Jake Gyllenhaal eventually made his way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home. While the character head-faked many (including Peter Parker) for the first half of the film, he ended up playing a solid villain when it was all said and done. But this wasn’t always the plan for Gyllenhaal within the Marvel circles. In an interview with Yahoo’s Kevin Polowy, Captain America: The First Avenger writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely let on that Jake Gyllenhaal was a popular choice to originally pick up the shield and don the red, white, and blue suit.
In the interview, McFeely and Markus were asked about other actors who were originally up for the role of Steve Rogers/ Captain America before Christopher Evans finally landed the part. They talked about how Sebastian Stan and John Krasinski were in the running before the latter ultimately landing the Bucky Barnes role. And they discussed Wyatt Rogers as well. But in the talk, the writers mentioned how early in the process they would get sketches of different actors and what they would look like in the suit. It’s here they said there was “a lot” of Jake Gyllenhaal discussion.
Obviously, this isn’t where the casting ultimately went, though it’s tough to know how far along they got in the discussions around Jake Gyllenhaal as Captain America. Either way, we know that Evans landed the gig and ended up being a near-perfect Cap, so this one worked out fine in the end. But it is interesting to think about what Gyllenhaal would have brought to the character. There likely would have been a bit of a darker side, and possibly a more comedic one as well. Evans played Rogers mostly straight as an arrow, but this is unlikely to have been the case with Gyllenhaal who has an altogether different vibe.
It took nearly a decade but Jake Gyllenhaal did finally land in the Marvel Cinematic Universes when he played Quentin Beck, the guy who would eventually play Mysterio. It was a slow burn to find out how Gyllenhaal’s character ended up hoodwinking Peter Parker into control over Tony Stark’s arsenal of machines, but the payoff was great. Seeing Beck slowly build trust with Parker only to pull off the long con was a pivotal piece of the story and played into Gyllenhaal’s ability to be a bit conniving in his acting talent.
And at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio does have the last laugh, outing Peter Parker to the world as Spider-Man and also framing him for some crimes and destruction he most definitely did not commit. In this way, the Gyllenhaal arc was almost more satisfying considering some of the other darker roles he’s taken in the past.
Jake Gyllenhaal has a ton of movies in the pipeline right now with The Guilty and Michael Bay’s Ambulance both releasing within a year. After that, it’s Suddenly, The Division and Francis and the Godfather among many others. While he never made it into the MCU as a hero, I think we can agree the part he played was perfect for his talent and demeanor.