10 Massive MCU Character Changes

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10 Massive MCU Character Changes

VOICE OVER: Adrian Sousa WRITTEN BY: Thomas O'Connor
The translation from page to screen isn't always perfect. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for the 10 Massive MCU Character Changes.

For this list, we're looking at Marvel characters who got a significant makeover when they were ported over to the MCU. For the most, these changes were for the better. After all, who doesn't love more Goldblum?
Transcript
The translation from page to screen isn’t always perfect. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the 10 Massive MCU Character Changes.

For this list, we’re looking at Marvel characters who got a significant makeover when they were ported over to the MCU. For the most, these changes were for the better. After all, who doesn’t love more Goldblum?

#10: Vulture


This winged villain is one of Spider-Man’s oldest foes, and we mean that in more ways than one. An aging inventor who created a set of flight-capable wings, he set out to prove that the life of a supervillain wasn’t just for the young. For his MCU debut, the character was still played by a slightly older man in the form of Michael Keaton, but the frail figure of the comics was gone in favor of a tougher, more intimidating baddie. This version was also somewhat more altruistic, stealing and selling high-tech weaponry in order to support his family, which included Peter’s love interest, Liz. But he did also melt a guy, so he was still pretty bad.

#9: Drax


Like pretty much every character in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise, this knife-wielding alien got a comedy-oriented revamp when brought to the screen by James Gunn. Gunn turned the stoic, ice-cold badass of the comics into a bit more of a goofball, albeit, one who thinks he’s a stoic, ice-cold badass. But the differences don’t end there. The movie version is, as far as we know, a fully alien being. But in the comics, the Guardians’ resident stabbing specialist began life as a human and was transformed into a living weapon in order to kill Thanos. He also used to wear a purple cape and wrestling belt in the comics, a look that Dave Bautista would have trouble pulling off.

#8: Malekith


The leader of the Dark Elves didn’t make a huge impression in his cinematic debut, despite a decent performance by Christopher Eccleston. A ghostly pale figure clad in fantasy armor, he looked straight out of Lord of the Rings, but not in that interesting a way. He probably would have made a better impression if he’d had his comics wardrobe, an ostentatious black and red number complete with luxuriant elven locks that would make Legolas jealous. He’s also an extremely powerful sorcerer in the comics, while his onscreen version only gained such powers after acquiring the Infinity Stone known as the Aether. The comics version of Malekith always has a sinister smile, but there was nothing joyful about the MCU version.

#7: Whiplash


Tony Stark’s whip-cracking nemesis from “Iron Man 2” is actually a conglomerate of two classic Iron Man villains from the comics. His supervillain name and weapon of choice come from a character who was initially linked with the Maggia crime syndicate, a supervillain armed with specially engineered whips. However, his Russian origin and real name come from an entirely different character, an armored supervillain known as the Crimson Dynamo. The two were amalgamated for the movie, adding energized whips to the Dynamo's electrical powers and later his hulking suit of armor, and casting Iron Man’s new foe as the son of a disgruntled former Stark employee. As is the case with many characters on this list, a version of Whiplash that resembled the movie version was introduced to the comics in 2010, the same year as the release of “Iron Man 2.”

#6: Mantis


Another ‘Guardians” character who got a comedic makeover, this deadly martial artist became somewhat less formidable for her role in the MCU. In the comics, she’s actually a human who was raised to be the “Celestial Madonna”, the mother of a being that would save the entire universe. She was trained in this destiny by the Priests of Pama, a group of aliens, who helped turn her into an extremely talented martial artist. Her onscreen counterpart is less formidable, a meek and timid character who ends up getting carried out of most fight scenes after getting knocked out, though she does share the empathic abilities of the comics version.

#5: Yondu


James Gunn just can’t help put his stamp on the characters he brings to the screen. While they both sport mohawks, blue skin, and a deadly arrow, the similarities between the two mostly end there. The comics version is actually a member of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, a group of freedom fighters from the distant future. The MCU version of the character is much more of a scruffy rogue, the leader of a faction of space pirates and wielder of a telekinetically controlled an arrow, a nod to the more traditional bow used by his two-dimensional counterpart. We can probably all agree that the movie version is just cooler.

#4: Baron Zemo


One of the Avengers’ most infamous villains, this rather flamboyant and grandiose baddie was almost entirely transformed for his appearance in “Captain America: Civil War.” A second-generation leader of Hydra, this classic Marvel villain is known for his extravagant costume, complete with purple mask and mink collar, and his flair for larger-than-life supervillain theatrics. The MCU version of the character is significantly more subdued and much more nuanced. Rather than a Nazi terrorist, he’s a man who lost his family during the events of “Age of Ultron”, and swore to retaliate by destroying the Avengers. He’s still a fascinating villain, but he just isn’t the kind of guy who goes around with a dueling saber on his hip anymore.

#3: Ultron


Another classic Avengers foe, this robotic villain’s origins and personality got a revamp. In the second Avengers movie, he was created by Iron Man and Bruce Banner as a way to ensure the world remains safe, like a suit of armor around the world. But things went awry when it turned to evil, as movie AI usually does. The comics iteration was instead created by Hank Pym, a character who hadn’t been introduced in the MCU when “Age of Ultron” came out. Beyond this new origin, the character also took on some of Tony Stark’s snarky personality, making for a more charismatic evil robot than his comic book counterpart, thanks in large part to James Spader’s performance.

#2: The Grandmaster


The difference between these two versions of the character can really be boiled down to one important element: Jeff Goldblum. The comics version of the character has approximately zero percent Goldblum. But when he appeared in “Thor Ragnarok”, his Goldblum levels had been taken up to a solid one hundred percent. We’re talking maximum Goldblum here people. The comics version is also one of the Elders of the Universe, some of the oldest beings in the universe, and a club that also claims The Collector among its members. The MCU version is still pretty darn old, but this is due to his life on Sakaar, a planet where time moves differently.

#1: The Mandarin


Perhaps the most infamous change made to a Marvel character is the one made to this notorious Iron Man villain. When the curtain rose on the third “Iron Man” movie, it looked like the biggest change to the character was a change in ethnicity, with the formerly Asian supervillain now being portrayed as a Middle-Eastern man. But then came the infamous twist, which revealed that the cinematic version of Iron Man’s arch-foe was actually an actor hired by the film’s true villain, Aldrich Killian, who was also drastically changed from a suicidal scientist to a full-fledged supervillain. We weren’t expecting him to be the Fu-Manchu style caricature of the comics, but this was not what we had in mind!
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