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The whole MCU

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  • All-Star Cast: Here are the main cast members of each full-length film and series. See how many you instantly recognize:
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Quite a number of actors, directors, and writers joined the MCU or have expressed interest in doing so primarily because of its consistency in making Star Making Roles, as well as just being so damn fun to be part of. It helps that they're all given quite a bit of creative freedom to experiment with characters and ideas post-Creative Committee dissolution.
  • Approval of God:
  • Baby Name Trend Starter: The MCU fueled many parents to name their children after characters, among others even names like "Valkyrie", "Quill", "Rocket" and "Hawkeye". Even more so, in 2017, 50 children were given the name "Marvel".
  • California Doubling:
    • On many occasions (such as having Cleveland double for New York City in The Avengers and Washington, D.C. in Captain America: The Winter Soldier).
    • As a television show with a smaller budget, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gets hit with this a lot.
    • Agent Carter naturally uses California back lots for New York in its first season, since filming period pieces in New York is extraordinarily difficult. When the series shifts to Los Angeles for season 2, they were able to do much more location shooting.
    • Since Ant-Man 's 2014 production, the majority of the movies have been filmed in the Atlanta, Georgia area. Various urban parts of Atlanta are stood in for NYC while the surronding areas substitute for wherever else they may be. Piedmont Park in Midtown Atlanta usually stands in for Central Park and Woodruff Park on the campus of Georgia State University stands in for Washington Square park at the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War. The Avengers' headquarters post Captain America: Civil War is actually a building that's part of Porsche's North America headquarters in the Atlanta area.
  • Cash Cow Franchise:
    • Box Office Revenue and merchandise/dvd sales combined, the franchise has made over $35 Billion Dollars.
    • Nine of the films have made more than $1 billion dollars in ticket sales alone. Most franchises are lucky to get one movie that makes that much. As of Avengers: Age of Ultron, it has taken Harry Potter's spot as the highest grossing film franchise of all time.
    • The franchise made $4 billion in 2018 alone and $5 billion in 2019 alone, which is more than what almost any other franchise will ever get in their lifetime.
  • Cast the Runner-Up:
  • Channel Hop: The MCU began with Paramount as their distributor (with the special exception of The Incredible Hulk, which for film rights reasons was a Universal Studios production). When Disney bought Marvel, distribution has remained with them ever since, with the exception of the Spider-Man movies, which were distributed by Columbia Pictures. There was notably a short transitional period with The Avengers (2012) and Iron Man 3; since Paramount was originally due to distribute them before the acquisition, as part of the deal they are still credited as such even though the actual distribution job was Disney's work.
  • Character-Specific Pages:
  • Colbert Bump: One of the benefits of not having Spider-Man and the X-Men available to use is that Marvel put their B- and C-list heroes in the spotlight instead, causing the likes of the Hulk and Captain America to regain the mainstream notoriety they once had, saving Iron Man from slipping into C-List obscurity, and giving the Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Panther the mainstream appeal they had never had before. The Guardians in particular went from struggling to keep a single comic on the shelves to having six solo or team books by the following year, their own cartoon, and more merchandise sales than they'd ever seen before. This more or less came full circle when Spider-Man joined the MCU with Captain America: Civil War.
  • Creative Differences:
  • Creator Backlash: Making a cinematic shared universe is not easy, and a lot of creators and actors have gone through quite a bit of grief to pull it off, and expressed their discontent. For some specific examples:
    • Joss Whedon has expressed some regret that Marvel's insistence that he helm Age of Ultron prevented him from working on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    • Terrence Howard was not happy at how he was dropped from the franchise. He claims that his contract stated he would be paid $8 million for Iron Man 2, but the studio told him they would only pay him a fraction of that, and he could either take it or leave. He left, and James Rhodes has been played by Don Cheadle ever since. He also claims that most of the money in his contract went to Robert Downey Jr.'s salary.
    • Edward Norton once said "I thought we should try to make one Marvel movie that was as good as the worst Chris Nolan movie, but what the hell was I thinking!"
    • Jeremy Renner wasn't happy with his Brainwashed and Crazy Avengers role that kept him out of the team dynamic for most of the first film, saying it "wasn't what I signed on for"; Whedon placated him with a much beefed up central role in Age of Ultron, which satisfied him and made him much more enthusiastic about playing Hawkeye. He also has a very team-based role in Civil War.
    • Chloe Bennet has become very fed up with how little contact Agents of SHIELD and the other TV shows have with the movies. It's been implied that this is also the case with quite a few other people involved with the shows, though she's so far the only one who's dared to say so in public.
    • Peyton Reed was nonplussed about Ant-Man's appearance in Civil War, saying the character only really works in his own special corner of the universe. He was also disappointed that the movie would show him becoming Giant-Man, stealing what he'd hoped to make a big moment in Ant-Man and the Wasp; he did however get over the latter, saying there was still plenty of material left for him to mine.
    • Natalie Portman did not particularly enjoy working on Thor: The Dark World and tried dropping out after her preferred director left the project and said negative things about her Marvel experience to the press. Since then, the Earth-based characters were completely dropped for Thor: Ragnarok. However, Portman has said that she didn't exactly hate being in the Thor moviesnote  and that she might consider making a return to the MCU. Since then she has dubbed over some archive footage of herself in Avengers: Endgame, and is set to appear in the fourth Thor movie and What If...? series.
    • Mickey Rourke was not happy with Iron Man 2's final result, since his most of his character's scenes were cut by the then-active Marvel Creative Committee to make him less sympathetic. Even with the restructuring of Marvel Studios, a few years later, Rourke indicated that he won't be coming back to the MCU again.
    • Hugo Weaving wasn't outright negative about his role as Red Skull, but nonetheless admitted that he had grown tired of blockbuster roles in general and cited Red Skull as an example. By 2016, however, he has grown to look back on it more fondly. However, when he was offered to reprise the role in Infinity War, Weaaving decided to decline, leading to Ross Marquand taking his place.
    • Christopher Eccleston wasn't fond of his role as Malekith in Thor: The Dark World. This was because his character's backstory and motives were cut from the film to focus more on Loki, and he had to spend six hours in the makeup chair every day. That being said, he's open to returning as Malekith, on the condition that he works with Taika Waititi and the people who made Thor: Ragnarok.
    • Rosario Dawson was very enthusiastic for several years about her cross-series role of Claire Temple, but in 2018 stated that she'd lost a lot of her love of the role, and thinks the only thing that could really get her excited about it again would be getting to appear in The Punisher (2017) and officially be in every MCU Netflix show.
    • Dave Bautista has expressed disappointment about the writing of Drax the Destroyer, which has made the character a Butt-Monkey and Plucky Comic Relief and not much else.
  • Cross-Regional Voice Acting: Since 2012, the Canadian French dubs have used Canadian French actors from Montreal and European French actors from Paris.
  • Darkhorse Casting:
    • To an extent. For the most part Marvel Studios prefers to cast more obscure actors or have them Playing Against Type as the film leads, while relegating more famous actors to side characters. As a result the films tend to be a Star-Making Role for them.
    • They're also developing this with the directors they hire in recent years, bringing in indie directors and/or people who've only directed smaller films that wouldn't suggest they'd ever direct action heavy superhero movies. Like the actors above, this tends to get them some more attention. Even before, they tended to bring in directors who may not of been expected even when the franchise was still establishing itself, due to working in other genres or working more in television.
  • Dawson Casting:
    • Robert Downey Jr. (b. 1965) plays Tony Stark (b. 1970). The five-year Time Skip in Avengers: Endgame allows him the character to match the actors age, though.
    • In a weird way. The new actor for Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is 19 year old Tom Holland, who people claim "looks too young" to play 15-year old Peter Parker. Given that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield were both in their late 20s when they first started their own movie franchises - a Peter who was a late teen, at best - this is particularly absurd logic.
    • While not an extreme case, Hayley Atwell is older than Peggy Carter in the 40s-based scenes - she was 28 when filming a Peggy who aged from her early-to-mid 20s, and plays a late-20s version when Atwell herself is in her early-30s. In the same context, Dominic Cooper plays Howard Stark aged in his mid-to-late 20s when Cooper himself was in his early-to-mid 30s age range. Of course, Atwell also plays Peggy at much older than her real age in Winter Soldier and Ant-Man, while the older Howard is played by John Slattery. (Slattery himself is an example crossing with Playing Gertrude: he's supposed to be Cooper after decades - the scenes with Howard in Iron Man 2 and Avengers: Endgame are set in the 70s - yet the actor is only 12 years older.)
  • Descended Creator: Several of the directors play characters within the universe. Jon Favreau plays Happy Hogan, Tony Stark's head of security and thus gets to appear in the movies several times. Likewise, Taika Waititi, the director of Thor: Ragnarok, plays the rock alien Korg and appears in several films. Finally Joe Russo sometimes appears as a nameless character in the movies he and Anthony Russo direct.
  • Died During Production:
    • With Stan Lee's passing on November 12th, 2018, the long-standing tradition of Lee's Creator Cameos will most likely come to an end, as the remaining pre-filmed footage made for his cameos became used up after Avengers: Endgame (barring any CGI recreations of Lee's likeness).
    • Chadwick Boseman passed away from cancer in August 2020, leaving the fate of the Black Panther character in the MCU uncertain. A sequel to Black Panther is still planned for 2022, but it was later announced that Boseman’s role would not be recast, and the sequel will instead focus on his supporting cast and delve more into the world of Wakanda.
  • Doing It for the Art: Marvel Studios has gone out of its way to hire unexpected directors because of their previous work, like Kenneth Branagh for Thor, Joss Whedon for The Avengers or Joe and Anthony Russo for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as well as adapting properties that previously weren't very famous, like Iron Man or the Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Dueling Works: Marvel Studios competed with two different companies that had the film rights for Marvel movies: Sony (Spider-Man) and 20th Century Fox (X-Men and Fantastic Four). After the MCU really took off, Marvel proved itself to be more profitable.
    • First, Sony dropped out of the Marvel race after the underperformance of 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and came up with a plan B, where they more or less made the MCU work for itnote  while making successful spinoffs of their own so as to not be dependent entirely on the MCU. The strategy worked with the runaway successes of Venom (2018) and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Sony intended to keep Spider-Man himself in the MCU but the nature of the deal with Disney-Marvel (by which the parent company get 5% of the shares of solo film grosses while keeping more money in the team-up appearances) got upset when Disney asked to renegotiate to 50-50 (later 70-30) while Sony wanted to keep the original deal and update it. It was reconciled quickly, allowing the deal to continue with at least two more movies.
    • Then, after years of financial trouble, Fox would be bought out by Marvel's parent company Disney for a whopping $71.3 billion in 2019, and thus bringing the X-Men and Fantastic Four into their ownership and making the impending reboot inevitable while bringing an end to the long-running X-Men Film Series.
  • DVD Commentary: Almost all of the MCU movies from The Incredible Hulk onward each have a director's commentary on their DVDs and/or Blu-Ray Discs, which sometimes also features comments from other crew members and/or an actor.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • In Iron Man 2, studio execs clashed with Terrence Howard's agents, leading to him being replaced by Don Cheadle. They also re-cut Big Bad Ivan Vanko/Whiplash's scenes to make him less sympathetic. And they insisted on adding story elements that would help set up The Avengers, which director Jon Favreau thought made for a much less coherent story overall. Favreau was so put off by the studio that he refused to return for Iron Man 3.note 
    • In The Avengers, Joss Whedon wanted Loki to have a muscular Dragon intimidating enough to go up against the Hulk. Marvel refused, not wanting too many Asgardian or fantasy elements in the movie. Marvel also replaced Edward Norton with Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, although this one worked out as fans liked Ruffalo's portrayal (and Norton was notoriously difficult to work with).
    • Iron Man 3 fell victim to this twice from two different parties:
      • Disney were responsible for the first example (to the plot) - Shane Black originally intended to adapt the Demon in a Bottle comic book storylinenote , but Disney objected as children would be watching it and Robert Downey Jr. was reluctant to explore alcoholism on screen because he felt it could take him back to a mental state he'd worked hard to move beyond. Black complied if only for concluding that Iron Man facing both a villain and alcoholism would lead the two threats to be underdeveloped.
      • Marvel's corporate arm were responsible for the second one - The Big Bad was originally female, but they insisted it be the male Alrich Killian, as CEO Ike Perlmutter claimed that toys based on female characters wouldn't sellnote . As a result, the entire script had to be changed, and led to the downsizing of both Ellen Brandt's and Maya Hansen's roles.
    • Thor: The Dark World was originally planned to focus more on the Dark Elves, especially Malekith, but those scenes were cut in favor of more of Ensemble Dark Horse Loki. (Fan reaction was mixed.) Director Alan Taylor also publicly complained about The Stinger that set up Guardians of the Galaxy, feeling that it clashed with what was otherwise a fantasy film; Marvel loves these stingers and had this one done without Taylor's involvement.
    • The original cut for Avengers: Age of Ultron was over three hours long. Naturally, the executives demanded that it be cut down to something more manageable, with priority being given to scenes that set up things for Captain America: Civil War and Thor: Ragnarok rather than what fit the movie's storyline.
    • This got Ant-Man stuck briefly in Development Hell. Edgar Wright signed on in 2006 and originally wanted it to be a standalone film, like the first Iron Man film. Marvel insisted on some sort of tie-in to the rest of the MCU, such as cameos by Howard Stark and Peggy Carter. Wright left the project as a result.
    • Ever wonder why Black Panther and Captain Marvel were stuck in Development Hell until 2014? Well you can blame Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter, a racist and misogynistic Pointy-Haired Boss who believed, and could conceivably still believe, that audiences wouldn't want to watch movies with non-White Male Lead heroes (a belief that rings rather hollow given the success of The Hunger Games and Wonder Woman). According to Bob Iger, Perlmutter was only spurred into allowing Black Panther to happen after he was effectively ordered to put the movie into production by Iger's hand, and even then would only allow Kevin Feige to make both that film and Captain Marvel on the condition that Feige would make an Inhumans movienote . This issue, among many other questionable decisions Perlmutter made, led to Disney sacking him as Marvel CCO in October 2019 in favor of Feige.
    • Much of Marvel Studios' meddling came from a Creative Committee within former parent company Marvel Entertainment as a whole. Meddlers included such notable names as Joe Quesada, Brian Michael Bendis, and the aforementioned Perlmutter. Kevin Feige grew increasingly tired of the meddling, and eventually convinced Disney to dissolve the Committee and completely separate Marvel Studios from Marvel Entertainment (making Disney themselves the only meddler).
    • Even once the Creative Committee was dissolved, this reared its head again when Disney Studios president Alan Horn went over Kevin Feige's head and fired James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 following online trolls uncovering some offensive tweets Gunn posted a decade prior (and which he had previously apologized for). Gunn was eventually rehired after continued requests from Feige, the cast, crew, and fans of the franchise, however in an ironic twist, Gunn was called to say he was back on Vol. 3 the day after he signed on to direct The Suicide Squad for the DC Extended Universe, putting Vol. 3 on hiatus until it's completed.
    • Netflix pulled the plug on all of their shows due to Disney developing Disney+, in spite of continued acclaim for content like Daredevil. The move is heavily speculated to be a byproduct of Disney pulling support for Netflix, meaning that developing new Marvel content would naturally benefit to their new competitor. The various teams working on the Marvel TV shows, and particularly Daredevil, were said to be floored by Netflix's decision, indicating that it was a sudden move and that they fully expected the shows to be renewed (aside from Jessica Jones, which was meant to end with the third season).
  • Exiled from Continuity: Due to rights issues, anything related to Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Sub-Mariner, or the X-Men Film Series characters could not appear in Marvel Cinematic Universe at the time it was created. However, some characters who are known to these groups such as Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, the Skrulls, and The Kingpin, were still usable, but they could not mention their connection to those groups. This is no longer the case after Disney bought out 20th Century Fox in 2019note , meaning Marvel can now freely use almost all of their characters without running into rights issues except for Sony's Spider-Man spinoff characters and Namor. The official press release states that there are plans to integrate both teams with Marvel's stable of heroes and both will be done with a fresh take completely divorced from the original continuities. Disney CEO Bob Iger has, at the very least, stated he is open to greenlighting more R-rated Marvel-related movies such as Deadpool (2016).
    • Spider-Man was integrated into the setting in Phase 3 as part of a deal made with Disney and Sony. However, due to legal restrictions from Sony's contract, Spider-Man characters are severely limited on where they can appear in the MCU, and currently cannot to be used in any TV shows. In 2019, Marvel and Sony had a brief divorce over the character for financial reasons before both parties re-upped the deal, narrowly avoiding this trope from taking effect once more.
    • Joe Quesada clarified that the rights for Namor have returned to Marvel at long last, but did not confirm or deny any actual film. The project may be complicated by the busy timetable of Marvel, with films set up until 2028. And audiences may dismiss a film about another underwater hero as unoriginal (even if Namor, as a comic book character, was created first) after the DC Extended Universe's Aquaman.
    • Per interviews given about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the MCU was unable use the word "Mutant" in their films or TV shows before regaining the rights to the X-Men from FOX, so they often used other nomenclature, such as "gifted" or "enhanced", for the mutant-like beings that show up on that show. Whether this is because of some sort of written agreement or just an over-abundance of caution about possible legal issues (as mutants and mutation are actual scientific concepts and are more-or-less generic terms) with FOX is unknown. The Inhumans were briefly used as an attempted replacement of sorts for the mutants, though this fell through after the show did horrendously.
      • Director James Gunn has confirmed that a similar joint rights agreement existed for the Skrulls, who are a general Marvel Universe threat but nonetheless debuted in the Fantastic Four.note  As mentioned above, this problem no longer exists with Marvel regaining rights to the Fantastic Four in 2019, allowing them to use the Skrulls freely.
    • The Hulk is also in a form of exile, as while Marvel has development rights to make movies with the Hulk, Universal retains distribution rights to get them into theaters. Hulk characters can show up in ensemble movies and TV shows no problem, but there's no incentive for Marvel to make a Hulk standalone movie if they have to split the profits with someone else.
    • In addition to Hulk, the Sub-Mariner property is also in a strange situation with Universal. They have owned the film rights to the character of Namor for years, though they have not used him; however, they are supposedly interested in sharing the property with Disney provided that they can profit off of it. This is all in spite of the fact that the legal rights on a Sub-Mariner movie should have long since expired.
    • Like Sub-Mariner, Man-Thing is in a similar position, where he is owned by Lionsgate, but the company isn't interested in making another solo film with the character unless they can reap a portion of the rewards. This got more complicated when Man-Thing was mentioned in an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and given that no statement has been made regarding the character, it's completely ambiguous as to who owns the property (although, given the lack of any comment from Lionsgate regarding a reboot or a sequel, it can be inferred that the rights quietly reverted to Marvel).
    • Sony struck a deal to have Oscorp Tower from The Amazing Spider-Man appear in The Avengers, but the special effects crew was too far along to insert the building into the NYC skyline. This ended up serving as a blessing in disguise, given that Marvel would ultimately choose to reboot the character within the MCU instead of canonizing The Amazing Spider-Man Series, which would have created a serious Continuity Snarl.
    • Documents unearthed in the infamous Sony hacking scandal revealed that Spider-Woman is also in an odd legal position. She is technically a Distaff Counterpart of Spider-Man and has a similar name, costume and powers, but in-universe she has very little connection to him, and instead is way more closely associated with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers. Because of this, both Sony and Marvel can use her, but Marvel cannot use the name "Spider-Woman," depict her using "spider-like" abilities, or have her wear her iconic red costume. It is unknown if the above-mentioned deal to include Spider-Man in the MCU has changed anything.
    • Although Sony and Marvel reached a deal that gave creative control of Spider-Man to Marvel Studios, Sony still has sole cinematic control of most other related characters. This resulted in Sony, in the wake of the success of Civil War, announcing that it was going to try again to start its own Spidey-verse with Tom Hardy starring in a solo Venom film with other character projects also being developed. Complicating matters is that Peter Parker/Spider-Man can't appear in any of those films without Marvel's permission (which isn't forthcoming). However, Amy Pascal (Sony's Spider-Man producer) has later stated that she doesn't believe that the franchise a character debuts in should preclude them from appearing elsewhere down the line.
    • A self-imposed example can be found in the form of Ant-Man; though Marvel owned the film rights to the character, Edgar Wright didn't want the company to do anything with him until he made a movie starring the character. After the Development Hell passed, the characters in that series are free to show up in the MCU proper.
    • An odd example: Although Marvel had a hand in creating Spider-Man (Japan), Battle Fever J, Denshi Sentai Denziman, and Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan, meaning that Super Sentai (and, thanks to crossovers, Kamen Rider and Metal Heroes) are part of the Marvel multiverse (officially, the Toei Tokuverse is designated as Earth-79203), Toei has expressed no interest in doing any form of crossovernote  (and even if they did, Marvel officially considers the Tokuverse "Defunct").
  • Flagship Franchise: Currently by far and away the most successful live action movie property of Disney.
  • Flip-Flop of God:
    • Disney originally said they had "no interest" in making R-rated Marvel movies. However, when they acquired Fox, and thus the rights to Deadpool, they changed their view and said that Deadpool can remain R-rated. Not only that, but they also said they're interested in an "R-rated Marvel brand" to extend outside of Netflix.
    • Regarding when the X-Men were coming to the MCU, Kevin Feige heavily indicated that it would be a "very long time" before they joined, with some fans thinking that it would be after 2024, and maybe even a whole a decade before it happened. Then, at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, they announced Phase 4. Though it's true that X-Men wasn't among the Phase 4 titles, the phase itself only lasts from 2020-2021 and was missing several key properties. At the end, Feige enthusiastically hyped the presence of mutants alongside the Fantastic Four and established properties like Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as the newly-announced Blade. The overall message heavily indicates that the X-Men would come far sooner than originally thought, perhaps in the range of 2022, much less 2024 and beyond.
    • Following the release of Avengers: Infinity War, there has been some conflicting information from Feige, franchise directors and writers, and other parties as to which offscreen characters were victims of Thanos' Snap and which weren't. The Russo Brothers claimed that Aunt May was one of the survivors of the Snap, but in Spider-Man: Far From Home, she tells the story of how she was snapped and then returned to find what was her apartment was occupied by another family. Additionally, the marketing for Avengers: Endgame indicated Wong was a survivor, but the screenplay lists him as a victim.
  • Follow the Leader: Before 2008 and Iron Man, crossover films were thought to be a novelty, and the idea of a series of separate films with different writers and directors sharing a continuity and ongoing story was seen as impossible. Now, everyone wants to repeat the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and try to create their own franchise of inter-connected blockbusters:
    • 20th Century Fox wanted to expand their X-Men franchise into a shared universe. Fantastic Four (2015) was scrapped from being part of a multiverse due to the movie's box office and critical failure, and Deadpool took its place. Unlike with The Amazing Spider-Man Series, the series continued being successful and only ended in 2019 when Disney bought out Fox entirely.
    • Columbia Pictures was trying the same with Spider-Man through The Amazing Spider-Man Series. Following the underperformance of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, they struck a deal with Marvel Studios to make Spider-Man join the MCU, and instead are trying to apply the shared-universe treatment to Ghostbusters (along with a shared universe of Image Comics characters, though that doesn't seem to be high-priority). Even after the deal between Sony and Marvel over Spider-Man (and ASM2's underperformance), Sony is insistent that it will create its own Spidey-verse with the Marvel characters it still controls, announcing that it was going to try again starting with Tom Hardy starring in a solo Venom film with other character projects also being developed. Complicating matters is that Peter Parker/Spider-Man can't appear in any of those films without Marvel's permission (which isn't forthcoming).
    • DC turned Man of Steel into the first film in the DC Extended Universe. Their parent company, Warner Bros., are also working to embrace Disney's franchise-driven business model of creating shared universes by expanding the existing Harry Potter film series with the Fantastic Beasts spinoffs, using Godzilla (2014) as a launchpad for several Kaiju movies, and building upon the success of The LEGO Movie by giving that movie a sequel and two spinoffs. There's even a potential Hanna-Barbera-verse starting with SCOOB!.
    • Universal attempted to reboot Universal Horror into a series of action-adventure films, under the umbrella of the Dark Universenote ) starting with The Mummy (2017) (the 2014 film Dracula Untold was intended as the starting point, but was later dropped from the canon). While not superheroic in nature, the movies were to treat their major characters as if they were superheroes. Universal even went so far as to have a Dark Universe title card planned to precede each film...until the epic critical and commercial failure of The Mummy (2017) eventually caused them to scrap the Shared Universe plans in favor of focusing more on the films being director driven standalone movies.
    • The Conjuring seems to be heading this way, as it has a sequel and three spinoffs; Annabelle (which has a second sequel on the way), The Nun, and an upcoming spinoff about the Crooked Man.
    • Toho is also getting in on the shared universe game, with the surprise announcement that the studio has cancelled the previously-announced sequel to Shin Godzilla in favor of an entire cinematic universe revolving around the studio's library of Kaiju.
    • This phenomenon has also bled over into television, with the likes of the Arrowverse following the MCU's example.
    • The MCU itself isn't immune to trend chasing. At DC FanDome in July 2020, Michael Keaton was announced to reprise his role of Batman in the upcoming DCEU Flash film via a multiverse crossover. News of characters from the Spider-Man Trilogy and The Amazing Spider-Man Series showing up in future MCU movies quickly cropped up afterwards and got confirmed during the remainder of 2020.
  • God Never Said That:
    • While doing press for Age of Ultron, director Joss Whedon was asked about Phil Coulson's resurrection on Agents of SHIELD. Whedon explained he thought bringing it up would take away from the emotional impact of Coulson's death, and that Coulson was still dead (to the Avengers). While what he meant was clear from the context, it immediately exploded across the internet, even on semi-respectable pop culture sites, into him declaring Agents of SHIELD (which he executives produces and his brother and sister-in-law are showrunning) as non-canon and a product of corporate infighting and, event more tenuously, that he and Marvel hated the show and wanted to kill it as soon as possible.
    • Somewhat related to the above, some took the fact that no TV characters were in Infinity War (and reportedly none are in its sequel either) as further proof that the movie and TV side have become entirely separate. In reality, it was never said that TV characters would be in IW- it was merely said that it was inevitable that eventually some TV characters would show up in the movies- everyone just assumed they meant Infinity War. Edwin Jarvis (James D'Arcy) from Agent Carter did make it to the big screen, in Endgame.
  • Hostility on the Set: Prior to August 2015, the movies were made under Marvel itself rather than Disney's live-action group. At Marvel, the leadership was made up of CEO Isaac "Ike" Perlmutter and his creative committee (big writers/editors at Marvel). As the years went on, the tension between Perlmutter/Marvel and MCU chief Kevin Feige only continued to grow. Perlmutter overrode many of Feige's creative decisions. Maya Hansen was supposed to be the villain of Iron Man 3 but Perlmutter changed it because he felt like she wouldn't sell toys. Feige had wanted to make Black Panther and Carol Danvers movies for quite some time but was shot down under the same toy pretenses. Both movies didn't happen until 2018 and 2019 respectively, a decade into the franchise. Perlmutter is also believed to be the reason Edgar Wright left Ant-Man at the eleventh hour. Wright had been working on the project since before the MCU was formed and wanted to make the movie more standalone whereas the people at Marvel wanted it to be in the formula. Feige is reported to have been on Wright's side and was willing to give him more creative freedom. The tension finally came to a head on the 2015 set of Captain America: Civil War when the infamously penny pinching note  Perlmutter wanted to drop Robert Downey Jr. from the project because of his salary. Feige went to Alan Horn (head of Disney's live-action group) and threatened to quit there and then if they didn't get him out from under Perlmutter. Disney acquiesced, the creative committee was disbanded (Feige got to pick his own team), Marvel Studios was split off from Marvel Entertainment and put under the Disney umbrella, and Horn is now Feige's boss. Perlmutter stepped down as CEO of Marvel Entertainment in 2018 but still remains as chairman of the board, though now Feige basically has almost full control of Marvel as a whole, which explains a renewed focus on TV shows as part of Phase 4.
  • Money, Dear Boy:
    • Paul Bettany has stated that he sees his role as JARVIS as simply a source of easy money and has never even seen the Iron Man films. However, he's been much more invested in his new role as The Vision.
      Bettany: I used to be in a studio for 45 minutes and do J.A.R.V.I.S. and get a huge bag of cash and go my way like a burglar, and now they want me to work for my money. Which is great and sweaty and hot, which you’ll realize once they unveil everything. It’s really f***ing cool. It’s great to join this train which is on really clear tracks.
    • Clark Gregg says this was initially the case. He took the role of Agent Coulson only as a favour to Jon Favreau, his neighbor at the time. However he ended up enjoying the role more than he expected, leading to Coulson becoming a Breakout Character.
    • Despite signing a multi-film contract, Hugo Weaving claims to have little interest in reprising his role as the Red Skull, having grown tired of blockbuster work. However, in 2016, he has stated that he's since grown to enjoy his time as the Red Skull, and expressed an interest in returning. He ultimately didn't return, but his character did.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • Mark Ruffalo replaced Edward Norton as Bruce Banner after The Incredible Hulk.
    • Don Cheadle replaced Terrence Howard as James Rhodes after Iron Man.
    • Howard Stark has been played by three different actors in his first three film appearances (Gerard Sanders in Iron Man, John Slattery in Iron Man 2, and Dominic Cooper in Captain America: The First Avenger). Slattery and Cooper cross over into Time-Shifted Actor, as Cooper portrays Howard Stark as a young man (First Avenger and Agent Carter) while Slattery portrays Howard from middle age onwards (Iron Man 2, Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Endgame).
    • Zachary Levi replaced Josh Dallas as Fandral thanks to his commitments to Once Upon a Time which is a reversal of The Other Marty, as Zachary Levi was originally cast as Fandral in Thor but couldn't because of Chuck related scheduling conflicts.
    • Josh Brolin portrays Thanos from Guardians of the Galaxy onwards, after Damon Poitier played him for his brief cameo at the end of The Avengers.
    • Edwin Jarvis (Howard Stark's butler in Agent Carter) and JARVIS (Tony Stark's AI in the Iron Man movies) are technically variations on the same person, in that the latter's voice and personality are based on the former. However, they're played by different actors (James D'Arcy in the TV show, Paul Bettany in the films).
    • Ross Marquand replaced Hugo Weaving in the role of Red Skull, starting with Avengers: Infinity War. To his credit, though, it is very unnoticeable due to the heavy Red Skull makeup, dark shading in all his scenes, and Marquand's spot-on impersonation of Weaving's voice and mannerisms.
    • Kathryn Newton will be replacing Emma Fuhrmann as Cassie Lang in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania following the latter playing her in Endgame. Fuhrmann technically also replaced Abby Ryder Fortson, who portrayed Cassie in the first two Ant-Man films, but that was a case of Time-Shifted Actor.
  • The Pete Best:
    • Most fans generally forget (or prefer not to acknowledge) that Edward Norton was ever Bruce Banner/Hulk. Technically this also applies to Eric Bana, who played him in 2003's Hulk.
    • Though they play the character at different time periods, Dominic Cooper is more remembered as Howard Stark than John Slattery. Ironically, Slattery has now physically appeared as Howard Stark in more films than Dominic Cooper (four, to the latter's one), albeit Cooper has more screentime overall than Slattery thanks to having a more central role in the first Captain America, along with his appearances in Agent Carter. In any case, both actors are remembered far more than Gerard Sanders, who very briefly played Howard in the first Iron Man film.
    • Most people tend to acknowledge Don Cheadle as James Rhodes over Terrence Howard, for the latter only had one film as the character.
  • Playing Against Type:
  • Playing with Character Type: Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Madame Hydra. Her performance is quite similar to her work as Elaine Benes or Selina Meyer, but the unusual part comes from how it's put in a more dramatic setting where her actions make her a villain rather than an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist.
  • Production Posse:
    • Joss Whedon directed The Avengers, which had two of his regulars (Alexis Denisof and Enver Gjokaj) in bit parts, his brother and sister-in-law Jeb Whedon and Maurissa Tanchauroen are the showrunners for Agents of SHIELD, and his former Buffy the Vampire Slayer writers Drew Goddard, Steven S. DeKnight, and Doug Petrie are writers/producers on Daredevil. 2015 was probably when the MCU hit peak Whedon saturation.
    • All films directed and produced by The Russo Brothers try to include at least one cast member from their show Community; Danny Pudi in Winter Soldier, Enver Gjokaj in Agent Carter, Jim Rash and Julianna Guill in Civil War, Brie Larson, Ken Jeong, and Yvette Nicole Brown in Endgame.
  • Promoted Fanboy:
    • Samuel L. Jackson was a big comics fan even before Marvel started using his likeness for Nick Fury. He accepted a landmark nine movie deal in exchange for the retroactive rights, and given how successful they've been, is quite happy how things turned out.
    • Anthony Mackie as The Falcon. Mackie had always wanted to play either him or Black Panther on film and was actually disappointed when he found out the filmmakers weren't going to have him wear the character's red spandex costume from the comics.
    • After he was officially announced for Eternals, Kumail Nanjiani showed two pictures of himself at Comic-Con on Twitter—one in 2012, where he was interviewing the late, great Stan Lee, and one in 2019, where he stood as one of the newest additions to the MCU.
  • Real-Life Relative:
  • Recast as a Regular:
  • Release Date Change:
    • The COVID-19 Pandemic and ensuing closure of movie theatres led to a series of massive adjustments to the Phase 4 release slate. Black Widow was originally supposed to begin the phase with a May 2020 release date but was ultimately moved back an entire year to May 2021, and Eternals was moved to 2021 beforehand, making 2020 the first year since 2009 without a MCU movie release and the first year since 2012 (The Avengers) to have one single MCU canon installment (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had its finale in 2020 — Helstrom doesn't even have the Marvel logo on advertising). The subsequent movies received changes to their release dates as well. Thus Phase IV didn't even start in the movies but streaming, which as seen below had its own case.
    • On the Disney+ series side, the premiere of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was delayed as it still needed shooting for some set pieces, bringing in WandaVision (which was easier to film) earlier and also delaying Loki for a month. And given the delays of Black Widow, a character that was supposed to be introduced in The Stinger to that movie instead showed up first in The Falcon & The Winter Soldier.
  • Right Hand vs. Left Hand: As mentioned under Executive Meddling and Hostility on the Set, what Marvel Studios wanted wasn't always what parent company Marvel Entertainment did, with movies not being approved and a "Creative Committee" driving away some directors and being directly responsible for how divisive Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World turned out. The in-fighting only ended as Disney intervened to make Marvel Studios directly answer to them without needing the approval of Marvel Entertainment, a relief given that the pre-production of Captain America: Civil War saw the threat of driving away both Robert Downey Jr. and producer Kevin Feige.
  • Role-Ending Misdemeanor:
    • Marvel briefly touted Shia LaBeouf for an unspecified role in an upcoming film, only to drop him following abuse allegations against him.
    • T.I. was dropped from the Ant Man films after he and his wife Tameka Cottle were accused of sexual assault. Word of God is that he wasn't going to be in the third film anyway, but this eliminated any possibility of him coming back.
  • Role Reprise:
  • Saved from Development Hell: Before ever getting its own studio, Marvel had plans to produce films of Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man, Black Panther, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage. Now, all of these projects finally became reality (although Iron Fist and Luke Cage ended up as television properties).
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: When the MCU was first being started, most of the film rights for Marvel properties were under the control of different studios, meaning they couldn't use most of their popular characters at first. The biggest name Marvel had full control over from the start was Captain America, and even he wasn't anywhere near the popularity of Marvel's real heavy hitters. Over time, the film rights for most characters have gradually returned to Marvel, but there are still some hints at behind-the-scenes legal drama, such as three films being absent from Disney+ (Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home, distributed by Sony, and The Incredible Hulk, distributed by Universal).
  • Sequel in Another Medium: Up until Spider-Man: Far From Home, every main MCU entry was a theatrically released film. Starting in Phase 4 with WandaVision, a lot of main entries are Disney+ streaming series instead, due to Disney shifting gears towards a streaming business model. That trend started before the COVID-19 pandemic, but it only intensified due to the pandemic crippling the theatrical business.
  • So My Kids Can Watch:
    • Mark Ruffalo has stated that he accepted the role in Avengers for his kids. Unfortunately, seeing him turn into the Hulk turned out to be too frightening for them to watch.
    • Djimon Hounsou said he took the role as Korath the Pursuer in Guardians of the Galaxy because his son is a superhero fan, and he wanted to show him black people can be in superhero films too.
    • In addition to Awesome, Dear Boy, Robert Redford took the role of Pierce in Captain America: The Winter Soldier because his grandkids love the Marvel movies.
    • James Spader has stated he took the role of Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron because his sons love Marvel movies. There was also an element of Awesome, Dear Boy.
    • Anthony Mackie says he wanted to play the Falcon to show the kids in his family (as well as black kids in general) that black people can be superheroes too. In general, he's been very vocal about the need for greater diversity in superhero movies.
    • Michael Douglas says this was his major motivation for playing Henry Pym in Ant-Man. He even took his son to Comic-Con to promote the movie!
  • Trolling Creator:
    • It's been tradition since the first Iron Man to have a post-credits scene. Leading up to The Avengers, these scenes foreshadowed events that would be touched on in other films. However, starting with The Avengers, these foreshadowing scenes are often played mid-credits, and audiences who wait to the end of the credits are instead rewarded with a pointless, humorous Brick Joke for their patience; a crowning example is in Spider-Man: Homecoming, which ends with a Captain America PSA extolling the virtues of patience, even if said patience goes completely unrewarded. The trolling has become almost poetic in its inconsistency, as inter-spliced with the Shmuck Bait stingers are legitimate post-credit scenes like in Winter Soldier and Ant-Man, not to mention the complete absence of anything at all at the end of Age of Ultron.
    • Despite huge demand, Kevin Feige (head of Marvel Studios) repeatedly said that there were no plans for either a Black Panther or Captain Marvel movie... right up until the Phase 3 announcements, where not only were both movies given release dates, but it was revealed that both had been in the planning stage for a long time and Black Panther had even already been cast and would show up in Captain America: Civil War.
  • Underage Casting: Some actors across the franchise portray characters older than they are, notably:
    • John Slattery portrays the older Howard Stark from content set in the 70's and after, starting with Iron Man 2. Slattery was about 47 when he began playing Howard, who was officially 53 when his son Tony was born in 1970.
    • Hayley Atwell portrays Peggy Carter in every time period the character appears starting with the early-40s and ending (so far) with 2014, averting Time-Shifted Actor; Peggy is born in 1919, and Atwell herself was in her late-20s when she first assumed the role. See also Dawson Casting above.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Some of the earliest Phase 1 films suffer from this, not helped by the movies canonically taking place at the same time of their theatrical release date (minus a little bit of Anachronic Order in Phases 1 and 3) until 2018. These range from smaller things like Bruce Banner using some very 2008-centric technology in The Incredible Hulk, to major events like Tony Stark being in Afghanistan and involved with The War on Terror in Iron Man. Though more recent films try to avoid the mistakes Iron Man did by creating their own major events and not tying into anything happening in real life, time will tell if they will fall under this trope as well.
  • Unisex Series, Gendered Merchandise: An occasional issue — although the films are family-orientated, the merchandise often sides itself to young boys. There was a backlash when the toys based on The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron were released because there was no action figure for Black Widow. Notably, in the latter film, she rides a motorcycle and uses Captain America's shield in conjunction with it, but all the toys had Cap riding the bike himself. Considering Executive Meddling above, much of the fault of this likely comes from Ike Perlmutter (who is infamously quite sexist and believes female characters don't sell) and his control over Marvel Entertainment, which still handles the merchandise side of things. Thankfully, this has become less of an issue after Perlmutter was sacked from Marvel, with female heroes now getting just as many action figures as the male ones.
  • What Could Have Been: See the franchise's page.
  • The Wiki Rule: Here.
  • Working Title: Videos and pictures taken behind the scenes tend to reveal some humorous code names during the filming processnote .
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Someone in the stunt teams or the writers' room must be a wrestling fan, as there has been a moment across the three parts of the MCU (movie, TV, and Netflix side) where an antagonist has countered a protagonist or supporting character's offense with a powerbomb:
    • Agents Of SHIELD: Hyde to Coulson in Season 2 (countering a triangle choke from the ground)
    • Jessica Jones: Will Simpson to Trish in Season 1 (the triangle choke from the ground again)
    • Daredevil: Jacques to Electra in Season 2 (in a slight twist, it goes from a hurricanrana by backsliding off a plane wing, transitioning into an armbar when he doesn't go down, then to the powerbomb onto the wing)
    • Civil War: Bucky to Natasha (a hurricanrana that simply becomes Natasha elbowing Bucky's head when he doesn't get dragged down)
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: During Phase 1 and early Phase 2, there wasn't actually a long-term plan for how the MCU narrative would play out, and it's shown some plans changed over time:
    • Many early universe-building Easter Eggs, like the Infinity Gauntlet in Odin's vault, got adjusted as the long-term plans were established and changed.
    • The Incredible Hulk teased an Avengers mission to hunt down the Hulk, which became an Aborted Arc - "The Consultant" retconned this into a ploy by Tony Stark, after Iron Man 2 had Black Widow inform Fury that Tony Stark wouldn't be suitable for the Avenger Initiative.
    • Joss Whedon admitted in 2017 that despite the mid-credits scene teasing Thanos, he only threw him in because he needed SOMEONE to be above Loki and the Other, and he liked the character; he didn't actually have a good idea on how to adapt the Mad Titan into film, and openly praised the Russo brothers for their different approach to the character (despite it retconning the line about fighting the Avengers would be "to court death" into more of a Mythology Gag).
  • You Look Familiar:

Other Trivia

  • Despite being regarded as the man who connects all members of Avengers Initiative, Phil Coulson actually only appears in three of five movies that leads to The Avengers. He is absent in The Incredible Hulk and Captain America: The First Avenger. He's also only directly involved with two of them, Iron Man and Thor.note 
  • In the overall numerology of the various Marvel universes, the MCU is designated Earth-199999.

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