10 MCU Origin Stories That Are Better Than In Marvel Comics

Summary

  • Marvel Studios has improved many characters from Marvel Comics by changing their origin stories for the live-action MCU.
  • Characters such as Adam Warlock, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, and Peter Parker’s Spider-Man have very different origin stories in the MCU.
  • Altering many characters’ origin stories has made them more believable, relatable, complex, and entertaining in the MCU.

Marvel Studios has made the origin stories of many heroes and villains from Marvel Comics better when adapting them for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since 2008, Marvel Studios has brought dozens of characters from Marvel Comics into live-action, but there are some huge differences between some of these characters’ stories on the page and on screen. For many MCU characters, altering their origin stories has made them more believable, relatable, complex, and entertaining, with more fleshed-out backstories than their Marvel Comics counterparts.

Many characters, such as Tony Stark’s Iron Man, Steve Rogers’ Captain America, and T’Challa’s Black Panther, have the same, or remarkably similar, origin stories to their Marvel Comics counterparts. This certainly isn’t the case for everyone, however, but many origin stories have been done better in the live-action MCU than the comics ever did. The likes of Adam Warlock, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, and even Peter Parker’s Spider-Man have had very different origin stories in the MCU, but this has made them much more interesting heroes.

Split image of Captain America and Iron Man in the MCU looking serious Related 10 Biggest Changes Marvel Movies Made To The MCU’s Avengers’ Origins

The Marvel Cinematic Universe made some significant changes to the backstories of some of their most famous characters, from Iron Man to The Hulk.

10 Sam Wilson’s Falcon & Captain America

Sam Wilson’s Backstory Is More Meaningful In The MCU

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Anthony Mackie debuted as Sam Wilson in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and quickly became a fan-favorite character in the MCU. His fast friendship with Steve Rogers was strengthened because of the pair’s shared history as members of the United States military, in which Wilson had operated as a Pararescueman using a prototype wing-suit that would later allow him to become the Falcon. After leaving the military, Wilson became a trauma counselor helping other veterans before meeting Rogers, which is a much more detailed backstory than his origin in Marvel Comics.

In the comics, Sam Wilson was a social worker who found himself on Exile Island fighting the Red Skull with Captain America – randomly. He forms a strong bond with a falcon, Redwing, and is convinced by Captain America to become the costumed superhero Falcon. His wing-suit was created by the Black Panther, which was adapted for Wilson’s recent promotion to the role of Captain America in the MCU. Sam Wilson’s origin story in the MCU is more emotional, meaningful, and connects more closely to Steve Rogers’ own backstory.

Sam Wilson’s evolution into the MCU’s new Captain America was also well-thought-out, and explored his identity as a Black man much more prominently.

9 The Eternals

The Eternals’ New Origin Connects Them To The MCU’s Cosmic Stories

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The decision to change the Eternals’ Marvel Comics backstory when bringing them into the MCU was a controversial one, but their live-action origins actually make more sense. In Marvel Comics, the Eternals were created during Celestial experiments on early humans. One Celestial created the Eternals, superior humans, another created the Deviants, monstrous creatures, and another created a dormant gene that would lead to the emergence of mutants. Aside from being connected to the Celestials and Deviants, this origin was completely changed in the MCU.

2021’s Eternals revealed that the titular beings were, in fact, synthetic creations of the Celestials, rather than being naturally evolved from humans. Created in the World Forge, the Eternals were sent to worlds to eradicate Deviants – the Celestials’ previous creations – so that the native population could grow and the Celestial seed inside would develop. Changing the Eternals’ origin story in the MCU makes much more sense, connects the new heroes to the MCU’s ever-expanding cosmic stories, and even provides an origin for the Celestials, which makes it much better than their Marvel Comics roots.

Eternal

Played By

Power

Ajak

Salma Hayek

Healing

Sersi

Gemma Chan

Matter Transformation

Ikaris

Richard Madden

Flight, Energy Projection

Sprite

Lia McHugh

Illusion Creation

Kingo

Kumail Nanjiani

Projectile Creation

Thena

Angelina Jolie

Weapon Creation

Phastos

Brian Tyree Henry

Invention

Makkari

Lauren Ridloff

Speed

Druig

Barry Keoghan

Mind Control

Gilgamesh

Don Lee

Strength

Eros/Starfox

Harry Styles

TBD

8 Adam Warlock

Adam Warlock’s Origin Story Is Much More Believable In The MCU

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Adam Warlock’s backstory in Marvel Comics is incredibly complicated and convoluted, which meant that simplifying this origin story worked perfectly for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. In fact, Adam was first teased in one of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s post-credits scenes, as he was revealed to have been created in a cocoon by the Sovereign High Priestess Ayesha. This was similar, but different, to his Marvel Comics roots, which saw Adam – then known as “Him” – created by a group of human scientists calling themselves the Enclave.

Adam Warlock’s connection to the High Evolutionary persists in both stories. In the comics, the High Evolutionary gifts Adam the Soul Gem in return for his help saving Counter-Earth, while in the MCU, the High Evolutionary was revealed to be the creator of the Sovereign, and Adam Warlock, by extension. Adam Warlock’s origin story in the MCU makes him a truly cosmic character, separated from his Earthly roots in the comics, but also makes him, funnily enough, more human, as he will grow and develop as a normal being, rather than being created as an extremely-gifted god-like hero.

will poulter as adam warlock in guardians of the galaxy vol 3 Related Adam Warlock Reveal Means He Has A Bright Future In The MCU

James Gunn has provided more information about Adam Warlock, who will debut in the MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, portrayed by Will Poulter.

7 Erik “Killmonger” Stevens

Killmonger’s Connection To T’Challa Makes His MCU Origin More Powerful

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Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger was fighting to save a place he’d never been.

There are many massive differences between Killmonger in the MCU and in Marvel Comics, most notably the fact that Killmonger in the comics is not related to T’Challa. Making this connection in the MCU, having T’Challa and Killmonger be cousins, allowed Black Panther to explore familial themes, which was reduced to a simple and meaningless vendetta in Marvel Comics. Although Killmonger’s origin story in the MCU is very different, there are also similarities, such as his mentor selling Wakanda’s secrets, his parents being killed, and his time studying and fighting in America.

Killmonger returns to Wakanda and briefly overthrows T’Challa in both Marvel Comics and the MCU. However, in the MCU, his journey to Wakanda in Black Panther marked the first time he ever went home, while he was raised there in Marvel Comics before being taken around the world by his villainous mentor, M’Demwe. This worked a lot better in the MCU, as Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger was fighting to save a place he’d never been, proving his ego, but also solidifying the fact that his motivation was actually just.

6 Baron Helmut Zemo

Baron Zemo’s Vendetta Against The Avengers Makes More Sense In The MCU

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Changes made to Baron Helmut Zemo in the MCU connected him to one of the Avengers’ previous storylines, making his vendetta against the world’s superheroes make much more sense than it ever did in Marvel Comics. Daniel Brühl’s Zemo was a Sokovian nobleman, Armed Forces Colonel, and member of EKO Scorpion, an elite group of soldiers. Making Zemo Sokovian meant that his actions in Captain America: Civil War could be in response to Ultron and the Avengers destroying his nation and killing his family.

In Marvel Comics, the German Baron Helmut Zemo followed in his father’s footsteps to become a villain for little reason. He set out to capture and kill Captain America following the death of his father, Heinrich Zemo, but went on to become associated with a great many other villains in an effort to bring Captain America down. Zemo’s vendetta in the MCU is much more powerful, and this has also allowed him to become something of an antihero, which would be interesting to explore in the MCU’s future, which was teased by Brühl in conversation with Screen Rant.

It’s fine for me, I can wait. [Laughs] I’m a very patient man. No, I’m not, but it’s funny, because in the meantime, I just wrapped on a show that’s called The Franchise, where it’s actually a satire about the superhero universe, so it was fun to switch sides, so to say. But knowing Marvel, they have a lot of sense of humor, so they will probably find it as funny as I did. And who knows, I mean, I’m still not dead, I’m very confident that I’ll be back.

5 Peter Parker’s Spider-Man

Tom Holland’s Peter Parker Has A Very Dark Spider-Man Origin Story

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Since Peter Parker’s origin story as Spider-Man had already been seen in 2002’s Spider-Man and 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel Studios neglected to detail this story once more for Tom Holland’s debut as the wall-crawler in the MCU. Instead, Holland’s Peter Parker was introduced months after becoming Spider-Man, allowing him to jump right into the action. While it’s unlikely viewers will see Parker being bitten in the MCU, Marvel Studios simply elongated his entire origin story so that it spanned his first solo trilogy.

Following the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home in 2021, Marvel Studios hinted at Homecoming, Far From Home, and No Way Home detailing Spider-Man’s origin story. This ended with Peter Parker being completely alone in his New York apartment, and operating as an anonymous hero once again, in a much more comic-accurate costume to boot. Telling Spider-Man’s new “origin story” over six MCU movies was a huge change, but this created a much more detailed, dark, and expansive backstory for Peter Parker going forward.

Spider-Man’s MCU Appearances

Year

Captain America: Civil War

2016

Spider-Man: Homecoming

2017

Avengers: Infinity War

2018

Avengers: Endgame

2019

Spider-Man: Far From Home

2019

Spider-Man: No Way Home

2021

4 Doctor Stephen Strange

Doctor Strange’s Accident Was His Own Fault In The MCU

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Much of Doctor Strange’s origin story is almost exactly the same in Marvel Comics and in the MCU, but there is one crucial change that makes the MCU’s version much more effective. In Marvel Comics, the egotistical and arrogant surgeon is caught in a car accident, leaving his hands incapable of performing surgery, so he turns to the Mystic Arts and the Ancient One for guidance. This sounds familiar, but in the MCU, Strange’s car accident is actually his own fault, which isn’t the case in Marvel Comics.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange was speaking on the phone, looking for his next patient, and not watching the road. Making this one small change underlined Strange’s downfall perfectly, as he was the cause of his own misfortune. This made his transformation into one of the world’s greatest superheroes even more dramatic and overwhelming. Interestingly, this established another similarity between Doctor Strange’s backstory and that of Tony Stark’s Iron Man, as Stark was injured during the detonation of a Stark Industries missile in 2008’s Iron Man – causing his own downfall.

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Doctor Strange had a key part of Stephen’s family history cut, but Doctor Strange 2 has finally managed to bring it into the MCU, albeit briefly.

3 Thor

Removing Thor’s Mortal Forms Makes His MCU Origin Much More Coherent

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Thor’s early life in the opening of 2011’s Thor is taken directly from Marvel Comics, all the way up to his banishment by Odin. This is where his story diverges, as, in Marvel Comics, Thor was sent to Earth with no memory of his Asgardian roots, and was given a mortal name, Dr. Donald Blake. Blake finds a walking stick that, when held, transforms into Mjolnir and gifts him the powers of Thor. Odin eventually restored Thor as an Asgardian, and while he then couldn’t become Blake, Odin bonded him to another mortal, Eric Masterson, to save Masterson’s life.

Donald Blake was the name of Jane Foster’s ex-boyfriend in 2011’s
Thor
, providing a fun Easter egg for die-hard Marvel fans.

Ridding Thor of his mortal forms for his origin story in the MCU meant that he could constantly be seen as a godly, otherworldly figure, which he ought to be. Yes, Thor learned more human qualities during his time on Earth, but this evolution was only meaningful because he remembered where he’d come from and who he had been. Chris Hemsworth’s Thor has gone from strength to strength since first traveling to Earth, and tying him to Donald Blake or Eric Masterson would have slowed this process massively.

2 Wanda Maximoff’s Scarlet Witch & Pietro Maximoff’s Quicksilver

The Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver’s Origins Connected Them Better To The MCU

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Wanda and Pietro Maximoff only have one origin story in the MCU, which already makes it less complicated, more understandable, and more palatable than their various retconned backstories in Marvel Comics. In the MCU, Wanda and Pietro lost their parents during a war in Sokovia, but Wanda’s innate abilities as a young witch allowed her to stop a bomb from going off and killing them. The twins’ abilities were then enhanced when they volunteered for a HYDRA experiment, as exposure to the Mind Stone transformed them into the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.

Marvel Comics’ Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were originally depicted as mutants, and villainous members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Until 2015, Wanda and Pietro were depicted as the children of iconic X-Men villain Magneto, but this was retconned to make them genetically-engineered products of the High Evolutionary instead, and not mutants at all. This convoluted origin story, and its many alterations, means that the simplified version in the MCU is much clearer and makes more sense, though there are still hopes that Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s heroes will be revealed to be mutants.

Wanda Maximoff's Scarlet Witch in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Pietro Maximoff's Quicksilver in Avengers Age of Ultron Related Major MCU Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver Origin Mystery Is Solved By Excellent X-Men Villain Theory

The MCU’s Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver could be connected to the X-Men if one major villain theory turns out to be true in Marvel Studios’ future.

1 Thanos

Marvel Studios Made Thanos A Hero In His Own Right

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Despite his abhorrent methods, Thanos was a much more relatable, human-like character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

There is still a lot of unrevealed information regarding Thanos’ backstory in the MCU, especially after the debut of his Eternal brother in Phase 4. However, what is known of his origin story makes him something of an antihero in the MCU. In Marvel Comics, Thanos was a member of the Eternals species, but carried the Deviant gene. Bullied as a child, Thanos became obsessed with nihilism and entropy, and eventually augmented his physical strength. Thanos then set out on his rampage across the universe in an effort to woo the physical embodiment of Death.

This was wildly different in the MCU. Thanos wanted to save his homeworld of Titan, and suggested the random genocide of half the population to quell overpopulation. He was considered mad and exiled, but carried out this goal on other worlds, and eventually the entire universe after acquiring the Infinity Stones. This transformed Thanos into an almost-selfless hero, as he wanted to save the universe. Despite his abhorrent methods, Thanos was a much more relatable, human-like character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which made him even more terrifying.

MCU Franchise Poster Marvel Cinematic Universe

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a multimedia superhero franchise that began in 2008 with Paramount’s Iron Man starring Robert Downey Jr. The franchise quickly grew in popularity, with Disney eventually buying out Marvel Entertainment in 2009. The MCU consists of dozens of movies and TV shows, most notably Avengers: Endgame, WandaVision, and Loki.

Created by Kevin Feige Upcoming Films Deadpool & Wolverine , Captain America: Brave New World , Thunderbolts (2025) , Blade (2025) , The Fantastic Four (2025) , Avengers: The Kang Dynasty , Avengers: Secret Wars Upcoming TV Shows Agatha: Coven of Chaos , Ironheart , Daredevil: Born Again , Wakanda , Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man , Marvel Zombies , Wonder Man , Vision Quest

Upcoming MCU Movies

Release Date

Deadpool & Wolverine

July 26, 2024

Captain America: Brave New World

February 14, 2025

Thunderbolts*

May 5, 2025

The Fantastic Four

July 25, 2025

Blade

November 7, 2025

Avengers 5

May 1, 2026

Avengers: Secret Wars

May 7, 2027

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