Here's How the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Heroes Connect — in One Surprising Map
With the debut of Marvel Studios' latest movie Ant-Man this past weekend, the second phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has drawn to a close. The franchise is hardly over, of course: Ten additional films are planned for the company's Phase Three slate, including two Avengers movies. That's not even counting all the TV series, including the upcoming second season of Agent Carter.
Populating these numerous properties is a cast of what seems to be thousands. How to keep the scores of characters straight, including and especially the over dozen heroes we've met so far?
To assist you (and, frankly, us), we've compiled a map of how each Marvel Studios movie character relates to one another.
Note: This map contains major spoilers for nearly every Marvel Studios movie released so far, including Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man. The description below includes some cast spoilers for the upcoming Captain America: Civil War. Readers seeking to remain unspoiled should take evasive maneuvers.
A few standout facts and figures from this map:
Among the 16 heroes included here, 10 of them have taken part of some team called the Avengers. Those with yellow circles around their bubble were part of the first Avengers team, while those with purple circles are part of the new Avengers created at the end of Age of Ultron.
While Nick Fury brought the original Avengers together, two of the originals brought the new team together: Captain America and Black Widow. They're the only remaining original members in the new configuration.
Not included on this map: the heroes from Guardians of the Galaxy and Charlie Cox's Daredevil. Neither property has crossed over with the major Marvel Cinematic Universe yet, though one villain (Thanos) has appeared in both the Guardians and Avengers stories.
Also not included: any of the Agents of SHIELD. They're known primarily for their TV show, though obviously agents like Phil Coulson have presences in the films too. We chose to just include Peggy Carter from the agents since she headlines her own property and has appeared in many of the films (including Ant-Man).
Only one of the characters listed here is dead: Quicksilver, aka Pietro Maximoff, who died protecting Hawkeye. He and his sister Wanda, code named Scarlet Witch, were originally enemies in Age of Ultron, but came around.
Though she's still alive, Peggy Carter is significantly older in the current timeline than her hero incarnation. Agent Carter on ABC takes place during her younger years, though.
None of the original Avengers has fought as many of their fellow heroes as the Maximoff siblings, however. Because they start out on Ultron's side in Age of Ultron, they fight nearly all of the heroes before coming around to the side of good.
The Winter Soldier isn't a hero yet, but the post-credits scene after Ant-Man gives us hope. We won't spoil, but it's certainly interesting. Speaking of post-credit sequences, including Hope Van Dyne as the Wasp is a bit of wishful thinking that she'll actually be able to use the suit she's shown at the end of Ant-Man. We can dream, can't we?
Much of this map will change after the first film in Phase Three, Captain America: Civil War. That film will feature 10 of these heroes (only Thor, Wasp, Hulk, Nick Fury and Peggy Carter will be absent among the living). It will also introduce our new Spider-Man, Tom Holland, and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). We'll redraft the map when that happens come the film's May 6, 2016 release date.