Everyone is bracing for the release of ‘Avengers: Endgame’. Will this star-studded crossover out-perform last year’s ‘Infinity War’? Things look promising, as ‘Endgame’ set the record for fastest-pre-sales in just six hours!
Before you head to the multiplex, check out these fun facts that you might not know about the champions of the Marvel Universe! Some pertain to the movies. Others refer to the comics. Either way, hopefully, you’ll enjoy them!
1. The Hulk Was A Member Of The Avengers For Exactly One Issue
In 1963’s ‘Avengers’ #1, Marvel assembled their version of DC’s ‘Justice League’ with a group comprised of existing headliners– Iron Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Thor and the Hulk. But after that single issue, the Hulk was outta there. Guess Stan Lee couldn’t figure out how to make a rampaging monster that was wanted by the authorities and who lives in the Nevada desert work with the world’s greatest champions who all operated out of New York City. In subsequent years, the Hulk’s position as a team founder was even given up and passed on to Captain America who joined in ‘Avengers’ #4.
2. Disney/Marvel Studios Can’t Make Solo ‘Hulk’ Movies
Because Marvel Comics licensed the film rights to the Hulk to Universal Pictures, who made the 2003 movie ‘Hulk’ directed by Ang Lee and starring Eric Bana, Marvel Studios can’t make any more solo Hulk pictures without brokering a deal with Universal. While they were willing to play nice with Sony in order to work Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it seems as though the studio doesn’t think it would be worth the money to do the same for the Hulk, which is why instead of solo ‘Hulk’ flicks, Mark Ruffalo’s take on the character has been beefed up in other movies, like ‘Thor: Ragnarok‘.
3. Or ‘Sub-Mariner’ Movies Either
Don’t expect Marvel to fire back with their answer to DC’s ‘Aquaman’. The rights to ‘Namor, the Sub-Mariner’ are held by Peter Jackson’s Legendary Entertainment. In order to use the character in a Marvel Studios picture, a deal would have to be struck, but as Kevin Feige said last year, “I think there’s a way to probably figure… it’s not as clean or clear as the majority of the other characters.” If Marvel Studios doesn’t want to go to the trouble of working out a deal to make solo ‘Hulk’ movies, they sure as hell aren’t going to do it for a ‘Sub-Mariner’ movie.
However, they have worked around the Hulk situation by developing the character in other movies. There is a strange, er, strong possibility that Namor will appear in another character’s movie. Perhaps the sequel to a certain wizard’s movie? Maybe?
4. The First Marvel Character To Star In A Movie Was Actually…
‘Howard the Duck’ was the first Marvel character to star in a movie. Released by Lucasfilm LTD in 1986, following the success of the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy and the first two ‘Indiana Jones’ epics, this $30 million action-comedy was expected to be a smash. It was not. This dud only made $15 million at the box office and became a recurring punchline for ’80s stand-up comedians and sitcom writers. Another Marvel character wouldn’t make it to the big screen until ‘Blade’ in 1998.
5. Guess Who Else Had A Movie
Once ‘Blade’ got the ball rolling, studios across Hollywood started snapping up the film rights to various Marvel characters, from the X-Men to The Punisher to Daredevil, and so on. For whatever reason Artisan Entertainment opted to produce a movie based on the plant creature ‘Man-Thing’. This low-budget sludge was so bad that test audiences reportedly walked out of screenings, and Artisan dropped a theatrical release. It was aired on the Sci Fi Channel and released on DVD.
6. Tony Stark Is An Alcoholic
During a nine-issue storyline entitled “Demon in a Bottle,” published in 1979, writers David Michelinie and Bob Layton took Tony Stark on the bender to end all benders. Tony’s drinking led to him going into action as Iron Man under the influence with disastrous results.
In all honesty, Iron Man was never the most popular Marvel Comics character, so he doesn’t have that many notable storylines, so this still stands as one of his most famous, and his depiction as a recovering alcoholic has continued to define the character… at least in the comics. Robert Downey Jr. is still shown knocking a few back on occasion in the movies.
7. Groot Is One Of The Oldest Marvel Characters
Everyone knows that Captain America and Bucky were introduced in the 1940s and that their exploits were published by Timely Comics. But between the Timely era and the dawn of Marvel Comics, the publisher operated as Atlas Comics and a large chunk of their output was B-movie-style monster stories. One of the one-off creatures in these books was Groot, who debuted in 1960’s ‘Tales to Astonish’ #13. He could also talk. Most of the ridiculous beasts included in such comics appeared once and were never seen again. No one could have predicted that this one would eventually become one of the biggest movie stars in the world.
8. The Vision Was Almost Never Created
When writer Roy Thomas took over writing the ‘Avengers’ comic book, Stan Lee had a few rules including that Thomas could not include Captain America, Thor or Iron Man (!), and that he needed to introduce a new member. Thomas’ first choice was to revive the Golden Age character, The Vision, a vengeful spectre from another dimension. But Lee put the kibosh on that idea and told Thomas that the new character had to be an android (for unknown reasons). Thomas reacted by introducing The Vision we all know today. This Vision bore a superficial similarity to the Golden Age character but was overall a brand new creation. He was a “synthezoid” built by Ultron to infiltrate and betray the Avengers. But The Vision was too advanced and developed real emotions. He turned against his creator and ended up becoming one of the most popular Avengers in the group’s long history.
RELATED: It Appears The Title For Disney+’s Series Starring Vision And Scarlet Witch Has Been Revealed
9. The Pissing Contest That Brought Wonder Man Back From The Dead
In 1964’s ‘Avengers’ #9, Baron Zemo gave Simon Williams superpowers and the identity of Wonder Man in order to infiltrate the Avengers and dismantle them from within. Zemo’s plan went fine until Williams had a change of heart and betrayed him, resulting in Wonder Man’s death.
But the name “Wonder Man” raised a few eyebrows over at DC, home of the iconic character Wonder Woman. Legal action was taken, but Marvel assured DC that Wonder Man was dead and wouldn’t be resurrected. Lawsuit avoided, and that was that.
Well… until 1976, when DC introduced Power Girl, the parallel universe version of Supergirl. See at that point, Marvel’s Luke Cage had been known for years as Power Man.
As Stan “The Man” Lee himself explained:
“You know, years ago we brought out Wonder Man, and [DC Comics] sued us because they had Wonder Woman, and… I said okay, I’ll discontinue Wonder Man. And all of a sudden they’ve got Power Girl [after Marvel had introduced Power Man]. Oh, boy. How unfair.”
Marvel retaliated by bringing Wonder Man back from the dead a year later and he went on to be a member of the Avengers, off and on, throughout the years.
10. Stan Lee’s First Cameo
‘Avengers: Endgame’ includes the final cameo appearance by Marvel Comics founder Stan Lee. Lee has popped up in every Marvel Cinematic Universe film, as well as in many other movies and TV shows based on Marvel Comics, and even some that weren’t Marvel-based! But where did it all begin? Stan popped up for the first time on camera for the 1989 TV movie ‘Trial of the Incredible Hulk’. Lee appeared as a member of the jury for the titular trial.
So there you go! Hopefully, you found this educational or at least amusing. Now go out and check out ‘Endgame’ with a little more knowledge about the publisher and its heroes.