The Marvel Cinematic Universe is without a doubt one of the most ambitious media franchises ever. It encompasses everything from the Marvel movies, to TV shows and series on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. There are even areas and special events at Disneyland that boost the popularity of the franchise further. The creative team behind the sprawling universe has run a tight ship, trying to make sure the continuity stays consistent across multiple platforms and storylines. However, with such a large ensemble of characters and multiple story arcs going on at the same time, mistakes are bound to happen. Avengers: Infinity War co-director Joe Russo has even admitted that the eight-year time jump for Spider-Man: Homecoming was a blunder.
In response, Marvel Studios has released an official timeline for the MCU to clarify the timing of major plot points. The timeline has definitely cleared things up, and no doubt helps fans and creatives alike keep track of everything. That said, perhaps some more attention could be paid to the more minute details.
Despite the tight control Marvel Studios has over all its projects, several mistakes have been caught by eagle-eyed fans of their TV shows. Some of them call into question major plot points and timelines, while others are small continuity mistakes that pull viewers out of the moment for a hot second. The list below contains spoilers for multiple MCU shows, so proceed with caution if you’re not all caught up.
Here are 20 Mistakes Fans Completely Missed In MCU TV Shows.
20 Iron Fist: You Know Nothing, Danny Rand
Iron Fist has been criticised ever since the first announcement was released, and justifiably so. There’s the obvious issue of cultural appropriation, as well as its clunky writing and weak portrayal of Danny Rand, who can seem undeserving of the mantle of Iron Fist. Apart from being generally annoying, Danny doesn’t even have a good grasp on Buddhist teachings or Mandarin despite the show trying to set him up as an expert.
In the very first episode of season one, he assumes that “Wing” is a surname from China and speaks Mandarin with Colleen, but "Wing" is not a sound found in Mandarin. He also misquotes the Buddha. “Your purpose in life is to find your purpose” is a wildly popular quote online, and it’s certainly inspirational, but needless to say, Instagram shouldn’t be the definitive resource on quotes.
19 Jessica Jones: Don't Blink
Before Kilgrave pranced onto the small screen and made Jessica Jone’s life a living hell, he was busy travelling the universe with a sonic screwdriver and quirky companions. Okay, not really. But David Tennant’s probably best known for playing these two roles, and has amassed a wealth of experience and praise for his Shakespearean performances as well.
The writers are aware of this, of course, and have even snuck in a few Easter eggs, like having Jessica tell Kilgrave that he’s “not ten anymore” in episode 8. In the same episode, Kilgrave tells his hostages not to blink until Jessica arrives at the apartment, causing them immense agony. The only problem is the man does blink as he’s standing at the window.
18 DAREDEVIL: ELEKTRA READS WRONG
Iron Fist isn’t the only Marvel show with a cultural appropriation problem— Daredevil’s portrayal of Asian characters has also incorporated ninja tropes and fantasies, and Elektra is unfortunately little more than a plot device. It’s sadly fitting, then, that the show doesn’t know how people write in Japan, and shows Elektra reading incorrectly.
Elektra and Matt head to a gala at the Roxxon building so they can find a ledger that spells out the Yakuza’s ties with the company. Or so they thought. They do find the ledger, but it turns out it’s been coded and Elektra can’t read it. Maybe that’s why she flips through the pages left to right, instead of right to left as it would be in Japanese.
17 Runaways: Who led the country?
Runaways is probably one of the most extreme examples of teens rebelling against secretly evil parents, and Nico’s family dynamic illustrates it perfectly. Not only does she not fit in with her perfectly polished family, her parents haven’t gone on a date since the previous national leader was in power. Matthew Ellis was elected as Prez O's successor at the end of the latter’s terms, so Nico probably means that her parents haven’t gone out since 2012.
There’s just one problem: in the Captain America exhibit in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, there’s a wall that quotes Ellis welcoming Cap when he gets thawed sometime between 2008 and 2012. So either Prez O has an earlier term in the MCU and Nico’s exaggerating, or it’s just a straight-up continuity error.
16 The Defenders: Stick's Missing hand
Stick has proven to be a ruthless mentor, willing to go to extreme lengths in order to complete his tasks. He’s cruelly with both Daredevil and Elektra, let alone his enemies. Even when he’s been captured and interrogated by the Hand, he shows no sign of relenting.
In season 1 of The Defenders, he goes so far as to sever his own hand to escape from the Hand’s leader, Alexandra Reid. It’s a violent scene without a doubt, but it’s somewhat undercut by the way Stick’s arms are still the same length in later scenes. It looks like he just wrapped some bandages around his hand to pretend that he cut his own hand off.
15 IRON FIST: CHINA IS ACTUALLY STATEN ISLAND
Later on in season one of Iron Fist, Claire Temple and Colleen Wing join Danny when he decides to fly to China to fight the Hand. After a long flight, the crew finally land-- in Staten Island. The three are supposedly in Anzhou, but in the background is the unmistakable arc of the Bayonne Bridge, which straddles the Kill Van Kull and connects Bayonne, New Jersey with Staten Island, New York City.
It’s not unheard of to use a more convenient location to stand in for the actual destination in a story, but the team really underestimated how familiar the audience would be with Bayonne Bridge. The bridge has been seen in Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds.
14 Luke Cage: The Chameleon Flash Drive
Even though Reva isn’t alive during the events of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, she still plays a pivotal part in the story of the titular characters. In Jessica Jones, Kilgrave takes Reva’s yellow flash drive, which contains footage of him as a child undergoing experiments.
At one point in Luke Cage, Luke gets seriously injured and they turn to Reva’s colleague Noah Burstein for help in exchange for sensitive information about possible candidates for Seagate Prison’s experiments stored on Reva’s flash drive. However, the flash drive is shown to be silver, not yellow. Based on the way characters talk about it, it’s the same flash drive that contains Kilgrave’s footage, suggesting that the change in color was simply a continuity error.
13 Iron Fist: Danny's Driving Skills
In the first episode of Iron Fist, Danny says that he hasn’t driven a car since his father let him steer the wheel in his lap during their time in the Hamptons. Ward is understandably alarmed since Danny has literally hijacked his car and is now driving them around pretty fast.
As the season progresses, Danny sure is weirdly good at driving even though he’s never learned how. He can’t speak Mandarin properly and misquotes the Buddha with immense confidence, but at least he’s become an expert at drifting during his time at K’un-Lun. Who knew that one of the skills you get as the immortal Iron Fist is killer driving techniques fit for the Fast and Furious franchise?
12 Daredevil: Matt's finances
Throughout Daredevil, there’s a lingering sense that Nelson and Murdock is at risk of closing down. They’re willing to help clients pro bono, and their office is barebones at best. Yet somehow Matt is able to live in a spacious loft in Hell’s Kitchen that even has a foyer.
Sure, Matt explains that he got the place at a discount because everyone else hated the bright purple light that shines through the windows. First off, even with the light it would still cost a whole lot— it’s Hell’s Kitchen! Plus, how does he afford to get all his gear, especially since he’s been shown to just casually throw his white canes in dumpsters? We know that his dad left him money, so it must’ve been a lot for Matt to be able to live so well.
11 Runaways: Impossible Calendar
Time is obviously a complicated concept, something that Marvel has taken advantage of over the years by introducing multiple parallel timelines and freely retconning details. In the second episode of Runaways, it seems like time is indeed an amorphous and flexible thing. When Frank looks at Leslie’s calendar, the calendar shows a month that repeats the 29th day twice. Then the next month starts with 1, 2, 3, 4, and jumps straight to 29.
Either someone in graphics really wanted to sneak in references to an important day in their own life, or the Church of Gibborim simply operates on a different calendar. Or maybe Doctor Strange just needs to stop fiddling with the Time Stone.
10 THE DEFENDERS: DISAPPEARING ELEVATORS
In the last episode of The Defenders, Elektra damages an elevator with a sword when Jessica, Luke and Danny try to escape. The elevator cable breaks, but Jessica is there to save the day with her superhuman strength, pulling on the cable to stop the fall as Luke and Danny stare at her in amazement.
The two men climb up to safety, and Jessica drops the elevator down the shaft, but there’s never a crash as far as we can tell. The elevator car just drops down into the hole without a sound or any sort of indication of impact. Who knew Jessica also had the power to make things disappear into thin air like that?
9 Daredevil: Where Does Matt's Gear Go?
Matt’s transformation into Daredevil has been one of the most enthralling arcs to watch in the MCU, and that includes his sartorial evolution as well. We first see him jumping off rooftops and beating up baddies in a simple all-black costume that you could probably pick up at Target. By the end of season one, he’s got his iconic red suit with those silly little horns, courtesy of Melvin Potter.
That begs the question: where does Daredevil’s gear go? He tosses his cane away like it costs nothing; does he go back and get it? Does he throw away his damaged costumes or does Potter fix everything? Does he simply buy new ones with money he magically has and leave evidence everywhere around Hell’s Kitchen?
8 The Defenders: Elektra's "Surprising" Betrayal
Spoiler alert: Elektra ends up betraying the Hand, except it doesn’t really come off as a spoiler to the audience. However, Alexandra Reid is certainly caught by surprise. After Elektra’s passing, Reid takes control of her body and resurrects her and turn her into the weapon known as the Black Sky. The idea is that Elektra would be an ideal weapon because she’d lose all her memories and traits after her rebirth.
However, why would Reid assume that Elektra wold lose her memories when multiple revived characters have been shown to stay the same or regain them in some form? She herself has been able to achieve immortality of a sort through the same resurrection process.
7 JESSICA JONES: CREW MEMBER ON SCREEN
In episode 4 of Jessica Jones season one, Jessica takes on a case from a woman who wants evidence of her husband two-timing her. As it turns out, the couple had set up a trap for Jessica because the wife blamed the passing of her mother on superheroes during the events of The Avengers. Jessica then proceeds to destroy the room as she tells about her own losses.
It’s a tense scene with a scary display of strength from Jessica, but it’s somewhat undercut by the surprise appearance of a camera operator fully onscreen. They’re dressed in black and you have to squint a little bit, but once you see the camera operator lurking in the shadows, you can’t watch the scene in the same light gain.
6 The Defenders: There Are Other Journalists, Karen
Despite Matt’s best efforts to hide his superhero alter ego from his friends to keep them safe, he couldn’t keep his secret for long. Karen and Foggy eventually learn about his night job, and are committed to keeping his identity a secret.
In fact, Karen says that she doesn’t write about Daredevil’s apparent passing so that she could protect Matt’s identity. However, there are plenty of other journalists in New York City more generally. Surely one of them is bound to notice the odd timing of Daredevil’s passing and Matthew Murdock’s disappearance. Karen needs to remember the wider community and context she’s living in.
5 Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Magic Coffee Cup
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. might get a joke or two about not being able to afford the stars of the core MCU movies, but it has received consistently positive ratings. It’s even been renewed for a seventh season even though season six hasn’t even aired yet.
The critically acclaimed show currently has more than 100 episodes under its belt, but not without growing pains. In the pilot episode, Agent Ward finds Agents Fitz and Simmons arguing heatedly. Simmons places a coffee cup on the desk, but it magically disappears in just a few seconds. We’re not sure whose superpower is responsible for this vanishing coffee, but we suspect they’ve received a few eye rolls for their handiwork.
4 The Defenders: Why the Immortal Members of the Hand try to end each other
Reid reveals that members of the Hand have all made attempts on one another’s lives. It’s a comment that’s meant to show how casually brutal and manipulative the Hand is. However, it kind of just points out yet again how illogical the organization is, despite the way its members are portrayed as calculating geniuses whose thirst for power affects the entire world.
They’re all hell-bent on getting more of the mysterious substance that keeps them immortal, and presumably they rely on one another to revive them after their lives end. There’s honestly no point in them trying to end one another’s lives and waste even more of that precious resurrection substance— they’re just going to revive one another again.
3 Jessica Jones: Everyone forgot Kilgrave
In season one of Jessica Jones, the entire city of New York has been terrorized by Kilgrave as he goes on his quest to manipulate Jessica into staying with him. He doesn’t even make any attempts to hide himself, calling Trish on her popular radio talk show to threaten her when she defends Hope Shlottman’s claims of mind control.
However, everything seems to go back to normal for Jessica in season two. Not many people care about her or show her gratitude for eliminating such an immense threat as Kilgrave. It’s almost as if the whole city has forgotten about the Purple Man and his mind control powers in spite of the high profile of his case.
2 Daredevil: Ben Urich's magical office
In season one of Daredevil, Karen Page quickly becomes the office manager at Nelson and Murdock, and joins forces with investigative journalist Ben Urich to bring down Wilson Fisk.
Urich eventually gets fired from the New York Bulletin for digging into Fisk’s affairs, and has to clean out his office. Fisk then takes his life. However, Urich’s belongings magically reappear at his desk when Karen returns to his office in season two to do research for her article on Frank Castle. That’s awfully convenient for Karen, who’s slowly transitioning from her job as a secretary to a journalist in her own right.
1 Where's Avengers Tower?
The Marvel Netflix shows are set in the same continuity as the core series of movies featuring the Avengers. A famous landmark of the universe is Avengers Tower, a giant building built by Tony Stark and powered by an Arc Reactor. It’s also the headquarters of the Avengers before they move upstate to the New Avengers Facility.
Production designer James Chinlund’s backstory for the tower is that Tony bought the Metlife building and added some architecture at the top. However, there are shots in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punisher in which the iconic tower is missing. In fact, the MetLife building apparently still somehow exists and stands where Avengers Tower should be.
Have you caught any other mistakes in MCU TV shows? Share them in the comments!