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6 Popular MCU Entries That 'Nobody Asked For'

Just because it wasn't asked for, doesn't mean it shouldn't happen.

By Kristy AndersonPublished 4 months ago 6 min read
Credit: Disney.

In recent times, the once untouchable Marvel Cinematic Universe appears to have fallen from favour in the eyes of some fans. Many claim Marvel's newer projects simply aren't as good as the Infinity Saga. A common response to recent and upcoming projects, such as The Marvels (believed to have been unfairly treated by some), and the newly retitled Agatha, the WandaVision spin-off focusing on Agatha Harkness, is for some fans to cry:

"Nobody asked for this!"

Of course, some would say this is really quite a ridiculous argument, especially considering how the MCU began, and what the most popular characters and franchises within it have become.

Here are some of the much loved MCU entries that 'nobody really asked for'.

1. Iron Man (2008)

It may be hard to believe now, but Iron Man was not always an A-list character, and not widely known or popular outside of those who were fans of Marvel Comics, and even they were not exactly clamouring for a movie adaptation. However, when the fledgling Marvel Studios was looking to make their first film based on a Marvel Comics character, the options most well-known to general audiences (Spider-Man, X-Men, and the Fantastic Four), were off the table, with the film rights in the hands of other studios. Their situation has often been described as being left with whatever was at the bottom of the toy box. Iron Man was eventually chosen, based mostly on the potential for visual spectacle, and the tiny glimmer of hope that it could become a stepping stone to The Avengers.

When Iron Man, starring Robert Downey Jnr as Weapons Designer turned superhero Tony Stark, was released in 2008, Marvel Studios held their breath. Thankfully, the film was a smash hit, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe went from Kevin Feige's pipe dream to a very real prospect. Nobody was really asking for an Iron Man film before it was released, but now it is hard to imagine a world without Robert Downey Jnr's Tony Stark. Today's entertainment landscape would be a very different place.

2. Thor (2011)

Of all of the MCU's Phase One slate, Thor was considered by far to be the riskiest, for multiple reasons. One, most casual viewers would recognise characters such as Thor, Loki, and others as beings of Norse Mythology rather than your typical comic book heroes. Anyone who did ask for a Thor movie may not have necessarily been referring to the Marvel version. Two, it was the first MCU film to be based more in magic than science, and there were fears that Thor would be more difficult for audiences to connect with. Finally, Thor contained the last major puzzle piece for The Avengers in the form of Loki, who was to be the latter film's villain. If the Loki character didn't work out in Thor, The Avengers would be in trouble. Further concerns were raised when The Incredible Hulk under-performed at the box office, and Iron Man 2 failed to match the critical success of the first film.

Thankfully for the MCU, Thor course corrected on both counts. While most critics agreed the story left something to be desired, then-relative newcomers Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston as feuding brothers Thor and Loki, were near universally praised. Both characters became instant fan favourites, boosting Marvel Studios' hopes that The Avengers would be a success. Now, Thor has become the only character to have four solo films, with a fifth currently in development, and Loki starred in a critically acclaimed two-season TV series of his own. None of this would have happened had Marvel opted not to make Thor just because 'nobody asked for it'.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

If Iron Man and Thor were the toys at the bottom of the box, the Guardians of the Galaxy were toys that no-one had ever thought of opening. While a lesser known title, a few different Guardians of the Galaxy teams had existed in the comics, often cobbled together from minor characters Marvel didn't know what to do with. The team line-up used in the film (Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon) came about this way, and in a relatively recent comic run at the time, making them somewhat unknown to both casual film goers and comic fans. This made them a very odd choice for a movie adaptation, and it was widely expected that Guardians of the Galaxy would be the MCU's first flop.

It was going to take a very special creative mind to make characters such as Rocket Raccoon and Groot work on the big screen. Enter James Gunn, who imbued the ragtag team of Guardians with a unique brand of humour and heart that made fans fall in love. Guardians of the Galaxy was far from the expected flop, and in fact grossed higher than some of the 'big name' MCU films that came before it. Two more Guardians films followed, resulting in what many have deemed the MCU's greatest trilogy.

Nobody ever asked for a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, but now few could imagine the MCU without them.

4. Ant-Man (2015)

From the MCU's inception, Marvel Studios had an Ant-Man film in the works. It made sense, considering that the character was a founding member of The Avengers in the comics. However, plans for the film were not completed in time for the character to be incorporated into The Avengers, resulting in Ant-Man's release being moved to the developing Phase Two schedule. The film continued to face numerous delays and setbacks throughout it's development and production, most notably the loss of it's original director, Edgar Wright, due to creative differences with Marvel Studios. Some wondered if the effort was worth it. Even fans weren't exactly desperate for an Ant-Man movie, and casual audiences were quick to dismiss the character as useless or stupid by name alone.

Two main factors saved the film: the decision to make Ant-Man a heist movie, which was unique and unexpected for the MCU, and choosing Scott Lang, the second character to bear the Ant-Man mantle, as the film's lead, with fan favourite actor Paul Rudd cast in the role. Scott became as much of a fan favourite as the actor who played him, going on to appear in Civil War, two Ant-Man sequels, and a major role in Avengers: Endgame. The most recent rumours suggest that Scott will continue to be a major figure moving forward through the remainder of the Multiverse saga.

5. Werewolf By Night (2022)

When it was announced that Marvel Studios were producing a Halloween special set to stream on Disney Plus during the 2022 spooky season, many fans were expecting to see a story starring Ghost Rider, or Blade the vampire hunter. So, the reveal that the special was actually going to star Gael Garcia Bernal as Jack Russel, the Werewolf by Night, a character relatively unknown to non-comic fans, came as a surprise. Marvel Studios took a further risk by handing Michael Giacchino, a well-known TV and Film Composer but first time Director, the reins of the project. It was also filmed in Black and White, to emulate the feel of 1930s and 40s horror films.

Marketed as Marvel Studios first Special Presentation, Werewolf by Night arrived on Disney Plus on October 7, 2022, to both critical and fan acclaim. It was praised for it's classic horror aesthetic, and for treading new genre ground for the MCU. Despite no-one ever actually asking for it, Werewolf by Night became one of the most well-received entries in Phase Four.

6. Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022)

One of the most surprising announcements of the MCU's Phase Four release slate was The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, arriving as Marvel's second Special presentation in November 2022. Set sometime before the events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3, the Holiday Special centres mostly on Mantis and Drax as they venture to Earth, hoping to obtain movie star Kevin Bacon as a gift to save Christmas for Peter Quill, from whom Mantis is hiding the fact that she is his half-sister.

The Special was an instant hit, and a worthy addition to both the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise and the MCU as a whole. Nobody ever asked for the Special, perhaps because they didn't think of it, but that does not change the fact that The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special has already become traditional Christmas time viewing for many fans.

Just because a movie or special has not been asked for does not mean it shouldn't exist. The above projects are all the proof that anyone should need.


About the Creator

Kristy Anderson

Passionate About all things Entertainment!

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    Kristy AndersonWritten by Kristy Anderson

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