After Netflix released the action-packed blockbuster RRR to a worldwide audience, Tollywood has now become mainstream all over the world. From an outside perspective, the difference between Bollywood and Tollywood’s productions might not be readily apparent, but once you look deeper, you might notice just how much the two industries diverge in terms of the themes they explore in their movies and just how bombastic their films tend to be. Telugu movies and Marvel films have a lot in common, making it much easier to picture which Tollywood actors should join the MCU in the following roles.
Allu Arjun as Garabed Bashur (Black Box)
Born in 1982, Allu Arjun is one of the youngest actors on our list, but that doesn’t mean that his career isn’t something impressive. As one of the highest-paid actors in India, Allu Arjun has starred in some notable blockbusters, some of which include Tollywood classics like Vedam, Bunny, and Parugu (known in the UK and other English-speaking territories as In the Name of Love).
He might be a bit young for the character, but Allu Arjun could be a great addition to the next instalment of the Deadpool franchise as Garabed Bashur. A mutant with advanced electronic telekinesis powers, Bashur usually goes by the name Black Box and has been a foil to both Deadpool and Cable from time to time.
Pooja Hegde as Shilpa Khatri (Trinary)
Pooja Hegde’s entire acting career has somehow been leading up to the actress’ arrival at the MCU. For starters, her first acting role was in the 2012 Telugu superhero flick Mugamoodi, with the remaining of her filmography either related to comedies or bombastic action thrillers.
The matter of when, if, and how the X-Men are going to be joining the MCU remains the subject of many heated debates among the Marvel fandom. However, when they do make their MCU debut, we believe that Poja Hegde would be a great pick to play Trinary: one of the latest additions to Marvel’s iconic superhero team.
Ram Charan as Neal Shaara (Thunderbird)
Only a handful of actors in India enjoy the massive popularity of Ram Charan. After starring in RRR this year, Charan’s been making the rounds all over the world, which is something that the higher-ups at Marvel have no doubt noticed.
With all the new characters being introduced to the MCU every year, it’s just a matter of time until Charan makes his Marvel debut, and we believe that he would be great as Neal Shaara, aka Thunderbird. One of the few mutants that kept his powers during the events of Decimation, Thunderbird wields solar powers and energy manipulation abilities that turn him into a truly formidable member of the X-Men.
Varun Tej as Paras Gavaskar (Indra)
From a very young age, Varun Tej has been involved with the inner workings of the Tollywood industry. He’s the son of the Telugu actor and producer Nagendra Babu, and his filmography includes the likes of Mukunda and F2: Fun and Frustration. He also lends his voice to Aladdin in the Telugu dub of the latest live-action Aladdin flick.
His experience working in comedic roles, and also having worked with Disney before, makes us believe that he would be the right fit for the role of Indra. Real name Paras Gavaskar, Indra is a mutant with the power to summon psionic armor at will.
Prabhas as Jahaharel Patel (Calculus)
Uppalapati Venkata Suryanarayana Prabhas Raju, known professionally as just Prabhas, is one of the most renowned actors in modern Indian cinema, particularly in the Tollywood industry. With films like Mirchi, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, and Darling under his belt, Prabhas is more than apt to join the largest cinematic universe in the biz.
Now that Thor is in the spotlight and the franchise seems to be pushing towards a more mystical theme more in line with what we’ve seen in the comics, Prabhas might be the perfect choice to play Jahaharel Patel, a member of the Young Gods.
Pawan Kalyan as Jakuna Singh
Though Pawan Kalyan has devoted a considerable time in his life to politics, the veteran actor made a surprising return to Tollywood in 2021. Films like Gabbar Singh, Jalsa, Attarintiki Daredi, and Gopala Gopala have turned Pawan Kalyan into a bona fide institution of Telugu cinema.
Kalyan would be a great choice to play a more comics-accurate version of Jakuna Singh. Though the S.H.I.E.L.D. operative appeared rather briefly in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this character had almost no relation to the one seen in the comics. Perhaps this would also be the gateway to get Shanna the She-Devil to finally make her MCU debut, too.
Faria Abdullah as Pom Pom
A rather fresh face in Tollywood, Faria Abdullah has already proved herself a rather capable actress in some Telugu comedies like JathiRatnalu and Most Eligible Bachelor. She has co-starred with other members of Tollywood royalty, like Pooja Hegde and Murali Sharma.
Though it is a somewhat obscure character, having Faria Abdullah play the mutant Pom Pom would be the perfect way to introduce the Pan-Asian School for the Unusually Gifted into the MCU. This institution serves a similar role to that of Professor Xavier, but it is located in Mumbai instead of Western Massachusetts.
Ketika Sharma as Shri
Speaking of young talents in the Telugu film industry, Ketika Sharma made her Tollywood debut last year, starring in the aptly-titled romance film, Romantic, where she shared the screen with the legendary Ramya Krishna.
Much like Faria Abdullah, Ketika would be a great pick to play another member of the Pan-Asian School for the Unusually Gifted, in this case, Shri. This mutant has been described as the “modern incarnation of Durga” due to his powers, and she even fought against Thanos in the comics.
Jr NTR as Jonathan Tremont/Lord Templar
Another Telugu actor whose popularity skyrocketed thanks to RRR, Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao Jr., better known as Jr NTR, might also be in Marvel’s crosshairs. Winner of two Filmfare awards, Jr NTR is a force to be reckoned with in Tollywood, and seeing him join the MCU would be a dream come true for his many fans.
Jonathan Tremont is an enigmatic character that, for a while, served as the archnemesis of the Avengers. Using the same crystals that gave powers to the hero 3-D Man, Jonathan Tremont is capable of summoning the ghost of his two brothers. We believe that Tollywood’s Jr NTR should play not just Jonathan Tremont himself in an upcoming MCU movie, but also one of his brothers, Lord Templar.
Shruti Haasan as Shoba Mirza (Ghost Rider)
Shruti Haasan comes from the renowned Haasan family – one of the most renowned clans in Tollywood history. Both of her parents, Kamal Haasan and Sarika Thakur, have been cornerstones of Telugu cinema for decades. Her filmography includes blockbusters such as Vakel Saab, Krack, and Srimanthudu.
If there’s a character that’s been long requested by fans to join the MCU, that would be the Ghost Rider. A flaming skull riding a motorcycle, what could be cooler than that? How about a four-armed woman riding a flaming elephant skeleton? Because that’s the kind of Ghost Rider that Shoba Mirza is – and Tollywood’s Shruti Haasan should totally play her character in a MCU movie.
Tell us, which Tollywood actors would you cast in an MCU movie?