Gaming

10 Biggest MCU Retcons In 2023

Summary

  • Secret Invasion retconned Nick Fury’s timeline, revealing that he stayed on Earth to gather the DNA of Avengers, changing his absence narrative.
  • Secret Invasion also revealed that Rhodey was replaced by a Skrull long before it was suspected, reshaping previous MCU stories.
  • Loki season 2 retconned Thor’s origins, confirming that he visited Earth before his debut film, contradicting his previous statements.


Throughout 2023, there were multiple releases in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and some of them featured retcons of the franchise’s past. Having earned itself a reputation as one of the most popular and successful franchises in history, the MCU continues to expand. 2023 saw the release of movies and TV shows in the MCU, with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, The Marvels, Secret Invasion, and Loki season 2 all releasing in the 12-month span. These releases continued the franchise’s interconnected narrative by expanding on existing ideas, but also by making some changes to the MCU’s canon.

One of the biggest difficulties in maintaining the MCU is keeping its overarching story from contradicting itself. However, as the MCU’s movie timeline continues to grow, that task becomes increasingly hard with each passing year. 2023’s solution was to make multiple retcons to the MCU, subtly rewriting elements of the franchise’s past in order to better suit its future. Though some were entirely necessary, others seem more like continuity issues, leaving many wondering if they were intentional or the result of simple oversight. With that in mind, here are the 10 biggest MCU retcons of 2024.

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10 Nick Fury Stayed On Earth Longer Than Originally Implied

Secret Invasion

Samual L Jackson's Nick Fury closes his eyes out of frustration in The Marvels

One of the most significant MCU plot developments in Secret Invasion involved Nick Fury’s contingency plan backfiring, but it also seemingly retconned the franchise’s previously established timeline. Though it was heavily implied that Fury left Earth immediately after the events of Avengers: Endgame, Secret Invasion revealed that Nick Fury had in fact stayed on Earth in order to gather the DNA of every Avenger who fought against Thanos in the Battle of Earth. The revelation subtly retconned Fury’s absence, instead asserting that he remained on Earth and had his Skrull operatives help him gather a fail-safe against the franchise’s heroes.

9 Rhodey Was Replaced By A Skrull

Secret Invasion

One of the most highly-anticipated additions to the cast of Secret Invasion was James “Rhodey” Rhodes, also known as War Machine. The series revealed that not only had Rhodes been replaced by a Skrull, but that it had actually happened long before anyone suspected as much. The revelation subtly retcons a number of previous MCU stories, although exactly how much will depend upon the specific time of his replacement. However, announcing that Rhodey may have been a Skrull for a considerable period of time before Secret Invasion certainly puts an interesting retroactive spin on previous Avengers movies.

8 Loki Might Not Have Been Influenced By The Mind Stone At All

Loki Season 2

Loki portals into a SHIELD facility in The Avengers

Loki has appeared in many movies in the MCU, and 2023 saw the release of season 2 of his eponymous Disney+ series, following his continuing involvement with the TVA and their work throughout the Multiverse. Disney previously retconned Loki’s villainous behavior in The Avengers by claiming he was under the influence of the Mind Stone, but Loki season 2 hints otherwise. Loki reminisces fondly about defeating Tony Stark, implying that he actually enjoyed his turn as an antagonist in The Avengers. In that, Loki season 2 seemed to retcon a previous retcon, re-establishing Loki as the complex villain he truly is.

7 Captain Marvel’s Victory Against The Supreme Intelligence Was Actually Bad

The Marvels

Captain Marvel confronts the Kree Supreme Intelligence

One of The Marvels’ interesting pieces of subtext actually subtly retconned a previous Captain Marvel moment. The hero was able to vanquish the Kree Supreme Intelligence in Captain Marvel, but the sequel details the devastating impact her victory had on the people of Hala. In doing so, The Marvels rendered Carol Danvers’ previous victory hollow, instead making her moment of triumph appear thoughtless and reckless. The only way Danvers can fix the mistake is to make another impossible choice, making her big hero moment seem far less important in hindsight.

6 Loki Season 2 Retconned Thor’s Origins

Loki Season 2

Mobius and Loki in Chicago looking at statues of Balder, Odin, and Thor in Loki season 2

Thor’s MCU debut in 2011 was written to be the first time the Asgardian had visited Earth. Later in the franchise, he described the events of the film as his first interaction with the people of Earth, but Loki season 2 confirmed that this was actually untrue. While traveling, Loki and Mobius stop to examine statues of Balder, Odin, and Thor, and the likeness of the hero seemingly confirms that he did visit Earth prior to 2011. This backs up comments made by Kingo in Eternals about knowing Thor, retconning the God of Thunder’s assertion that he’d never visited Earth before meeting Jane Foster.

5 Quantumania Changed How Time Works In The Quantum Realm (Again)

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

The Ant-Man movies have found consistency in their scientific rules particularly difficult, and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania only worsened their record. After first establishing that Janet Van Dyne had aged normally during her 30 years in the Quantum Realm, Avengers: Endgame had Scott Lang experience time distortion, with five minutes for the hero lasting five years on Earth. Despite this idea facilitating Endgame’s time travel, Quantumania’s rules about time in the Quantum realm seem to retcon the notion, as it appears that time has passed normally in the real world while the heroes were trapped with Kang.

4 Captain Marvel Did Come To Earth

The Marvels

Brie Larson as Captain Marvel Giving Side Eye in The Marvels

The Marvels made one or two MCU retcons, but perhaps the biggest involved Carol Danvers and her reasoning for not returning to Earth. The sequel better explains her absence from previous Earth-based crises by reframing her role in the Skrull population’s struggle. The Marvels explains that Captain Marvel felt guilty about being unable to help the Skrulls, which was the real reason for her lack of intervention in MCU affairs prior to Endgame. It’s a retcon that makes one of the MCU’s most powerful characters seem significantly more human, showing a more tragic side to Captain Marvel.

3 The Rules Of Incursions Are Different

The Marvels

The MCU’s Multiverse Saga has seen the introduction of other universes and variants of existing heroes, but The Marvels actually changed the rules of how travel between universes works. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness explained that incursions would happen whenever a person from one universe lingered in another for too long. However, this presented obvious obstacles to the MCU’s ongoing exploration of the multiverse narrative, so The Marvels retconned the explanation of how incursions are caused. With The Marvels’ ending seeing Monica Rambeau trapped in another universe, it was a crucial retcon to make in service of the MCU’s exciting future.

2 Spider-Man: Homecoming’s Timeline Retcon

Marvel Revised The MCU’s Official Timeline

Tom Holland's Spider-Man stands in front of an American flag in Spider-Man: Homecoming

One of 2023’s biggest MCU retcons didn’t come in a film itself, but rather when Marvel acknowledged a previous mistake. 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming began with a scene set in the aftermath of 2012’s Battle of New York, then showed a title card that set up the events of the film as happening eight years later. However, this would have made Homecoming coincide with the Blip, breaking the MCU’s timeline. Marvel officially retconned the mistake by changing the events of Homecoming to four years later, rather than the original eight.

1 More Heroes Were At Endgame’s Final Battle

Secret Invasion

Avengers at the Battle of Earth in Avengers: Endgame

One of the MCU’s biggest retcons came in Secret Invasion, but it was actually incredibly subtle compared to some of 2023’s others. After Nick Fury reveals that he gathered the DNA of the Avengers who fought against Thanos in the Battle of Earth, G’iah injects herself with it, giving her their powers. However, when she does so, she also gains the abilities of Ghost and Abomination – two characters who were not shown during Endgame’s battle. The addition of their powers to the Harvest establishes that both of these characters actually helped save Earth from Thanos, making the Endgame cast retcon one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s biggest retcons of 2023.

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