9 MCU Characters Whose Origin Stories Are Way Sadder In The Comics

Rocket Is A Therapy Raccoon Turned Sentient

The blockbuster films of Batman, Spider-Man, and Superman have cemented these characters’ origins in the minds of audiences around the globe. At this point, multiple radioactive spiders have already bitten multiple cinematic Peter Parkers. Many more Marvel heroes have had their stories adapted to the silver screen, but one can always count on comic book continuity to be more complicated than that of a mainstream movie franchise. This has led to several Marvel origins being watered down before hitting the big screen – with some being downright sanitized. 

Though some of the Marvel heroes’ origins portrayed in the movies have been pretty horrifying, they pale in comparison to what their comic book counterparts had to go through to obtain their superpowers. Casual fans may be surprised to learn that their favorite cinematic protagonists have suffered some of the most harrowing experiences to ever hit the four-color page – adding a whole new perspective to “Whatever It Takes.”

1. Rocket Is A Therapy Raccoon Turned Sentient

Rocket Is A Therapy Raccoon Turned Sentient

What Happens In The Comic: Rocket has one of the most existentially disturbing origins in all of comics. He starts life out as a therapy animal on a planet-sized insane asylum run by robots, and it only gets stranger from there. When the robot wards gain sentience, they abandon their patients and leave them in the care of Rocket and his fellow pets – but not before subjecting the animals to horrible genetic experiments to equip them for the task. After a fight or two, Rocket escapes Halfworld for a life among the stars.

What You See In The Movie: The Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn’t delve too deeply into Rocket’s backstory, other than suggesting he’s the result of some sort of cybernetic experimentation and “didn’t ask to be made!” There’s no talk of sentient robots or asylum patients, and perhaps that’s for the best. 

2. Scott Lang’s Origin Involves His Adorable Daughter’s Heart Disease

Scott Lang's Origin Involves His Adorable Daughter's Heart Disease

What Happens In The Comic: Scott Lang’s origin as the second Ant-Man is very similar to his adventures in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – albeit with an extra degree of tragedy. In the comics, Lang takes up a nefarious lifestyle in order to earn enough cash for his daughter to receive a necessary heart surgery. He then takes the Ant-Man suit from Hank Pym when Cassie’s doctor is abducted by a supervillain. Touched by Lang’s fatherly love, Pym eventually allows him to take over the mantle.

What You See In The Movie: The MCU version of Lang sort of falls *ss-backward into the role of Ant-Man. He’s personally selected by Pym for the job and tricked into taking the suit from Pym’s mansion. Fortunately, there’s no sign of his daughter having a congenital heart condition in film continuity – which might be a bit much for audiences to handle, given Cassie’s undeniable cuteness. 

3. Doctor Doom Becomes A Dictator To Save His Mom From The Devil

Doctor Doom Becomes A Dictator To Save His Mom From The Devil

What Happens In The Comic: Victor von Doom does not have a happy childhood. Born as a Romani peasant in Latveria, Doom is the son of a witch who makes a deal with Mephisto, the devil of the Marvel universe. When the deal goes wrong and Doom’s mother ends up trapped in Hell, the young man dedicates his life to learning everything he can of both magic and science in order to rescue her. Becoming the dictator of Latveria along the way is just a small part of his overall plan. When an accident scars his face and forces him to don his metal mask, the true Doctor Doom is born.

What You See In The Movie: The origin of Doctor Doom has been retold in cinematic format each time the Fantastic Four have been rebooted, and each time it has been misconstrued. Both mainstream Hollywood adaptations of the story simply place Victor von Doom as the fifth member of the FF’s ill-fated voyage into cosmic energies and link his powers to those of his rivals.

4. Cyclops’s Parents Are Abducted By Aliens

Cyclops's Parents Are Abducted By Aliens

What Happens In The Comic: Scott Summers has a relatively ordinary childhood – until a family trip is interrupted by an alien attack. While his father is flying them home in a private plane, the family is intercepted by the diabolical Shi’ar. The aliens take Scott’s parents while he and his brother Alex have to jump out with the plane’s only parachute. When they hit the ground, Scott suffers head trauma that renders him unable to control his mutant powers later in life. The Summers boys are raised in separate orphanages until Scott’s mutation draws the attention of Charles Xavier.

What You See In The Movie: There have been a couple cinematic versions of Cyclops, but they don’t go into much detail on his origin. Basically, Scott Summers develops mutant powers, meets Professor X, and joins the X-Men. There’s no alien plane abductions or traumatic brain trauma involved whatsoever.

5. Falcon Is Created By The Red Skull On A Tropical Island

Falcon Is Created By The Red Skull On A Tropical Island

What Happens In The Comic: Sam Wilson grows up on the tough streets of Harlem, where violence first claims the lives of his parents and then forces him onto a dark path. He eventually finds himself on the island of Exile, where he encounters the Red Skull and is subjected to genetic experimentation and memory manipulation. The experiments leave him with the ability to communicate with birds. When Captain America also winds up on the island, he and Wilson become fast friends. They team up to take down the Red Skull and find a way home.

What You See In The Movie: Sam Wilson’s Marvel Cinematic Universe origin is about as mundane as a superhero’s backstory can get. Wilson is a retired Air Force pilot who once took part in a high-tech program involving personal wingsuits. When he gets roped into dusting off his wings and helping out the fugitive Steve Rogers, the Falcon is born. 

6. Captain Marvel Suffers Superheroic Mental Illness

Captain Marvel Suffers Superheroic Mental Illness

What Happens In The Comic: After a lengthy career as a non-powered supporting character in the Marvel Universe, Carol Danvers is caught up in a conflict between her on-again, off-again Kree lover Mar-Vell and his alien rival. An ensuing mishap involving the Psyche-Magnitron, a Kree device capable of reshaping matter, imbues Danvers with a litany of superpowers – but also severe brain damage. Initially, this results in a split personality. Danvers becomes a women’s liberation writer by day and the superhero Ms. Marvel by night – but doesn’t realize she’s leading a double life until years later. 

What You See In The Movie: Captain Marvel’s cinematic debut keeps the alien device aspect of her origin, but throws the rest of it out. This allows Danvers to move right into her superhero prime instead of spending a chunk of her backstory as someone who doesn’t know she spends her nights punching bad guys in her underwear.

7. Cable Grows Up In An Apocalyptic Future With A Robot Virus

Cable Grows Up In An Apocalyptic Future With A Robot Virus

What Happens In The Comic: There are many complicated backstories in the annals of Marvel Comics, but the story of Nathan Dayspring “Askani’son” Summers probably takes the convoluted cake. Born to Scott Summers and a clone of Jean Grey, it isn’t long before young Nathan is abducted by Apocalypse’s minions and subjected to a techno-organic virus that threatens his life. Left with no recourse, Cyclops sends his son to the future where a cure can be found. Nathan grows up in a post-Apocalyptic environment, only returning to his original timeline as an old man.

What You See In The Movie: There’s time-travel involved in Cable’s Deadpool 2 origin story, but just barely. In a dramatically simplified version of events, the movie Cable is just a guy from the future whose family is ended by Rusty Collins. There’s no hint whatsoever of Cable having any ties to the Summers-Grey clan.

8. Black Widow Has Been Around Since WWII

Black Widow Has Been Around Since WWII

What Happens In The Comic: Natasha Romanoff starts off as Natalia Romanova, a child living in the pre-WWII era. When her family perishes, she ends up being raised by troops and becomes involved in the conflict, meeting both Captain America and Wolverine in the process. In her late adolescence Romanova becomes a premier ballerina, which leads to her being inducted into the Soviet Red Room program and trained to become a spy. While there, she is subjected to medical experimentation, which results in enhanced longevity, super strength, and stamina.

What You See In The Movie: In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Widow is still a Soviet-trained spy that defects to the services of S.H.I.E.L.D., but she’s definitely not an octogenarian. There’s also been no indication that the MCU Natasha has any superpowers or enhanced abilities of any kind. She’s just very skilled at what she does.

9. Hawkeye Fled Home And Wound Up In An Evil Circus

Hawkeye Fled Home And Wound Up In An Evil Circus 

What Happens In The Comic: Clint Barton has a tough go of things early on in life. After he and his brother Barney flee their unsafe home, they end up joining a circus. There, the brothers are trained by a future supervillain in the ways of the bow, until some dubious ethical practices at the circus lead Clint to set out on his own. After accidentally dabbling in supervillainy himself, Hawkeye just shows up at Avengers Mansion one day demanding a spot on the team – and he gets it!

What You See In The Movie: There really isn’t much to Hawkeye’s backstory in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s just a highly-trained S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who prefers to use a bow and arrows (and has the implicit trust of Nick Fury). One stint of Loki’s mind-control later and he’s a full-fledged Avenger.