For all the unprecedented success that the MCU has enjoyed, some of the shared universe's most interesting events have occurred off screen. Not that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has suffered for it in the slightest, of course. Since kicking off with the breakout sensation that was the 2008 film Iron Man, the MCU has revolutionized the entertainment industry, movies and TV alike. It's not exactly the first shared universe to come around (it's most notably proceeded by the original Universal Monsters movie series), but it might as well be. The sheer magnitude of the MCU's success is unlike anything the industry has ever seen.
The shared world of Marvel just released its 18th big screen entry, Black Panther, which is quickly becoming one of its most accomplished films to date. Having already grossed over $700 million in under two weeks, Black Panther has pushed the MCU's total cinematic haul over the $14 billion mark. The financial success of Marvel's films is matched only by their critical reception, as the 18 movies combine for an average 84% fresh rating over on Rotten Tomatoes. Honestly, we're not even going to attempt to list the accomplishments of the MCU's 10 television shows, because we really need to wrap up this intro and get to the good stuff.
Considering all the wild adventures the MCU has taken us on over the last decade, it's pretty crazy to think about all the stories that didn't end up making it to the screen. It takes a ton of world-building in order to construct a shared universe, and even Marvel has its limits as far as production capabilities, so understandably, some pretty interesting tales have gone untold. (Or unrealized in live-action, anyway.) Here are the Best MCU Moments Not Shown In The Movies.
(Note: all dates are based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline or our best estimates. All inaccuracies are the result of the shared universe's increasingly inconsistent chronology. Probably.)
974 A.D. - Snake Loki stabs Thor
We learned of this random little incident in Thor: Ragnarok thanks to a brief storytime lesson from the titular god of thunder. When he and his brother Loki were kids, the latter used his sorcery skills to turn himself into a snake, a favorite of our hero. Once Thor picks him up, Loki turns back into his usual form and stabs his big brother, a move that's only funny to Loki (and the audience, of course).
Obviously, this wasn't a particularly groundbreaking or impactful event. We just think it'd be funny to see it play out onscreen.
Spring 2007? December 2009? Your guess is as good as ours - Black Panther and Okoye's first team-up
You'd be forgiven for having skipped the MCU prequel comics thus far (or for not knowing they exist at all), because by and large, they aren't exactly can't-miss material. The prelude comic for Black Panther is a rare exception, as it depicts a few of the hero's earliest adventures as well as his first team-up with Okoye, the head of the Dora Milaje and T'Challa's future right hand gal.
The comic's exact place in the timeline is hazy. It supposedly takes place at the same time as Tony Stark's infamous "I am Iron Man" moment (evidence suggests that this transpires in November 2009) but also 10 years before the events of Black Panther (which is set in the summer of 2016...we think). Chronological inconsistencies aside, the important part is that the comic picks up one week after T'Challa has taken up the Black Panther mantle, so he's new to the gig. He and Okoye join forces to rescue a group of Wakandans being held captive in Paraguay, and a good time is had by all. Except for the kidnappers -- one dies, and the other gets his hands lopped off.
January 1998 - Hawkeye recruits Black Widow
Black Widow's past in the MCU has been largely left unexplained, save for a handful of references to her days working for the KGB and a flashback or two. There's a chance that those dark days will be explored more fully in her (long overdue) solo film, and one event we're hoping to see onscreen is her big showdown with Hawkeye while she's working as a Soviet agent.
After Natasha Romanoff had murdered her way up SHIELD’s most wanted list, Nick Fury sent Clint Barton to take her out. Hawkeye made a different call, and he and Fury ended up recruiting her instead. This confrontation, along with Black Widow and Hawkeye’s subsequent field work for SHIELD, would be a welcome site on the big screen.