One of the coolest things for any fan of Marvel Comics is seeing the awesome team-ups. In fact, Marvel has spent decades establishing its interconnected world of comic characters, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe has leveraged the popularity of these team-ups into successes on the big screen (like The Avengers) as well as the small screen (like The Defenders).
Generally, the MCU does a great job of giving us the spirit and personality of these comic team-ups while still making them seem fresh and unique. Unfortunately for fans of the MCU, there are some team-ups that we will never see happen.
Why is this? Sometimes, it's just logistics: various creative teams, producers, and actors from the MCU have described how differences in shooting schedules and other factors make it impossible for the big screen MCU movies to include characters from the small screen. In turn, the small screen shows suffer the same problem, and they also lack the budget to lure in the top-tier talent from the MCU's major movies.
And, of course, some characters still have film rights that are owned by companies like Sony and 20th Century Fox, making it impossible for these characters to play in the MCU sand box.
This is truly sad, as it means fans will never get to see live-action versions of the greatest Marvel team-ups in history.
Don't believe us? Just check out our guide to the Best Marvel Team-Ups We'll Never See in the MCU!
15 Daredevil and Spider-Man
Daredevil established himself as an MCU force to be reckoned with when his Netflix series first debuted. After a rather disastrous live-action Daredevil movie starring Ben Affleck, Netflix was able to revive the old hornhead to be the first hero to lead the way into a new series of Marvel shows.
In many ways, Spider-Man is the opposite: his character has enjoyed many live-action adaptations (some better than others), and when he was brought into the MCU, it was to star only in big screen hits like Spider-Man: Homecoming and Avengers: Infinity War. Unfortunately, this means we'll never see one of Marvel's most iconic team-ups!
In Marvel's comics, Daredevil and Spider-Man have been close friends for a long time. They've also done a solid job of keeping each other's secret identities an actual secret, with Daredevil using his advanced senses to figure out that Spider-Man and Peter Parker are the same very early on. In turn, Peter Parker has worn the Daredevil suit to try to help convince the public that Matt Murdock isn't actually The Man Without Fear.
Over the years, they've fought villains like Venom together, but it looks like we'll never see that in the MCU!
14 Jessica Jones and Captain Marvel
Sometimes, we are denied a really cool team-up because of simple issues of timing. For instance, while Marvel is determined to bring Captain Marvel to the silver screen in 2019, the Jessica Jones TV show was scheduled to debut much sooner than that on Netflix.
The big screen/small screen gap would have been big enough to keep the characters apart already, and recent announcements that Captain Marvel takes place decades in the past further complicates matters.
In the Alias comics that Jessica Jones debuted in, Captain Marvel is her best friend. Jessica confides in her regarding everything from tough cases to her erratic sex life. Netflix knew that the dynamic of the spunky best friend was important for the character of Jessica Jones, which is why they brought in Tricia "Patsy" Walker. Previously, Jessica and Patsy had no relationship in the comics, but in the MCU, Trish is the stand-in for Carol Danvers.
13 Captain America and Wolverine
Let's face it: the popularity of a character helps dictate how many team-ups they get. And since Wolverine became an X-Man, the character has exploded in popularity, gaining his own solo comics and individual movies along with scene-stealing performances in the X-Men movies (which are still in the clutches of 20th Century Fox). Sadly, rights issues mean we'll never see the big screen version of his team-ups with Captain America!
In Marvel Comics, the two have had many adventures. Sometimes, they work together, like on a secret mission during World War II. Other times, they scrap, like when the Avengers fought the X-Men over what to do about the returning Phoenix Force.
At the end of their fights, though, they typically team up against a bigger foe (in one case, that foe was the pill-popping Simpson of Jessica Jones infamy). One interesting note about their fights is that Captain America usually wins... however, as Wolverine tells it, this is often due to the fact that Wolverine respects Captain America and doesn't want to try to seriously hurt him.
12 Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde
Chances are that when you imagine Star-Lord having a serious girlfriend, you're thinking about Gamora. The two shared some serious sparks in the first Guardians of the Galaxy, and Vol. 2 cemented the idea that they share "some unspoken thing". In Marvel's comics, however, Star-Lord ended up with one of the most unlikely girlfriends of all: the X-Man Kitty Pryde. How serious did things get? Let's just say they were engaged!
The two met during a weird time in which Beast had brought the original five X-Men forward in time to the present day. Eventually, the Shi'ar Empire kidnaps the time-displaced Jean Grey to put her on trial for what the other Jean did as the Phoenix Force. Star-Lord and his Guardians helped the X-Men rescue Jean, and Kitty Pryde started a kind of long-distance relationship with him.
Eventually, she goes into space to rescue him, and the two fall in love and he eventually proposes. The two are cute and quirky together, but due to 20th Century Fox owning the film rights to Kitty and the rest of the X-Men, we'll never see it in the MCU.
11 Thor and the X-Men
People don't often include Thor on their list of all-time classic X-Men team-ups. After all, they are literally from different worlds, with X-Men mostly fighting mutants on Earth while Thor deals with gods, monsters, and everything in between.
However, during the Mutant Massacre event (in which Marauders killed countless mutant Morlocks), Thor was crucial in bringing a critically-injured Angel back to his teammates, saving his life. Later, in the Uncanny Avengers comics, Thor was on a team alongside X-Men like Havok and Rogue and Scarlet Witch, and he made a vow to help personally resolve the lingering prejudice against mutantkind.
Of course, Thor will never meet the X-Men on the big screen. Angel and Havok's film rights are owned by 20th Century Fox, and the film versions of each are both very old and very dead by the time Thor is operating. And while Thor may work alongside Scarlet Witch, the delicate rights negotiations regarding her character determined that the MCU can never call her a mutant, so don't look for Thor to become a crusader for mutant rights on the big screen anytime soon.
10 Hawkeye and Mockingbird
Did you know that the MCU has been hiding one of Marvel's most awesome couples in plain sight all of this time? On the big screen, we've seen a lot of Hawkeye, who offers a kind of affable everyman perspective to a world filled with gods and green monsters in the Avengers movies. And we've also seen Mockingbird, better known as "Bobbie" Morse, in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Each one offers their own brand of super-spy shenanigans, but we'll never see them embark on any adventures like they do in the comics: as husband and wife!
The two have a weird relationship in the comics, starting with a quick marriage and ending in a sloppy separation. However, there are numerous reasons we will never see that relationship in the MCU now: not only are the characters in the separate worlds of television and movies, but each has been given a different pairing: Mockingbird is connected with Lance Hunter, and the two very nearly had their own spinoff TV show. And Hawkeye has a wife and multiple children, as revealed in Age of Ultron, so he's unlikely to even meet Mockingbird, much less marry her!
9 Gamora and X-23
When it comes to the MCU, Gamora definitely has credit as the most powerful female fighter. And over on the 20th Century Fox side of the pond, the newest contender for that title is X-23, the young genetic clone of Wolverine who dazzled audiences with her skills and savagery in the movie Logan. Unfortunately, a whole host of reasons (from rights issues to X-23 existing in an unspecified future timeline) mean we'll never see them team up as they did in the comics!
In the aforementioned adventure where the Guardians of the Galaxy helped the X->en to rescue Jean Grey, Gamora was able to meet X-23. They only had a few interactions, but Gamora took an instant shine to the young hero, like when X-23 protested not being able to join in on a raiding party, saying "I want to go with you! I want to fight!" Gamora noted "Oh, I like you," but insisted X-23 stay behind and guard the ship.
X-23 later proved herself in battle, wowing not only Gamora but Drax, too, who was simultaneously impressed and bummed out that he couldn't buy his own boot claws like she has.
8 Peter Parker and Ben Urich
Most of the time, Spider-Man's most memorable team-ups occur while he's got his tights on. This is when he is free to use the full range of his enhanced powers and senses to fight supervillains alongside heroes like the Fantastic Four and Daredevil. However, that is only part of his life, and the rest of the time, he's Peter Parker, a photographer for the Daily Bugle. And over the years, one of his best and most reliable friends has been Ben Urich!
In some realities, they have a mentor/student relationship, which we see in the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, with Ben Urich helping show a young Peter the ropes of working for a newspaper. In the main universe, Ben has helped keep Peter's life as Spider-Man a secret, even after discovering his secret identity... and despite the fact that exposing this secret could have made Ben rich and famous. He's also risked his life helping Peter uncover information about characters like Red Hulk.
Unfortunately, the MCU Ben Urich was murdered by The Kingpin in Daredevil, so he's not going to be teaming up with anyone anytime soon!
7 Squirrel Girl and Iron Man
Iron Man is the face of the MCU, largely because of the charm of Robert Downey, Jr., and the fact that Iron Man was our first MCU movie. And Squirrel Girl is a fan-favorite character from the comics who will soon join the MCU in the form of the New Warriors show on Freeform. Unfortunately, these two characters are destined to never meet in the MCU, for several different reasons.
In Marvel Comics, Squirrel Girl is friends with Tony Stark. Sometimes, she borrows his armor to go fight foes like Galactus, and other times, they simply chat on social media. These hilarious interactions are going to be denied to us in live action, though, because of the big screen/small screen MCU divide. F
urthermore, New Warriors is slated to premiere in 2018, and many fans worry that Tony Stark may die in Avengers: Infinity War in 2019, making it impossible for any team-ups afterwards.
6 Venom (Flash Thompson) and the Guardians of the Galaxy
Venom has had something of a troubled history on the big screen. Primarily, fans associate his big screen appearances with his absolutely awful turn in Spider-Man 3. Now, Sony is working on a live-action film with Venom as the star, but complex rights issues means we're not even sure if that movie will have Spider-Man in it, much less be connected to the MCU.
Regardless, there is one unexpected team-up the MCU will never see: Venom and the Guardians of the Galaxy!
In the comic, the Venom symbiote eventually ended up with one-time Spider-Man bully Flash Thompson. Flash is now a soldier in the army, and he lost his legs in battle. However, the symbiote helps make him whole (if a bit violent and unpredictable at times), and he eventually ends up helping the Avengers, who send him to space to help the Guardians of the Galaxy.
There, they have many adventures together, and he learns more about the nature of the symbiote. Sadly, this is one space adventure we will never see.
5 Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man
Of all the properties that the MCU may never get back, Fantastic Four might be the saddest. Repeated attempts to turn these characters into a live-action blockbuster series have failed, and the recent announcement of a Doctor Doom movie means that 20th Century Fox isn't letting the film rights go anytime soon. Thus, we'll never see the onscreen collaboration of the two biggest MCU brains: Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic.
As two of the smartest people in the Marvel universe, these two often end up on the same side. They worked together in the original Civil War comics event, and they later collaborated to keep all of reality from being destroyed.
In between, they also help guide Earth as members of The Illuminati (no, seriously). Unfortunately for us all, it looks like Tony Stark will die or retire in the MCU long before Fox surrenders the rights to Mr. Fantastic back.
4 Punisher and Spider-Man
In terms of personality, characters don't get much more different than Spider-Man and the Punisher.
Spider-Man, of course, is the lighthearted, brightly-colored superhero who has sworn to never take a life. Punisher is the grim, black-clad vigilante who solves all of his problems with a bullet to the head. In the MCU, Spidey is on the big screen and Punisher on the small screen, which means we'll never see the two appear together.
The two have actually been frenemies for a long time in Marvel Comics. Punisher started out as a villain who fought the likes of Spider-Man, but they teamed up when they had to take down a villain named Tarantula. Spider-Man got to visit one of Punisher's bases in his ongoing war on crime and learn a bit more about him. They've had other run-ins over the years, including teaming up to fight The Hand.
Perhaps it's for the best we lose that MCU possibility, as viewers have definitely had enough onscreen ninjas!
3 Black Widow and Daredevil
When it comes to the love of Daredevil's life, many fans are thinking of Karen Page, played perfectly by Deborah Ann Woll in the Daredevil series. However, Marvel Comics brought us a very unexpected romance before in the form of Daredevil and Black Widow!
The two were placed in each other's lives by a manipulative supervillain, but even after he was defeated they stayed together as both heroic and romantic partners. They even moved out to California together!
Sadly, this partnership is never going to be borne out in the MCU for several reasons. First, there's the obvious big screen/small screen divide. Additionally, the MCU has been romantically pushing Black Widow towards Bruce Banner, so it's unlikely she'd fall for Matt Murdock (who is too busy nearly getting killed for the multiple women who have his heart, such as Karen and Elektra).
Finally, having just cemented the importance of everyone living in New York in The Defenders, it's highly unlikely that Netflix would move its premiere hero way out to the West Coast to start a new life.
2 Doctor Doom and The Avengers
Doctor Doom is one of the most notorious villains in all of Marvel Comics. He's basically a triple threat, having access to untold resources as the ruler of Latveria, access to armor that could give Iron Man a run for his money, and access to mystical abilities that would make Scarlet Witch envious. As with the Fantastic Four, the film rights to Doctor Doom are with 20th Century Fox, which means we will never see the onscreen version of his team-up with The Avengers!
Despite being a notorious villain, Doom has teamed with The Avengers more than once. On one occasion, his personality was inverted by a force that made bad guys good and good guys bad. When this occurred, he led an unorthodox team of Avengers to help save the world. Later, though, Doom had taken the mantle of Iron Man when Tony Stark fell into a coma, and he eventually joined The Avengers.
While this would be an awesome onscreen MCU story (right down to Tony Stark being quietly taken out of the picture), it's never going to happen.
1 Beast and Wonder Man
One of the coolest MCU characters is one that only the most eagle-eyed fans noticed: Wonder Man. In the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, Nathan Fillion played a very minor role as an alien prisoner who tried to intimidate Rocket Raccoon and was injured by Groot. Director James Gunn wanted to bring Fillion back in the sequel, and he cast him as Wonder Man, a movie star who eventually becomes a hero. However, since there was no room for this new character to have an arc, he exists only in the background.
Specifically, he exists in the 1980' flashbacks, in which movie posters show Fillion's character starring in a number of B- and C-list movies, such as the romance Oh, Rebecca! Because of the time difference and the film rights issues, we'll never get to see Wonder Man team up with Beast from X-Men.
In Marvel's comics, the two were Avengers together during the time that Beast made himself blue. They fought supervillains and even partied hard throughout New York, but it looks like the MCU isn't quite ready to see these two on the club floor yet.
Have a favorite team-up that didn't make the list? Be sure to sound off in our comments!