The Marvel Cinematic Universe is now nearing the end of its phase 3, and with the release of Avengers Endgame, we bid goodbye to a number of our beloved heroes. Sob! (Blows into tissue paper.) But just because we won’t be seeing (spoilers ahead to those who’ve miraculously not watched it yet) Robert Downey Jr. donning the Iron Man Mark 85 suit or feast our eyes on America’s rear (this was one of the recurring jokes they pulled with Captain America’s tight-fitting suit in the movie) anytime in the near future, that doesn’t mean we can’t dig up all their dirty little secrets and fawn over every nitty-gritty detail of their childhood, like the (to put it nicely) number-one fans that we are.
So let’s dry our eyes and put away the tissues. We’ve got juicy stuff to share. We have information about our favorite celebs from Endgame that could make a fan's day. Want to know what the cast looked like growing up? Did they already have the auras of superstars, or were they down-to-earth-looking kids just like the rest of us when we were young? The list of actors from the movie is long, but we’ve managed to downsize it to a comfortable 20 for fans' viewing enjoyment. So here we go. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see for ourselves what our beloved actors and actresses looked like in their youth. Drumroll!
20 Robert Downey Jr. - Tony Stark
Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that Tom Cruise was originally meant to play Tony Stark? Imagine how differently that would have turned out, but we're just glad that Robert Downey Jr. got to breathe life into this wonderful character. And wow. Would you look at that! Mr. Downey looking so sweet as a little boy. In fact, that smile of his could give many little fans a run for their money! And take a look at that pixie haircut! Me thinks he could have cross-dressed as a little girl and no one would even suspect a thing! Heh. Today, however, he is and forever will be remembered as the one and only Mr. Tony Stark. It’ll take a while before Disney can find anyone else to replace this iconic actor.
19 Chris Evans - Captain America
Many thought that Chris Evans’ Captain America would fade away after he left an emotional goodbye to his character on Twitter a few months back. Rumors went rampant, and fans had all sorts of predictions, but many did not envision Capt. to grow old with his flame and pass the mantle on to Falcon. Young Chris grew up in a family of performers, with the exception of his dad being a dentist. Ahhh... so that’s where he gets his pearly whites from! Acting came naturally to him, and while he did get bummed out from having played The Human Torch (the movie was not good), studio execs must have seen something in him to cast him as The First Avenger. The fact that they kept asking for him even though he initially turned them down and the fact that they agreed to his terms and reduced his contract from 9 to 6 films says a lot about his acting prowess.
18 Mark Ruffalo - Hulk
There is a saying that a picture tells a thousand words, and this picture of a young Mark Ruffalo tells us that all hope is not lost even if you have to wear braces. Look how far his acting has taken him after the braces came off. Despite the goofy look, Ruffalo has described his childhood as being a happy one. He did, however, at one time struggle with dyslexia and attention deficit disorder (ADD) before finally overcoming them to become the respected actor that he is today. All has not been rosy for him, though, as the actor is deaf in the left ear (from a surgery to remove a benign brain tumor), but despite this, his positivity in life has garnered him a massive fan base and an even greater résumé.
17 Jeremy Renner - Hawkeye
That hair. What can we say? The only saving grace is probably the cheeky smile and the twinkle in his eyes. Man those eyes sure can tell a story. And that’s probably how he became the multi-Academy Award nominee that he is today because this man can totally emote with his eyes. But what is more fascinating is the fact that he initially majored in something totally different from acting. In fact, he was close to getting a degree in computer science and criminology before finally deciding to pursue acting after taking drama class as an elective in his college. Thank God for electives!
16 Tom Hiddleston - Loki
Here’s another fun fact. Tom Hiddleston initially auditioned for the role of Thor. In fact, he actually beefed himself up just for the role that eventually went to Chris Hemsworth. He might not have been cast as the main character, but he left such an impression that the director had him cast as the mischievous Loki. And just look at his childhood photo here. Mischievousness definitely is part of who he is. But so is compassion. During an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he was quoted that he learned about compassion from having spent much of his young life in boarding school and watching his parents get divorced. The compassion and empathy that he gained enabled him to channel his emotions into all the challenging roles he’s had over the years as an actor.
15 Chris Pratt - Star Lord
Before he became Star Lord, he was, well, just a kid with bunny ears. Chris Pratt was noted to have been like every other little boy, mischievous, naughty, and downright doing things his own way. But even at a young age, he already displayed a knack for performing, once telling his wrestling coach (yes, he actually wrestles! So those muscles aren’t just for show) in school that he wanted to be famous and make a lot of money. After dropping out of high school and landing various odd jobs, he was finally discovered by a director while waiting tables at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. So if your kids want to go wait tables, let them. They might just end up as the next MCU hero!
14 Scarlett Johanssen - Black Widow
While many know Scarlett Johanssen as ‘the child actress who successfully transitioned to an award-winning adult actress,’ many do not realize how hard little Scarlett practiced just to get it 'right.’ As a child, she practiced in front of a mirror until she cried and at 7 was devastated when a talent agent signed her brother instead. Imagine that. Most of us were still playing with pebbles and Barbie dolls at 7. Instead of giving up, she enrolled at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and started with minor roles before rising to prominence in the Horse Whisperer (thank you, Robert Redford!). Fans will be happy to know that she’ll be back in the upcoming Black Widow solo movie, though how they plan to revive her supposedly no-more character will be an interesting thing to watch.
13 Chris Hemsworth - Thor
Chris Hemsworth grew up under the sun in the Australian outback with his parents and two brothers (who are also actors by the way). His most vivid memories of his childhood are very different from the average Joe, with days spent playing with buffalos and crocodiles. Many are curious how the Australian actor got his big break playing the god of thunder. After all, he didn’t have many credentials prior to playing Thor. In fact, Chris Hemsworth explained that he nearly didn’t get cast for the role. In fact, his younger brother almost landed the role until the studio execs decided that he looked too young, and so they opened up the casting call once again. And boy did the second chance do wonders for Chris.
12 Zoe Saldana - Gamora
It’s hard to imagine Gamora as a 40-year-old mother of 3, but well, she is. Now there’s no excuse for the rest of us not to hit the gym or at least try exercising and eating right. If Zoe Saldana can do it, then so can we! On a serious note (not that the motivation to get fit is a joke), young Zoe initially dreamed of being a ballet dancer but had to give up the dream when she realized that she just wasn't talented enough to be the lead ballerina. So she channeled her love for performing into acting instead. And the rest, as they say, is history. Not only is she playing one of the most iconic roles in the MCU, but she will also be remembered as the female lead in the critically acclaimed and box office hit Avatar.
11 Tom Holland - Spiderman
Prior to donning tights and swinging webs as Peter Parker, Tom Holland was donning tights while singing his lungs out as Billy Elliot. Tom Holland had a rather distinctive childhood, having enrolled in dance and gymnastic classes instead of the usual football / rugby / basketball practices. And because of his unique interests, he was often picked on and laughed at by his peers. That must have been extremely pressuring and depressing. But his efforts have sure paid off, and his physical agility landed him in one of the most coveted roles in cinematic history. Look who's laughing now.
10 Brie Larson - Captain Marvel
Brienne Sidonie Desaulniers (professionally known as Brie Larson) did not have it easy as a child. Her parents divorced when she was 7 and she was very much traumatized by it. Still, she credits her mom for having brought her and her sister up well and for supporting her passion for acting even from a very young age. Talk about a mother’s love. To fulfill Larson's acting ambitions, her mom moved the kids to L.A., where the three of them (mom, Larson, and sister) lived in a tiny one-bedroom apartment. The move proved to be the right choice because Brie Larson soon became the youngest student ever to be admitted by the Conservatory Theatre. There was no looking back ever since.
9 Pom Klementiff - Mantis
In Korea, Pom carries both the meaning of ‘spring’ and ‘tiger.’ Perhaps her parents wanted their daughter to be as strong as a tiger and as beautiful as spring. Pom was raised by her uncle in France after her father passed away when she was just 5 and her mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her tragic childhood was made much better by the love showered on her by her uncle, whom she has likened to a second father. This beautiful lass made her way through acting school on a scholarship that enabled her to train with the school’s top teachers.
8 Chadwick Boseman - Black Panther
Chadwick Boseman will forever be known as the character that he so awesomely played in these films. We simply cannot wait to see the Black Panther back in action (and maybe getting a few more Oscar nominations along the way). But before he became the King of Wakanda, Chadwick Boseman was a tall and lanky boy from South Carolina. He was very much like every other teenager who loved to hang out with friends and cuddle cute fluffy puppies. There was one thing that stood out though. His thirst for acting and directing. In fact, he wrote and staged his first play in high school and even moonlighted as a drama instructor before moving to L.A. to pursue his dreams.
7 Elizabeth Olsen - Scarlett Witch
To anyone who is still unclear as to why Elizabeth Olsen looks so familiar, well, she is the younger sister of twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen of Full House fame. Elizabeth practically grew up onscreen, having performed in her sisters’ films, but it was not until she acted in the critically acclaimed film Martha Marcy May Marlene (phew! What a mouthful) that she started gaining recognition. Here’s a fun fact that we dug from boomsbeat.com: Apparently, she changed her last name in high school to avoid being associated with her sisters. But now that she’s carved out her own name in the entertainment field, she no longer feels the need to hide.
6 Paul Rudd - Antman
Paul Rudd, better known as the guy who doesn’t age, was actually born as Paul Rudnitzky. His grandad had his family’s surname changed to Rudd later on for easier pronunciation. And while growing up, he had a penchant for big curly hair with lots of moose (check out Graham Norton’s Talk show where they showed a picture of Paul with an even bigger hairdo than the one we showed here) and Archie comics books. He first gained attention from the media after appearing in Alicia Silverstone’s Clueless before diversifying his work to cover both serious and comedic roles.
5 Dave Bautista - Drax
Now, this is one actor we wouldn't want to mess with. A 6-time world champion (4 times for the World Heavyweight Championship and twice for WWE), this retired wrestler also holds a purple belt in Brazilian Jitsu. Prior to having the longest reign as the World Heavyweight Champion (a feat that no other wrestler has yet to surpass), David Bautista was once told that he would never make it in the wrestling world, but he sure proved them wrong. Just look at how beefed up he has become since his days if being a scrawny teenager. So never look down on stick thin Tom or bony Sally. They might just surprise us all one day.
4 Sebastian Stan - Winter Soldier
Remember the scene where Bucky spoke in Romanian with such ease in Captain America: Civil War? Well, here’s another fun fact. Sebastian Stan was actually speaking fluent Romanian in the scene. Without any help at all. And before we go wow, let it be known that this actor actually spent a good few years of his young life in Romania. And while he may have been slightly on the chubby side during his teenage years, he managed to tone his body down and became our beloved Bucky Barnes as well as a real-life godson to beauty mogul Anastasia Soare. Gasp! How’d he end up being her godson?
3 Vin Diesel - Groot
To be honest, we were very tempted to post a side-by-side photo of both baby and adult Groot. But that would have been an insult to the actor who played the walking, talking tree. So we present to you photos of Mr. Fast and Furious himself: one when he was obviously still small, slow, confused-looking, and cuddly and the other when he became a lot faster, leaner, and meaner. While he probably has the least lines to remember of all the Avengers cast, that doesn’t mean that he had it easy. In fact, he had to record ‘I am Groot’ in all 15 languages all by himself.
2 Josh Brolin - Thanos
Many were surprised when the multi-award-winning actor took on the role of Thanos. In fact, there was so much uproar that the actor became nervous about being able to emote as a villain while donning a silly looking polka-dotted costume. But his worry was unfounded and his performance in Infinity War and Endgame was flawless. However, before he became a respected actor, young Josh was very much a troubled youngster who stole cars to pay for his use. He eventually sobered up one day when he saw how much his mom had aged. And aren’t we all glad that he pulled himself together? Guess there’s hope for all of the world's momma’s boys after all.
1 Karen Gillan - Nebula
Talk about commitment. This actress from Scotland actually shaved her mane off to portray Nebula. But prior to becoming an actress, little Karen grew up in Scotland watching U.S. TV shows, by which she perfected her accent, and had a love for playing with Barbie dolls before moving to London where she was eventually scouted by a modeling agency. And even though she did well in modeling, she gave it up to pursue her dream of acting and has been working nonstop ever since. And even though she is now a much-sought-after celebrity, she still enjoys rummaging through vintage clothes shops for great bargains. Ahh... You go, girl!
Sources: Wikipedia, tonsoffacts.com