Since Disney now owns both Marvel and Star Wars, there has been a significant amount of crossover in their casting. Each new one comes with a new set of jokes from the geeky corners of the internet, and every so often, people pose a slightly more serious question when somebody within the world of a Marvel movie makes reference to Star Wars films. According to Joe and Anthony Russo, who directed several Marvel movies and are themselves big Star Wars fans, it really is not as complicated as people make it out to be. After all, people look like other people in the real world all the time.
So, no -- this isn't a Last Action Hero kind of situation, where Arnold Schwarzenegger's movies were all done by Sylvester Stallone in-universe. Nobody else is playing Mace Windu in the Star Wars movies that Tom Holland's Peter Parker grew up watching. Instead, Samuel L. Jackson appeared in Pulp Fiction and Star Wars and dozens of other films -- and he just happens to be a dead ringer for Nick Fury. The same can be said across the board for the various Star Wars actors and other pop culture icons who appear in the Marvel movies: they just look like famous actors, it isn't like those actors never existed.
"They just look like those characters," Anthony Russo said.
"Yes, Nick Fury just happens to look like [Samuel L. Jackson]," Joe Russo added, conceding that it probably is difficult to be a super-spy when you look identical to a popular actor.
This could also explain something that fans have been joking about and asking questions about since Captain Marvel: the fact that Stan Lee clearly exists within the context of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Mallrats happened -- but none (or at least almost none) of his dozens of Marvel cameos have been Stan playing himself. With Lee, of course, things are slightly more complicated by the fact that in the real world he became famous for creating the characters appearing in Marvel's movies -- but who knows? Maybe in the MCU, Lee's non-superhero monster, romance, and other comics became massive hits that drive big franchise tentpoles.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is still in theaters, and Avengers: Endgame was just made available on DVD and Blu-ray. Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in Fall 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, WandaVision in Spring 2021, Loki in Spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, What If…? in Summer 2021, Hawkeye in Fall 2021, and Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021.