When a movie franchise is as popular and commercially successful as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s inevitable that a lot of people will talk about it. Most people speak of it fondly, some choose to criticize it, but almost everybody has their own theories about what will happen in the franchise in the future.
That’s undoubtedly a good thing, because it gives fans something to debate with each other about, it keeps fans entertained in between releases in the franchise, and it gives people like us material to work with in articles like this one!
The theories in question can range from startlingly obvious predictions (“Thanos will take the Mind Stone from Vision’s forehead in Avengers: Infinity War!”) to far more speculative ones (the type we’re going to discuss in this very article), but they’re all interesting talking points.
On that note, let’s get to it, as we discuss some of the more “out there” theories that might not be as silly as they sound. Here are 15 MCU theories that are so crazy they might just turn out to be true.
15. Peggy Carter Is Tony Stark’s Real Mother
Okay, so you’re probably thinking “I’ve seen Captain America: Civil War. I’ve seen Tony’s mother. Tony’s mother is NOT Peggy Carter, end of story.” Well, you may be right, but there’s a very interesting and quite convincing mad theory that suggests she actually is.
There’s a far from subtle suggestion in Captain America: The First Avenger that Peggy and Tony’s father, Howard Stark, had partaken in a sexual relationship prior to the introduction of Steve Rogers in Peggy’s life. It is then further established in the Agent Carter television series that Howard trusts Peggy as much as, if not more than, he’s ever trusted anybody else, and that their relationship continued beyond the end of World War II. Ant-Man‘s opening scene then established that the relationship was still going strong well into Howard’s marriage.
It is later shown in Captain America: Civil War that Tony Stark definitely has some unresolved daddy issues. This theory suggests that it could stem from the fact that Maria Stark was unable to have children and that Tony is either the product of Howard having had an affair with Peggy, which Maria tolerated, or that Peggy agreed to be a surrogate for the couple. It provides a perfectly valid reason for Tony’s complex relationships with both his father and Steve Rogers, and explains his very unpredictable behavior after Peggy passed away in Civil War.
14. Groot Is A God In The MCU
Groot is an incredibly popular character in the MCU, in spite of the fact that he can only say three words (well, four if you count the one time he managed to say the word “we“), but he’s essentially just a member of a tree-like humanoid species with the ability to regenerate lost body parts, right? Well, not according to this theory, which suggests he’s actually a god!
You may recall back in Captain America: The First Avenger that MCU audiences were introduced to Yggdrasil — a figurative tree used by Asgardians to describe the cosmic nimbus that connects the Nine Realms, with each branch connecting to one of the realms in question. Johann Schmidt also described it as “…the tree of the world. Guardian of wisdom and fate also,” while Jane Foster called it “the world’s tree” in Thor that same year.
Both mentions of the tree refer to the fact that it is represented across multiple dimensions as a benign and guiding figure that various cultures believe is watching over and protecting them. Guardians of the Galaxy established that any piece of Groot that is cut off from his body and planted will eventually form another Groot. This theory, therefore, is that pieces of “Groot Prime” were deliberately planted and raised all across the multiverse. Collectively, they make up Yggdrasil, which is a godly hive-like entity that protects and guards the universe as a whole. The Groot we know is, after all, a “Guardian.”
13. Deadpool Took Place In The MCU
This one’s pretty simple, but it’s still quite crazy and very interesting nonetheless, because it suggests that the Deadpool movie might just have taken place in the MCU — or that it was at least suggesting that a future crossover between the two franchises is a possibility.
How did Deadpool make that suggestion? By virtue of the fact that it seemed to include a decommissioned S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier as the setting for the movie’s climactic battle. The movie’s director, Tim Miller, has spoken out about the issue, stating that it wasn’t actually a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier at all, not that he would admit it if it was. After all, Marvel Studios and 20th Century Fox are rival organizations who wouldn’t want to be seen as stepping on each other’s toes.
The fact is, if Fox didn’t want that theory to be conceived, they wouldn’t have chosen a helicarrier as the setting for the movie’s final fight, as fans were inevitably going to make the connection. Moreover, there was a minor supporting character in Deadpool who acts as another potential connection to the MCU. Deadpool‘s roommate, Blind Al, was an old girlfriend of none other than Captain America in the comic books.
12. Loki DID Really Die In Thor: The Dark World
We all remember how 2013’s Thor: The Dark World ended. Loki, having seemingly been killed earlier in the movie, was revealed to be alive and well, disguised as Odin, sitting on the throne of Asgard. But did he actually die at the hands of the mighty Kurse on Svartalfheim?
This theory suggests that he had, and it really makes sense given what’s coming in 2017. In Thor: Ragnarok, Hela, the Asgardian goddess of death and ruler of Hel and Niflheim, will look to bring about an apocalypse on Asgard — and she will require Loki’s assistance to do so. The theory is that Loki died and ended up in Hel, where Hela agreed to revive him on the condition that he disposes of Odin, then poses as the Allfather, taking advantage of his position on the throne to grant her access to Asgard.
The pair have colluded in comic books on many occasions, and Hela does indeed have the power to send people from back from the afterlife. It also makes sense because it would be typical of Loki to exploit his second chance at life for his own benefit. This is undoubtedly one of the more likely theories to come true on this list.
11. Alfre Woodward HAS Played The Same Character Twice
The double-casting of Alfre Woodward in the MCU certainly irked some fans. The main reason for that was because it suggested that Marvel Studios didn’t take the MCU’s television shows into consideration when casting her for her part in Captain America: Civil War — which suggested in turn that the people behind the movies didn’t believe the television shows were canon (subsequently killing a lot of fans’ hopes about potential crossovers between movies and television shows in the future).
This simple theory changes that outlook, however. Mariah Dillard, Woodward’s character from Luke Cage, was actually the woman who talked to Tony Stark by the elevator at MIT in Civil War. The theory suggests that she was hired by Helmut Zemo to portray the mother of Charlie Spencer (the young man who died during the Avengers’ battle in Sokovia) to sway Tony towards signing the Sokovia Accords.
The theory makes sense because, in Luke Cage, she spoke negatively about both Cage and Jessica Jones, which suggests she’s not a fan of enhanced persons. So not only was this vile woman, who obviously has a political agenda, earning money from Zemo for portraying Charlie Spencer’s mother, she was also relishing the opportunity to break the Avengers up.
10. Pepper Potts Is Dead
Gwyneth Paltrow has been missing from the MCU for nearly four years now. Her character Pepper Potts’ last appearance came in 2013’s Iron Man 3 and, in spite of the fact that Tony Stark has appeared in two movies since then, there’s been no sign of her. It seems strange that her existence gets acknowledged by way of passing mentions, yet she hasn’t actually been seen on screen — but could that actually be because she’s dead? This theory suggests so.
Iron Man 3’s ending did suggest that Tony has found a way to keep her alive, reversing the effects of Aldrich Killian infecting her with Extremis, but that’s not to say she hasn’t passed away since then. Bearing in mind how volatile Extremis proved to be, she may well have died off-camera.
Her absence in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War was explained in passing by Stark, but he could be in denial. Why wasn’t she with him at the remains of his beach house at the end of Iron Man 3? Was she alive at the time, but fighting for her life — a fight she ultimately would lose? Even if she is dead, Stark could have cryogenically frozen or preserved her in some way, but her death could explain his state of mind in Civil War. He was behaving irrationally from the very start of that movie, after all, and the fact that Potts didn’t go to see how Rhodey was after he was crippled seems quite telling.
9. Obadiah Stane Is Alive (And Is The Real Mandarin)
Iron Man was the movie that kicked off the MCU back in 2008, and it also started the recurring trend of killing off the franchise’s villains before they really got going. Or did it? There’s a theory that suggests that not only is Obadiah Stane AKA Iron Monger still alive, but he’s also the MCU’s “real” Mandarin.
We all know how Marvel Studios’ twist on the iconic Iron Man went down with the majority of fans after the release of Iron Man 3 (badly), and we also know, after the backtracking in the Marvel One-Shot All Hail the King, that the “real” Mandarin is still out there in the MCU. So could he actually be Obadiah Stane?
As is the case with a lot of bad guys in fiction, we never got to see Stane’s corpse. Sure, he got electrocuted, fell a few stories into a giant arc reactor, then found himself at the center of a large, fiery explosion, but it all happened in a comic book movie universe, so there’s every chance he could later be revealed to have survived. If that’s the case, his stature — particularly his power over the Ten Rings organization — could easily mean he’s the Mandarin. Stane was one of the MCU’s few well-received villains. If Marvel Studios want to try the whole Mandarin thing again, but still refuse to depict him as he is in the comics (a racial stereotype), this theory makes a lot of sense.
8. The Punisher Has Been Around In The MCU For Some Time
The Punisher first appeared in the MCU in “Bang”, the first episode of Daredevil’s second season, when he attempted to kill Elliot “Grotto” Grote as he recovered from a prior shooting in a hospital. There is, however, a very strong argument that the man also known as Frank Castle had been around in the MCU for some time before that.
There are two pieces of evidence that certain fans and theorists would point towards to back up this claim. The first is that when Skye/Daisy was first introduced in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., she was a computer hacker. When she was talking to Coulson about her hacking activities, she briefly mentioned a fellow anti-establishment hacker who went by the pseudonym “Micro.” In the comic books, the Punisher has a very prominent hacker ally who just so happens to be nicknamed “Microchip,” which would suggest he was assisting Castle in the MCU a couple of years before the Punisher debuted.
Granted, Micro could have been operating on his own, pre-Punisher, so if you’re still not convinced, then let’s remind you of a couple of incidents in Captain America: The Winter Soldier a short time after that. On two different occasions throughout the course of the movie, some bad guys were conveniently taken out by a very unsubtle yellow delivery truck. The driver was never shown, but he managed to both save Nick Fury from his ambush and kill HYDRA agent Jasper Sitwell. The movie’s directors, the Russo Brothers, have stated that the driver had a “certain motivation and skill set,” which would suggest they know exactly who was driving. In Marvel lore, Frank Castle served alongside Nick Fury in the military, so it’s certainly believable that Fury may have reached out to his old pal for help.
7. Rocket Was Experimented On By The High Evolutionary
Remember how, in Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket’s origins were hinted at (the scene showing modifications in his body) but never fully explained? And remember how Star-Lord referred to him as a raccoon, but Rocket didn’t even know what a raccoon was, and said he was the only creature of his kind (“Ain’t no thing like me, except me!“)? Well, there could be a good reason for all of that.
Marvel Studios may be keeping Rocket’s origins a secret for a reason. One theory that’s been presented to explain this is that he was created by a being who could go on to be very important in the MCU going forward: none other than the High Evolutionary.
The High Evolutionary AKA Herbert Edgar Wyndham is a human who, through experimentation on himself, has expanded his intellect to levels that rival Marvel’s cosmic entities. He has also developed godlike powers (telepathy, telekinesis, cosmic awareness, energy manipulation, etc.) that have enabled him to fight equally with the likes of Galactus. He is known for experimenting on animals too, accelerating their genetics to create half-human, half-animal beings that he calls his “New Men.” Could Rocket have been created by this mighty being? And is Marvel hiding that fact because the High Evolutionary is going to be a major player in Phase 4 of the MCU? It’s certainly possible, because the franchise is going to have to go BIG to follow an Infinity Gauntlet-wielding Thanos, and the High Evolutionary certainly fits the bill.
6. HYDRA Wanted The Avengers To Form
The Avengers ultimately proved to be pivotal in the downfall of Hydra in the MCU, but there’s a very crazy-yet-plausible theory that suggests the evil organization actually wanted Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to come together. Why? To remove their biggest threats all in one go.
Think about it. Zola’s algorithm predicted the rise of a number of potential superheroes, and Hydra envisaged that they would inevitably come together to combat evil. After initially trying to prevent the formation of the superhero team — by way of the Hydra-infiltrated World Security Council blocking the Avenger Initiative — Hydra realized it was inevitable and decided to use it to their advantage.
Hydra sped the process up (watch the Marvel One-Shot The Consultant for proof of that), then recruited Loki after the events of the first Thor movie. Loki arranged for the Chitauri invasion of Earth on Hydra’s behalf, which inevitably brought the Avengers together in one place (New York) in The Avengers. Then, despite Nick Fury’s orders to the contrary, S.H.I.E.L.D. attempted to nuke New York City — but it was one of Hydra’s infiltrating agents who flew the jet that fired the nuclear missile in question. That was Hydra’s attempt to kill off the Avengers in one fell swoop, avoiding the inevitable suspicion that would have followed them killing the Avengers’ members one-by-one in the process.
5. Avengers: Infinity War Will Incorporate The Siege Storyline
It seems likely that Avengers: Infinity War will take elements from the Infinity War and Infinity Gauntlet comic book arcs, but one theory about the movie even suggests that it will take some of its plot from a seemingly totally unrelated story: the Siege arc.
If you’re not familiar with Siege, it was a story that depicted Loki manipulating Norman Osborn into leading an all-out assault on Asgard which, at the time, was floating above the United States. This theory suggests that Osborn will be replaced in the MCU by General Ross, who’ll recruit a team of superhumans in the absence of the Avengers, who are divided after the events of Captain America: Civil War. He will resort to recruiting villains — the MCU’s version of the Dark Avengers — and will be manipulated by Thanos into gathering the remaining Infinity Stones.
Nick Fury will have offered Asgardians refuge on Earth in the MCU after the inevitably destructive events of Thor: Ragnarok, and Ross will subsequently attack whoever he needs to in order to obtain the Infinity Stones. From that point, the Siege arc will be followed more faithfully. Captain America’s Secret Avengers will save the day, resulting in Ross having a meltdown on live television and the Avengers being reassembled in full. The Sokovia Accords will be scrapped and the Dark Avengers’ assets seized by S.H.I.E.L.D. All of the Infinity Stones that were on Earth and Asgard will be locked away, prompting Thanos’ arrival. With the Infinity Stones all in one place, Thanos arrives and Infinity War begins. Farfetched? Definitely. Possible? Absolutely.
4. The Weapon That Will Defeat Thanos Has Already Been Revealed
When Thanos finally makes his presence truly felt in the MCU in Avengers: Infinity War, it’s fair to assume he’s going to stomp a mud-hole in the collective superheroes of the franchise. None of them have the power to bring down the Mad Titan when he’s wielding a fully-stocked Infinity Gauntlet, and it’s going to take someone or something very special to defeat him once and for all — probably someone or something we’ve never seen before.
Is that actually the case, though? Could an easily missed line about a seemingly innocuous item actually be the key to beating the big purple guy? That’s what this theory is all about.
In Doctor Strange, when Karl Mordo and Strange were training, Mordo is using a staff — a staff he describes as “the Staff of the Living Tribunal.” In the comic books, the Living Tribunal is the second most powerful being in existence and his power is enough to nullify that of the Infinity Gauntlet’s if he wills it to. Is his power held within that staff in the MCU? And, if so, could it be used to win the titular Infinity War? There’s a decent chance that the answer is “yes.”
3. The Arc Reactor Is Essentially A Man-Made 7th Infinity Stone
So, we’ve already discussed a theory regarding a surprise item that could be brought into play to combat Thanos when he arrives with a fully-stocked Infinity Gauntlet, but what if the Avengers have been in possession of an item that could help them in their plight against the Mad Titan all along?
The arc reactor — the power source of Tony Stark’s Iron Man armors since the MCU’s inception — may well turn out to be far more important than that in the grand scheme of things, if this theory is to be believed. It has already been established that Stark’s reactor is now powered by a completely new element, but what if it actually turns out to essentially be a man-made, seventh Infinity Stone?
Think about it; at the end of the first Iron Man movie, the massive bolt of energy that fired up to the sky when the large arc reactor exploded was very reminiscent of the bolt that fired up from Loki’s portal in The Avengers. And when Vision is inevitably killed by Thanos, when the Mad Titan removes the Mind Stone from his head, how is his resurrection most likely to occur? By Iron Man reviving him with an arc reactor, of course! Think of arc reactors as potential “Technology Stones” — and if Tony Stark decides to produce them en masse, they may end up being enough to combat the six Infinity Stones at Thanos’ disposal.
2. All Dead Villains Will Return In Avengers: Infinity War
It’s been a point of negative discussion since 2008’s Iron Man that the MCU’s villains are being killed off en masse. Obadiah Stane, Whiplash, Aldrich Killian, Malekith, Kurse, Ronan, Baron Strucker, Ultron, Darren Cross, Crossbones, and Kaecilius are just some of the big names to have lost their lives to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes so far. But could Marvel Studios actually have a plan? Has this mass killing off of characters been building towards something huge happening in the Avengers: Infinity War saga? This theory suggests it has.
Given that Thanos will have complete control of reality once he has all six Infinity Stones in his possession, he will essentially be able to carry out any action he so wishes, even if it contradicts the laws of physics themselves. The theory posits that he will use that reality-warping ability to make the Avengers’ and Guardians of the Galaxy‘s worst nightmares come true, by resurrecting the villains they have previously slain and forming an army out of them.
It would make for an epic scene if the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy already realized they were in big trouble, only for every bad guy they’ve ever defeated previously to reappear and add to their worries. It’s unlikely, but it’s not completely out of the question.
1. Red Skull Evolved Into Thanos
The MCU has been known to shake things up when it comes to character portrayals. Ivan Vanko was an amalgamation of the comic book supervillains Whiplash and Crimson Dynamo, and the franchise’s depiction of the Mandarin was a veritable mess in comparison to the source material, so we certainly anticipate more changes like that in the future.
One drastic change that has been theorized involves Red Skull and Thanos. In the comic books, they’re two iconic supervillains in their own right. But could they actually be one and the same in the MCU? It’s long been theorized that Red Skull is still alive, having been transported across the universe by the Tesseract at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, rather than killed by it. But could he really have since evolved into Thanos?
Well the theory certainly makes a lick of sense. We know that exposure to Infinity Stones can grant great power to individuals (look at Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver) and combined with Red Skull’s Super Soldier Serum, he could easily have mutated him into a hulking brute. Red Skull already craved power, and his experience with the Tesseract could easily have made him long for all of the Infinity Stones, which is exactly what Thanos wants. Moreover, red and purple aren’t exactly that different from each other are they? Can you imagine the look on Captain America’s face? Watch this space!
What are some other crazy MCU fan theories that you’ve heard over the years? Can any of the theories we’ve listed above be outright disproven? Sound off in the comments!