2017 has been a monumental year for the comic book movie genre, and it’s only going to get bigger from here. This year saw six superhero movies hit the big screen - starting with Logan and ending with Justice League - and there are dozens more to come in the next few years.
Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has said that they have plans for 20 more movies within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, on top of the ones they already have in development and production, while Warner Bros. is building upon the existing DC Extended Universe with a whole slate of projects. Fox and Sony also have their own Marvel universes on the go, which means it can get confusing keeping track of which superheroes originated from Marvel or DC.
This Page: Marvel characters and their movies
Disney (Marvel Studios)
When Disney acquired Marvel Studios they got the majority of the comic book publishers characters to go with it. They launched their Marvel Cinematic Universe with The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man in 2008 and since then have released solo movies for Captain America, Thor, Ant-Man and Doctor Strange. Then there are the Avengers team-up movies, which included the characters Black Widow, The Winter Soldier, Nick Fury, Hawkeye, Falcon, Vision, War Machine, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, and introduced Black Panther ahead of his own solo outing next February. Ant-Man also introduced another female hero, the Wasp, who will be getting a proper outing in the sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp. Brie Larson will also be debuting in the MCU as Captain Marvel in her own solo movie, which will also introduce the Skrulls, as well as, potentially, Mar-Vell - the original Captain Marvel.
Disney has just as many Marvel heroes running around on television as they do the big screen. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was the first spin-off series which centred on Agent Phil Coulson - who first appeared in Iron Man - and his team as they deal with cases often centering on Hydra and the Inhumans. The series debuted the characters Quake, Yo-Yo, the Patriot, and Mockingbird. Agent Peggy Carter from Captain America: The First Avenger even got her own series too but that only lasted for two seasons before it was cancelled. Both these series were distributed through ABC, as are Inhumans and The Runaways, which premiered this year.
And then we have Netflix with their band of New York based heroes: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Each hero has enjoyed their own individual series and took part in The Defenders team up too. The Punisher also earned his own solo season after debuting in the second season of Daredevil. These series are part of the MCU continuity and streamed exclusively on Netflix, though it's unlikely any new heroes will appear in standalone series now that Disney are launching their own streaming platform.
Every hero mentioned above is part of the continuity of the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe but now that Disney has bought 20th Century Fox, they have the rights to even more Marvel Comics heroes. Technically, of course, these characters are not part of the MCU... yet.
20th Century Fox
Fox brought out their first Marvel movie with X-Men in 2000, which introduced Wolverine, Professor X, Jean Grey, Storm, Rogue, Ice Man, Cyclops and villains Magneto and Mystique. Since then a further eight movies centring on this superhero team have been released - X-Men 2, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: First Class, The Wolverine, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men Apocalypse and Logan - adding Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde, Gambit, Colossus, Beast, Callisto, Angel, Banshee, Emma Frost, Darwin, Riptide, Havok, Bishop, Blink, Sunspot, Warpath, Caliban and X-23 to Fox's shared universe.
There's also the R-rated X-Men spin-off Deadpool, starring Ryan Reynolds as the titular character, whose first film featured a different version of Colossus as well as Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Deadpool 2 will also introduce Cable and Domino. There are more movies within this universe coming too; The New Mutants will feature Cannonball, Mirage, Wolfsbane, Magik and Warlock, while X-Men: Dark Phoenix will feature Lilandra Neramani and the Gambit film, with Channing Tatum as the lead, will include Belladonna Boudreaux. James Franco will also be playing the titular role in a Multiple Man movie.
The X-Men universe extends to television with the FX series Legion, which focuses on the mutant son of Charles Xavier, and the Fox series The Gifted that includes the heroes Blink, Polaris and Thunderbird as they fight for survival at the dawn of the Sentinel program. Fox also has the rights to the Fantastic Four - Mr Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch and The Thing - who appeared in a 2005 film and 2007 sequel before the franchise was rebooted (unsuccessfully) with a new cast in 2015.
Now that these heroes are back under Marvel Studios' control it probably won't be long before they are incorporated into the MCU, and maybe rebooted again as well.
Spider-Man is technically owned by Sony, but a deal the studio made with Marvel Studios allowed for the web-slinging hero to appear in their MCU, beginning with Captain America: Civil War. Tom Holland became the third iteration of Peter Parker - after Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield - and made his solo debut in this year's Spider-Man: Homecoming and because of Sony's deal with Marvel they got to include both Captain America and Iron Man in the movie.
The studio has four further movies centred on Spider-Man "acquaintances; Venom, which is currently in production with Tom Hardy as the lead, Silver & Black about the female anti-heroes Silver Sable and Black Cat, a Nightwatch movie and another based on Morbius, the Living Vampire. Sony are also making a computer animated movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which will debut Miles Morales iteration of the web-slinger. All these films are part of Sony's Marvel Universe but not part of the MCU or the Tom Holland's Spider-Man continuity.