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20 MCU Phase 1 Facts You Probably Didn't Know

May 26, 2021 330 votes 45 voters 1.8k views20 items

List RulesVote up the most impressive Phase 1 facts that made you say, "Whoa."

It seems like ages have passed since the Marvel Cinematic Universe launched in 2008 with Iron Man, and that's largely due to the dozens of movies that followed. The first phase in the MCU's plan saw the release of Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Marvel's Avengers.

The success of those films is the reason movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Endgame managed to do as well as they did, but how much do you know about Phase 1? After all, it ended a long time ago, so it's easy to forget some of the details that went into making those movies, and we aim to solve that problem for you!

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    Using Iron Man As The First MCU Character Was No Easy Task

    Fans of the Iron Man comics know the character all too well, but because he wasn't featured outside of comics or animation before 2008, most people didn't know much about him. As a result, Marvel Studios had a hard time hiring writers for the film. In fact, more than 30 writers passed on the project because they didn't know enough about the character to embrace him in such a monumental project.

    Marvel produced three animated "Iron Man advertorials" to help introduce the character to prospective writers and directors to combat this. The main problem Marvel faced in this venture was the fact most people assumed Iron Man was a robot and not a detailed and complicated character like Tony Stark, who is arguably one of the most nuanced characters in Marvel's history.

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    Most Phase 1 Films Are All Set In One Week

    When you watch one of the MCU's Phase 1 movies, you might come to the conclusion the events of those films play out over a relatively long period of time. As it happens, nearly every one of those films played out over a period of only a single week. 

    This is true of The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and the present-day scenes filmed for Captain America: The First Avenger. The majority of that film took place over a much longer period of time, but everything in the present all played out in less than a week.

    That one week was covered in a limited-series comic book that served as an official tie-in to the MCU's first phase. Marvel's The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week follows Nick Fury and some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents as they work through that week, leading up to the events of The Avengers.

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    Lou Ferrigno Played The Hulk More Than Anyone Else

    Legendary bodybuilder/actor Lou Ferrigno entered into the Marvel Universe via 1977's The Incredible Hulk TV show. He played the green rage monster until 1982 and returned for two made-for-TV movies released years later. For most people, that would have been the end of it, but as it happens, Ferrigno has played the Hulk far longer than anyone else.

    In addition to his live-action work, he's voiced the Hulk in every animated series featuring him. This includes all traditional cel animation and CGI shows. He even made live-action cameo appearances in Ang Lee's 2003 Hulk film, as well as The Incredible Hulk five years later. He helped create the vocalizations for the Hulk in The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Thor: Ragnarok.

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    Disney Can't Show 'Big' Marvel Characters In Theme Parks East Of The Mississippi

    The rights for Marvel characters are a complicated mess, thanks to the company's big sell-off of film rights in the 1990s. The company sold film rights to Sony, Universal, Fox, and others, but it's an entirely different matter when it comes to theme parks in the United States.

    Now that Disney owns the company and most of its characters, the issue of displaying them at various theme parks has become thorny. Disney owns the most popular theme parks in the world, and despite having one on the East Coast in Orlando and another out west in Anaheim, the parks cannot display the same characters.

    The contract language is complex, but the upshot is that Universal's rights versus Disney's regarding the so-called "Big Characters" limits Disney's use of them in their parks east of the Mississippi River.

    The characters in question include Wolverine, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and others that are related, which essentially means mutants, Avengers, and anyone associated with Spider-Man are affected.

    Spider-Man can't be seen in Walt Disney World (Orlando), but he can be used in Universal Studios' park in the same city. Over in California, the opposite is true, and the agreement between the two companies extends to other countries east or west of the river.

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