Parks and Recreation is one of the most beloved workplace sitcoms of all time. Even years after the series came to its end in 2015, fans continue to relive all the fun and laughs that the show produced over its seven-season run.
The long-running NBC sitcom may be best known for its comedy, but the show was also home to several surprising cameos from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including one from the recently-released Disney+ series, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.
Katheryn Hahn was a frequent guest star on Parks and Recreation, playing all-star campaign manager, Jennifer Barkley. Appearing in 11 episodes in total, she managed to make her mark on the show by getting into an intense rivalry with Leslie Knope while also coming up with some hilarious quotes.
Hahn is also well known to superhero fans for portraying one of the best villains the MCU has ever seen. Appearing as the witch Agatha Harkness in Marvel’s first Disney+ original series, WandaVision, Hahn made such an impact on audiences that she will be returning in 2023 for her own recently retitled spinoff, Coven of Chaos.
Chris Pratt was a little-known star when he was cast as a guest star in season 1 of Parks and Recreation. Playing the lovable oaf, Andy Dwyer, Pratt quickly endeared himself to fans, returning for a regular role in season 2 and the subsequent five seasons of the series.
During Parks and Recreation‘s season 5, Andy briefly left Pawnee, taking a job in England so that Pratt could star as Peter Quill (a.k.a. Star-Lord), in the MCU film Guardians of the Galaxy. The film would be an all-around hit, leading to several more appearances from Pratt’s space-faring superhero, including in the highly-anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy, volume 3, which is set to release in May 2023.
Bradley Whitford, an actor known for appearing in films like Get Out and Godzilla: King of the Monsters had a guest-starring role during season 4 of Parks and Recreation. Whitford played the ship-in-a-bottle enthusiast Councilman Pillner, the man whom Leslie Knope replaces on the city council, in the episode “Live Ammo.”
In the MCU, Whitford had a minor role as Colonel John Flynn in the Marvel one-shot film Agent Carter (which would later spin off into a full series by the same name, albeit without Whitford’s involvement). The actor would then later return to voice Flynn in the series premiere of the animated anthology spinoff What If…?
As notoriously difficult to reach as he might be, Bill Murray made a hilarious cameo in the final season of the hit comedy series. Murray portrayed the often unseen Mayor Walter Gunderson, who passes away in the episode “Two Funerals.”
The Internet was ablaze in October 2021 when Murray let it slip in an interview that he would be appearing in the first film of the MCU’s Phase 5, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (via Esquire). It remains a mystery exactly who the beloved comedian will be playing in the film, but fans are anxious to see his contribution to the long-running franchise.
Academy Award-winning actor J.K. Simmons guest starred in the season 5 episode “Patridge.” Simmons portrays Mayor Stice, leader of the eponymous town that Ben Wyatt was once mayor of at the age of 18. He and the town attempt to lure Ben back with the promise of the key to the city, hiding their intention to get back at him for running the town bankrupt as its mayor.
For many Marvel fans, J.K. Simmons is the definitive J. Jonah Jameson, so fans were more than thrilled when the Oscar-winning actor reprised his role from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films in the mid-credit scene of Spider-Man: Far From Home. Simmons would appear again in Spider-Man: No Way Home and is expected to continue to reprise his role in various MCU films moving forward.
Patton Oswalt memorably appears in one episode of season 5 as Garth Blundin. In the episode’s iconic opening, Garth plunges into a filibuster laden with pop culture references, including a pitch for the then-upcoming seventh Star Wars film (which sounds suspiciously like the plot of the Disney+ series The Book of Boba Fett).
Oswalt was recently revealed to be voicing Pip the Troll in Eternals, joining the eponymous group of mythology-based superheroes in the film’s mid-credits scene. However, fans of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. also know that Oswalt could have been in the MCU much earlier if it was considered canon as he portrayed various members of the Koenig family, all of whom are completely identical.
Peter Serafinowicz makes a guest appearance during the premiere of season 6 of Parks, in which the group travels to London. Serafinowicz’s character, Lord Edgar Covington, hires Andy to work alongside him, prompting Chris Pratt’s character to take a brief leave of absence from the series as the actor worked on Guardians of the Galaxy.
Serafinowicz would appear alongside Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy, portraying Xandarian officer Garthan Saal. Saal is unfortunately killed during Ronan the Accuser’s attack on Xandar, making his role in the MCU nothing more than a one-off appearance.
Paul Rudd had a recurring role through season 4 as Bobby Newport, the pampered heir to the Sweetums fortune and Leslie’s opponent in running for the city council. Dim-witted and spoiled, Bobby gives Leslie the fight of her life in the election, eventually losing by a narrow margin. Rudd would later make a final guest appearance during the final season of the series.
Just a few months after his final appearance as Bobby Newport, Paul Rudd starred in Ant-Man, portraying Scott Lang (the eponymous hero). Rudd has since become a prominent star and is expected to be the first Avenger to fight Kang the Conqueror in the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Tatiana Maslany, known for her work on Orphan Black and Perry Mason, starred as Nadia Stasky in two episodes of Parks and Recreation‘s in season 6. Nadia is a brief love interest for Aziz Ansari’s Tom Haverford, but eventually leaves on a Doctors Without Borders relief mission.
Maslany is the latest actor to don the guise of an iconic Marvel hero, portraying Jennifer Walters in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. Maslany shines as the eponymous star of the legal comedy, convincingly embodying one of Marvel’s many larger-than-life characters. With high praise being thrown toward the actress following the premiere of She-Hulk, fans can expect her to recur often throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s ever-expanding future.