The Marvel Cinematic Universe on television has come a long way since the launch of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. back in 2013. Aside from airing more shows on ABC, the studio also established its own corner via Netflix. The MCU has only continued to grow since then, now with programs on Hulu and Freeform, as well.
It has been years since any real attempt has been made to connect the TV shows to the movies and to begin with, the references were few and far between. However, just because we haven’t seen certain heroes and villains appear in the films doesn’t mean that they’re not in the MCU. Here are 10 Marvel Characters That Secretly Debuted On MCU TV.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. took almost a full season to really find its footing, but most viewers would agree that it has only gotten better every year that followed. The show began with a cast of mostly unknown characters and was headed up by one created for the films. However, AoS has slowly introduced many comic characters since, ranging from popular to obscure.
One of the most well known heroes to be introduced was Bobbi Morse, aka Mockingbird. Created by Len Wein and Neal Adams in 1971, Bobbi debuted in Season 2, portrayed by Adrianne Palicki. She made quite an impressive entrance. Now, if only she would come back.
Melvin Potter was created in 1966 by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. Appearing in Daredevil #18, he is one of the Man Without Fear’s oldest foes. Although Melvin (Matt Gerald) debuted in Daredevil’s freshman season, viewers were only really given subtle hints about his destiny. Season 3 left him in a spot that makes his looming downward spiral easy to understand.
Sadly, despite acclaim from both fans and critics, that season has proven to be the show’s last. So, fans will never see Melvin's true descent into villainy or even the redemptive arc that eventually follows, in which he becomes one of DD’s most ardent supporters.
8 THE ABSORBING MAN
Carl “Crusher” Creel, aka the Absorbing Man, made his debut in 1965. He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The supervillain has the ability to take the form of whatever he touches, whether it’s steel, water or even powdery drugs.
In the comics, he was actually granted these powers by Loki, who was hoping that Creel could best his brother, Thor. The character debuted in the 2nd season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., of course with a different backstory. He was portrayed by Brian Patrick Wade. Creel has always been a villain, but the show’s most recent season actually saw him teaming up with our heroes.
7 TYPHOID MARY
Typhoid Mary has always been a tragic figure. She was incredibly powerful, but also quite mentally ill, dealing with dissociative identity disorder. Born Mary Walker, she was created in 1988 by Ann Nocenti and John Romita Jr. Despite her history with Daredevil, Mary made her MCU debut in Iron Fist’s much improved second season. She was portrayed by Alice Eve and was a more grounded version of the character.
Also, if everyone’s being honest, her costume was also a step up from her comics outfit. Mary may have always looked cool, but her torn fishnets and leather jacket were never exactly practical.
6 THE WHIZZER
As comic fans, we can probably all agree that some of our favorite heroes and villains were never going to translate well from page to screen without some serious changes. The Whizzer - an unfortunate name to begin with - was created by Al Avison and made his first appearance in 1941. Interestingly, a version of the character appeared in the second season of Jessica Jones, played by Jay Klaitz.
Much about him was altered for the show. His pet mongoose, Emil, was a nod to the life-saving transfusion of mongoose blood he received in the comics at the hands of a doctor with that same name. Yup, that was his superhero origin.
5 THE OWL
The Owl is another one of Daredevil’s oldest foes, dating back to 1964. He was created by Stan Lee and Joe Orlando. Daredevil has done justice to the majority of the comic characters that it has taken on. Leland Owlsley, however, was pretty disappointing. Portrayed by Bob Gunton, he was only recognizable due to his name.
Nothing else about his appearance or behavior clued fans into who he was. Since he was killed off back in Season 1 though, the hope was that the son he mentioned, Lee, would grow up to become the Owl from the comics. Alas, with Daredevil canceled, this Owl is the only one we’ve got.
Although he certainly isn’t as well known as DC’s Dark Knight, Marvel actually has their very own evil Batman. Joseph Manfredi was created in 1975 by Gerry Conway and Don Heck. At a certain point in time, he would’ve been Bruce Wayne’s worst nightmare, as he had control over bats. The character appeared in Agent Carter’s second season.
Many fans were already crushed when that turned out to be the show’s final outing. However, there’s no denying how awesome it would’ve been to see the hilarious Ken Marino don this costume with a colony of bats close behind him. It may have never happened anyway, but we can dream.
Frank Simpson, aka Nuke, debuted in 1986. He was created by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli. Nuke appeared in the MCU during the first season of Jessica Jones, but most fans had no idea that Will Simpson (Wil Traval) was meant to be that character. The revelation came late in Season 1, but strangely, his trademark American flag tattoo never appeared. The prominent marking on his face is his most distinguishing characteristic.
However, even after his villain’s journey began, he never went full Nuke. Considering Simpson was killed off last season, it seems unlikely that fans will ever see him do so when the series returns.
2 MADAME MASQUE
Madame Masque was created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan in 1968. Born Giulietta Nefaria, she later legally changed her name to Whitney Frost. The character made her MCU debut on Agent Carter, played by Wynn Everett. Although she didn’t actually go by the name Madame Masque, the series paid homage to Whitney’s comic book roots through her film career.
One such example is her role in The Woman With the Golden Mask, which was a nod to her comic look. The MCU has a well known villain problem in the films, but the TV shows tend to fair far better in this area. Whitney was one of the best.
Although Skye was always meant to become the MCU’s Quake, you’d be hard pressed to find a fan that even liked Chloe Bennet’s character when the show started, let alone someone who saw this reveal coming from the beginning. Fans began to suspect that Skye was not who she seemed, but it wasn’t until season 2 that her real name was revealed to be Daisy Johnson.
She is the youngest character on this list, created by Brian Michael Bendis and Gabriele Dell’Otto in 2004. Fans may have taken a while to warm to Skye, but Quake became a fan favorite rather quickly. It’s impossible to imagine Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. without her.