40 Fun Marvel Facts: Comic & Movie Trivia

We may not have uncovered them all, but we did our best! Here are some of the most fun Marvel facts.
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Part of the joy watching a Marvel film is finding out all the behind-the-scenes facts and secret trivia about its superheroes.

Since its first publications as Timely Comics way back in 1941, the Marvel Comics Group wouldn’t have lasted if it hadn’t picked up a few interesting stories or powerful superheroes along the way.

These days, the group are making headlines not just in print, but also in their immensely ambitious but extremely successful Cinematic Universe. But how much do you really know about this giant-sized franchise?

Whether your Marvel knowledge is largely from the MCU or you’ve read the comics a hundred times over, we’re sure there are a few facts that have slipped under your radar.

We’ve rooted though the history books for the most fun Marvel facts — including details about the comic books and intriguing trivia on the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

40 Facts About Marvel Comics and Movies

1. Captain America Wasn’t the First Marvel Hero

Most fans have the misconception that Captain America was the first Marvel hero. Well, they’d be right in terms of success. The first Marvel hero, appearing in ‘Marvel Comics No.1’ in 1939 was The Human Torch – not Johnny Storm‘s version, but an android that could control fire.

While the comic book sold more than 800,000 copies upon its release, it’s now worth $2.4 million. Our fave Cap wasn’t born into the world until 1941, with his comic (‘Captain America Comics No. 1’) selling over one million copies.

2. Marvel Almost Owned DC Comics

While Marvel Comics was in its heyday of big sales in the ’80s, DC Comics was in the dumps, as their characters weren’t really selling.

In 1984, Marvel’s editor-in-chief, Jim Shooter, was approached by Bill Sarnoff, the head of Warner Communications’ publishing (Bill Sarnoff purchased DC in the ’70s), suggesting to bring DC’s entire publishing wing under Marvel Comics.

The Marvel and DC licensing deal almost went ahead, with Shooter even creating an editorial plan featuring DC heroes. But with protests from third party comic publishers claiming this would create a monopoly, the deal was crushed.

3. Robert Downey Jr. Had a Big Influence on the Role of Aunt May

We’ll start off by saying that Robert Downey Jr. and Melissa Tomei used to date. Hear us out before scrambling for the barf bag! The actors who played Aunt May and Tony Stark in the MCU’s Spider-Man movies actually met on the set of 1994 film Only You, after which they dated for a while. 

Tomei’s role in the MCU was in fact a recommendation by Downey, despite breaking up on good terms some time ago. He recommended me for the role and we had a flirtatious little scene together in Captain America: Civil War,” the actress told The Guardian.

That’s not all — Tomei also revealed that Downey was the man behind the idea of having a “young Aunt May,” rather than the traditional older woman we’ve seen before.

SEE ALSO:
50 Best Marvel Gifts for Fans

4. Black Panther is Not the Richest Superhero

It has been estimated that Black Panther has a net worth of somewhere in the trillions. This makes T’Challa himself only slightly less well-off than the entirety of Sweden which has a nominal GDP of $507 billion.

Being king of a country and thus its wealth being your wealth will no doubt do this for you, but believe it or not, he’s not the number one richest hero in the Universe as many would assume — as covered in our ranking of the richest Marvel heroes, Thor makes it to the top of the list!

5. Wolverine Was Never Meant to Be A Mutant

Here’s a bit of random trivia from the wacky days of 1976: Everyone’s favorite knuckle-clawed hunk Wolverine was initially planned to be an actual wolverine who mutated into a human. Indeed, this iconic X-Men hero was never intended to be a mutant at first.

A. D. Jameson’s Blog explains that behind the scenes, Marvel was toying with the idea of making Logan an actual wolverine that the High Evolutionary had transformed into a human. But obviously, Stan Lee never followed through with this [according to Cockrum, via CBR].

6. Samuel L. Jackson Was Nick Fury Before the MCU Even Existed

In the 2002 Marvel comic, ‘The Ultimates,’ Nick Fury’s new appearance had a striking resemblance to Samuel L. Jackson. You’ll be pleased to learn this was no accident. Creators, Mark Miller and Bryan Hitch came up with the idea of having Fury look like Jackson, without asking him in 2000.

It wasn’t until over a decade later they told him he’d be a lead character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Jackson said in a 2012 interview with LA Times that he contacted Marvel after seeing himself in the comic and asked for a role in a future movie: “They were kind of like, ‘Yeah, we are planning on making movies, and we do hope you’ll be a part of them.'”

7. Wasp Was Almost in ‘The Avengers’

Wanna know some crazy MCU trivia? In earlier drafts, Henry Pym’s wife, Janet van Dyne, aka Wasp, was set to appear in the 2012 film The Avengers. This was an interesting setup as she is one of the original Avengers alongside Hulk, Thor and Iron Man in the comics.

In fact, Zooey Deschanel was set to play the part! Director Joss Whedon even admitted that Wasp was initially the “main character” of the film, but after getting Scarlett Johansson on board, Wasp’s character was replaced by Black Widow, likely to reduce clutter, as she had been established in Iron Man 2.

8. Black Widow is Around 90 Years Old

The MCU is very vague about how old Natasha Romanov is, only hinting she is old enough to have been recruited by the KGB (a security agency of the Soviet Union, established in 1954) at a young age. But in the comics, her story stems from way before that.

It’s mentioned that various medical procedures and bits of biotechnology have allowed Black Widow to live for decades. The young Natasha we see in the films is said to be in her early 30s, but in the comics, she’s around 80-90 years old, and is able to age artificially slow.

RELATED:
20 Fun Facts About Marvel’s ‘Thor’

9. The Secrets Behind “I Am Groot”

Saying “I am Groot” over and over might seem like one of the easiest roles an actor has had to play. But according to these secrets about Groot’s famous line, apparently not:

  • Voice actor Vin Diesel revealed that every line is specific to the situation: “James Gunn would always write a script that had the line that was intended so I’m the only person in the world that has this script but there’s a line of dialogue for every line of “I am Groot” and sometimes it is a whole paragraph.”
  • Marvel had Diesel record the line in multiple languages, rather than hiring fluent voice actors, “to uniquely customize the moviegoing experience for international audiences.”
  • When it came to Baby Groot, there was no added effect to his words — that was pure Diesel. Despite being famous for having a deep baritone voice on screen, the actor’s been imitating cartoon characters since he was a kid.

10. Wakandans Speak a Real Language

In Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, and Wakanda Forever, there are scenes of T’Challa and his kin from Wakanda speaking in their native tongue. One of the most interesting behind-the-scenes facts is how the words spoken are a variety of Xhosa, a real language spoken prominently in Zimbabwe and South Africa, which are close to where Wakanda is situated in the MCU.

11. A Scene in ‘The First Avenger’ Was Unscripted

When Steve Rogers steps out of the chamber that transforms him into a super-powered hero in Captain America: The First Avenger, Peggy Carter can’t help but examine a shirtless Chris Evans with her hand.

Well, fun fact, this scene wasn’t scripted! It was actually one of those moments in cinema that simply happened spontaneously and was left in for the authenticity of which it played out.

“When Chris Evans first took his shirt off on the set of ‘Captain America,’ I just instinctively grabbed his man boob,” Hayley Atwell told Esquire. “They kept it in the film. So we did a couple of takes of me being really inappropriate with my hand on his pec for the duration of the scene.”

12. Bruce Banner Was Once ‘David Banner’

Here’s an interesting superhero fact some of you probably didn’t know. In the ’70s and ’80s TV show, The Incredible Hulk, the human identity of the hero was actually called ‘David Banner,’ rather than ‘Bruce Banner’. According to a Stan lee interview, this was because a producer considered “Bruce” to have homosexual connotations despite Stan’s insistence to the contrary. Wow.

CHECK OUT:
MCU Timeline – How to Watch it in Order

13. The MCU Couldn’t Use X-Men References

Due to Fox owning the X-Men license at the time, various films from The First Avenger to Civil War needed to rephrase many things. For instance, neither Cap’s shield or Ultron are said to contain a trace of ‘Adamantium’ (the metal around Wolverine’s bones); every instance of “mutant” is replaced with “enhanced;” while Wanda and Peter have more mundane parents than Magneto.

14. A Funny Line in ‘Ragnarok’ Was Written By A Kid

There’s quite a backstory to the moment Thor shouts “He’s a friend from work!” in Thor Ragnarok. Hemsworth told Entertainment Weekly that the idea for this particular line came from a kid visiting the set as part of the Make A Wish foundation. The child suggested the line to Hemsworth during a break between takes.

He’s a Friend from Work!

SEE ALSO:
Chris Hemsworth’s Best Movie Roles

15. The Most Powerful Character Will Never Be in the MCU

Marvel has many great heroes, and a popular proposal is who is the most powerful. This award could go to the One-Above-All, an all-powerful all-knowing entity that takes various forms like Jack Kirby when interacting with others.

According to CBR, this “supreme ruler of the Marvel Multiverse” will likely never appear in the MCU because of the “massive power imbalance it would create.”

A step below him is the Living Tribunal, a cosmic entity charged with keeping all universes in balance. Unlike One-Above-All, the Living Tribunal makes a cameo appearance in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

16. Deadpool and Thanos Were in A Love Triangle

It seems Thanos is also keen on winning love wars. Did you know that he was caught up in a love triangle with Deadpool and Lady Death (a cosmic-entity and personification of death which takes the form of a female skeleton)? Mind-blowing, indeed.

This was somewhat referenced in Deadpool 2, but not to its full extent. So what’s the story? Both the Mad Titan and Wade Wilson were in love with Lady Death, but Thanos ended up winning her over and they even had a baby together (Rot). How? He cursed Deadpool with immortality, preventing him from ever truly dying and being with his sweetheart. Damn, that Thanos is a douche.

17. George R.R. Martin Loved Marvel

He’s famous for reinventing the fantasy genre and enjoying a higher fictional body count than Joss Whedon, but Game of Thrones’ George R. R. Martin was an avid fan of Marvel to the point where he wrote in to Marvel’s letter columns in the ’60s. He was particularly fond of the Fantastic Four.

george rr martin marvel

18. The X-Mansion has a History of Destroying

It’s a running joke in the X Men comics that Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, aka, the X-Mansion, gets destroyed quite regularly. The X-Men home, school and headquarters has been attacked at least seven times throughout the comics, including by Juggernaut, the Skrulls, Onslaught and Phalanx. While it was almost always rebuilt to resemble the original structure, it took on a new look when it reopened as the Jean Grey School.

Most adaptations in the movies, TV shows and video games have also involved the school coming under attack at least once.

19. Spider-Man’s Hyphen is Because of Superman

You’ll see it in a number of places where it’s asked if the Web-Head’s name is “Spider-Man,” “Spiderman,” or “Spider Man.” According to Stan Lee, it’s Spider-Man, with a hyphen, in order to separate him from Superman who in print, could appear to have a very similar name.

Bonus fact? Marvel recently introduced another Spiderman (with no hyphen) named Peter Palmer in the comic ‘Spider-Man #4’.

CHECK OUT:
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20. The Incredible Hulk was Grey at First

Here’s one of the coolest Marvel facts out there. When he first appeared in the comic ‘The Incredible Hulk #1’ in 1962, Bruce Banner would transform into a grey-skinned Hulk. He was made green after the first few issues, because when it came to printing comics, the grey tone in the four-color printing process would come out different every time. It was later explained that the Hulk’s skin changed because of an overexposure to radiation.

21. Marvel Own the Men In Black

As absolutely insane as this sounds, the ‘Men in Black’ — the black-suited agents of the acclaimed 1997-2012 film series — are owned by Marvel. For those who don’t know, ‘The Men in Black’ originated as a comic book in the early ’90s. Marvel later bought the previous publisher, Malibu Comics, in 1994, and all the films, shows and video games became Marvel productions. Makes you wonder if Coulson and co. strutting around in polarized shades and black suits is a nod to the men above the system.

22. A Fan Designed the Black Spider Suit

In the 1980s, Marvel held a fan competition, looking for aspiring writers and artists. One fan submitted an idea of a stealth suit for the web-head, engineered by Reed Richards and tailored by Janet van Dyne. Marvel liked the outfit and offered the fan $220 ($700 in today’s money) for it. It was used in the comics (‘Spectacular Spider-Man: Self-Improvement’) and in movies like 2007’s Spider-Man 3. 

23. Marvel tried to Copyright “Zombie”

One of the more lesser-known Marvel facts! Back in the ’70s, Marvel ran a series of comics called “Tales of the Zombie.” They managed to copyright the word “zombie” in 1975, but by 1996, they lost the trademark as it didn’t take long for the company to realize that such a claim is next to impossible to enforce.

24. Marvel Movies Once Flopped

These days, it’s somewhat trendy to bash any movie made by DC, while almost all MCU movies are praised to the skies. It was a different story in the ’80s and ’90s, when during a dark period of poor comic films, Marvel got the short-end of the poo-stick. Captain America struggled in 1944 and 1996, and a film for The Punisher went straight to video. Don’t believe us? Ask any Marvel fan about 1986’s Howard the Duck and see what they say.

25. Marvel and DC Comics Battled Over ‘Captain Marvel’

The name ‘Captain Marvel’ has an interesting history behind it. This hero was actually originated by Fawcett Comics in the 1930s. Following some legal disputes, in 1967, Marvel learned that DC Comics was planning to revive Fawcett Comics’ Captain Marvel.

While DC managed to gain ownership of the visual and story elements of ‘Captain Marvel,’ they were beaten to the punch by Marvel when it came to the name. This led DC to bill him as the one and only “Shazam” instead.

Marvel is now obligated to keep printing Captain Marvel stories or they lose the right to use him/her to DC. Explains why there are so many variations of the hero throughout the Marvel Universe!

SEE ALSO:
20 Captain Marvel Facts and Trivia

26. Tom Holland Learned He Was Cast As Spider Man Online

It sounds like something from a movie: You’re chilling out and browsing your social media feed when boom! You see your face on a big company’s page that says you are going places.

After feeling convinced that he hadn’t made it through the audition, Tom Holland claimed he went ballistic-nuts when he saw Marvel reveal on their website that he’d be the new Spider-Man actor. “I got my computer, and my dog was sitting next to me. I type in ‘Marvel.’ I’ve still got the article saved on my computer. It said, ‘We would like to introduce our new Spider-Man, Tom Holland,'” the star told Variety.

27. Marvel Comics Almost Never Existed

Marvel could have died four years before it published its first issue. In 1937, its creator Martin Goodman was preparing to return to America from a honeymoon by airship – a very classy mode of travel at the time.

However, in a move we’ve all likely made, he was just a little too slow in booking the seats he wanted. He was lucky, as he almost bought two seats aboard the Hindenberg on its fateful journey (The Hindenburg disaster was an airship accident that occurred on May 6, 1937). Woah.

SEE ALSO:
40+ Most Powerful MCU Villains

28. A Famous Car Appeared in ‘Civil War’

It’s something of an open secret In Hollywood that sets and props get recycled and reused in other movies to save money. But rarely is it done with cars, as they are usually loans.

Fans of Arrested Development, however, might recognize this Marvel Easter Egg: The stair car at the German airport seen in Civil War was the one popularly used by the Bluth family in the show.

29. Tom Holland Was Refused Access to the Full ‘Endgame’ Script

You’ll never be safe from spoilers on the Internet — and Tom Holland. That’s right, the Spider-Man alum is known to have a slip of the tongue when it comes to spoiling MCU movies.

He famously leaked stories about Spider-Man: Homecoming and Infinity War before their release, and so to avoid the same thing happening for Endgame, Tom wasn’t given access to the entire script.

Here’s a funny video showing Benedict Cumberbatch continuously stopping Tom from spoiling the movie. Poor dude.

30. Steve Had a “Catch Up List” For Every Country

In Winter Soldier, we got a glimpse of Steve Roger’s “catch-up” list, featuring pop culture icons he wanted to become better acquainted with. Well, fun fact, there were multiple versions of this list, unique for whatever country the film was playing in. For Australians, his list contained Steve Irwin and Skippy; for French viewers, “Fifth Element” was spotted; and for the U.K, The Beatles and World Cup Final (1966) were pending on his list.

captain america catch up list

31. Jeremey Renner Trained with Olympic Archers

How do you prepare in just a few months what looks like something that would take a lifetime? You hire the experts! In his preparation for the role of master archer and Shield super-agent Hawkeye, Jeremy Renner trained with Olympic archers to understand how to shoot a bow. He also listened to a specific playlist suited to the role to truly grasp the character.

32. Robert Downey Jr. Was Marvel’s “Biggest Risk”

It’s difficult to imagine Iron Man without Robert Downey Jr. But that almost happened had Iron Man director Jon Favreau not insisted. The actor’s drug and alcohol habits were initially a red flag for Marvel producers, but sometimes, the best person to understand the mind of an alcoholic is another alcoholic. Downey’s troubled past somewhat helped nail him the role of Tony Stark, who also suffers from substance abuse.

On casting Downey Jr., Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige said: “I do think, still, the biggest risk — which seems outrageous to say now — was casting Robert Downey Jr. It was both the biggest risk and the most important thing in the founding of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Without Robert, we wouldn’t be sitting here today. I really believe that.”

33. James Gunn is the Dancer Behind Baby Groot’s Moves

From concept to final execution, it took James Gunn and the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 team two whole years to plan and create Baby Groot’s dance to ELO’s hit Mr. Blue Sky. This mammoth project (that totally paid off) was “a long process of tweaking the camera, lighting, animation, and comic beats,” as reported by Indie Wire. In fact, it actually included Gunn busting some moves, which were used by visual effects vendors to craft the scene.

SEE ALSO:
24 Facts About ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

34. Marvel Always Honors Star Wars

Star Wars and Marvel are connected in more ways than you think. You might have noticed in several MCU movies, that characters have their arms cut off. This includes Thor in The Dark World, Bucky in The Winter Soldier, and even Groot in Infinity War.

Well, this is actually an intentional tribute to the iconic Star Wars character, Luke Skywalker, who has his arm cut off in Empire Strikes Back.

That’s not all. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, did you spot the several Star Wars toys and action figures in Peter Parker’s bedroom? You may recall seeing Ned holding a LEGO Death Star model, too.

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loki cut thor hand

35. Captain America Has an Iconic Phrase

In case you didn’t notice, Captain America has an iconic catchphrase. We’ve heard Steve Rogers say “I Can Do This All Day” so frequently as though it’s something he tells everyone.

Even his older-self cuts him off in Endgame like, “Yeah, I know.” In fairness, he does overuse it a little bit — four times throughout his eight appearances, to be exact. Cap first uttered the symbolic line, “I can do this all day” in The First Avenger, and then again in Civil War, Endgame, and Hawkeye. A fun reference to Cap’s resilience!

36. Stan Lee’s Phase 3 Cameos Were Filmed in One Day

Stan Lee’s cameos in Marvel movies are some of the most-awaited moments for fans. Well, did you know that most of his Phase 3 cameos were shot in one day by Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn?

“It’s a big deal for a 93-year-old man to go to a movie set and spend a day shooting. James shot four cameos with Stan in one day,” Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson told Entertainment Weekly.

The four movies are said to be Doctor StrangeGotG Vol. 2Thor Ragnarok and Spider-Man: Homecoming

37. The Fallen ‘Infinity War’ Heroes Were Removed from Marvel’s Logo

Here’s a fact about Marvel that will make you want to rewatch the movie. Some fans may not have noticed this, but the iconic Marvel Studios logo that appears at the start of every MCU film was adjusted for Endgame. The heroes who were ‘snapped’ in Infinity War were digitally removed from the logo, but this wasn’t noticed until the movie released on home video.

38. Gal Gadot Nearly Played Nebula

Wonder Woman in the MCU? That would’ve been wild! Gal Gadot admitted that a big production once offered her a movie role which involved shaving her head and being painted blue. She turned down the role, and although she never explicitly mentioned ‘Nebula,’ it’s pretty obvious who Gadot was insinuating. She has, however, confessed that she thinks Wonder Woman would beat Thor in a battle, though…

39. Chris Hemsworth Done Heavy Weightlifting for ‘Thor’

It’s no surprise that Chris Hemsworth had to do a lot of weightlifting when training for the role of Thor. Specifically, he packed on over 20 pounds of muscle. He also admitted to using ‘blood-flow restriction’ as a technique for gaining arm definition. That’s what you call dedication!

chris hemsworth topless showing his muscles
chrishemsworth | Instagram

40. Kevin Feige Wanted Every Avenger to Die in ‘Endgame’

We could have witnessed an even bigger bloodbath had it not been for the Russo Brothers. Believe it or not, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige wanted all the OG Avengers to die in Endgame, but the Russo Brothers stepped in, saying it would have been too “aggressive.”

“There were lots of rumors swirling about who was gonna die. Kevin did actually pitch, at one point, taking all the OGs off the board. We thought it was way too aggressive and that the audience wouldn’t be able to process it,” Joe Russo told Variety.

There’s no shortage of weird and wonderful stories when it comes to Marvel — we could talk all things superheroes all day long. Are there any amazing tales you’ve heard of that are worth sharing?

Let us know which of these fun Marvel facts wowed you the most in the comments below!

Until next time, fellow true believers!


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Tale Tellers

  • Mark Stamp

    Mark Stamp has a head for writing, whether it's short stories, logs, journals or the latest news. When not deep in exploring a new tale or world he is on the lookout for movie, video game and TV news. What brings him back to the narratives are often the deeper or hidden philosophies in great works, niche publications and new releases. Mark also enjoys sharing discoveries, answering queries or pondering an implication or two.

  • Angela Stephanou

    After completing her BA in Communication, Media and Film studies, Angela launched Tell Tales Online, and now writes and oversees the content and strategy across the site. As a pop culture junkie, she follows more celebs than real-life people, her guilty pleasure is watching The Kardashians, but she's also a fan of Marvel and Game of Thrones.

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