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Adaptation Overdosed / Ultimate Marvel

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MCU Nick Fury (left) and Ultimate Nick Fury (right). See any similarities?
The Ultimate Marvel universe was conceived as a modern and grounded take on the Marvel Comics superheroes, focused on usual cinematic tropes that are often ignored in the genre. As a result, it is not surprising that many adaptations of Marvel Comics drew elements from the Ultimate line, in addition to the mainline Marvel Universe continuity of Earth-616.

Animated series

  • The animated film Ultimate Avengers was an adaptation of the first arc of The Ultimates. It helped to leave behind the awful reception of The Avengers: United They Stand some years before. It had a sequel based on the Black Panther, which was not related to The Ultimates 2 or the way the Black Panther would be eventually used in the Ultimate Marvel universe.
  • Regardless of the name, the animated series Ultimate Spider-Man is not a direct adaptation of the comic book Ultimate Spider-Man, but it features many things from it, such as the designs of the Green Goblin, the Beetle, Nick Fury, etc. In one episode Peter Parker and Wolverine have a "Freaky Friday" Flip, as in an arc from the comics. It also featured Miles Morales, the Spider-Man from an alternate universe where Peter Parker had died (as in the origin story of Morales).
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!
    • Nick Fury started off with a design that split the difference between his classic and Ultimate designs: Ultimate Fury's African-American ethnicity, but Earth-616 Fury's full head of hair, gray temples, and iconic S.H.I.E.L.D. jumpsuit. In the second season, however, he shaved his head and began wearing a Badass Longcoat like Ultimate Fury, which soon became the standard depiction of the character in all of Marvel's Adaptations.
    • The first episode draws some similarities between the first battle of the Ultimates and Hulk. First, the Wasp told Graviton that he give scientists a bad name, and starts attacking. Graviton attacks her as soon as she halts her attack for a moment, and then Iron Man flies right to him. Pym also tried to keep him between his hand while in giant size, which works just as badly. And once he is defeated (but not before he laid waste to a large portion of the city), the Wasp stinged him while he was down.
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    • They used the Ultimate Captain Marvel, instead of the classic one (note that we are talking about Mahr Vehl, not Carol Danvers, who became Captain Marvel in the comics during the show's second season). The second season also heavily featured a Skrull infiltrator who impersonates Captain America, and the impostor's outfit was the Ultimate Cap costume.
    • When the Black Widow returns, and everybody still suspects her of being a traitor, Iron Man said that if she tries something he would let Hulk eat her. The Wasp laughed about the idea, but Hulk said "I would".
    • The Wasp tried to stop Red Hulk by getting inside his ear and stinging him from the inside, but it did not work as in the comic.
  • X-Men: Evolution has the main team as teenagers with some adults around, as the Ultimate one. Wolverine uses his Ultimate suit from season 3 onwards with the montage of the future Xavier saw in the series finale featuring the whole team in Ultimate-inspired costumes.
  • The final arc of Wolverine and the X-Men (2009) has a fleet of Sentinels sent against Genosha. Magneto stops them, hacks them to obey him instead, and attacks New York with them. With different locations (the Savage Land and Washington DC), a similar scene took place in the first arc of Ultimate X-Men.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man: Kong, Flash's usual friend, has been added to the cast. Eddie Brock is not an adult journalist in a rival newspaper to the bugle, as in the mainstream comics, but a childhood friend of Peter and lab assistant of Curt Connors.


  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe used Ultimate Marvel as the general template during its first years.
    • Iron Man is the first one in the series. The lead character, played by Robert Downey Jr., is closer to the jovial and irreverent Ultimate character, rather than the troubled and workaholic one from the mainstream comics (at least before Adaptation Displacement redefined him). And remember Ultimate Nick Fury, modeled after Samuel L. Jackson? In The Stinger, we have Jackson himself, playing Nick Fury!
    • As in The Ultimates, The Incredible Hulk was the result of an attempt to duplicate the super soldier serum that created Captain America, and not Banner jumping to save Rick Jones from a Gamma bomb.
    • Captain America's costume in Captain America: The First Avenger is heavily based on his Ultimate outfit, and The Ultimates artist Bryan Hitch was even thanked in the credits. While Cap goes through several different costumes in the subsequent movies, they all retain several elements of the Ultimate look, like the painted-on head wings and the lack of the flared gloves and red buccaneer boots he sported in the classic comics. Additionally, the film features a sequence where Cap dons a Beta Outfit cobbled together from parts of a garish USO costume and off-the-shelf military equipment, which strongly resembles the more utilitarian World War 2 uniform Hitch designed for the flashback scenes in The Ultimates.
    • When Thor shows up on Earth, his claims about being a God are met with huge skepticism, until he can reveal it as true in the finale. This has also been done in the first two volumes of The Ultimates. However, the comic played with the Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane trope, whereas in the film the truth about Thor was clear from the let go. The film also introduced Hawkeye, who ignored the purple mask and spandex in favor of his tactical spy gear from the Ultimate universe.
    • The Avengers has the team organized and directed by S.H.I.E.L.D., with Fury working as Mission Control from the Helicarrier, fighting against the Chitauri (an alien race that originated in the Ultimate universe). They are the Avengers, but had The Ultimates feel all over it.
      • In a part of the film Hulk falls from the sky into a warehouse, and Bruce Banner gets out of the debris. A similar thing, but with a different context, took place in the first Ultimates miniseries.
      • Remember that scene when Loki claims to be so superior to Hulk, followed by Hulk tossing him around like a rag doll and making a "Shut Up, Hannibal!" scene? Well, Ultimate Hulk had done a similar thing to Herr Kleiser, but much more devastating Let's just say that MCU Loki ended unconscious; Kleiser ended up dead and eaten by Hulk
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron reveals that Hawkeye is secretly married to a woman named Laura, with whom he has several children. This is a development that previously existed solely in the Ultimate universe (in fact, Laura Barton has no Earth-616 counterpart).
    • The first scene of Captain America: The Winter Soldier is Captain America jumping from a plane without parachute. That trick was the opening salvo of The Ultimates, to show that Ultimate Captain America was Rated M for Manly. The film also features the Triskelion, the team's headquarters from the Ultimates. Additionally, The Falcon has his Ultimate design, as well as his backstory of being a former soldier. SHIELD had also been infiltrated by WWII villains in the first Ultimates arc, although the ending of the story was not the same one.
    • Spider-Man: Homecoming has quite a few Ultimate influences:
      • One of the biggest changes is that Aunt May is younger and more conventionally attractive than her previous cinematic portrayals, much like her Ultimate counterpart.
      • The color scheme of Iron Man's new armor is a direct homage to his Ultimate design. Additionally, the entire plot of Peter being mentored by Iron Man so that he can one day join the Avengers mirrors the issues leading up to the "Death of Spider-Man" storyline in the comics, where Iron Man took Peter under his wing for the same reason.
      • Ned Leeds is reimagined as Peter's overweight Asian-American buddy and Secret Keeper, making him an Expy of Miles Morales' pal Ganke.
      • Aaron Davis, the Ultimate version of the Prowler, plays a supporting role, and alludes to his nephew Miles.
      • The Tinkerer is a young man like his Ultimate counterpart instead of an elderly guy like in the classic comics.
      • As for the ATM bank robbery... let Bendis himself explain that one.
    • Following the destruction of Thor's hammer in Thor: Ragnarok, Thor receives a new axe/hammer hybrid in Avengers: Infinity War that resembles Ultimate Mjolnir. It was also revealed that an early design for Thor's new look was basically his Ultimate costume. Thor's breastplate in Infinity War also resembles the Ultimate costume, especially during the portions of the film where he has no cape or arm covering.
    • In Ultimates 3, Hawkeye dons a new costume and adopts a more violent, Darker and Edgier personality after the death of his family. Avengers: Endgame loosely adopts this plotline, with Hawkeye becoming the brutal vigilante Ronin after his family dies when Thanos wipes out trillions of beings across the universe.
    • Captain Marvel (2019) has a huge similarity with Ultimate Galactus Trilogy: the ASIS program, to create a faster than light engine, made by a heroic Kree who wants to save the intended victims of the other Kree).
  • Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer shows Galactus as a cloud rather than as giant in a purple suit and a strange hat, as seen in the Ultimate Galactus Trilogy. There's even a quotation taken straight from the comic.
  • Fantastic Four (2015) is heavily based on the first arc of Ultimate Fantastic Four. In addition to the heroes being younger than their classic comic counterparts, the movie also adapts other aspects of the Ultimate Fantastic Four comics, such as the Baxter Building being a think tank for young prodigies, Reed and Ben being childhood best friends, and Reed, Sue, Ben, Johnny and Victor getting their powers from an ill-fated jaunt to an alternate dimension instead of encountering cosmic rays during a space flight.
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Venom was reimagined as a science experiment by Peter Parker's dad to cure cancer, rather than an alien symbiote. It grants superpowers, but destroys the person's body, unless it eats other people (though cannibalism itself isn't new, as even during his original time with Eddie, it showed a desire for brains). The film Venom keeps the alien symbiote origin from the mainstream comics, but adds the Ultimate twist of the body decay and reason for the cannibalism (because the symbiote slowly eats it unless it eats someone else). And the "cure for cancer" was mentioned as a decoy to conceal the lab's actual experiments with the alien symbiotes. Also, much like the Ultimate version of Eddie, this version lacks the white spider symbols.
  • Prior to that, the The Amazing Spider-Man Series was heavily influenced by the Ultimate Spider-Man comics:
    • Richard, Peter's deceased father, was a scientist instead of a spy. The revelation in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 that Richard was working on advanced bio-genetic research that he feared his employers would weaponize also came straight from the Ultimate comics, where, as mentioned above, he accidentally created the Venom symbiote while trying to develop an organism that could cure cancer. The key difference being that this time, his unscrupulous employer was Norman Osborn instead of Bolivar Trask.
    • Electro and the Rhino were both radically redesigned, with the former becoming a pulsing blue Energy Being and the latter becoming an unimposing human who pilots a rhino-shaped Mini-Mecha. While a far cry from their classic Steve Ditko designs, both of these modernized looks originated in the Ultimate comics.
    • Leaked emails from the 2014 Sony hack also revealed that prior to the series being rebooted with Homecoming, there were brief discussions about possibly adapting the Ultimate Spider-Man arc where Gwen Stacy was resurrected as Ultimate Carnage.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse stars Miles Morales, the Spider-Man from a world where Peter Parker has died. Other Ultimate elements, such as the Prowler being Miles Morales' uncle and the Green Goblin being a gigantic, pyrokinetic monster instead of guy in a costume, are also used.
  • X2: X-Men United
    • Magneto floats in the middle of a circle, a device meant to kill all mutants, and changes it: now, instead of targeting all mutants, it will be used against everybody else. There was a similar scene in the first arc of Ultimate X-Men, in 2001.
    • The mansion and all mutants in it was captured by a swift and unexpected military operation of Weapon X, just like in the second arc of Ultimate X-Men.

Video games

  • Ultimate Spider-Man is a close adaptation of the comic book, up to the time of release (the arc with Venom). It can be played by either Spider-Man or Venom, and has cameos of the Human Torch and Nick Fury. The comic would eventually grow further, deviating itself from the link with the video game.
  • The 2005 Fantastic Four movie game features an appearance from the Ultimate version of Nick Fury. Unlockable bonus levels also feature the FF in their Ultimate uniforms.
  • Marvel: Avengers Alliance: The game takes place in an alternate continuity that somewhat resembles the Ultimate Marvel/Marvel Cinematic Universe, specially with the huge emphasis on SHIELD running everything. When he first shows up, Miles Morales mentions that Dr. Octopus is dead in his home universe.
  • In X-Men Legends the X-Men use the black & gold suits of Ultimate X-Men, with the classic ones as unlockable content. This extends to characters who had not appeared yet in the comic, who just got a similar black & gold suit. Most of the members of the Brotherhood use their Ultimate suits as well. X-Men Legends 2 also features appearances from a few Ultimate NPCs, such as Nick Fury.
  • Captain America, Thor, Blade, Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch, and Colossus have their Ultimate costumes as their default outfits in Marvel Ultimate Alliance, while Wolverine, Doctor Doom, Magneto, Storm, Deadpool, Moon Knight, Elektra, Hawkeye, Doctor Strange, Sabretooth, Venom, Cyclops, Nick Fury, Nightcrawler, and the Thing's Ultimate designs are all available as alternate looks. Ultimate Alliance 2 drastically cut back on this, with only Magneto having his Ultimate costume as his default, while Captain America, Deadpool, the Juggernaut and the Fantastic Four had them available as alternates. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order broke from tradition and used Ultimate Nick Fury, despite the previous two games having used Fury's classic appearance.
  • Storm, Thor, Hulk, Deadpool, Elektra, Scarlet Witch and the Invisible Woman all have their Ultimate designs as alternate costumes in Marvel Heroes. Meanwhile, Nick Fury's Ultimate-inspired appearance is his default design, while his alternate costume gives him his trademark leather trench coat.
  • One of Magneto's alternate color schemes in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is his design from the Ultimate X-Men comics.
  • Captain America's default outfit in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is based on his Ultimate design, while Hawkeye and Thor can sport their Ultimate looks as alternate DLC costumes.


  • Hasbro's Marvel Legends line has featured a fair amount of Ultimate characters, including Spider-Man (both Peter Parker and Miles Morales), Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine, War Machine, Green Goblin, Nick Fury, Vulture, Spider-Woman and Beetle.
  • Diamond Collectibles' Marvel Select line originally began as a series focused exclusively on Ultimate and Marvel Knights versions of Marvel characters (though it has since expanded to include classic and movie versions of the characters as well). The series has included Ultimate versions of Wolverine (with a Magneto pack-in), Thor (with a Giant-Man display base), Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Spider-Man, Venom and Carnage.

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