Total Nerd

14 MCU Loose Threads That We Probably Shouldn't Pull

List Rules
Vote up the loose MCU threads that just lead to more questions.

Of all the mega-media franchises out there, the Marvel Cinematic Universe does a comparatively good job of tying up its own loose plot threads. Character fates, unsolved mysteries, and unresolved conflicts can simmer on the backburner of the MCU for years before rocketing back into the forefront of the story, and one never knows what aspect of the franchise is going to make a sudden reappearance.

With that being said, there are some extraneous plot threads that won’t - and probably shouldn’t - be pulled on ever again.

Even the most well-thought-out tale is going to have some unresolved loose ends. When it comes to the MCU, specifically, these non-referenced plot threads are mostly a collection of mix-ups, contradictions, and paths ultimately never followed, and that’s perfectly alright. In the grand scheme of the MCU, not every story beat gets to live on unto infinity. 

  • 1
    697 VOTES

    Why Didn’t Tiamut Cause Worldwide Tectonic Devastation As He Emerged From The Earth’s Crust?

    In their own titular debut adventure, the Eternals save Earth from the pending emergence of a Celestial child from within the planet’s core. Little baby Tiamut makes it about a fifth of the way out of Earth before Sersi transmutes him into marble and stops his rise dead in its tracks. Thereafter, the gleaming white head and hand of Tiamut give the MCU an enormous new landmark - but shouldn’t the birth of Tiamut have also resulted in some serious tectonic devastation?

    A handful of tsunamis and flooding incidents are reported in the wake of Eternals, but that’s pretty light considering the sheer scale of what was happening. A cosmic being much larger than a mountain shifted from its millennia-held position in the Earth’s core, swam through the mantle and crust of the planet, and burst through in the middle of the ocean. Such an event should have altered the entire tectonic structure of the planet’s surface, massively disrupting every country, continent, and body of water as it wreaked havoc on civilization. Billions should have perished.

    Instead, life moved on, and nobody even mentions the Celestial in the middle of the ocean anymore. 

  • 2
    539 VOTES

    How Did Cap’s Time Travel Retirement Actually Work?

    How Did Cap’s Time Travel Retirement Actually Work?
    Photo: Avengers: Endgame / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Everyone knows that after returning the multiversal Infinity Stones to their original timelines in Avengers: Endgame, Captain America took the opportunity to head back to the 1950s and settle down into a well-deserved retirement with Peggy Carter. And everyone knows that, after decades spent there, an elderly Steve Rogers reappeared in the modern day of 2023, mere seconds after he’d left on his mission, to hand off his shield to Sam Wilson and say his farewells.

    What no one - including the people who actually made the film - can seem to agree on is exactly how Cap managed all that.

    According to Endgame’s writers, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, Cap genuinely traveled into the past of his own native Earth-616 timeline and retired there, living out the rest of his days in the background of the MCU. Then, when the time came, he presumably just caught a bus over to the Avengers Compound and handed his shield over to Sam. But that contradicts the film’s own rules about time travel, in which it is stated to be impossible to go back in time without branching off into a new timeline. It also creates some moral complications, what with Steve apparently choosing to sit idly by as Hydra takes over S.H.I.E.L.D. and Bucky Barnes is tortured for decades.

    Endgame’s directors, Anthony and Joe Russo, on the other hand, claim that Cap’s retirement occurred in an alternate timeline of his own creation. That’s more in line with the established rules but still raises some troubling conundrums. If that was a brand-new timeline, then how much did Captain America’s sudden presence change it? Did he eventually cause an incursion? And, perhaps most importantly, how did he get back to Earth-616 - and did he stay there, or did he hop right back to his own special timeline to live out his golden years?

    Maybe the best answer is the one that the public of the MCU received: Captain America is gone, and no one is really sure where he went. 

  • 3
    498 VOTES

    Why Was Electro A Part Of The Events Of ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’?

    The mismanagement of the Runes of Kof-Kol in Spider-Man: No Way Home led to supervillains from alternate universes arriving in Earth-616, drawn by their knowledge of the wallcrawler’s secret identity. Doctor Octopus, Sandman, and the Green Goblin, who had each learned of Peter Parker’s alter ego during the course of Spidey’s original film trilogy arrived, and so did the Lizard and Electro of The Amazing Spider-Man fame and Venom of Venom.

    There’s just one problem though: if that sinister collection of villains was drawn into the plot through their knowledge of Spider-Man’s true identity, then Electro shouldn’t be there. Max Dillon seemingly perished in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 before ever finding out who was hiding under the mask, and his dialogue in No Way Home further confirms that fact.

    Electro expresses to the Spider-Man he’s most familiar with that he had always imagined Spidey as a Black man. But if he thought that, why was he affected by the Runes of Kof-Kol, a spell entirely centered around the shared identity of Peter Parker and Spider-Man? If anything, Electro returned to his own timeline after No Way Home with knowledge he didn’t have before - knowledge that could be dangerous for that universe’s webslinger.  

  • 4
    352 VOTES

    How Did Thanos Already Have The Infinity Gauntlet Back In ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron,’ And How Early On Did He Wreck Nidavellir?

    Following Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thanos could be seen in a post-credits scene walking down a hallway, popping the Infinity Gauntlet onto his hand and declaring “Fine, I’ll do it myself.” While this line creates some troubling implications about the role the Mad Titan played in the creation of Ultron, it also makes a bit of a mess of the MCU’s timeline in general - because there’s just no way Thanos should have that Gauntlet already.

    Audiences know Thanos obtained the Infinity Gauntlet by devastating Nidavellir and forcing Eitri to construct it for him. Even though Loki had replaced Odin at that point, is there any conceivable way the entirety of Asgard would fail to notice Thanos slaughtering the dwarves? Not even Heimdall?

    When Thor visits Nidavellir in Infinity War, Eitri confronts him for Asgard having abandoned the dwarves, and Thor blames the events of Ragnarok for his inattentiveness. But that would then imply Thanos obtained the Infinity Gauntlet at - or around - the time Odin perished and Asgard was destroyed, which was years after Age of Ultron.

    And what’s all this about “doing it himself,” anyway? Thanos didn’t make another move toward an Infinity Stone until he wrecked Xandar in 2018, three years after the Age of Ultron stinger. What exactly was he talking about doing?