21

Early in the second episode of Ms. Marvel, Kamala is discussing her newfound powers with her friend Bruno, and mentions the temptation to reveal herself publicly in order to gain more popularity on social media. Bruno somewhat nervously responds, "I feel like secret identities are secret for a reason."

In any other comics realm, this would make perfect sense... but this is the MCU! Tony Stark set a pretty strong precedent at the end of Iron Man: we're not doing that here. Heck, she spent the entire first episode obsessing over Carol Danvers, by name. With the notable exception of Spider-Man, I can't think of any MCU superhero who operates under a secret identity. So this seems like an odd thing for him to say.

Are there any that I'm missing? Other than Spider-Man, are there any MCU superheroes who 1) are known to the public as a superhero, and 2) have a real name that the public in general is unaware of?

1
  • The majority of the X-Men operate under a secret identify. The X-Men aren't in the MCU yet. But since Disney has acquired 20th Century, the incorporation of X-Men into the MCU seems mostly guaranteed.
    – selbie
    Jun 19 at 1:52

4 Answers 4

23

Well, as of the end of Episode 2, Ms. Marvel herself (aka "Night Light") counts. Even Damage Control don't know who she is other than that she's South Asian. Other than that, off the top of my head:

  • Ronin. While he was more of an anti-hero, Hawkeye makes it a significant plot point that a) Ronin is known to the public, and b) nobody knows who Ronin was/is, and Clint wants to keep it that way.
  • Moon Knight/Mr. Knight. While Harrow and his associates know that Steven Grant/Marc Spector is Moon Knight, and Layla also finds out by the end of the series, nobody else (that we know of) finds out. Moon Knight isn't known to the public at first, but the final battle in Egypt would have brought him to the world's attention without revealing his identity.
  • Scarlet Scarab. By the end of Moon Knight, Layla herself has become a superhero. She is never referred to on-screen as "Scarlet Scarab" or "Layla", with a bystander merely asking, "Are you an Egyptian superhero?" (which she affirms), and no indication that anyone other than Marc/Steven and Harrow know who she is. Again, the final battle in Egypt would have brought her significant attention.
  • Daredevil: I admittedly haven't watched Daredevil, but Matt Murdock's cameo in Spider-Man: No Way Home makes it clear that Peter Parker and his associates don't know he's Daredevil.

There may be more, but those are the only ones I can think of right now.

15
  • 2
    OK, Ronin and Daredevil I'll grant you, but I think Moon Knight and Layla fail the first of my two points; I never got any indication from the show that John Q. Public knows that someone called "Moon Knight" exists. Jun 17 at 18:58
  • 8
    Do people outside Wakanda know about the Black Panther and if so, do they know who it is? He may be another. T'challa is known to the public at large, but they may not know he's a superhero.
    – DeeV
    Jun 17 at 19:33
  • 5
    Just throwing this out there but in the Eternals there is mention of Superman - which could imply that DC comics are part of the MCU. Which would mean there are a ton of 'superheroes' with secret identities. Jun 17 at 20:41
  • 8
    @Phlegon_of_Tralles: no, that only implies that there are comics in the MCU. Jun 18 at 15:49
  • 3
    @KRyan Danny Rand, in as much as he is known at all (which is not that much, really), is definitely known to be the Iron Fist. He basically introduces himself that way to everyone he meets. Like "Hi! I'm Danny Rand. I'm the Immortal Iron Fist!" To the point that people keep telling him to shut up about it. Jun 20 at 19:32
8

Night monkey. This is a secret identity inside a secret identity, as Spider-Man wants to do superhero stuff in Prague, but does not want to be identified as Spider-Man.

(Because Spider-Man had already appeared during a class field trip to Washington DC, so a second appearance on a second field trip would be noticed.)

4

Mysterio does reveal his secret identity to S.H.I.E.L.D., and he isn't really a "superhero", but his secret identity isn't known to the general public, at least at first. I don't think it's generally known that Bruce Banner and the Hulk are (sort of kind of?) the same person, although again there's the question of whether Hulk qualifies as a "superhero". War Machine might qualify as well.

2
  • 3
    Rhodey is named as Iron Patriot in a press release in Iron Man 3. Reaction to the rebrand makes it clear he was already publicly known to be War Machine.
    – Graham
    Jun 20 at 9:29
  • 4
    Hulk's a weird one because he has an obvious public presence as Professor Hulk, and his face is pretty obviously Banner's but green. Seems like something the internet would figure out in short order, even in the wake of The Snap. Jun 20 at 16:37
2

I'm surprised that some popular ones weren't covered by other answers here first. There are several superheroes that meet those two conditions (that weren't already mentioned by others):

  • Ant-man + Wasp: In both of the Ant-man movies it doesn't appear that their identities are public. This extends to all versions of Ant-man including Hank Pym and Scott Lang (although it might now be known).
  • Black Widow: Her identity as an assassin was completely hidden from the public until she leaked the S.H.I.E.L.D. files in Captain America: Winter Soldier
  • Ghost Rider: In the S.H.I.E.L.D. series, Robbie Reyes is the hidden identity (similar in the Ghost Rider movie with Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze).
  • Inhumans: This one is messy, but Inhumans, in general, hide their identity; so much so, that the entire civilization moved to the Moon (Attilan). They also have a secret settlement in Nepal (Afterlife). Now, most Inhumans are widely unknown to the gen pop until fish oil supplements contaminated with Terrigen begin causing Terrigenesis in humans across the globe. There's a bunch of Inhumans that S.H.I.E.L.D. helps to hide their identities and get their powers under control. The whole show (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) was based around this concept halfway through and is a good watch.
  • Black Panther: His identity is known only to his people, but not the rest of the world; he's only known as T'Challa and ruler of Wakanda. Although, this kind of fits opposite to your conditions (to the world, his person is known but, initially, not really his hero). Now, we can assume that most people presume his identity as both.
  • Soldiers? (e.g., Falcon, War Machine): While their identities are not really secret, they don't go around telling everyone. They are military personnel and so there's some level of secrecy to their identity; not sure if this classifies as a secret identity under your conditions. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. also touches on super soldiers with some walking the line between hero and villain like Deathlok.

Then there are also unknowns (e.g., Doctor Strange, Vision, etc.): We don't really know how "known" these heroes are and if their identities are out there in the public. I wouldn't classify these as secret identities, but instead as secret heroes.

Note, however, that some of these superheroes do (or may) eventually show their identity, but they are/were unknown for a while to the public. Many of their identities are known to the government, S.H.I.E.L.D., friends, or family.

There are also hundreds more superheroes in comics that have secret identities, but the MCU, very few of them keep secret identities or they have them exposed in some way.

7
  • 3
    Multiverse of Madness makes it clear that Doctor Strange has fans, and one of the costume suggestions in episode 1 of Ms. Marvel was a Doctor Strange / Captain Marvel mix. People know who he is. Jun 21 at 8:17
  • "The whole show was based around this concept at first" - Inhumans or AoS? The former was not about secret identities, and the latter was only about that in season three.
    – OrangeDog
    Jun 21 at 9:58
  • @OrangeDog Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - updated my answer to make it more clear
    – ctwheels
    Jun 21 at 10:38
  • @ctwheels but it's wrong though. Only season three was based around that.
    – OrangeDog
    Jun 21 at 10:47
  • 2
    Not that this matters to this Q, just an interesting observation, The TVA agents think they are heroes, when their true former identities have been stolen from them, up until they are not, but then they might be again LOL :p Jun 21 at 16:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .