Clear your Saturday night, Marvel movie fans, because Chris Hemsworth is making his “Saturday Night Live” debut. The actor that has brought Thor to life in three Marvel Studios films will trade in his cape for a number of ridiculous costumes during his first tour of duty at the legendary sketch comedy show. Will he get gnarly in one of Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett’s off-kilter “Inside SoCal” videos? Will he make a purposefully awkward walk-on during a former porn star commercial? Will he get sassy as a nurse at an animal hospital? You’ll have to stay in and stay up late on Saturday night to find out.
When Hemsworth takes the stage in Studio 8H, he’ll stand in the very spot where other inhabitants of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have previously launched into monologues. Over the past three decades, more than a dozen actors from Marvel Studios’ ten released feature films have hosted “Saturday Night Live.” To get you psyched up for Thor’s “SNL” debut, here are sketches from 13 other Marvel actors’ turns at hosting.
Marvel Role: Obadiah Stane
Bridges may have only made one appearance in a Marvel film, but his turn as Obadiah Stane in 2008’s “Iron Man” makes him the very first actor to play a villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Bridges first hosted “SNL” on February 26, 1983 alongside his brother Beau in one of the handful of hosting duos in the show’s history. Bridges hosted the show solo 28 seasons later in 2010, but we can’t pass up the opportunity to show a sketch featuring baby-faced Bridges from the early ’80s.
Robert Downey Jr.
Marvel Role: Iron Man
Unlike the other entries on this list, Downey is the only MCU actor to have actually been an “SNL” cast member. Yep, a 20-year-old Iron Man joined the cast in the fall of 1985 and departed the show at the end of the TV season. He returned to host again in 1996 and hasn’t been back since. While his brief stint as a cast member didn’t result in any memorable characters, it did result in this sketch where RDJ plays a confrontational suitcase.
Marvel Role: Nova Prime
Glenn Close brought a real air of dignity to “Guardians of Galaxy” in her role as the Nova Corp leader, but Close has also shown that she’s not afraid to go for laughs as well. Close first hosted “SNL” on February 25, 1989 where — as seen below — she spoofed her star-making turn in the thriller “Fatal Attraction.”
Samuel L. Jackson
Marvel Role: Nick Fury
Samuel L. Jackson has made a lot of appearances as Nick Fury, but he’s only ever hosted “SNL” once. This sketch from January 10, 1998 puts Jackson up against other “SNL” cast members in “audition footage” for the role of Vincent Vega in “Pulp Fiction.” If you thought Nick Fury got tired of dealing with aliens and gods, just wait until you see him react to “Brady Bunch” and “Leave It To Beaver” cast members.
Marvel Role: Pepper Potts
Paltrow’s no-nonsense Pepper Potts has appeared in four Marvel movies to date, which makes her one of the most prominent actors in the MCU. She’s also hosted “SNL” three times, which makes her tied for the number of most host appearances on the sketch show. Her first go as host on February 6, 1999 put her in a sketch with “Saturday Night Live’s” bad ass ladies of the late ’90s: Cheri Oteri, Ana Gasteyer and — as Mary Katherine Gallagher — Molly Shannon.
Marvel Role: Black Widow
Tied with Paltrow for the lead on this list of hosts is Scarlett Johansson, who has also headed up the sketch show three times. Johansson made back-to-back appearances in seasons 31 and 32 and was last seen hosting in season 36 — her only turn as host after her Black Widow debut in “Iron Man 2.” In her first episode from January 14, 2006, Johansson got to utilize her singing chops alongside Will Forte in a surreal sketch called “Fly High Duluth.”
John C. Reilly
Marvel Role: Nova Corpsman Rhomann Dey
Because of his gregarious nature and gung-ho attitude, a little John C. Reilly goes a long way — as evidenced in his handful of “Guardians of the Galaxy” scenes and his ridiculous tour de force appearance as “SNL” host in October 2006. Reilly has only hosted the show once, but the comedic actor really put it all out there in his “SNL” episode. Really, he put it all out there. Just watch Reilly’s turn as dream dust-coated swimming instructor Doug Frangello.
Marvel Role: Jane Foster
The confidence Foster brings to the very human role of Jane Foster has been enough to overcome Dark Elves and Destroyers, and that confidence was on full display in her sole “SNL” appearance on March 4, 2006. Odds are you remember Portman’s turn as host because it featured one of the first breakout “SNL” Digital Shorts, the hilariously extreme “Natalie’s Rap.”
Marvel Role: Rocket Raccoon
Years before he voiced a gun-toting raccoon in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Bradley Cooper played a dudebro and a runway coach on “Saturday Night Live.” In this sketch from his February 7, 2009 appearance, Cooper plays the host of a game show called “I’m Gonna Have Sex With Your Wife.” Try your hardest to watch this sketch without picturing Rocket saying every line.
Marvel Role: Thanos
Brolin’s appearance as Thanos may have been brief in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but he’s going to be a major player by the time Marvel’s Phase Three slate of films wraps up with “Avengers: Infinity War.” Brolin got to play a big role in “Saturday Night Live” when he first hosted back in October 2008. Like Close and Bridges before him, Brolin has hosted the show twice. Here’s a sketch from his April 2012 appearance, which sees him playing a tipsy teacher in one of Jay Pharaoh’s Principal Frye sketches.
Marvel Role: Hawkeye
Renner was the first Marvel actor to host “Saturday Night Live” following “The Avengers'” record-smashing theatrical run. This appearance in November 2012 included a sketch that tried to answer the question “what happens when Hawkeye runs out of arrows” and also, as you can see below, featured Renner in a three-way stand off with Bobby Moynihan and Taran Killam.
Marvel Role: The Hulk
Mark Ruffalo may soon eclipse Norton in terms of screentime as Bruce Banner, but Marvel’s original Hulk still has the current one beat when it comes to “SNL” appearances. Ruffalo has yet to make a trip to Studio 8H whereas Norton hosted the show for the first time back in October 2013. What do you do when you have an actor noted for his quirky roles in Wes Anderson films hosting so close to Halloween? Well, you do this:
Marvel Role: Star-Lord
The last Marvel actor to host “SNL” was “Guardians of the Galaxy’s” Chris Pratt. With his comedy background and gleeful, limitless energy, the actor behind Peter Quill proved himself game for anything — including dressing up like both He-Man and Princess Leia. He also proved that he can handle dropping fast-paced rhymes on live television in this sketch with Aidy Bryant.
Chris Hemsworth hosts NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” with musical guest Zac Brown Band on March 7.
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