There’s something a touch refreshing about how little of a shit Gwyneth Paltrow gives about her career as a Marvel heroine; she recently expressed genuine shock, for instance, that she’d been in the first new Spider-Man movie, Homecoming, and she’s generally given off the vibe of a person who’s never seen any of these fucking things, and probably never will. (While also, paradoxically, continuing to give interesting, committed performances whenever Pepper Potts actually shows up on the screen, mostly powered by her excellent back-and-forth with usual scene partner Robert Downey Jr.)
Plus, it leads to moments of genuine discovery and excitement—like when Paltrow found out that her old Hard Eight co-star Samuel L. Jackson was also in all these little superhero pictures she’s been doing. Said revelation apparently came to Paltrow fully 10 years into her Marvel career, when the whole MCU cast got together to take a photo, and the actress questioned why the heck Jackson was there.
This is per MCU head Kevin Feige, who gave a wide-ranging interview to Empire this week about the franchise’s ins-and-outs. (Including some interesting news about Captain America’s skull, and the fact that Tom Holland actually gets a little sad when the whole world makes fun of him for his spoiler-revealing tendencies.) Referencing the 10-year-anniversary “Class Photo” shoot—which, unsurprising given all the schedules involved, was taken quite some time ago, at the same time that the Avengers: Endgame funeral scene was shot—Feige noted that there was a lot of confusion happening that day. Part of that was natural, given that some of the performers—including Ant Man And The Wasp’s Michelle Pfeiffer—had yet to actually film their MCU roles yet. The rest, though, was pure Paltrow, with the actress seeming to genuinely not know that she’d been in three movies (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and Avengers) with Jackson’s Nick Fury (with another two, Infinity War and Endgame, on the way.)
To be fair, Paltrow’s Pepper never shares a scene with Jackson’s Fury—although a quick search does reveal that she and Jackson were both on stage for the Iron Man 2 premiere. (Presumably, she just assumed he was someone’s plus-one.) Really, though, the only way she’d know he was in any of these things was to watch one of them, or see a commercial, or an action figure, or, really, any single piece of marketing related to a series of films that has become one of the dominant cultural forces of the last decade of global entertainment—and who the fuck’s got time for that?