As the highest-grossing movie franchise of all time, is there any stopping the might of Disney’s MCU? Featuring the great and the good of Marvel’s comic books, the creations of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee have been winning over fans on screen since Iron Man in 2008.
With seventeen films (currently) under that prestigious MCU umbrella, Phase 3 comes to an end in 2019 with the untitled fourth Avengers movie. Over the years, fans have enjoyed the various twists and turns, and whether it be a lame faux Mandarin or a superb Vulture reveal, we have seen it all.
Directors like James Gunn, Taika Waititi, and the Russo Brothers have all put their own twists on the pages of the Marvel comics. While the movies are vastly different from their source material, sometimes we should just stick with what we know without trying to think outside the box too much.
Everyone loves a good fan theory, but what happens when something is so improbable, you end up thinking, “who thought of this?” Even the realms of superhero ensembles, living planets, and Mad Titans with all-powerful jewelry have to draw the line somewhere.
With this in mind, here are 15 Popular MCU Fan Theories That Make NO Sense.
There is one organization you really don’t to mess with in the MCU - the many tentacles of HYDRA. From toppling S.H.I.E.L.D. to shocking double agent twists, Red Skull’s personal Nazi fan club has quite the history with our favorite heroes. But was Obadiah Stane also recruited to the cause prior to 2008’s Iron Man?
Jeff Bridges was the very first MCU villain, and while there were once plans for him Obadiah Stane to live past a single movie, he memorably tumbled into that arc reactor to a grisly demise. This theory states that Stane gained Howard Stark’s trust early on, and after the Stark assassination at the hands of Bucky Barnes, was allowed to rise to the top.
Stane stuck around at the end of Iron Man instead of fleeing under a final order to deliver the Iron Monger suit to HYDRA. However, when push comes to shove, you wouldn’t risk your life for a big boss battle, just to fulfill orders. Also, there is one glaringly obvious problem here. Despite his brilliance, why wouldn't you just kill off Tony Stark before he caused all this trouble?
Is Élodie Yung’s Elektra actually a vampire? After meeting her maker at the end of Daredevil season 2, no one way buying this was the end of the assassin.
Elektra may have been revived by donated human blood and dragon bone marrow, but you don’t see theories that she is secretly Daenerys Targaryen or might become a dragon. In case you still aren’t sold - well, why would you be - the Hand’s obsession with blood is apparently “reason” for Elektra being a Queen of the Damned. There is also a thinly-veiled assumption that rebranding of Elektra as “Black Sky” is some sort of reference to vampires coming out at night.
Naively, the theory also hypes that the MCU is somehow preparing to reintroduce Blade with Elektra in tow. Blade may not be top of the priority list for Kevin Feige and co., but expect his comeback to come from something a little more substantial than an episode of The Defenders.
Apart from spending some time lying in a coffin, Elektra really has nothing in common with your classic vampire.
There are many supporting characters in the MCU who fans would be fine waving goodbye to, but would Kevin Feige really axe someone as beloved as Pepper Potts? Well, the answer is obviously no, but that didn’t stop the theorists from worrying.
After she vanished from the MCU after the events of Iron Man 3, we were right to question where Gwyneth Paltrow’s loyal Stark aide had disappeared to. At the start of Captain America: Civil War, Tony’s emotional response to Pepper’s absence lead some to believe she had been killed offscreen. The theory suggested that side effects from Tony’s Extremis cure had killed Pepper and he was covering it up, but it turns out they really were just trying out a separation.
Thankfully, this was royally debunked thanks to Paltrow’s surprise cameo at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Not only was she alive and well, but her relationship with Tony seems back on track.
Sony and Disney may be able to share custody, but the rest of the superhero studios seem adamant at holding onto their characters. This means the subject of Fox’s mutants in the MCU is a touchy one.
There is a wild theory that looks at multiple Earths and states that HYDRA is the reason we don’t have mutants in the MCU. Feige may have Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, but Marvel is unable to brand them as “mutants.” Those Maximoff kids can’t even go on the hunt for their rather famous father.
Basically, the Holocaust was stopped by HYDRA's rise to power and split from Germany. This means Erik Lehnsherr wasn’t tortured, he never met Charles Xavier, and the X-Men were never formed. There may be mutants out there in the MCU, but they all live in secret and haven't crossed paths.
With more holes than Swiss cheese, it isn’t too hard to pull this one apart. Fox and Disney’s bitter rivalry over something as simple as the word mutant is enough to debunk this one on its own. Sorry to break it to you, it’s just a rights issue!
Oh Howard Stark, you sly dog. After meeting Maria Stark (briefly) for the first time in Captain America: Civil War, there is a wild theory that she isn’t Tony’s birth mother at all. In fact, some think that Peggy Carter could the supergenius’ mommy dearest.
The facts? Nothing more than some subtle flirting between Howard and Peggy in Captain America: The First Avenger. Stark and Carter shared a working relationship, but there have never been signs of anything more.
Hayley Atwell may be one of the best MCU castings - and we would love to see more stories about her - but fans should probably let go of the pipe dream that Peggy had an illicit affair with Howard Stark all those years ago. With Peggy never popping up to check that the orphaned Tony is okay, it would make her a pretty awful mother.
It might add another level to the Cap/Iron Man rivalry from Civil War, but even Atwell herself has slammed the theory by saying it would undermine Peggy’s relationship with Steve Rogers. She also went on to say that Peggy would never sink to someone of Howard’s level.
The name Adam Warlock has been circling the cosmic branch of the MCU ever since James Gunn brought the Guardians of the Galaxy to our screens in 2014. While fans now know that Kurt Russell’s rocky rogue Ego was the father of Peter Quill, a pending paternity test was the biggest cliffhanger of the first movie.
Glenn Close’s Nova made it apparent that Star-Lord’s dad wasn’t from Earth, while even Gunn himself said they would change up his origins from the comic books. The GotG post-credit scene showing a cracked cocoon in the Collector’s trophy room, ledd some to believe that we’d already met Quill’s dad in the form of Adam Warlock.
While it may have been a nice idea to have the perfectly-engineered Warlock on babysitting duty, it was just a little too out there. Vol. 2 could’ve set up an incredible Darth Vader “I am your father” twist, and it may have worked well into Infinity War, but Gunn is presumably saving Warlock to round off his trilogy.
Having a living planet play Star-Lord’s father was weird enough, but can you just imagine if Adam Warlock had been the one to give Quill all those daddy issues?
An actor playing two different roles in a superhero movie is nothing new to the world of comic books features. While Chris Evans, Ryan Reynolds, and Josh Brolin have split themselves across various franchises, veteran actress Alfre Woodard has played two different roles inside the MCU.
Portraying Mariah Dillard in Luke Cage and Miriam Sharpe in Captain America: Civil War, could she possibly be the same person? One is a Harlem politician and the other a bereaved mother. Civil War writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely already confirmed that Woodard’s two characters are absolutely not the same person
Despite this, the theory goes that Baron Zemo hired Dillard to play the mother of Charlie Spencer - a casualty from the Battle of Sokovia - and influence Tony Stark. The main problem with this is that Miriam Sharpe had a tiny cameo - and although she put Tony signing the Sokovia Accords into place - she wasn’t exactly a major player.
Considering that the MCU tries to be so tight on its continuity, and that Luke Cage exists in the same reality as the big screen movies, it is hard to understand how no one saw this problem coming.
Everyone knows that Tony Stark is the brains of the MCU, but can the man behind the Iron Man suit really create Infinity Stones with that impressive brain of his?
Everyone remembers how Nick Fury turned over Howard Stark’s journals and the Stark Expo model toward the end of Iron Man 2, and it conveniently lead Tony to craft his own mystery element. Some guess that this is actually a secret seventh Infinity Stone.
There may have been a glowing element that looked similar to the Tesseract, but apart from sustaining Mr. Stark’s heart, it hasn’t shown any properties like an Infinity Stone.
The element was a bit of a MacGyver moment, however, it was likely just a plot to evolve Stark’s story and make sure he didn’t die of palladium poisoning. The MCU may have started with Tony and his little blue lifesaver, but it is unlikely that this will be the tool to bring down the Mad Titan.
He may have survived a brush with death, but is Agent Phil Coulson a serum-injected super soldier? Phil doesn't exactly have the abs of Steve Rogers, but some maintain he has always been part of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s human experimentation.
It was established that Coulson’s death in The Avengers was retconned via the T.A.H.I.T.I. program and a memory wipe, but that isn’t enough for a few conspiracy fans - there is a theory that Phil got a walk-on part in The First Avenger. As one kid lead the neighborhood charge, his mother shouted, “Phil, time for dinner.”
Since First Avenger is set in the ‘40s, the timelines don’t match up, but don’t worry, the theory has that covered too. After the loss of Steve, the government was about ready to pack up dreams of super soldiers, well, until Phil Coulson volunteered for the cause.
Coulson may be the No. 1 Cap fan, but having him as a mind-wiped lite version of the Winter Soldier is a stretch too far. The MCU may have rallied behind Clark Gregg’s unlikely hero, but that doesn’t mean he is an indestructible replacement for Rogers waiting in the wings.
It will take something pretty major to bring down Thanos in Avengers 4. Luckily, the pages of Marvel are packed full of handy tools to topple a titan, and one may have made its way into the MCU.
In Doctor Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch’s damaged doctor headed to Kamar-Taj to start his Karate Kid training. There, he met with Karl Mordo's magical relic - dubbed the Staff of the Living Tribunal.
Some think that the inconspicuous stick is actually the Staff of Solar Power used by the Living Tribunal, which then leads to theories that Mordo is the key to the Infinity Saga. We left Doctor Strange with Mordo trying to redress balance in the universe, so bear in mind that Thanos is about to be Public Enemy No. 1 for screwing with time and space.
There are many candidates for toppling that violet villain, but Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Mordo isn’t exactly top of the list. Also, given that Mordo looks to be the villain of the next Doctor Strange movie, it’s doubtful that he will be giving up the Staff anytime soon. Sorry guys, you’ll have to look for your secret weapon elsewhere.
When Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. cast The Mummy alumni John Hannah in season 3, it was safe to assume that it was for more than just a minor part. After first appearing on the show, theories started that Hannah’s mysterious role as Holden Radcliffe had an interesting connection to one of the existing cast.
It was a little convenient, but some thought that Radcliffe was the father of Iain De Caestecker’s lovable Leopold Fitz. However, with Fitz having spoken at length about his bad history with his actual father, it was too good to be true.
Season 4 was full of all sorts of twists like LMD robots, but a Fitz/Radcliffe bond wasn’t to be. If anything, having Fitz’s mentor actually be his father would’ve added some much-needed emotional layers to the show.
Two Scottish men in the same TV show, wow, they have to be related. It was a nice idea, but it didn’t take long for executive producer Jed Whedon to step in and formally cut the family ties to debunk the idea.
With its foul language, crotch shots, and graphic violence, it would be hard to see how Tim Miller’s Deadpool can possibly relate at all to the candy-coated world of the MCU. However, some still believe that 2016’s R-rated record-breaker took place after the events of The Avengers.
The final fight scene put the Merc with a Mouth against Ed Skrein’s Ajax in an atmospheric junkyard. Eagle-eyed viewers spotted that the climactic battle took place on a fallen S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, but the Easter eggs end there. Although the movie’s concept artist confirmed that the MCU was an inspiration for the finale, Deadpool simply can’t be named under the Disney umbrella.
Just like the whole “no mutants in the MCU” thing, Deadpool not existing alongside Spidey and co. is pure and simply down to rights. It’s a bit of a grey area, but had Fox directly referenced the MCU, expect them to have had their backsides sued off by now. Thankfully, Deadpool’s helicarrier looked just different enough to escape the clutches of those Disney lawyers.
There are some pretty wild theories out there, but connecting the work of the MCU and Quentin Tarantino via Nick Fury is possibly the craziest. For anyone asking whether the Tarantinoverse just got a little larger, well, no, it didn't.
The internet holds some deep theory that Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury is actually hot-shot hardman Jules Winnfield from 1994’s Pulp Fiction. Apart from both being played by the Hollywood legend, the commonalities pretty much stops there.
Captain America: The Winter saw a convoluted plot where Fury faked his death, and his tombstone ironically had Jules’ iconic “the path of the righteous man line" etched on it. The Russo Brothers later admitted it was just a wink to the audience, but that hasn’t stopped conspiracists cooking up all kinds of theories. Someone even guesses that the infamous Pulp Fiction suitcase actually contains an Infinity Stone.
Unfortunately, Fury isn’t an older version of Jules. Who knows though, maybe Tarantino will go past his 10-movie limit and direct a future MCU installment?
In possibly the grossest MCU theory, is Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow really after a batch of Captain America’s super-seed? While there are many people who wouldn’t mind Chris Evans’ babies, this theory poses that Natasha Romanoff is trying to procure a batch of his swimmers to create a whole new generation of Super Soldiers for S.H.I.E.L.D.’s nefarious schemes.
While Romanoff knows that Steve would never hand over his DNA willingly, the idea is that her badgering of Cap to find a date in The Winter Soldier is so that he can settle down. After having kids, S.H.I.E.L.D. can then sweep in and use Steve Jr. as their own personal lab rat.
Tash has always been good at covert ops, but a creepy subplot where she is matchmaking the star-spangled hero for some underhand Nick Fury work just doesn’t quite fit anymore. Had fans seen this much earlier on, perhaps a plan to create more First Avengers might have worked, but it seems that these days, Black Widow only has eyes for the Emerald Giant.
One thing that isn’t quite so out there is the idea that Infinity War and Avengers 4 will bring back some pretty famous faces alongside the Mad Titan. The Russo Brothers have promised a super-sized adventure for our favorite heroes, but bringing on board every Marvel Tom, Dick, and Harry Osborn would seem like overkill.
Ideas that Josh Brolin’s Thanos will bring back all the MCU villains (dead or alive) is just too hard to get your head around. Even the sweet embrace of death isn’t enough for fans, and some are adamant that Thanos will use the Infinity Gauntlet to raise the dead.
Jeff Bridges has spoken at length about the original plan for Obadiah Stane, Red Skull is still a major question mark, and is anyone really bothered if Malekith comes back? Sure, the likes of Frank Grillo returning as Crossbones is almost a given, but other names are arguably too big and too expensive to bring back at this point.
While audiences are sure to play a game of “spot the dead guy,” it just isn’t practical to bring everyone back. Sorry, class of 2008, your time to shine has come and gone.
Which MCU theory do you think is the most ridiculous? Sound off in the comments below.