10 MCU Plot Twists No One Saw Coming

  • Vulture being Liz's dad in Spider-Man: Homecoming was a shocking twist with major implications for future movies.
  • The Mandarin's reveal as an actor in Iron Man 3 sparked controversy, leading to a real Mandarin in the MCU.
  • Quicksilver's death in Avengers: Age of Ultron was a major shock, showcasing a heroic end for the character.
Throughout its 16-year history, the MCU has had some pretty impressive plot twists. Catching audiences completely by surprise, a good number of those twists were also hard to predict ahead of time. These can range from character deaths, big shake-ups to the status quo, and a variety of creative decisions that have generated their fair share of controversy.
Sometimes in the MCU, the seeds for an imminent plot twist are sown throughout the movie, or even in previous movies. An example would be Captain America wielding Thor's hammer in Avengers: Endgame, a twist that was to a degree set up in Avengers: Age of Ultron with Steve Rogers having more success than anyone else in lifting Mjolnir. However, other plot twists in the MCU have come as a complete surprise for the vast majority of viewers. To that end, here are ten MCU plot twists that very few saw coming ahead of time.
Related Every Upcoming Marvel Movie: Full MCU Phase 5 & 6 List (& Beyond) Between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment, here is every upcoming Marvel movie release date and what we know about the projects so far.
10 The Mandarin's True Identity Iron Man 3 Close In Iron Man 3, The Mandarin was introduced as a major new global terrorist leader who was threatening the world and was played by Sir Ben Kingsley. A classic Iron Man villain from the comics, the Mandarin's casting seemed perfect. After all, Kingsley certainly had the gravitas to play such a foreboding and dynamic villain. However, so does Trevor Slattery, the in-universe actor in the MCU whom Kingsley was actually playing.
In a twist that remains quite controversial to this day, it was revealed that Iron Man 3's Mandarin was nothing more than an actor hired by AIM's Aldrich Killian in his bid to own both sides of the war on terror. However, this twist was so surprising and controversial that both a one-shot starring Kingsley and 2021's Shang-Chi established that the MCU did indeed have a real Mandarin and Ten Rings terrorist organization, one Killian had simply cooped. This also led to a very humorous return from Kingsley's Trevor in the Shang-Chi movie itself.
9 Hydra's Infiltration of SHIELD Captain America: The Winter Soldier Close The twist in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that Hydra still existed and had been operating within the ranks of SHIELD for decades was huge. As revealed by the computerized consciousness of Arnim Zola, Hydra had been shaping history in the shadows for years following the end of WWII, its corruption of SHIELD having extended to the very highest levels of the bureaucracy. As such, Captain America's dismantling of SHIELD and exposure of all its secrets alongside Hydra's was a huge moment during the MCU's second phase, one that had massive ramifications for the MCU's future.
The Winter Soldier's plot twist also had massive consequences for Marvel's Agents of SHIELD. Not only did the ABC show help set up the movie prior to its release, but the film's fallout was depicted in the final episodes of the show's first season and beyond as the entire infrastructure of SHIELD had effectively been destroyed. As such, this opened the show to explore some very interesting narrative avenues in future seasons as they sought to rebuild SHIELD into something better and new.
8 Quicksilver's Death Avengers: Age of Ultron Close 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron revealed that Clint Barton's Hawkeye had a secret family. Likewise, the movie spent quite a bit of time teasing the notion that Barton might lose his life by the movie's end, especially after introducing these additional emotional stakes. Furthermore, Hawkeye's end was intentionally set up during the Battle of Sokovia when Ultron began strafing the floating city in a jet while the Avenger was trying to get a young boy to safety, only for Pietro Maximoff's Quicksilver to save them both while sacrificing himself.
Sokovians who volunteered to receive powers from Hydra, Pietro and his sister Wanda had just made their debut as heroes in Age of Ultron itself. As a result, Quicksilver's death came as a major shock. That said, it did mean that Pietro received one of the most heroic ends in the entire MCU.
7 Ego Killed Star-Lord's Mom Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Close One of the most vicious plot twists in the entire MCU, the reveal in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 that Ego put the tumor in the head of Star-Lord's mother was incredibly brutal. Claiming that he had to kill Meredith Quill to continue his great Expansion throughout the cosmos, Ego couldn't see the problem with killing Peter's mother. That said, Star-Lord's instantaneously opening fire on his Celestial father the moment he hears this dark truth is one of the most satisfying moments in the entire Guardians franchise.
This particular plot twist also carried some significant ramifications for the rest of the movie. After all, it's what led to Star-Lord giving up his powers as a half-celestial. Rejecting his father, Quill reunited with the rest of the Guardians while also realizing that Yondu had been the one who truly cared for him as a father all along, resulting in some incredibly touching dynamic just before Yondu's death at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
6 Vulture Is The Dad of Spider-Man's Date Spider-Man: Homecoming Close An MCU plot twist that drew audible shock from several theater audiences in 2017, the reveal that the Vulture was the father of Peter Parker's date Liz in Spider-Man: Homecoming was completely blindsiding. Having been named Liz, many assumed that Peter's crush and eventual date was Liz Allan from the comics. However, she was in fact Liz Allan-Toomes, a reveal that was made only when Vulture himself opens the door when Peter arrives to pick her up for a school dance.
The resulting connections Adrian Toomes makes while driving Peter and Liz to the dance has largely been seen as one of the greatest villain moments in the entire MCU. Realizing that Peter is Spider-Man, Peter's stunned shock and fear is on full display as Vulture figures it all out, the green light at the intersection sinisterly illuminating his face. As such, the audience is made to feel exactly as Peter does during this incredibly dynamic scene as it deals with this major twist.
5 Thanos' Snap Avengers: Infinity War Close While there was always the danger that Thanos would snap his fingers, few could have predicted that the Mad Titan would actually succeed by the end of Avengers: Infinity War, effectively the first part of the story that concludes with Avengers: Endgame. Likewise, it's very unlikely that many were expecting so many of the MCU's newest heroes to be among the victims, let alone that the entire roster of original Avengers would survive. It perfectly set up massive amounts of excitement for Endgame, as many questioned how Earth's Mightiest could bring their fallen allies back.
4 Evan Peters Revealed As Ralph Bohner WandaVision Close The appearance of Evan Peters in Marvel's WandaVision effectively came with two major plot twists for the first MCU Disney+ series. Initially, Peters' appearance alone came as a major surprise, especially due to his claims that he was Wanda's brother Pietro. Having played the Fox universe's version of Quicksilver beginning with X-Men: Days of Future Past, many believed that the multiverse was in play and that Peters' Quicksilver was simply the first of many X-Men who might appear in the MCU following Disney's recent purchase of 20th Century Fox.
Instead, it was eventually revealed that Peters was actually playing Ralph Bohner, Agatha Harkness' pretend husband whom she turned into a puppet for use in her manipulations of Wanda. Much like Sir Ben Kingsley's Trevor Slattery, it was also revealed that Bohner was an actor. In essence, Evan Peters' role was merely a dynamic bit of meta-casting to keep both the Scarlet Witch and audiences guessing throughout the series.
3 Mysterio Exposing Spider-Man's Secret Identity Spider-Man: Far From Home Close Following his defeat of Mysterio in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Peter Parker was ready to get his life back on track, including his life as Spider-Man. However, Mysterio had a video released that not only publically outed the Webslinger as Peter Parker, but also as a murderer using doctored footage from their battle in London. Again, audiences' shock and surprise were made to perfectly match Spider-Man's major "WTF" moment at the end of the 2019 movie.
Naturally, this is something that 2021's Spider-Man: No Way Home immediately followed up on as the public, media, and law enforcement all began swarming Peter Parker and his loved ones. It also motivated the core plot of No Way Home with Spider-Man asking Doctor Strange to cast a spell and make everyone forget that he's Spider-Man. As such, Far From Home's ending plot twist certainly ranks as one of the biggest MCU plot twists resulting in the biggest fallout and changes to the status quo (right up there with Hydra's infiltration of SHIELD and Thanos' Snap).
2 The World Forgets Peter Parker Spider-Man: No Way Home Close Needing to save all reality from the spell he inadvertently botched, Spider-Man received yet another major plot twist at the end of Spider-Man: No Way Home. In order to reverse all the multiversal mayhem, the entire world had to forget that they knew Peter Parker via a new spell from Strange. While Spider-Man would still be remembered, the man underneath would be completely forgotten, including by his friends, allies, and loved ones. It's a huge plot twist, one that has changed Spider-Man's entire life going forward and will hopefully be addressed in the upcoming Spider-Man 4.
1 Shuri Faces Killmonger In Ancestral Plane Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Close Near the end of the film, Princess Shuri consumes the heart-shaped herb to become the next Black Panther in 2022's Wakanda Forever. While one would have expected her to reunite with the recently deceased Queen Ramonda or even a panther-version of her fallen brother T'Challa, Shuri instead comes face to face with her cousin Erik Killmonger who tried to take the throne in the first film. This came as a major surprise, one that spoke to Shuri's similar desire for vengeance against Namor, just as Killmonger sought vengeance for his fallen father N'Jobu.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever PG-13 DramaActionAdventure Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the sequel to the 2018 film Black Panther and is part of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Gripping with the passing of their king, the nation of Wakanda attempts to figure out how to move forward with Queen Mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright) at the helm. However, a nation in grieving is not observed by all, as soon Wakanda comes under attack by the underwater civilization of Talocan, led by Namor (Tenoch Huerta.) Wakanda will enlist allies outside and from within to push back this new invading threat and ensure that Wakanda truly does live on forever.

Director Ryan Coogler Release Date November 11, 2022 Studio(s) Disney Distributor(s) Disney Writers Ryan Coogler , Joe Robert Cole Cast Winston Duke , Dominique Thorne , Michaela Coel , Danai Gurira , Angela Bassett , Lupita Nyong'o , Letitia Wright , Martin Freeman Runtime 2h 41m Franchise(s) Marvel Cinematic Universe Sequel(s) Black Panther Budget 250 Million Expand


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