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The Biggest MCU Predictions Fans Got Completely Wrong

Considering how often movies and TV shows in the Marvel Cinematic Universe tease future projects, it's no wonder fans have grown accustomed to predicting how upcoming installments in the franchise will play out. Sometimes, the speculation stems from elements related to comic book storylines, while other times, it's conjecture based on events from the movies themselves. Wherever they come from, these predictions have been there since basically the first days of the franchise, and they've only grown more prevalent as the Marvel Cinematic Universe has expanded across pop culture

However, just because these fan theories are rampant, that doesn't mean they're accurate. A large number of these predictions — which have concentrated on everything from character deaths to surprise superhero cameos — have proven to be way off-base over the years. The individual projects from Marvel Studios have tended to zig when one expects them to zag, which makes for a thrilling movie-watching experience. The only real downside to this tendency is that it's left a lot of fan predictions as nothing more than reminders of the places die-hard Marvel fans thought titles like "Avengers: Infinity War" and "WandaVision" would go.

Fans predicted Hela would be Lady Death in Infinity War

In the original "Infinity Gauntlet" comic book storyline, Thanos and his quest to obtain all the Infinity Stones was spurred by his affection for Lady Death — the actual personification of, you guessed it, death. When it came time to adapt the plot into the third and fourth "Avengers" movies, Marvel fans went into overdrive predicting how the character of Lady Death could factor into the films. One popular prediction was that Cate Blanchett's Hela from "Thor: Ragnarok" would end up being the film incarnation of the character. Part of this speculation was informed by the scarcity of other antagonistic women in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you wanted someone to be an imposing and malicious feminine figure that Thanos could fall for, it was basically Hela or nobody.

This concept only got further popularized when MovieWeb reported on a Mark Ruffalo interview where the actor indicated that Blanchett was in the two "Avengers" sequels. Of course, Blanchett never appeared in either of these "Avengers" movies, let alone as the movie version of Lady Death. In fact, this hallmark supporting character from the comics never appeared in "Infinity War" or "Endgame" at all, with the films opting to deliver a new motivation for why Thanos wants to enact galaxy-wide genocide. Going this route had its advantages in the films themselves, but it did mean dashing away hopes of Marvel fans wanting to see Blanchett's Hela and Thanos romantically united.

Some believed Heimdall would have the last Infinity Stone

For so long, there was rampant speculation over where the last Infinity Stone, the Soul Stone, would appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first five of these gems had debuted in four different titles in the franchise, so it stood to reason that some movie was going to introduce this object before "Avengers: Infinity War" hit theaters. There was all kinds of speculation over where the Soul Stone could be hiding, including in Wakanda or on one of the Netflix "Defenders" shows. However, one popular theory revolved around Heimdall holding the key to this particularly powerful rock.

As reported by MovieWeb, a version of this theory speculated that Heimdall himself was the keeper of the Soul Stone because his eyes were the same color as the gem. Plus, there was one of his lines in "Thor: The Dark World," referencing how he's capable of "seeing all souls." It was a bit of a stretch in theory, but since Heimdall would be reappearing in "Thor: Ragnarok" before "Infinity War," it wasn't totally out of the question. But in the end, all this speculation was for naught. Not only did Heimdall not have this Infinity Stone, but Marvel chose to keep the Soul Stone out of sight until "Infinity War" finally hit theaters.

Did a line in Doctor Strange reference Captain Marvel?

"Doctor Strange" was a largely self-contained entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Save for Wong's mid-movie namedrop of the Avengers — and a mid-credits encounter between Doctor Strange and Thor — the movie was more concerned with setting up the world of Stephen Strange and magic rather than shoehorning in an appearance from the Hulk. However, fans widely predicted that one line from "Doctor Strange" was supposed to set up a then-future Marvel superhero. We hear the line right before Strange's fateful car crash, when he's trying to decide which new patient he should take on. As he talks on the phone, we hear about a woman in her mid-20s who was struck by lightning, and it was widely rumored this was referencing Captain Marvel.

Fan speculation went into overdrive once "Doctor Strange" director Scott Derrickson responded to the prospect with a non-committal answer. When asked by Entertainment Weekly if the line was referencing Carol Danvers, Derrickson replied, "Remember that Brittany Murphy movie where she goes, 'I'll never tell...'" Several fans interpreted this cryptic response as confirmation that Captain Marvel's origin story had been hinted at here. Of course, this would turn out to be impossible given that "Captain Marvel" takes place in the 1990s, decades before "Doctor Strange." That fact alone — as well as how nothing about "Captain Marvel" involves getting struck by lightning — makes it seem, in hindsight, ridiculous this line was ever considered as related to Carol Danvers. 

Fans thought Tony Stark would go to space in Iron Man 3

In the first "Iron Man," JARVIS advises Tony Stark that he should work on trying to keep the Iron Man suit from freezing when entering the upper parts of Earth's atmosphere, especially if he's "planning on making any trips to outer space in the near future." While Stark briefly traveled to the cosmos in the climax of "The Avengers," there was constant speculation that "Iron Man 3" would be the movie that saw the titular armored superhero spending a considerable more amount of time in outer space.

This intersected with fan speculation that Stark would have some kind of encounter with the Guardians of the Galaxy in "Iron Man 3" as a way of setting up their own solo movie. All of these theories got sent into overdrive when sites like ScreenCrush reported in January 2013 that the toy line for "Iron Man 3" would include new Iron Man armor designed for space travel. Of course, in reality, this turned out to be yet another instance of superhero movie toys featuring a costume made exclusively for Wal-Mart shelves. Tony Stark stayed firmly on planet Earth in "Iron Man 3," and it would take until "Infinity War" for the character to have an encounter with the Guardians of the Galaxy.

The Skrulls would be the villains of the first Avengers movie

Before the release of "The Avengers," there was constant speculation about what villains Earth's Mightiest Heroes would fight in their big-screen debut. After all, you don't bring together a gaggle of superheroes for just any occasion — there has to be someone special to square off against. This truth helped inspire persistent rumblings that the Skrulls would serve as the otherworldly foes for the likes of Tony, Cap, and Thor, with ScreenRant adding more fuel to the fire by reporting a year before the release of "The Avengers" that the Skrulls would be the feature's primary adversaries.

These aliens made sense as antagonists due to their ubiquity in the comics and the fact that "The Avengers" had long been officially confirmed to feature cosmic threats. Who better to fill that void than the Skrulls? All the fan speculation over Skrulls being in "The Avengers," though, turned out to be off-base. In the final cut of the film, the Chitauri are the aliens our costumed heroes fight. Intriguingly, this makes this the rare piece of fan speculation not entirely off-base with the reality of the movies, as the Chitauri did initially serve as the counterparts to the Skrulls in the Ultimate Marvel comic book line.

All of the Mephisto predictions for WandaVision were completely wrong

In the comics, Mephisto has a rich history — one that's connected to the characters who showed up "WandaVision," including Wanda Maximoff, Billy and Tommy, and even Agatha Harkness. Given his close attachment to these figures, fans constantly spread theories and speculation about how Mephisto could factor into the fantastically weird Disney+ program. 

But in the end, Mephisto had no presence of any kind in "WandaVision," and the show's head writer, Jac Shaeffer, said this was a conscious choice. "We didn't think this series needed a big bad," Schaeffer explained to Deadline. "I mean, the big bad is grief, you know, and that's the story that we were telling, and then we got a bonus baddie in the form of Agatha Harkness who ended up facilitating Wanda's therapy, so yeah, I think we feel pretty good about that." On top of that, Schaeffer didn't even know about Mephisto's existence until she was done working on the series. "There was never any conscious intention on my part to create any Mephisto red herrings," she said (via CBR.com), "because I didn't know who Mephisto was until I started doing press."

People thought Thor would die in Avengers: Age of Ultron

"Avengers: Age of Ultron" was widely promoted as being a significantly darker project compared to the original "Avengers." With all the talk of a somber tone, it was only a matter of time before online fan theories turned to whether or not one of the Avengers would bite the dust in "Age of Ultron." Before the film's release, a fan-favorite pick for who would perish was none other than the God of Thunder, Thor.

It was a concept that gained a lot of steam among certain MCU fans, with some people today still believing Thor's demise at Ultron's hand would've fit into the film's narrative. But in the actual "Age of Ultron" movie, Thor got far less important things to do than score a memorable death scene. His infamous "cave" sequence became a constant source of ridicule, while the Avenger member who was killed ended up being newbie superhero Quicksilver.

Some reported that Peter Dinklage would play Pip the Troll in Infinity War

The cast of "Avengers: Infinity War" largely consists of people who've already shown up in other Marvel Cinematic Universe titles. After all, a big crossover event like this one should focus on smashing already-existing toys together rather than dumping out a whole bunch of new action figures. One exception to this is Peter Dinklage, who plays a new character named Eitri. A blacksmith and king of the dwarves (really gigantic dwarves), he's the one responsible for creating Stormbreaker, Thor's Titan-killing weapon.

But before this movie hit theaters, Dinklage's role remained a mystery. For the longest time, the dominant theory regarding his part in "Infinity War" was that he would be portraying Pip the Troll, a notable supporting character from the original "Infinity Gauntlet" comic book storyline. And just as "Infinity War" was about to begin filming, Movieweb reported on images of Dinklage getting his hair dyed to a shade of red similar to Pip's own hair. Though this seemed to initially be confirmation of who Dinklage would be playing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it turned out to be unrelated. In fact, the character of Pip didn't even make an appearance, with or without Dinklage.

Fans hoped Phil Coulson would return for Age of Ultron

Phil Coulson's death in "The Avengers" was one of the most moving moments in the entire movie, and it solidified the character's popularity among MCU fans. With Coulson resurrected for "Agents of SHIELD," talk inevitably turned to how this agent could re-enter the movie side of the franchise. This was especially prominent in the lead-up to "Avengers: Age of Ultron," which was chock-full of discussions on the ways Coulson could re-emerge in the sequel.

However, "Age of Ultron" writer/director Joss Whedon felt quite firmly about the fact that Coulson should remained deceased when it came to big-screen adventures. "As far as I'm concerned, in this movie, Coulson's dead," Whedon said, according to IndieWire, adding, "It's a different world now. And you have to run with that." Fans may have been convinced "Age of Ultron" was the perfect place to bring back Coulson, but Whedon was even more convinced that the character's demise needed to remain permanent for theatrical adventures.

Sadly, the Defenders didn't appear in Infinity War

It was always known that "Avengers: Infinity War" would bring every one of the MCU movie superheroes together for the very first time. What was far less certain was if television superheroes would also get invited to the big-budget party. Specifically, there was constant speculation from fans on whether or not the Netflix "Defenders" superheroes — Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist — could show up, and if so, how they would factor into the plot of "Infinity War." As reported by CBR.com, earlier comments from Marvel Studios brass indicated that such characters could show up in any of the movies, including the long-awaited crossovers in "Infinity War" and "Endgame." 

In the end, these heroes never made it into "Infinity War," but that doesn't mean the filmmakers behind the film weren't speculating about the possibility like die-hard Marvel fans were. "We talk about that all the time," screenwriter Stephen McFeely said about the possibility to Inverse. "In a movie this big, we certainly had the conversation, 'Should we put Luke Cage in this? Here we are in New York...' That kind of stuff. As you could probably tell, it would be just a glorified cameo at this point." He and co-writer Christopher Markus also mentioned the difficulty of expecting moviegoers to simultaneously keep tabs on theatrical movies and the Netflix shows. Thus, the "Defenders," despite so much fan speculation, were restricted to the small screen.

Despite the rumors, Nebula avoided death in Infinity War

At the end of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," Nebula departs her Guardians of the Galaxy comrades to pursue her abusive adoptive father, Thanos. As she leaves for a solo mission, the somberness of her departure and the emphasis on her leaving seemed to many Marvel fans like a potential set-up to the character passing away in either "Infinity War" or "Endgame." After all, with this scene establishing the absence of Nebula, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" could easily kick off without the character being around.

The concept of Nebula biting the dust in these "Avengers" movies, further fueled by her personal connection to the Mad Titan, proved so popular that she was chosen by Business Insider as one of the characters most likely to die in "Infinity War." However, all of this speculation proved super off-base. Though a version of Nebula did die in "Endgame," the original Nebula actually survived both films and even became one of the lead characters in the fourth "Avengers" film. And it looks like she'll be returning for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," despite going on her own path at the end of "Vol. 2."

Was Alfre Woodard playing the same character in Luke Cage and Civil War?

Just a few weeks before "Captain America: Civil War" hit theaters, a new addition to the cast was revealed. The presence of Alfre Woodard in this production sent Marvel fans into a wave of speculation since she was also playing the villainous Mariah Dillard on the Netflix/Marvel program "Luke Cage." Though her role in "Civil War' was initially unknown, that only led to further predictions that Marvel was trying to keep an appearance from Dillard under wraps. For one brief moment, it appeared like there was a good chance that the movies and TV shows in the Marvel Cinematic Universe were about to have their first big crossover.

However, such a crossover wasn't meant to be. Woodard was playing another figure from Marvel Comics lore, Miriam Sharpe. This version of the character was the mother of a college-aged man who died during the events of "Avengers: Age of Ultron." Grieving the death of her son and blaming his fate on the Avengers, Miriam corners Tony Stark to inform him of the human cost of his superhero actions. The casting of Woodard in two projects from Marvel was apparently totally coincidental, with Woodard's "Civil War" casting coming at the behest of Robert Downey Jr. before the filmmakers even knew about her signing up with the TV show. And with the clarification of Woodard's actual role, hopes of this being the moment where the Marvel movies finally touched on the Netflix programs were dashed away.