The best MCU reveals and twists of 2021
2021 has been a big year for the Marvel Cinematic Universe – and here are all of the biggest and best twists and turns of the year. The coronavirus pandemic meant even Marvel Studios was absent in 2022, but they reached 2021 in style. There is a sense in which this was the year the MCU became a transmedia multiverse – with WandaVision leading to a series of popular Disney + TV shows that are officially linked directly to the films themselves.
However, 2021 was not really a year of big surprises. Many of these Disney + TV shows relied on villain twists, but typically they were telegraphed well in advance; Sharon Carter / Power Broker’s revelation in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was a bit too obvious, for example, as the appearance of the Kingpin in Hawk Eye was announced from the first episode. Yet even some more obvious revelations have landed in a truly satisfying way – most notably a delicious twist in Spider-Man: No Path Home – while there were other revelations that surprised the public.
Given that it does, here are the best reveals of 2021 – the character’s debuts, twists and heels that will be the most memorable. Phase 4’s transmedia approach means some of them will be tied to the small screen rather than the big screen, and some of them have been celebrated more than others.
The surprise introduction of Blade In Eternals
EternalsThe post-credit scene saw Kit Harington’s Dane Whitman claiming the Ebony Blade, setting him up to transform into the MCU’s Dark Knight. This was hardly unexpected – as soon as Marvel revealed the name of the character he played, it was clear that they would take him down that path sooner rather than later. But Dane was interrupted before he could pick up the ebony blade, with a mysterious voice warning him that he might not be ready for it. This was Mahershala Ali’s first surprise voice as Blade, an unexpected delight for fans eagerly awaiting to see how the Vampire Hunter enters the MCU. Additionally, Marvel promised it wasn’t just a random appearance. “The ebony blade, the characteristics of the ebony blade are not different from a certain degree of vampirism,explained producer Nate Moore, “and we think that’s an interesting kind of thing to play with. So we kind of knew it was on the table.“It looks like the MCU’s blade and the Dark Knight will be closely related, which makes this setup important.
The Eternals Learn of Earth’s True Fate
The Eternals believed themselves to be heroes, champions of humanity who had protected the Earth from the threat of Deviants for millennia. Corn Eternals revealed that they had been misled; in truth, they were only pawns of the Celestials, who used them to ensure that life flourished on worlds containing a heavenly seed in their hearts. The seed has grown over the millennia, until the nascent Celestial living in the heart of the planet taps into the abundant life energy and emerges through the crust of the world, destroying it – and committing an act of genocide. This revelation was shocking and forced the various members of the Eternals to choose a side: would they save humanity by rebelling against their heavenly creators, or would they continue to serve the Celestials and thus condemn the world?
Black Widow’s Identity Switch Twist
Black WidowThe identity swap was one of the most effective twists and turns of the MCU’s latest spy thriller. Natasha Romanoff’s mother figure Melina apparently betrayed her surrogate family, ceding them to the Red Room, and the stakes rose as the film progressed. Then, in a great twist, it turned out that Natasha and Melina were using old SHIELD camouflage masks of the type seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The Red Room had unwittingly imprisoned Melina, a scientist with the knowledge to break out of their cells, while Natasha Romanoff confronted the leader of the Red Room herself. It was a hugely effective twist, which redefined the third act and set up the film’s resolution.
Heel ride from Xialing to Shang-Chi
Marvel typically uses its post-credits scenes to set up future films, but Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings‘the post-credits included one of the most effective yet – twisting the whole story by revealing that Shang-Chi’s sister Xialing was a villain from the start. Shang-Chi believed she had traveled to Hunan Province to shut down their father’s Ten Rings terror organization, but in reality, she took them over. This prompted viewers to look back into the film and recognize subtle traffic signs that indicated the heel turn, including a Red Skull Easter Egg in his Golden Daggers fight club.
Matt Murdock in Spider-Man: No Way Home
For months there had been rumors that Charlie Cox would reprise the role of Matt Murdock, the blind lawyer who secretly posed as Daredevil, in Spider-Man: No Path Home. Those rumors turned out to be correct, with Murdock being hired as Peter Parker’s lawyer – and even demonstrating his superhuman abilities in one momentous scene. It was only a brief appearance, but it worked – in large part due to deliberate timing, as Daredevil’s nemesis Kingpin had made the jump from Marvel Netflix to the mainstream MCU days before. . No way homethe exit of, in Hawk Eye Episode 5. Marvel seemed to be deliberately avoiding any obvious hints as to whether these were the same Marvel Netflix characters or had been rebooted, but Kingpin’s design details suggest the former.
“It was Agatha all the way” from WandaVision
Most viewers understood that Kathryn Hahn’s Agnes was a villain in WandaVision, and indeed many had even speculated that she was secretly the witch Agatha Harkness, a powerful witch in the comics. But when Marvel finally revealed the truth, they did so in a gorgeous cut that played with the style of the entire series – and featured an unforgettable song, “It Was Agatha All Along.” It showed how the character influenced some of the most bizarre moments in WandaVision, and built to a climax in which she happily told viewers, “And I killed Sparky too.It was easily one of the MCU’s most stylish revelations of 2021, and the song won an Emmy for Outstanding Original Music.
The introduction of the one who stays in Loki
Loki Episode 6 finally saw the two Loki variants pull back the curtain and learn the true power behind the Authority of Time Variation – The One Who Remains, a variant of Kang the Conqueror. Whoever remains was the winner of the First Multiverse War, and he had used the VAT to prune diverging deadlines to prevent his reign from being threatened again. Sylvie killed The One Who Remains, and within moments branching timelines began to emerge, recreating the MCU’s multiverse – set up What if … from Marvel?, Spider-Man: No Path Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and even Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania – in which He Who Remains actor Jonathan Majors will return as another variant of Kang the Conqueror. It’s easily one of the most significant revelations in MCU history, reshaping the franchise on an unprecedented scale.
Spider-Man: Spider-Men from No Way Home
But the first place must go to Spider-Man: No Path Homethrilling use of the multiverse – bringing together three versions of Spider-Man, Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield reprising their roles alongside Tom Holland. Maguire and Garfield’s presence in the film was one of the worst-kept secrets in Hollywood history, but it was handled perfectly, with the script positioning the three Spider-Men as different visions of the hero – Tom. Holland as the rookie, Andrew Garfield as the hero who paid a terrible price, and Tobey Maguire as a seasoned superhero. More remarkable still, Spider-Man: No Path Home not only used Maguire and Garfield for fan service, but instead made them essential characters, even giving them their own arcs. It was by far the MCU’s most satisfying revelation of 2021.
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