Simply going to see a Marvel movie isn’t enough these days. When it comes to comic book film these new audiences are savvy, well read fans who demand proper representation of their favorite characters and story lines. As the Marvel Cinematic Universes grows and become mores successful, the fans insist on sequels, prequels, anthology films, post credit scenes, Easter eggs, cameos and as much fan service as their quivering little brains can take. Even if the audience demand met by a David Hasselhoff disco song, a Jeff Goldblum appearance, or a passing glimpse of a Saturday Night Live alum who played Ant-Man once in a skit thirty years ago, it isn’t enough. It will never be enough. Marvel Zombies consume MCU content with the insatiable appetite of Galactus after a cosmic fast. In fact their lust goes beyond what is seen on the screen.
You can be assured that long after the house lights have come up and the last stinger has rolled, everyone from the hardest of hardcore fans to the most casual of normies will walk out into the night air and wonder. They will go online to check out sites like ours, they will connect with other super fans on places like Reddit and pour over publicity stills, leaked photos, set picture, casting news, and rumors. They will scrutinize every piece of dialog as they look for a hint, a clue to what is really going on and what might be coming next. Part of the fun of movies now is developing a theory. Your very own shocking but entirely plausible scenario about what might happen next to Captain America or Iron Man. Marvel fans have been forcefully inserting themselves into the dialog with their own far out fan theories.
Sometimes all of that hard work and scrutiny pays off and the fans get it right. But not all the time. Maybe not even most of the time. To be fair most of the time fans fall for red herrings put there by the writers and directors, or maybe subconsciously they just think if they wish and Stan hard and long enough their dreams for the Marvel films will eventually come true. But alas, Marvel is a fickle pickle and the whims and wishes of its fans –no matter how well researched and thought out– don’t always come to fruition. None the less we are here to celebrate all of the best Marvel fan theories that turned out to be false. Even though they made so much sense.
24. Captain America Would Die In Civil War
Canon isn’t always going to be the safe bet. Before the film was released, one thing that every comic nerd and her pet dragon were talking about was how the comic ends: Crossbones taking out Captain America on the courthouse steps. Add to this the fact that we had Chris Evans dropping hints about retiring from acting altogether and pictures of co-star Sebastian Stan holding Cap’s shield (as his character the Winter Soldier did in the wake of Cap’s death) and fans were in a tizzy about what might happen to ol’ wing head.
A common theory that dovetailed with the story was that Cap would somehow be revived by the power of the Infinity Stones when Avengers: Infinity War was released in 2018.
It’s probably best that the death of such an iconic character wasn’t so obviously telegraphed and then undercut by a shady Mcguffin a few years later, besides, fans love Cap’ and they love Chris Evans. Although the speculation about him dying in Avengers 3 or 4 has started back up. We may never learn.
23. Hawkeye Would Die In Avengers 2
If there is one thing Joss Whedon loves to do, it’s kill beloved characters in a shocking, cruel way. Again, a lot of this theory hangs its hat on the meta politics of film making. Jeremy Renner had been making noise about maybe leaving the franchise. Maybe being the new Jason Bourne, wanting more money and different films. This all coincided with a lot of talk about Hakweye having his character expanded in the Avengers sequel which is the exact kind of thing Joss would do to make his death sting even more. Seriously. He even bragged about it.
Since we are a perceptive yet grim pattern seeking animal, it wasn’t hard for the fan base to start wondering aloud whether or not Hawkeye would take the final L in Age Of Ultron. The fact that Renner straight up denied the rumors even seemed to stoke the fires. In the end, Hawkeye almost dies. His life is saved by Quiksilver sacrificing himself in a hero making moment that no one saw coming.
22. Vision Would Be Evil In Avengers 2
Just like with the death of Captain America, it seems like you can’t quite lean on comic book canon as a guide to what happens in comic book films. The full origin of the Vision (as played by Paul Bettany) is a long convoluted family drama that involves the original 1940’s Human Torch, Wonder Man, Ultron, and Henry Pym. While the story is long the moral is simple: Vision was born evil. A plot by Ultron to infiltrate and destroy the Avengers. Ultimately he overcomes his programming and helps the Avengers defeat Ultron then yadda yadda yadda marries the Scarlet Witch and so on and so forth.
The footage of Vision in the trailers leading up to the movie never quite showed him as an Avenger, nor did it show him as an enemy.
Paul Bettany himself made a lot of cryptic remarks about the character being naive and omnipotent. One couldn’t quite get a bead on whether he would be a big bad or a big goof. It seemed like he very well might be the real villain of Avengers: Age Of Ultron. But in the end, Vision showed us all by lifting Thor’s hammer and proving he was worthy. What a twist.
21. Rocket Was A Flasher
One of the goals of coming up with and sharing your own head canon must inevitably be to be noticed by senpai. Imagine the thrill of scoping out your favorite movie, scrutinizing every detail, coming up with a theory, posting it, and then having the writer/director himself comment on it! There must be no better feeling in the world. Except, maybe, being right about your theory.
Well, one Reddit user proved that fans were not beneath the notice of the creators when writer and director of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, James Gunn, took the time to comment on and correct his theory about the pant legs of the Guardians prison pant legs. It turns out the commenter was almost right. Except for the part about Rocket being arrested for indecent exposure. Yuck. That was not true.
20. Star Lord And Mantis Are Brother And Sister
This one was never officially debunked so much as the logic surrounding it just falls apart upon further deconstruction. The idea was that the story Ego told us about Mantis being the last of her kind, someone he rescued, was untrue. She was actually one of his several million children from across the universe.
And although she couldn’t palm an Infinity Stone, she did have other abilities that he found useful, namely she could put him to sleep.
It sounds great at first since Ego is kind of a liar. I wouldn’t put it past him to obscure the truth, but the whole point of Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 was finding out that family doesn’t necessarily mean blood relations. And with Ego gone and no one to relay the truth it hard seems relevant or possible. It’s one more twist that would con-volute an other wise tightly scripted story.
19. Nick Fury Is Jules Winnfield
Spoiler Alert for Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Nick Fury dies. Kinda. Well, not really. To be more accurate; Nick Fury fakes his death and when he does we get a glorious shot of his tombstone. A tombstone which quotes a famous piece of dialog Samuel L. Jackson once rattled off in another movie: Pulp Fiction.
This lead many a fan to speculate that Nick Fury is what became of the former hit man Jules Winnfield after he decided to walk the Earth Kung Fu style and re-discover himself. It’s a fun theory but it falls apart upon any real deconstruction. First and foremost, the gunman in the diner at the beginning of Pulp Fiction is played by Tim Roth and Tim Roth also played The Abomination in Marvel’s The Incredible Hulk. Does the theory also suggest that the gunman known as Ringo became the soldier Emil Blonksy? There is also the fact that Quentin Tarantino has admitted all his films take place in the same universe and in that universe the Inglouriuos Basterds killed Hitler. Something that I’m sure would have come up in a Captain America movie.
There is also the fact that next year’s Captain Marvel movie takes place in the mid 1990’s and set photos have shown Nick Fury is in it. Which means he was being Nick Fury way back when Jules was talking about divine intervention.
18. Captain America Will Lift Mjolnir in Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Remember, kids: canon isn’t always canon. Continuity comes and goes like the tides. You can’t depend on it to be a guide to the movies. In fact if this list has taught you anything, the opposite is often true. For example, a lot of people, including this Reddit poster, seemed to think Captain America would eventually lift Mjolnir in Avengers 2. This is where the theory has another conspiracy theory nested within it. See, the scene the studio released with all the Avengers trying to lift the hammer and failing?
They thought this was clever foreshadowing for the moment when Cap’ would wield the Hammer against Ultron.
It’s not a bad little theory and there was even an in canon reason to believe this might be true. In the mega crossover Fear Itself from 2011, Captain America did indeed lift Mjolnir in a time of crisis. You could even argue the conspiracy theory was mostly right. That scene did exist to set up the significance of someone lifting the hammer later. It just wasn’t Cap.
17. The Marvel Cinematic Universe Will Reboot After Avengers 4
Comic book characters don’t really age. Time is elastic in the Marvel Universe and so far it’s been stretching over 40 years for most of the main characters who don’t look a day over 30. That is just the way comic books work, but it’s not how reality works. People age. Actors age. Even worse than aging, they get bored. They want to direct. They want to retire. They want to do serious films. Whatever their reason, actors move on. This presents a problem with a franchise that features aging humans playing ageless characters.
With that and the knowledge that a few actors from the MCU like Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, and Chris Hemsworth won’t be renewing their contracts after Avengers 4, people got to talking. As we do. And the idea that the Marvel Cinematic Universe would reboot after Avengers 4 became something of a talking point in some nerd circles. That is until James Gunn himself dispelled the rumor on his Twitter, saying that “The Guardians movies will at least continue on.”
16. Mads Mikkelsen Would Play Mephisto Or Dormammu
When Marvel’s master of the mystic arts, Doctor Strange, was still under production, the identity of the villain was kept secret. This, of course, infuriated fans and inspired them to spin all kinds of theories about who the big bad really was. All anyone knew was that fan favorite Mads Mikkelsen was cast. The rumors that swirled seemed to center on Mephisto or Dormammu. In the end the joke was on us.
Mads was playing a character so obscure you may have read comics with him in it and not noticed.
Meanwhile the real big bad –Dormammu– was played by Benedict Cumberbatch himself. If you haven’t seen the scene where Doc Strange meets up with Dormammu, we highly suggest it.
15. Adam Warlock Is Star Lord’s Father
Adam Warlock is integral to the Infinity War story in the comics. And we’ve known since 2012 that all of this was leading to the Infinity War. So it was reasonable to assume that he’d make his appearance sooner or later. At least before 2018, right? Meanwhile we were all chewing on a mystery left over from Guardians of the Galaxy: who was Peter Quill’s father? If you thought about it long enough, it made sense. Adam Warlock. He had the good looks and golden skin that might have lead Peter’s mom to describe him as an angel. He had the cosmic genes to pass on to a terrestrial son like Peter Quill. It all fit. Right up until it didn’t.
In the end, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 showed us that Pete’s dad was actually Ego the Living Planet. At least we were treated to a post credits scene that showed the birth of Adam Warlock. It was a good theory, just not good enough.
14. Eros Was Star Lord’s Father
The absent daddy issues surrounding the Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Lord had fans scratching their heads for years. Before we found out it was Ego and not J’son (like it is in the comics) ,fans speculated at great length for many years.
A popular theory was that it was actually the Eternal known as Eros.
This would have been smart since Eros was something of a ladies man and all we knew was that Pete’s mom saw his father as an angel that came down in a shower of light. It would tie Eros in to the Infinity War movie which was good since he played a part in the comics and it might explain why Pete was such a ladies man. But in the end it turned out to be boring old Ego the Living Planet. A twist no one saw coming.
13. Stan Lee is Uatu
Close, but no cigar! A popular misconception these days is that Stan Lee is a Watcher. This follows the fan theory that picked up steam over the years as fans tried to connect all of Stan’s disparate cameos over the years into a single unified narrative. Eventually the idea that Stan was a Watcher –in specific the Watcher, Uatu– became the collective theory. Then Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 all but confirmed it, right?
Well not really. While we do see Stan talking to other Watchers, he is clearly identified in the credits as a Watcher’s Informant.
So whatever he is. He works with the watchers and that is a pretty close connection to actually being a Watcher. But it ultimately isn’t the same thing.
12. Phil Coulson Was A L.M.D
The sudden and unexpected death of agent Phil Coulson in The Avengers was the catalyst that brought the team together and rallied them to join forces against Loki. Oddly enough, a couple of months later Phil Coulson was back, alive and well. Living his best life over on ABC. It was strange and it got people talking. If this was Phil, then who was it that died?
Well since this is the Marvel Universe, one obvious solution to the question presented itself: Phil was a Life Model Decoy. Basically a cyborg designed to look human and take the place of high ranking Shield agents whenever the heat was on them. The theory fit as Phil was a S.H.I.E.L.D agent and LMD’S were S.H.I.E.L.D tech. Ultimately, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D ultimately explained that the real Phil really died and was brought back to life. Which is somehow weirder than if he was a synthezoid all along.
11. The Illuminati Sent Hulk Off World During The Events Of Age Of Ultron
We all know that The Hulk climbs into a Quinjet at the end of Age Of Ultron and quietly flies over the horizon. We don’t really know what happens after that however. Just that a few years later he winds up a gladiator on a strange planet ruled by Jeff Goldblum. Well according to a well thought out, highly detailed post on Reddit, Marvel’s Illuminati, like Tony Stark, programmed or remote controlled that Quinjet to leave Earth and dispose of Hulk in a wormhole. It makes sense and the post makes a lot of really good arguments.
Tony spends a good part of the movie trying to solve the Hulk problem, as well as international security.
We know he screws up with Ultron, perhaps he screwed this up as well. However, there is no evidence given to this theory in Thor: Ragnorak. And with Infinity War right around the corner, it doesn’t look like this will ever be proven.
10. Jason Statham Would Play Bullseye
The always charming Jason Statham caused quite a row a few years back when he came out swinging against superhero movies. While talking to an Italian film magazine to promote his film Spy, he said:
“Any guy can do it. I mean, I could take my grandma and put her in a cape and then put her in a green screen, and they’ll have stunt doubles come in and do all the action. Anybody can do it. They’re relying on stunt doubles and green screen and $200 million budget. It’s all CGI created.”
Pretty tough talk, but Statham is a tough guy. The thing is he said this while he was rumored to be in negotiations with Marvel. Negotiations for what? If he hates green screen CGI movies, then what could he do with them? Well what about ol’ hornhead? The Daredevil show famously used practical effects. Besides Daredevil still hadn’t cast his most iconic villain, Bullseye. A part that Statham would be perfect for. However, this was all before season two. A season that ended up having Punisher instead of Bullseye.
9. Vin Diesel Would Play Blackbolt
Vin Diesel currently already has a part in the Marvel Universe. He plays Groot. Or at least the voice of Groot. Which would actually make him perfect for the part of another character that he kind of resembles anyway: Blackbolt.
A few years ago, Vin cryptically Tweeted out that he was going to a lot of meetings and that Marvel must think I’m Inhuman.
Was he referencing that he might appear as the Inhuman ruler Blackbolt, as well as the voice of Groot? Fans were convinced this was all but an admission that Vin would be playing Blackbolt. But we might never know after someone at ABC rushed a terrible version of The Inhumans to the small screen and basically burned that franchise for good. So this was technically a fan theory that made sense, but ended up not being true.
8. Beyoncé Would Play Medusa
Right around the same time Vin Diesel was hinting he may or may not be interested in playing Blackbolt, we heard rumors that Beyoncé, of all people, was in talks to appear in a Marvel movie. Things never quite got past the rumor stage and most of the conjecture at the time was that she would play Tigra. That seems silly. The most obvious choice for Beyoncé isn’t Tigra, it’s Medusa, at least in the universe where Vin Diesel is playing Blackbolt.
None of this ended up coming to fruition and instead we got that terrible Inhumans TV show.
7. The Owl Would Appear In Daredevil Season 2
If you were paying attention to Daredevil season one, you might have noticed that the character Leland Owlsley mentions his son an awful lot. A son we never see. He also makes creative use of a stun gun and references having a suit made for him by Potter. Now we never get to see Leland Owlsley become The Owl because he is unceremoniously killed and thrown down an elevator shaft.
But what about all his money. What about the suit, the weapons, and what about his son? He sure spent a lot of time setting up his son to show up and get revenge on Daredevil. This was a popular season leading into Daredevil season 2. Of course, like so many others story threads, it just sort of disappeared. It might come back in season 3, but it’s not likely. For now this theory is squashed.
6. Life Was A Secret Prequel To Venom
First of all: this should have happened. Not because the world needs a rushed, Sony branded version of one of comic books greatest super villains.
Because if you’re gonna go ahead and make this Venom movie, you need a cool backstory.
The true origin of Venom is too convoluted and unless they plan on introducing him in Infinity War, the idea that the movie Life was a secret prequel is just too damn cool to pass up. Of course, it was too good to be true. The movie turned out to be just a stand alone film about a totally different black slime alien that murders people in space before escaping to Earth. Shame.
5. Coulson Is The Vision
After Phil Coulson died, there were a ton of theories on who he was, what he was, and what they were doing with him now. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D was sort of coy about what really happened with Loki at first and that allowed people to theorize about what could happen. When Ultron was announced as the Villain and Vision a secondary character, a lot of fans made an instant connection. In the comics, Ultron steals the body of the original Human Torch and converts it into a Synthezoid he names the Vision.
He programs Vision to infiltrate and destroy the Avengers. What if in the movie version, instead of the Human Torch, Ultron uses Coulson’s dead body? A face that The Avengers would be hard wired to like and to trust? And it would be a perfect way to bring him back. Alas, the story of J.A.R.V.I.S becoming Vision was cooler. But what if?
4. Obadiah Stane Was A Hydra Agent
Iron Man was released when the Marvel Cinematic Universe was still just a glimmer in Kevin Feige’s eye. While there were master plans in motion, nothing had yet been set in stone. It is reasonable to suggest then that perhaps Obadiah was meant to be an agent of Hydra, placed at Stark Industries in order to take any company secrets and innovations for the glory of Hydra.
Don’t forget how far back Obadiah and Howard Stark went. It’s entirely possible that Obadiah was always a turn coat.
And in the end his obsession with the Arc Reactor and the Iron suit could have had more to do with world conquest than with mere profit.
A brilliant theory over on Reddit laid out exactly how this all could have went down. But in order for it to be anything more than head canon, it would require some kind of pay off in future films. Even a cursory mention in an Iron Man sequel but it never came. It turns out Obadiah was just a cold hard capitalist.
3. Robert Redford Was The Red Skull
The Red Skull has died before. Several times. And he has come just as many times. In Captain America comics, it is a pretty good bet that if Cap’ is fighting a mysterious villain, they will inevitably be unmasked as Red Skull or as an agent of the Red Skull. So it’s no surprise that when Robert Redford was announced as the villain in Winter Soldier, fans speculated there would be a moment where Redford pulled off his human mask to reveal he was the re-born as Red Skull.
Instead what we got was you average white, capitalist “I want to make the world a better place through fascism” bad guy that we’ve seen before. He managed to subvert the system and tear down S.H.I.E.L.D from the inside. All without the Cosmic Cube or the Red Skulls genius for strategy. Just another American psycho. Chilling? Yes. Cool? Nah.
2. Heimdall Has The Final Infinity Stone
There is just something about his eyes, isn’t there? For years, the fan community was certain Heimdall would be revealed to have an Infinity Stone in his possession. Thus it was responsible for his powers and for bizarre glowing red/orange Sith eyes. By the time Thor: Ragnorak rolled and finished up in the summer of 2017, it became obvious that wasn’t going to happen.
Heimdall was just Heimdall and we still loved him for it.
And as cool and powerful as that was in and of itself, it wasn’t quite the same as being powered by an Infinity Stone. He was just another Asgardian with special God-like vision and really cool eyes. So, all in all, he’s still awesome, just not as awesome as he could have been.
1. Blade Would Appear In Defenders
Throughout the build up to Netflix’s The Defenders, we were teased with cryptic clues about The Hand’s true identity and form. They harvested blood. They only came out at night. They were… undead. If you were taking notes and paying attention you could be forgiven for thinking that maybe the TV version of The Hand would be vampire Ninjas.
This is probably the best theory on the list and it was empowered by the fact that during the years leading up to The Defenders, Marvel got the rights to Blade back and Wesley Snipes himself was dropping hints that Blade would return to the Marvel Universe. It certainly would have made sense and been a welcome surprise. But inevitably it never happened and instead we got… whatever The Defenders actually was. Proof that sometimes fan theories are better than whatever winds up on screen, even when they’re wrong.
Which would of these would you have loved to see? Let us know in the comments!
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