It seems strange that Marvel allows liberties to be taken with established events and stories while making its movies. Why does it do this? Why don't they get script writers to stick to the comic book facts?

For eg:

  • In the Iron man comics, the arc reactor was created much later in the story line.
  • In Days of future past, it is Wolverine that is sent to the past. In the comics An adult Kate - Pryde transfers her mind into her younger self (Kitty Pryde)
  • In the Comics, I don't think Kitty Pryde has the ability to facilitate time travel (not as a permanent ability anyway).

I am sure there are several more instance of this. I am not nit picking on minor changes to the story line but drastic changes that seem to stick out.

  • 3
    There are reasons for each of the examples you give; some with creative explanations, some industrial. They can't all be answered here as they are 3 different questions, but the thrust of your argument falls into issues surrounding fidelity of adaptation, so maybe refine your question to focus on that. Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 9:24
  • 2
    Don't forget that even within the Marvel universe there are several contradicting continuities. What's another one? Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 16:35
  • They are making new canon. MCU is Earth-199999 not 616. The histories differ, like 616 and ultimates differ.
    – cde
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 19:18

2 Answers 2


Why don't they get script writers to stick to the comic book facts?

And what comic book facts are these, exactly?

Marvel have repeatedly ret-conned and rebooted the majority of their characters at some point in the past: even within the same Universe its almost impossible to find a character with a totally non-contradictory history.

There have been over 30 different versions of Spider-Man,for example: and even recently, many of these are published concurrently: Superior Spider-Man, Ultimate Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man are all supposed to be the 'Same' individual, but there are still off-shoots like Scarlet Spider...

In order to address these discrepancies, Mark Gruenwald created a 'Universe Designation' cataloging system in his fanzine 'Omnibus', which has since been adopted by the comics themselves. There are now several alternate realities of Marvel operating side by side: The Main comics universe is Earth 616, the Ultimates Universe is Earth-1610 and the MCU universe is Earth-199999.

There are no clear, consistent 'comic book facts' in Marvel Lore; it is constantly being renegotiated by different writers who will change details of individual narratives to serve Retcons, Reboots, or Remediation.

The MCU is an example of property remediation: Marvel are adapting their recognisable and well circulated comic book stories into film, and as such will change them to suit the new medium (and to create something new, instead of just retreading the same old familiar).

There are no comic book facts, and MCU writers are electing to do just that: to write Something new, something different, something less predictable but still familiar.

It's important to realize that the Movies aren't even supposed to be set in the same universe as the comics: they use referential paratexts to the comics, like Easter eggs; but they're within a separate continuity.

  • 3
    They are sticking to one: their own. So far, the MCU has failed to produce many (if any) inconsistencies... what you're asking is why they don't just blindly copy a pre-existing comic book word for word, as faithfully as possible. What's the point? Where is the Market for that? It failed with Watchmen, why waste time re-producing old content instead of making something new... Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 9:22
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    @JohnSmithOptional watchmen failed? I think its pretty much successful.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 9:37
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    I agree with Ankit, Watchmen did well and was a really enjoyable film. I think the main reason, is that they tweak the events to what they think will work better in movie form. (Whether they are right or wrong).
    – Tom Bowen
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 10:23
  • 1
    Exactly, the keypoint here is that the MCU is a separate continuity specifically designed on its own for the movies. (Though Spider-Man and the X-Men are not part of that, but let's ignore that for now, there are even more obvious reasons for sending Wolverine back in time, for anyone not reading comics he is the X-Men brand par-excellence).
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 10:37
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    @AnkitSharma & Tom Bowen... Er guys? Watchmen made $185 million of a $130 Million production budget (which is typically doubled when factoring Prints&Promotion)... it by no means 'did well', no matter how much we like the final film: Watchmen crystalized anxieties about the neccesity of fidelity that have changed movies approach to adaptation ever since... Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 10:40

First things first, Marvel rights are split between Disney (main owner), Fox, and Sony. So the reason for changes depends on the owner of the rights.

For the case of Iron-man, Disney has all the rights of the comics and movies of Iron-man. They are free to do anything with the character. There are many Iron-Man comics now. If they stick with the plot of the comics, then they would have to make many movies to cover it. Extremis' arc is also far too long to adapt into a single movie, so they decided to go with the fusion of plots (and it worked).

For the case of X-men, the rights are with Fox. X-men movies were already ruined with respect to continuity, so Fox tried to reunite with Days of Future Past. So if you want them to stick to the comics, then they can't include the cast from First Class because the story from First Class wasn't in the comics. Kitty Pryde is not used to traveling to the past because she wasn't there in First Class and she was quite young in X-Men 3. So she can't be used as a mind-time-traveler. So her skills were modified to make Wolverine the traveler.

  • "They are free to do anything with the character." - This statement is moot as Disney owns Marvel Entertainment. But its purpose is largely as production and marketing entity. I dont think that has any effect on the approach Marvel Entertainment takes towards its Comics and Movies.
    – bobbyalex
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 9:15
  • @BobbyAlexander so you expected them to make atleast 20K film on all marvel superhero to remain faithful with comics? Have you know extremis arc, which is covered in Iron Man 3, its not worth one film. Its quite long. What about Rescue? Which only act as homage in Iron Man 3. So this story are too long to be adopted in word to word.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 9:39
  • Ah, that also makes sense for Wolverine to be sent back, I heard that the original time-span was much shorter, which would have worked better for Kitty, I guess. But apart from that I think a major factor is also, that Wolverine has been established to represent the X-Men movie franchise that heavily, an X-Men movie without him in many many scenes is just not possible from a marketing standpoint.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 10:42
  • Great answer! I'd just like to point out that the English idiom is usually "first things first", not "...think...". I hope you don't mind people offering advice - your English is far better than my Indian, but I'd like to have someone point out possible improvements if I made a mistake!
    – scubbo
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 11:23
  • @scubbo i love improvement recommendation. I already know the thing part but it just a typing error.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 11:36

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