As a film franchise adapted from more than 75 years of comic book source material, the Marvel Cinematic Universe didn’t really need to invent anything brand new, and yet, it did. Not only are the storylines themselves now vastly separated from the annals of Marvel Comics, but there are also even some wholly original MCU characters out there forging a brave, new path through the Multiverse. Those MCU characters that aren’t from the comics may be few and far between, but that doesn’t make them any less important.
Nor does it make them any less enjoyable to most audience members. Really, if one thinks about it, the character arcs of most superheroes and villains in the MCU are already so drastically different from their comic book counterparts that they almost count as originals on their own. The MCU-only crowd just happens to be extra original.
- 1Photo: Ant-Man and The Wasp / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
It shouldn’t shock anyone that there is no direct comic book analog to Luis of Ant-Man fame because Luis is truly one of a kind. Almost all of Scott Lang’s friends in the comics are fellow superheroes, and he has no one in his life even remotely resembling Luis - which makes sense because Luis’s trademark rapid-fire soft-jazz dialogue would be incredibly difficult to translate onto the printed page.
The comic book Lang did, at one point, start up a security company named Ant-Man Security Solutions not all that dissimilar to the X-Con Security Consultants firm he founded in the MCU. But unlike its cinematic counterpart, AMSS was staffed entirely by quasi-reformed supervillains, including Machinesmith and Grizzly.
None of them were anywhere near as charming as Luis.Great addition?
Sylvie LaufeydottirPhoto: Loki / Disney+
Sylvie Laufeydottir has only been around for six episodes of Loki, and she’s already shattered the reality of the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse by slaying He Who Remains, forever altering the future of the franchise.
That’s quite a feat for a variant who wasn’t supposed to exist, and for a character who doesn’t really exist in the comic book lore of the God of Mischief.
Dozens of Lokis from other realities have made appearances in the pages of Marvel Comics, and some of them have been women. Even the Loki of Earth-616 has spent a considerable amount of time as a woman, including one awkward stint in which she took on the exact appearance of Sif. Loki-616 has come into conflict with himself/herself from the past and future, but he’s yet to fall in love with any of them.
Sylvie does borrow a name and a few characteristics from Sylvie Lushton, a comic book character best known as the second Enchantress. She was a seemingly ordinary teenage girl who was empowered - and possibly outright created - by Loki for an unknown purpose. She’d go on to hassle the Young Avengers for a while before being cast into the wilds of the realms by Amora, the real Enchantress.Great addition?
Hawkeye’s FamilyPhoto: Avengers: Endgame / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
There are a number of plot twists to be found in Age of Ultron, but among them, only Hawkeye’s secret farm family can be counted as wholesome. The reveal that the cavalier Clint Barton was a total wife guy shocked so many because it’s the exact opposite of his chronically single personality in the comics. There, Hawkeye bounces back and forth between terrible relationships to the point of parody, and has never been able to settle down for more than a few issues at a time.
That’s as far as the Earth-616 universe goes, anyway. The Ultimate Universe of Earth-1610 was established as an all-new continuity in which Marvel could craft modernized retellings of their best stories, but also where the writers could wildly diverge from the source material at will. Ultimate Hawkeye was one such divergence.
The Clint Barton of Earth-1610 is, more or less, the version of the character that was truly adapted into the MCU. Whereas the OG Hawkeye was raised in a circus, became a supervillain, and then joined the Avengers, Ultimate Hawkeye was a life-long agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. with a loving family at home. Tragically, that family would be slain when the Black Widow betrayed the Avengers and ordered their murder - another clear indicator of just how different things could go in the Ultimate Universe.Great addition?
- Photo: Ant-Man / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
In the pages of Marvel Comics, Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne are, indeed, the original Ant-Man and the Wasp - and founding Avengers, to boot - and Scott Lang is, indeed, the first successor to the Ant-Man title. But there’s no Hope van Dyne to be found anywhere, primarily because, like most superheroes, Hank and Janet have never been allowed to grow old, and so it’s impossible for them to have an adult daughter.
Also, their comic book relationship is a lot less stable than it is in the MCU.
There is, however, a Nadia van Dyne in the comics, and she did go by the “Unstoppable Wasp” for a while, but her story is so different from Hope’s as to be almost unrecognizable. Confusingly, Nadia isn’t a van Dyne at all, but the daughter of Hank Pym and his first wife, Maria.
Maria had been nabbed by Russian agents during her and Hank’s honeymoon and had given birth to Nadia in captivity before perishing. As such, Hank was entirely unaware of Nadia’s existence. Instead, Nadia was taken to the Red Room and trained as a Black Widow before she discovered her true heritage and made a break for it.
By the time she made it to North America, Hank had fallen in a final battle with Ultron, so Nadia sought out Janet, and the two formed a close bond - hence the decision to go by Nadia van Dyne. Janet would mentor Nadia as the latter joined the Champions and the Avengers, and as she founded her own lab.Great addition?