time, even if her previous role in How I Met Your Mother was still hugely popular.
In that show, we get a glimpse at Robyn’s (Smulders) upbringing, but nothing as early as this toothy-grinned picture!
Elizabeth Olsen – Scarlet Witch
Elizabeth Olsen’s surname is the stuff of 90s gold dust, but that era wasn’t so great for the future Scarlet Witch. For one thing, Olsen was overshadowed by her incredibly famous twin sisters, Mary-Kate and Ashley.
Still, Olsen certainly looks adorable in this family photo. She’s pictured here alongside her brother – and, yes, there really is an Olsen brother!
Brie Larson – Captain Marvel
You wouldn’t expect a thriller about a brutal kidnapping would be the best launching pad into the MCU, but it certainly worked for Brie Larson, who won an Oscar in 2016 for Room. Captain Marvel became the first female-led superhero film to make more than $1 billion at the box office, and it looks like Larson will be flying around and punching things for many years to come.
Larson began, however, by acting in various sitcoms at the turn of the millennium, in which she sported classic early noughties bangs and curls!
Dave Bautista – Drax the Destroyer
But, as what Drax the Destroyer might term a PUNY CHILD, Bautista was completely adorable!
Chadwick Boseman – Black Panther
Black Panther made history for its African setting and became the first Marvel project to be nominated for an Academy Award – at its core, however, the film is about a hi-tech city whose king dresses up as a cat and fights crime. Thankfully, Chadwick Boseman’s effortless likeability carries the day.
Can you believe that this fresh face is really Chadwick Boseman? Well, you’ll have to: his name is right there underneath the picture!
Mark Ruffalo – The Hulk
Let’s be honest: the Hulk hasn’t had a glamorous Hollywood history. Ang Lee’s Hulk, starring Edward Norton as the angry green lump, is often regarded as one of the lesser Marvel efforts in spite of the talent on board. It’s been refreshing, then, to have someone like Mark Ruffalo take up the role.
But if you think the Hulk is ugly, think about how gorgeous Ruffalo is underneath! In this early picture, the actor bears a fleeting resemblance to current Hollywood heartthrob Timothee Chalamet. It’s in the brows.
Josh Brolin – Thanos
Josh Brolin is Hollywood royalty, making him the perfect choice to play the MCU’s mad titan Thanos. While the character is largely CGI, Brolin is unmistakable.
Based on childhood pictures like this, it’s clear that Brolin got his thoughtful look mastered from an early age!
Zoe Saldana – Gamora
Zoe Saldana’s Gamora might be an underrated member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, but she brings an emotional heft to Infinity War that sets that film’s dire events in motion.
Little Zoe Saldana could never have guessed she’d grow up to make a considerable living by covering herself in green paint!
Scarlett Johansson – Black Widow
Black Widow will finally receive a spin-off film to answer growing fan demand, but those fans will have to wait a little longer: the movie’s planned May opening has recently been pushed back to November.
Yet before she was gracing the silver screen, Scarlett Johansson was sporting adorable dresses and bangs. Honestly, which little girl didn’t have a dress like this in the 80s?