The Marvel Cinematic Universe and The Walking Dead are two of the most beloved franchises in modern pop culture, each running for well over a decade after a humble beginning. In the years since, both universes have grown exponentially, spawning a large fanbase and an ever-expanding cast of characters, including the upcoming Maggie and Neegan spin-off, Isle of the Dead.
With such a large cast in each franchise, crossovers among actors are inevitable. As such, there are several actors from the MCU that have also made an appearance on The Walking Dead, bridging the gap between the two universes.
10 Corey Hawkins
Corey Hawkins portrayed Heath, an Alexandrian whom Rick and the group meet during Season 6. Despite major plans for Hawkins’s character in the series, commitment to other projects caused the actor to leave the series only one season later, making Heath one character fans hope to see more of in the upcoming Tales of the Walking Dead.
Hawkins has a very minor cameo in Iron Man 3 as a Navy Operations Specialist in a command center. The third film in the Iron Man trilogy came out in 2013, just two years before Hawkins’s breakout role in Straight Outta Compton, making his appearance a delightful surprise for anyone unfamiliar with the actor at the time of release.
9 Kerry Condon
Kerry Condon makes a guest appearance in The Walking Dead‘s season four premiere episode, “30 Days Without An Accident.” Condon portrays a survivor named Clara, whom Rick meets in the woods outside the prison settlement, only for the woman to attempt to feed him to her husband, who has been turned into a walker. Clara dies shortly thereafter, with her zombified corpse appearing in several following episodes.
While MCU fans may not be intimately familiar with Kerry Condon’s face, they may recognize her voice as F.R.I.D.A.Y., Tony Stark’s replacement AI after J.A.R.V.I.S. is transformed into Vision in Age of Ultron. Condon would go on to voice F.R.I.D.A.Y. on several occasions until Tony Stark’s death in Avengers: Endgame.
8 Cailey Fleming
Cailey Fleming joined the cast of The Walking Dead in season 9 as an older Judith Grimes following the major time jump in “What Comes After.” Fleming has since been a major character in the series, continuing to appear throughout the tenth and eleventh seasons.
At just fifteen years old, Fleming already has an impressive resume. Not only has the actress also appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as a young Rey, she formulated her own pop culture trifecta in 2021 when she appeared as a young Sylvie during the opening flashback of Loki‘s fourth episode.
7 Elizabeth Ludlow
Elizabeth Ludlow had a recurring role on The Walking Dead beginning in Season 7 as one of Negan’s Saviors, Arat. Arat managed to survive the Savior War and eventually joined the coalition of communities in the years thereafter. She was eventually murdered by Cindy as revenge for executing her brother years earlier on Negan’s orders.
Ludlow had a very minor cameo in a scene in Guardians of the Galaxy, volume 2. In the film, she played an Easik woman who attempts to escape Ego’s toxic sludge that has been set loose across the galaxy. This cameo would come back to surprise even director James Gunn, who claimed he did not realize he had worked with Ludlow prior to Peacemaker.
6 Ross Marquand
Ross Marquand’s Aaron has been a major character in The Walking Dead since his introduction in Season 5. Quickly joining the ranks of series favorites, Aaron has been a part of several major moments over the years, including Negan’s infamous lineup. Aaron continues to fight for survival in TWD‘s final season, becoming one of the longest-lasting characters in the series.
Many MCU fans might not have even realized when Marquand joined the franchise in Avengers: Infinity War. The actor, who is famed for his impersonations of famous celebrities, replaced Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull, who reappears on the planet Vormir. Marquand also voiced Ultron in What If…? and the Ultron sentries in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
5 Jon Bernthal
Jon Bernthal was a series regular in The Walking Dead‘s first two seasons, portraying Shane Walsh. Shane acted as the foil to Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes, eventually succumbing to the harsh world around him and losing his honor along the way. Shane is killed at the end of Season 2, though he would later appear in Rick’s hallucination in the Season 9 episode “What Comes After.”
Bernthal made a name for himself among Marvel fans with his portrayal of Frank Castle, a.k.a. the Punisher, in Netflix’s Daredevil, which eventually led to the character receiving his own self-titled spinoff, which ran for two seasons. With Netflix’s Marvel characters beginning to rejoin the larger MCU, many fans have begun to anxiously wonder where the Punisher may show up again in the franchise.
4 Matt Lintz
Matt Lintz portrayed an older version of Henry following Season 9’s massive time jump, taking over the role from his younger brother, Macsen Lintz. As Henry, Lintz played out Carl’s famous romance with Whisperer Lydia from the comics, though he eventually meets a tragic end as a part of the infamous pike scene.
Matt Lintz has recently joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Bruno Carrelli, Kamala Khan’s best friend in Ms. Marvel. Lintz’s Ms. Marvel character is distinguished by his intelligence and heart, instantly making him a fan favorite with a long and prosperous future in the franchise.
3 Lauren Ridloff
Lauren Ridloff joined The Walking Dead among a group of other survivors in Season 9, becoming the first Deaf actress to appear on the series. Ridloff portrays the character of Connie, who has since become a beloved fan favorite with potential romantic ties to Daryl Dixon, Norman Reedus’s perpetually single character.
Eternals sports a cast of mythological characters, which includes Ridloff as the speedster Makkari. Though the film received mixed reviews from fans and critics, Makkari’s character emerged with special praise, seemingly securing her future in the franchise. When Makkari was last seen, she and her friends had just joined with Harry Styles’s Starfox, indicating a very exciting future indeed for the characters in their next appearance.
2 Michael Rooker
Michael Rooker appeared in The Walking Dead‘s first three seasons as Merle Dixon, Daryl’s brother. After an unfortunate first meeting with Rick Grimes, Merle finds himself joined with the villainous Governor. Though he eventually sees the error of his ways, Merle’s redemption comes too late, with the Governor shooting him to death at the end of Season 3.
In the years after his tenure on The Walking Dead, Rooker has become a frequent collaborator of James Gunn, appearing in several of the director’s films. Most famously, Rooker portrayed Ravager captain Yondu Udonta, Peter Quill’s adoptive father, in both Guardians of the Galaxy films. Though Yondu dies at the end of volume 2, many fans still expect to see his return in some form when the highly-anticipated sequel hits theaters next year.
1 Danai Gurira
Danai Gurira’s Michonne was a major character from Seasons 3 to 10 of The Walking Dead. During her time on the series, Michonne proved to be one of the new world’s most capable survivors, even acting as an even match for Rick Grimes himself, culminating in a fan favorite romance between the two. Michonne exited the series in Season 10 in search of Rick, though she is expected to appear again in the trilogy of feature films currently in development.
Gurira has also starred as Okoye in the MCU, making her debut in the colossally successful Black Panther. Quickly rising in popularity following her first appearance, Okoye has since shown up in the latest two Avengers films and is confirmed to appear once more in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which is set for release later this year.
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