Ah, Marvel. You’re always there, giving us new stuff to geek-out about with every movie release. While Marvel films can be thrilling, they also give us a lot to laugh at. From Guardians of the Galaxy to Thor: Ragnarok, we've had our fair share of running gags. What could possibly make us laugh more?
Answer: Yearbook pictures.
Long before Loki was mixing up some mischief or Iron Man was saving a city, these two were actually just high schoolers with photos almost as awkward as yours. While some MCU stars have arguably better snapshots than others, they’re still fun to look back on. After all, how many times have you seen Josh Brolin with a bowl cut?
Our favorite superheroes came from across the country. While some were born into the glitz of New York City, others made their starts in tiny towns across the United States. Some were musicians and others knew they’d be actors from the start. Regardless of how they got to where they are today, we’re sure happy they made it. The MCU wouldn’t be the same if other people portrayed these characters we love so much.
If you ever wondered how Ant-Man looked with a full head of hair or how Wakanda’s queen looked as a cheerleader, this one’s for you.
Pull out a bucket of popcorn, sit back, and relax. This is one Marvel yearbook you won’t want to miss.
25 Chris Pratt
Far before our favorite hero was guarding the galaxy, he was cheesin’ for a yearbook photo.
Pratt went to Lake Stevens High School in Lake Stevens, Washington and graduated with the class of ’97. While Star-Lord is known for his dance moves, Pratt was actually a wrestler in high school who didn’t know what to do with his life. Millions of dollars and fans later, we think he figured it out.
Pratt will reprise his role in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which is scheduled to be released in 2020.
24 Mark Ruffalo
Ruffalo was chilling out at First Colonial High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia long before he became an Avenger. Like Pratt, Ruffalo participated in wrestling. Unlike Pratt, he broke into the acting scene much earlier.
Ruffalo's career began in the '90s and it only took a few years for his popularity to rise.
While a stand-alone Hulk movie featuring Ruffalo still hasn’t happened (and he doesn’t seem to think one ever will), he remains an important part of the MCU.
23 Sebastian Stan
Nice turtleneck, right?
Appearing as Bucky Barnes in the Captain America and Avengers films, Stan has made a name for himself as part of the MCU. While Stan was born in Romania, he eventually found himself living in Rockland County, New York after his mother remarried. His step-dad was the headmaster of Rockland Country Day School, where Stan ended up attending. He graduated in 2001 and began scoring some minor roles just a few years later.
22 Elizabeth Olsen
While some people break up their education between multiple schools, some stick at one. Olsen went to Campbell Hall School in Los Angeles, California from kindergarten to twelfth grade. This private school has produced many young stars including Dakota Fanning, Colin Ford, and Nick Robinson.
While Olsen appeared in the end credit scene of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, her first starring role as Scarlet Witch came during 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. She probably won’t get her own movie anytime soon, but she will be in the next Avengers film.
21 Paul Rudd
Rudd portrays one of the tiniest heroes in the MCU today, but several years ago he was busy sporting some huge hair. Rudd attended Shawnee Mission West High School in Overland Park, Kansas, but this photo is actually from his time at the University of Kansas, where he majored in theater and became a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. He later moved to Los Angeles where he studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and after that, he spent a few months studying at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England. In other words, Ant-Man was serious about his education.
20 Chris Evans
Okay, okay. This photo of Chris Evans really isn’t that embarrassing. Turns out, he had the looks back in his senior year of high school at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School in Sudbury, Massachusetts. While he wrestled and played lacrosse, he also put that face to good use in the theater department.
Hasbro even modeled one of the characters in its game Mystery Date after him.
I guess that means Evans had the cards in his favor. He’s also a talented actor, so it didn’t shock anyone when he stepped in and became Captain America.
19 Jeremy Renner
Sporting a head of boxy hair, Renner grew up as the oldest of seven siblings in Modesto, California. He attended Fred C. Beyer High School and went to Modesto Junior College to study computer science and criminology. One drama class elective later, he found his life’s true calling and picked up acting.
Hawkeye doesn’t have a solo movie yet, but there are some rumors he might break into a spotlight outside of the Avengers. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that Marvel comes out with a solid list of coming movies soon.
18 Tom Hiddleston
Blowing away England with his awesomeness, Hiddleston began studying at Aton College as a boarder when he was 13. This boys-only boarding school was also the learning place of other celebrities including British actor Eddie Redmayne and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. Both of these guys’ times here happened to overlap with Hiddleston’s.
First appearing in Thor, Loki quickly became a beloved character in the MCU.
The God of Mischief has always made the films a little more fun, even when he was the villain.
17 Chris Hemsworth
While Thor grew up in Asgard, Chris Hemsworth found his start in Melbourne, Australia. He attended Heathmont College for high school, which was located in the town for which it was named. He spent lots of time hanging with his brothers and surfing, which was his passion second only to acting.
While Tom Hiddleston auditioned to be Thor, Hemsworth scored the role and now we can’t imagine it any other way.
Although Hemsworth has made it big in Hollywood, his heart will always be back home, which is probably why he moved his family back to Australia.
16 Scarlett Johansson
Johansson was pretty young (and pretty cute!) when this photo was taken. Born into the bustle of New York City, she wanted to be an actress from a young age. She attended Professional Children’s School, which is an exclusive not-for-profit made up mainly of aspiring child actors and dancers. From Uma Thurman to Nat Wolff, its produced some of the best in the business.
Johansson first portrayed Black Widow in Iron Man 2 and reprised her role in subsequent Captain America and Avengers films. We can’t wait to see where she’ll go next!
15 Vin Diesel
Groot Vin Diesel! Born alongside a twin brother in California and raised in New York, Vin Diesel (whose given name is Mark Sinclair) ended up attending Hunter College in Manhattan and studying creative writing. He broke into film in the ‘90s and it didn’t take long for his career to take off. Although we certainly love his role in The Fast and the Furious franchise, we’re also a major fan of his talking-tree portrayal. Seems he had that classic smirk even back in the day.
14 Robert Downey Jr.
First appearing in a film at age five, Downey’s life was destined for film from the beginning. That being said, he still managed to attend Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, California – at least for a little while, that it.
Downey dropped out of high school his junior year and made acting his top priority.
Seems it worked out for him, as ten years ago he first portrayed Iron Man. Since then, he’s remained one of the most well-known Avengers.
13 Samuel L. Jackson
While Jackson rocks his role as Nick Fury today, he wasn’t born into the crazy California lifestyle Downey was used to. Jackson grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee alongside his mother who singlehandedly raised him. He attended Riverside High School in the ‘60s and played the French horn and trumpet in his school’s orchestra.
While his original intentions involved gaining a degree in marine biology, we’re glad he switched to acting. From Pulp Fiction to The Incredibles and of course, The Avengers, he’s made a lasting mark in the film industry.
12 Bradley Cooper
This photo of Cooper comes straight from his yearbook for Germantown Academy located in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania.
Cooper was active in high school participating in Latin Club and Business Club.
He also had a spot on the tennis team. Several years later, he ended up becoming one of the highest paid actors in the world and scoring himself multiple awards.
Cooper conquers the galaxy as Rocket Raccoon, one of the snarkiest little guys in the MCU. We’re looking forward to hearing his latest remarks in the coming Guardians of the Galaxy film.
11 Chadwick Boseman
This here is Chadwick Boseman rockin’ senior year at T.L. Hanna High School in Anderson, South Carolina. The Black Panther star graduated from his high school in 1995, but he didn’t move to Los Angeles to pursue acting until 2008. It was ten years after the move when his Marvel film smashed box-office records.
While we don’t know much about the Black Panther sequel or when it will be released, we’re all on the edge of our seat for it. Boseman’s performance in the first film has left us excited about the next.
10 Anthony Mackie
Anthony Mackie managed to soar through high school without Falcon’s wings. He went to Warren Easton Sr. High School and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, both located in New Orleans, Louisiana. He later graduated from the North Carolina School of the Arts and followed that with a visit to Juilliard. In other words, he spent a lot of time studying drama.
Falcon’s the coolest, and based on how serious Mackie looks in this high school snap, he probably knew it. Of course, he didn’t know he’d be Falcon at the time, but who knows – maybe the kid had a sixth sense.
9 Josh Brolin
This little beauty was snapped at Santa Barbara High School in Santa Barbara, California. It was Brolin’s freshman year.
With a classic bowl cut and a goofy smile, this one’s a keeper.
Who would have thought he’d become the ever-powerful Thanos years later?
This Marvel villain took an improv acting class in high school. It seems that (and the various other roles he's been in, obviously) helped him become the freakishly frustrating Thanos. We’re dying over here, waiting for the next Avengers film to come out. He's made us pretty impatient.
8 Zoe Saldana
While Zoe Saldana was born in New Jersey, a good portion of her childhood took place in the Dominican Republic where she joined the ECOS Espacio de Danza Academy to study dance. Halfway through high school, her family moved to New York.
Her dance background couldn’t have hurt as she joined the groovy Guardians of the Galaxy team in 2014. Sure, Gamora was going to be kicking butt, not doing ballet – but it all helps. She rocked her role out of the park.
7 Angela Bassett
Bassett portrays one of the many fierce women in The Black Panther. Although she was born in New York City, she moved a few times growing up and found herself in Florida. She attended Boca Ciega High School in Gulfport, Florida and was an incredibly active student. She managed to rule the school by participating in cheerleading, drama, choir, student government, debate, and the college prep program Upward Bound.
Who knew that academics wasn’t the only thing this girl would rule over?
As it turned out, she also became the queen on Wakanda.
6 Jeff Goldblum
Jeff Goldblum made the last Thor movie ten thousand times funnier, so we added it to the list of reasons we think he’s the greatest. Goldblum went to West Mifflin Area High School in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, but he ended up moving to New York City to become an actor when he was only 17.
While he looked a little awkward back when this photo was taken, we think he turned out pretty fine. Especially in all of his electric Grandmaster getup.
5 Marisa Tomei
Marisa Tomei was just a theater-loving kid far before becoming Peter Parker’s Aunt May. Living in New York, she went to lots of Broadway shows with her parents. She ended up graduating from Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn, New York and attended Boston University for a year.
While Tomei’s role in the MCU might be small, she certainly adds a lot of fun to it.
We can’t wait to see her shine again in the next Spider-Man film.
4 Don Cheadle
Appearing as War Machine in a whole bunch of Marvel movie, Cheadle has been a part of the MCU since phase one.
Back in high school, Cheadle was active in the arts. He went to East High School in Denver, Colorado and participated in jazz band, choir, and theatre. Music’s a good place to start, right?
While War Machine probably won’t ever jump at a karaoke machine and sing us a tune, Cheadle’s high school activities probably gave him some confidence. It’s critical in the entertainment biz, after all.
3 Gwyneth Paltrow
Making appearances in the Iron Man and The Avengers films, Gwyneth Paltrow portrays Iron Man’s girlfriend, Pepper Potts.
Paltrow was born to a producer and an actress, so her life was stuck in film from the beginning. Furthermore, her godfather is Steven Spielberg. She was destined to appear in movies herself.
Although she started out attending Crossroads School in Santa Monica, California she eventually made the move to Spence School, an all-girl private school in New York City.
She looked pretty vintage in her leather jacket and hoop earrings, huh?
2 Michael Keaton
While he rocked it as the villain of Spider-Man: Homecoming, he wasn’t that scary back in the days. Outside of those eyebrows, that is.
Keaton went to Montour High School in Robinson Township, Pennsylvania. Unlike many of his fellow MCU stars, he wasn’t born into fame and actually grew up in a pretty small town.
In his 66 years, he’s appeared in dozens of films and Spider-Man: Homecoming is the cherry on top.
We’re excited to see where his character goes next in the coming film.
1 Brie Larson
While Brie Larson hasn’t broken into the MCU yet, she’ll probably end up saving it. Brie Larson will star as the leading lady in Captain Marvel in 2019, making her the first woman to get her own Marvel solo-film. She began studying drama at only 6-years-old, which made her the youngest student to attend the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, California. Prior to this she was homeschooled.
While we still have a lot to learn about Captain Marvel and her film, we’re crazily excited about it. Girl power for the win!