Several Marvel Cinematic Universe films have used 12 as a quantifier in different instances, and there's a simple, yet interesting reason why. In 11 years, Marvel Studios has rolled out a total of 23 movies starting with Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau's Iron Man and capping the The Infinity Saga off with Joe and Anthony Russo's Avengers: Endgame, while Jon Watts' Spider-Man: Far From Home functioned as an epilogue.
Throughout the last decade, fans were treated to a variations of films including standalone adventures and ensemble events - all connected through an overall narrative. Marvel fans have become used to seeing all of the movies linked in various ways, from characters to Easter eggs and moments of foreshadowing. But some MCU movies have another interesting common element - they all use the number 12 as a quantifier.
In Joe Johnston's Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) told Peggy (Hayley Atwell) that the crowds he's used to for his propaganda shows are 12. Joss Whedon used the same number in The Avengers, where Tony Stark jokingly said that Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) should get 12% of the credit for their latest Stark Industries venture; and again in Avengers: Age of Ultron when Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor Johnson) reminded his sister, Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) that he's 12 minuets older than her. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) then told his ragtag team in James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy that he has about 12% of a plan before the film's climactic battle against Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace). Meanwhile, in Shane Black's Iron Man 3, Stark sarcastically told his ex-fling Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) that she better not have a 12-year-old waiting in the car who's supposedly his child.
Other than existing in the same universe, these films differ from each other and there's also no commonality as to how the number 12 is used in them. And since the MCU prides itself from sneaking subtle Easter eggs which eventually gets a story pay off down the road, fans have been wondering if there's any rhyme or reason behind the common use of the number 12 in these films. Narrative-wise, there's none, but Gunn explained why 12 seems like a favorite number in the MCU. Apparently, it's not just popular in the franchise, but in the movie-making industry as well. The director said on Twitter that "the number 12 is often used in writing/comedy because it’s the highest one-syllable number."
Outside of the MCU, other notable uses of number 12 in cinema is in the latest Tim Miller film, Terminator: Dark Fate, where T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) estimated a 12% chance of success. And of course, who can forget the iconic Star Wars: A New Hope where Han Solo (Harrison Ford) boasted about the Millennium Falcon making "the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs."
As Gunn explained, there's no narrative importance whatsoever for the number 12 in the MCU. But that doesn't mean that fans won't have the number sneak in the franchise's movie dialog down the road.
- Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
- Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022
- Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021) release date: Jul 16, 2021