There’s nothing quite like the MCU. Sure, there have been shared universes in the past, there are several others now, and there will undoubtedly be more in the future. But Marvel’s on-screen world has managed to manufacture a monstrous success that no other film franchise can match. They’ve miraculously transferred characters and storylines from their comics onto the big screen for millions upon millions of viewers to enjoy. And they’ve done so while maintaining a high level of quality. At least, for the most part.
But there are some elements that have gone through changes. Some of the most interesting characters from the movies look entirely different on the pages. Sometimes, it’s for the best that their appearance has been changed. But others have suffered from a lackluster live-action interpretation. Here are some MCU characters that were physically changed the most.
In the comics, Hawkeye has ditched the goofy mask in more recent runs. But for the majority of his existence, he looked similar to a circus performer.
This is one case of the costume designers wisely choosing not to attempt to bring over a hero’s costume. It just wouldn’t have translated well and there’s a reason it was eventually changed in the comics.
19 Iron Fist
Netflix’s Iron Fist was a misfire in a lot of ways, but one was the look of Danny Rand. Essentially, he didn’t have one, which is to say that he just looked like a normal guy.
True, Iron Fist’s somewhat silly costume probably wouldn’t have translated well on-screen. But they could have made adjustments to it.
Another character’s look that was altered for Thor: Ragnarok was Valkyrie. While there are a great deal of these warriors in the comics (and the Norse mythology they’re based on), the main Valkyrie Thor usually teams up with is named Brunnhilde.
The on-screen Valkyrie has yet to be given a name, though it’s obvious she is meant as a stand-in for Brunnhilde.
17 The Ancient One
Tilda Swinton nailed the mysticality behind the character who teaches Doctor Strange his tricks, though she’s very different physically from what is seen on the pages.
In reality, the changing of the character to a white woman is more complicated than one might guess. But it probably still upset some fans of the character.
Abomination is one of the least-loved MCU villains and he’s from one of the least-loved MCU films, The Incredible Hulk. So, many probably aren’t too concerned with how his look was altered.
In the movie, he’s pale and looks like a cave troll from The Lord of the Rings. But his comic look is similar to The Creature from the Black Lagoon, which would’ve made him a bit more interesting.
15 Aunt May
With each live-action version of Peter Parker’s Aunt May, she’s gotten younger. I’m not entirely sure why this is, but it does fit with how Marvel approached finally having film rights to Spider-Man.
They made a lot of changes to Peter and his supporting characters in order to differentiate their version from what Sony had already done.
14 Scarlet Witch
Marvel seems to think that dressing Elizabeth Olsen in a red leather jacket is good enough for a costume. And while some versions of the Scarlet Witch are a bit too risqué for Disney standards, they could have at least done something.
In the comics, she’s dressed entirely in red to suit her name. And she even has a cape.
Ant-Man is a fine example of taking something cheesy and making necessary fixes to make it look better on-screen.
The most noticeable change is the helmet. The MCU version got rid of the antennae and the gigantic mouth hole, but they paid homage to this version in a small moment during Avengers: Endgame.
Scarlet Witch’s brother probably wasn’t around long enough to get a costume before he sacrificed himself to save Hawkeye, but what he did wear wasn’t too interesting.
He dressed entirely in workout clothes due to his super speed, but in the comics, he at least has a more distinct look.
11 Baron Zemo
This Civil War villain is one of the most successful and ruthless baddies the on-screen Avengers have faced thus far, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at him.
He wasn’t given any kind of villainous uniform. His trademark purple mask was nowhere to be found. Maybe we’ll get to see it when the villain returns in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
As Wasp’s suit was designed by the same person Ant-Man’s was, it’s only natural that their MCU appearance would be similar. But in the comics, Wasp looks a little more unique.
She actually doesn’t wear a mask. And her suit heavily uses yellow to go along with her namesake. In the movie, only her visor is yellow.
In Black Panther, M’Baku is somewhat of an antagonist before he comes to T’Challa’s aid. In the comics, he’s much closer to a villain.
He went through a ritual, hunting a rare white gorilla and feasting on its flesh, which granted him certain superhuman abilities— he even wears the skin of it as a form of supervillain costume.
Maybe it’s because Jeff Goldblum didn’t feel like sitting in a make-up chair for hours or maybe it’s because Marvel didn’t feel it necessary for the character, but the Grandmaster is supposed to be blue. As he’s an ancient space being, it makes sense he wouldn’t look quite so human-like.
Another way Marvel tried to set their Spider-Man apart from other live-action versions was with their MJ. In the comics, Spidey’s main squeeze is white and red-headed.
But in Homecoming, Peter was given a different love interest in Liz and an entirely different supporting character named Michelle to hide the small MJ twist.
6 Flash Thompson
MJ wasn’t the only Homecoming character to go through changes. Flash Thompson has always tormented Peter Parker while in high school. Though as the comics have progressed, so has his character.
The MCU’s version of Flash is very different from the standard blond-headed jock with anger issues. But he’s still always around to make fun of Peter.
This anti-heroine from Guardians of the Galaxy has gone through a lot of physical changes. Literally. Her comic look is clearly a product of the 1980s when she first debuted.
Her appearance has changed over the years and is now more in line with how Karen Gillan looks in the MCU.
With several MCU heroes, the changes that were made were very slight, but necessary. Falcon is one such case. While in the movies his wings come out of a pack on his back, the comic version had them attached to his arms.
This change boosts the on-screen appearance, but also seems more practical.
Shocker is a minor villain in the Spider-Man comics, though he’s even more minor in the MCU. He didn’t get a lot of screen time before the Vulture took him out in Homecoming.
There are small touches of his comic costume there, such as the pattern on his yellow jacket, but this is another case of a costume looking a bit too silly to translate to live-action.
There have been a ton of goofy costumes in Marvel comics over the decades, but luckily, they’ve all been kept out of the movies.
Ulysses Klaue in Black Panther has a similar arm cannon to the comics, but his costume was thankfully omitted. Instead, he dresses like a well-off gangster, which fits better with Andy Serkis’ interpretation.
The MCU’s version of Malekith loses points on two fronts. Not only was the MCU interpretation painfully dull compared to the madman Thor usually faces, but his look wasn’t nearly as interesting either.
In The Dark World, he’s pale and dresses in all black. In the comics, his face is half blue, half black, and he dresses a bit more flamboyantly.