Star Trek and Marvel are two of the biggest franchises in pop culture. Each franchise has spawned dozens of movies and multiple television shows. They both have massive and dedicated fandoms who follow every new piece of media that releases with zeal.
Since both franchises are embedded in modern pop culture, it’s not surprising that some of the biggest actors in Hollywood have appeared in both Star Trek and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Here are some of the big names that have appeared in both franchises.
Though Zoe Saldana began her acting career in the early 2000s, she didn’t become a household name until she played Lieutenant Uhura in J.J. Abram’s 2009 Star Trek movie. She brought a feisty toughness to Uhura that both honored and expanded upon Nichelle Nichols’s portrayal of the character in Star Trek: The Original Series. She reprised the role for both of the follow-ups to the 2009 movie, Star Trek: Into Darkness and Star Trek: Beyond.
A year after her last appearance in the Star Trek universe, Saldana joined the MCU in Guardians of the Galaxy. She played Gamora, the alien adoptive daughter of Thanos. She joined up with the motley crew of antiheroes known as the Guardians of the Galaxy to save the universe.
Saldana reprised the role for the sequel and for both Avengers movies. She’s set to reprise the role again in the upcoming 3rd installment of Guardians of the Galaxy.
Award-winning actress Alfre Woodard has been an icon of Hollywood since the late 70s. She spent most of the 80s doing television work and then transitioned to film in the early 90s.
In 1996, Woodard made her only appearance in the Star Trek universe in the movie Star Trek: First Contact. She played Lily, the woman who helped Dr. Zefram Cochrane construct the first warp-capable ship built by humans. Lily ended up on the Enterprise after being injured on Earth and ultimately helped Captain Jean-Luc Picard fight the Borg.
Woodard appeared in the MCU for the first time as Miriam in Captain America: Civil War. She later landed a major role in the MCU show Luke Cage. She played Mariah Dillard, a Harlem politician whose mission to improve the neighborhood was often foiled by her criminal cousin, Cottonmouth.
She’s slated to take on yet another role in the MCU next year, appearing as Mimi in Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.
Though Chris Hemsworth is one of Hollywood’s most recognized actors these days, he was relatively unknown when he landed a role in Abrams’ reboot of the Star Trek universe. In the 2009 film, Hemsworth made a brief but compelling appearance as George Kirk, father of the famous Captain James T. Kirk. He reprised the role in Star Trek: Into Darkness.
Hemsworth was supposed to have a much bigger role in the fourth installment of Abrams’ Star Trek series, however, that movie has been lost in development limbo for years.
Hemsworth’s presence in the MCU is much larger than his presence in the Star Trek universe. He leads the MCU as the Norse God Thor, one of the heroes of The Avengers. His first appearance as Thor was in the movie of the same name that released in 2011. Since then, he has reprised the role in seven MCU movies, including one uncredited appearance in Doctor Strange.
Hemsworth is currently filming for his next Thor movie, Thor: Love and Thunder, which is set to come out next year.
Neal McDonough is a veteran of the science-fiction and superhero genres. He’s appeared in several popular sci-fi television shows like Quantum Leap and The X-Files as well as several superhero shows such as The Incredible Hulk, Arrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. So, it’s no surprise that he’s made appearances in both Star Trek and the MCU.
His only appearance in the Star Trek universe was in Star Trek: First Contact. McDonough played Lieutenant Hawk, the helmsman that piloted the Enterprise through the temporal rift in pursuit of the Borg Sphere. Later, Hawk was instrumental in preventing the Borg from using the ship’s deflector dish to contact the Borg in the Delta Quadrant. Unfortunately, he was assimilated during that mission.
McDonough made his MCU debut in the movie Captain America: The First Avenger. His character Timothy ‘Dum Dum’ Dugan fought in World War II with Captain America and Bucky Barnes. McDonough reprised the role in an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and an episode of Agent Carter.
He’s set to reprise the role again in an episode of Marvel’s upcoming series What If…, which explores what would happen if key moments in MCU history went differently.
Benedict Cumberbatch has had the opportunity to bring multiple iconic characters to life throughout his career. He’s been Dr. Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes, Hamlet, and even Satan. He’s also portrayed some of the most recognizable characters in the Star Trek and Marvel universes.
In 2013, he appeared in the second installment of Abrams’ Star Trek reboot, Star Trek: Into Darkness. Before the movie came out, a months-long debate raged over whether or not the character he was playing actually the infamous Kahn. When the movie premiered, the question was finally answered as Cumberbatch showed the Trek fandom his version of their favorite villain.
A few years later, Cumberbatch made his debut in the MCU as Dr. Stephen Strange. The scientist turned wizard joined the MCU with his own movie, Doctor Strange. Cumberbatch reprised the role in Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.