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The Two Characters Alfre Woodard Appears As In The MCU

The Marvel Cinematic Universe boasts some of the most talented and respected actors in the entertainment industry. It's nearly impossible to imagine anyone else playing Tony Stark's Iron Man than Robert Downey Jr. but, it's widely known that Tom Cruise was in the running before Marvel Studios made their final decision. Several other actors were considered for the core Avengers' roles, but not everyone can land the lead.

However, when an actor lands a lead role, it's pretty much guaranteed they won't be cast to play another part in the MCU. That's not the case for a handful of actors who have played two different people in the Marvel shows and movies.

Kenneth Choi had a supporting role in "Captain America: The First Avenger" as part of the Howling Commandos that stood alongside Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) in the battle against Hydra. He then, funnily enough, ended up playing his own grandson in "Spider-Man: Homecoming." Mahershala Ali is set to star in "Blade" and appeared in Netflix's "Luke Cage" series. Additionally, Academy Award nominee Alfre Woodard has played two characters in the MCU — one, in particular, that would be hard for most fans to forget.

Alfre Woodard kicks off "Captain America: Civil War"

"Captain America: Civil War" served as the tipping point for the MCU's Phase 3, starting an incredible conflict between the Avengers that they would carry with them throughout their toughest battle ever, only to be seemingly resolved during the events of "Avengers: Endgame." In the first act, before this conflict begins, Tony awards scholarships to an audience of MIT students. He then proceeds backstage and runs into a woman named Miriam Sharpe (Alfre Woodard), who is seen waiting for an elevator. However, it looks like she's waiting for someone or something rather than the elevator itself. Sharpe reveals herself to be a government employee and is waiting for Tony to pass the blame on him for the events of "Avengers: Age of Ultron," where the country of Sokovia was destroyed. Her son, Charlie Spencer, was on a trip in the country to provide sustainable housing for the poor before he was killed in the battle's aftermath.

This singular event initiated by Woodard's character ultimately hangs in the back of Tony's mind as he decides to sign the Sokovia Accords that essentially put a leash on super-powered beings, specifically the Avengers. Everything that drives Tony to go to the lengths that he does in the events of "Captain America: Civil War" is guided by the guilt he feels specifically from Woodard's character, showing the immense importance of her role as it ultimately set off the entirety of Marvel's Phase 3.

Woodard played a major villain role in Season 2 of Luke Cage

Two years after her stint in "Captain America: Civil War," Alfre Woodard returned to the MCU for a much more significant role as Mariah Dillard, aka "Black Mariah," in Season 2 of "Luke Cage." Some would argue the Netflix Marvel series are not a part of the MCU, but as they often mention events from the larger universe, it's assumed they fall under its umbrella. Woodard's character was complex and particularly devious, running and owning a popular nightclub called "Harlem's Paradise" while covertly manipulating New York politics — ordering assassinations of key individuals and stealing money. Her desire for revenge leads her to kill multiple innocent people, ultimately seeking the protection of Luke Cage (Mike Colter), which fails as she is sent to prison and then poisoned by her own daughter. Dillard leaves the nightclub to Cage with the intent that he become the new crime boss of Harlem's underworld.

This particular role that Woodard held was pivotal for the character of Luke Cage in Season 2 of the show, ultimately leaving the audience questioning Cage's decisions at the end. Fans, unfortunately, were never able to see more of the Cage after the show's cancelation and Marvel's uprooting of their Netflix shows in general. Still, he might appear again in the future of the MCU, although Colter has noted there have been no discussions about it. Either way, Woodard has certainly held extreme importance in the MCU for just two years, with her smallest role arguably having the most impact overall.