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MCU Characters Whose Relationships Are Completely Different In The Comics

Updated July 13, 2021 1.1k votes 139 voters 23.5k views15 items

List RulesVote up the MCU relationships that changed the most from page to screen.

Though one draws from the other as source material, the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the decades-long continuity of Marvel Comics are two distinct entities. Origins, conflicts, and superpowers are some of the many MCU changes made from the comics, but some alterations are more interpersonal - as in, some Marvel couples, or those known to be MCU best friends, often have very different relationships in the comics.

Or, occasionally, no real relationship at all.

It’s perhaps easiest to think of the MCU as just another alternate timeline and reality in the mighty Marvel Multiverse, which is exactly how the comic books classify it: Earth-199999. That explains why so many MCU characters are so different from their comic book counterparts, and it’s almost certainly a good thing, allowing the adventures of the MCU to seem fresh and engaging even to those fans who have read every issue of Marvel Comics several times over.

  • 1

    Black Widow Had Significant Romances With Bucky And Hawkeye (And Daredevil)

    In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Natasha Romanoff experienced a doomed romance with Bruce Banner, a character she’d never even been friends with in the comics. She also enjoyed two deeply intimate friendships with Clint Barton and Steve Rogers - but the comic book Black Widow’s history of relationships is significantly more complicated than that.

    In the annals of Marvel Comics, Black Widow and Hawkeye were lovers long before they were Avengers teammates. In fact, Romanoff somewhat seduced Hawkeye into a life of wrongdoing before he found redemption with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, then dragged her along with him into the heroic business. 

    Following their many breakups and her eventual departure from the Avengers, Romanoff started a lengthy partnership and romance with Matt Murdock. Daredevil and Black Widow even shared a title for a time, but then they split, too, and Romanoff went back to solo work for a good long while.

    When Bucky Barnes resurfaced as the mindwiped Winter Soldier, Romanoff revealed that the two of them had a brief fling back when both were employed by the KGB. After Bucky regained his faculties in the modern day, they reignited that spark - though Romanoff's demise and subsequent cloning brought a swift end to the reunion.

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  • 2

    Hela Is Loki’s Daughter, Not His Sister

    When long-lost sister Hela showed up in Thor: Ragnarok, it was quite the surprise for Odinsons Thor and Loki. Had that been the Marvel Comics version of Loki, however, he’d have known all about Hela long before she arrived on the scene - because, as is the case in actual Norse mythology, Loki is Hela’s father in the comics, not her brother. 

    In general, the comic book Loki hews far more closely to the Prose Edda and has multiple children of truly all shapes and sizes. His progeny include Hela, the Fenris Wolf, the World Serpent, Odin’s eight-legged horse, Agamemnon, and the so-called Son of Satan. As such, even when Loki has joined his brother in fighting alongside Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, his kids have been around to continue to threaten the Nine Realms, ensuring his evil legacy will always live on.

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  • 3

    Ultron Was The Sole Creation Of Hank Pym, And Tony Stark Had Nothing To Do With It

    Tony Stark made a lot of mistakes throughout the course of the MCU, but none were greater than the semi-accidental creation of Ultron. It’s a sin that would inform his character arc throughout the rest of his filmography - and one his comic book counterpart had absolutely nothing to do with.

    Way back in 1968’s Avengers #54, Hank Pym constructed Ultron-1, a complex artificial intelligence housed inside a rudimentary robot that unexpectedly gained sentience and immediately turned on its creator. Constantly improving upon itself, the metallic menace would go on to target Pym and his Avengers pals incessantly, forever driven by the sort of “daddy issues” only barely present in the MCU Ultron.

    Decades down the road, Pym would give his life by forcibly merging himself to Ultron, hoping to end its creation once and for all. Instead, Ultron just integrated Pym’s flesh and now wears it around like an accessory designed to disturb Earth’s Mightiest Heroes - truly a disturbing end for a founding Avenger, and a huge departure from Pym’s MCU role as an Ultron-less retired Ant-Man. 

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  • 4

    The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Share A Show, But They’ve Barely Interacted In The Comics

    James Buchanan “Bucky” “The Winter Soldier” Barnes and Sam “The Falcon” Wilson have become the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s ultimate pair of buddy cops, translating their antagonistic chemistry from Captain America: Civil War into their very own Disney+ series. The begrudging friendship that launched them into the spotlight, however, owes itself almost entirely to their MCU screentime, as the Falcon and the Winter Soldier had barely interacted in the comics prior to landing their own show.

    For much of Wilson’s time as Steve Rogers’s sidekick, Barnes was thought to be deceased. When Bucky resurfaced as the brainwashed Winter Soldier, Falcon helped Cap track him down just like in the MCU, but didn’t get to interact with Bucky’s true personality for some time thereafter. They worked together briefly to solve Rogers’s apparent assassination, but only through the orders of Nick Fury - and it wasn’t much of a team-up, because Wilson remanded Barnes into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody at the end of the mission. Again, they parted ways, with Bucky becoming the new Captain America and Falcon fading into the background for a while as an inactive member of the Avengers.

    When Steve returned to the present, he took back the mantle of Captain America, and Sam began working closely with him again as Bucky went back to spycraft. Not too long after that, Steve had the Super Soldier Serum sucked right out of him and became an old man, leading Sam to pick up the shield and take his turn as Cap. All three one-time Caps then came together to fight back against S.H.I.E.L.D.’s reality-bending autocracy at Pleasant Hill, marking the first time the Falcon and the Winter Soldier had truly teamed up in their decades of published history.

    Five years later, they were sharing a TV show and a joint comic book series created to mark the occasion.

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