MCU Characters Saddled With A Heroic Amount Of Baggage From Their Parents

List Rules
Vote up the MCU characters with major mommy and daddy issues.

Just like the real world, plenty of awful parents exist in the MCU. What's an easy way to have audiences connect with the beautiful superpowered beings on the big screen? Give them a little emotional trauma courtesy of bad parenting, of course! How will viewers identify with a billionaire superhero who gets pretty much anything he wants? Boom: a childhood marked by a fractured relationship with his dad.

Peter Quill is a childlike a-hole who leads other childlike a-holes around the galaxy? Give him a mother who succumbed to cancer just before he was captured and taken into space as a child. Even villains aren't immune to this phenomenon. What on Earth would make Hela so evil, so hellbent on conquering everything in sight in Thor: Ragnarok? Well, her father imprisoned her in Hel for thousands of years. Okay, yeah, that makes sense. Break out the box of tissues - we're running through some of the MCU's biggest characters with serious parental issues.


  • Star-Lord Lost His Mom To A Brain Tumor His All-Powerful Dad Created
    Photo: Guardians of the Galaxy / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    As if being taken from Earth by aliens against your will wasn't bad enough. Just before Yondu and the rest of the Ravagers scooped him up from small-town Missouri, young Peter Quill had to watch his mother perish from complications due to a brain tumor. The emotional scarring from such a situation can stunt a person's growth for years, and that certainly seemed to be the case for Peter during the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy. The guy was little more than a man-child.

    The true state of his emotional baggage wouldn't be revealed until Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, when he discovered his father was the one who gave his mother the brain tumor in the first place. Oh, and his father is also a Celestial named Ego, for what it's worth. Is it any wonder Quill struggles to be emotionally competent throughout his many MCU appearances?

  • Loki Found Out His Entire Upbringing Was A Lie Once He Learned He Was A Frost Giant
    Photo: Thor / Paramount Pictures

    Learning your parentage was not what you once thought it was can upend your worldview. While that is undoubtedly true for human beings, imagine being an Asgardian your whole life only to discover you're actually a Frost Giant. That is some Shakespearean-level drama right there. Odin's favoritism regarding Thor was clearly a source of strife between the All-Father and Loki, but keeping the god of mischief's true parentage from him was the straw that ended up breaking the camel's back.

    Loki and Odin would never have the chance to truly reconcile. As was seen at the end of Thor: The Dark World and the beginning of Thor: Ragnarok, Loki took over Asgard under the guise of Odin and hid his father away at a retirement home on Earth with a spell keeping him in a daze. By the time Thor figured it all out and the brothers found their father, it was time for the man to pass on to Valhalla. 

  • Tony Stark Spent Years Trying To Live Up To A Dad He Never Made Amends With
    Photo: Captain America: Civil War / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Anthony "Tony" Stark grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth. Born to a family with Fortune 500-level money, Tony was blessed with the best of everything money can buy. Alas, as the saying goes, money can't buy happiness. Taking cues from Iron Man 2 and Captain America: Civil War, Tony's paternal relationship was anything but rosy. Seemingly close with his mother, Tony could never win the approval of his gruff, pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps father. Howard and Maria Stark perished before the man and his son could bury the hatchet.

    Tony's relationship with his father was so fractured, it proved to be something Tony dealt with up until the moment of his demise in Avengers: Endgame. The man took Quentin Beck's Binarily Augmented Retro-Framing technology and turned it into a $611 million self-proclaimed "therapeutic experiment" to help get over his parents' demise at the hands of the Winter Soldier. Tony would get some semblance of closure after he and Steve Rogers traveled back in time in Endgame when Tony would come face-to-face with his father in the 1970s and bond over the perils of early fatherhood.

  • 4
    54 VOTES

    Hope van Dyne Spent Years Not Trusting Her Father Due To Her Mother's Demise

    The MCU's Hank Pym may not be the total dumpster fire of a human being he is in the comic books, but the man still has plenty of flaws. After his wife seemingly perished while stopping a Soviet missile from ending the lives of millions in the '80s, Pym became very distant from his young daughter, Hope van Dyne. He not only left her with the nanny for two weeks following his return from the mission, but also ended up sending Hope away to boarding school shortly thereafter.

    By the time Hope was working for Pym Technologies, the pair's relationship was seriously strained. How strained? Well, she had the deciding vote while serving on Pym Technologies's board of directors that would decide if Pym would be kicked out of the company. And she ousted him! That's one way to get back at your dad after years of tension... take away the company he built up with his own hands over decades of hard work.

  • Unlike numerous characters in the MCU, T'Challa had a fantastic relationship with his parents. From what we know, the Black Panther was raised with nothing but love from his family as he and his sister, Shuri, grew up in the lovely confines of Wakanda. T'Challa's parental baggage wouldn't manifest itself until Captain America: Civil War, when his father T'Chaka was slain in an explosion by Baron Zemo. This shocking tragedy sent the Black Panther down a homicidal revenge path where his rage threatened to define him.

    Then, in Black Panther, T'Challa would learn his father slayed his uncle and left his young cousin Erik Stevens to fend for himself alone in Oakland, CA. Instead of being the gracious king and father the Black Panther thought he knew, T'Chaka proved to be a killer who turned his back on the rest of the planet in fear of what would happen to Wakanda. T'Challa suffered a crisis of faith after learning this secret truth but would eventually open Wakanda's doors to the rest of the planet as a result. So, all's well that ends well?

  • Nebula Wanted Thanos's Approval And Just Got More Mistreatment
    Photo: Avengers: Infinity War / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Hunting for the approval of a dismissive father can prove to be a disastrous way to live. When your father is a genocidal maniac hellbent on eliminating half of all life in the unknown universe - well, then that way lies madness. If that wasn't bad enough, consider Thanos systematically replaced parts of Nebula's body every time she lost a one-on-one battle with her adopted sister, Gamora. He called this process "upgrading."

    Out of seemingly nowhere, Nebula ended up having one of the most satisfying character arcs in all of the MCU. From her first appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy on through Avengers: Endgame, the blue-skinned cyborg went from full-fledged villain to uneasy ally to legitimate Avenger. At the heart of her transformation was the traumatic baggage saddled upon her by her Mad Titan of a father.