The Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked off in 2008 with Iron Man. After working on a co-produced Incredible Hulk with their second movie, the MCU was off to the races, introducing everyone from Captain America and Thor to The Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers. Superheroes had their own solo movies, joined teams, and made cameos in other hero’s movies along the way.
It probably comes as no surprise that two of the first four main heroes introduced have appeared in more movies than anyone else, especially when those two men pretty much are the heart and soul of the MCU. However, there are also some surprises along the way as well. Here is a look at 12 superheroes who have had the most MCU appearances.
10. LOKI, FALCON, HEIMDALL (5)
There are three superheroes tied for 10th when it comes to total appearances in the MCU. Those men are Loki, who went from a villain to a hero, Falcon, and Heimdall. For Loki, he was a huge presence in all three Thor movies and the first Avengers film. Add in Avengers: Infinity War, and that makes five.
Heimdall was in all three Thor movies as well, plus appearances in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War. As for Falcon, he debuted in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and then appeared in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.
9. WAR MACHINE (6)
Another surprise might be the fact that War Machine has as many appearances as The Hulk. This comes partially because he first appeared as James Rhodes in the first Iron Man movie. He was recast after that, with Don Cheadle replacing Terrence Howard, but he at least glanced at the armor in that first movie.
Rhodes appeared in all three Iron Man movies, taking the armor in the second. He was in Avengers: Age of Ultron and then took Iron Man’s side in Captain America: Civil War, where he was seriously injured. He also appeared back in action in Avengers: Infinity War.
8. WINTER SOLDIER (6)
Bucky Barnes made his first MCU appearance in Captain America: The First Avenger as the best friend of Steve Rogers and a soldier fighting for the good cause in World War II before he appeared to fall to his death. He lived through that and returned unaged to Captain America: The Winter Soldier as a villain.
He was also the reason for the superhero Civil War between Captain America and Iron Man in that movie and had a small post-credit role in Ant-Man to set it up. He then had a post-credit role in Black Panther before he returned to fight Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War for six total appearances in the MCU.
7. HULK (6)
While The Incredible Hulk was the second superhero movie that came from the new MCU, the big green guy was not destined to be around very much. Universal Studios didn’t seem to want to play nice with Marvel and Disney, so he never got another solo movie of his own. That means that he needed to appear in other movies to make a splash.
That happened in all three Avengers movies, putting him up to four appearances. As Bruce Banner, he got a fun post-credit scene with Tony Stark in Iron Man 3 but then his best moments came in Thor: Ragnarok where Marvel slightly retold the Planet Hulk story.
6. JARVIS/VISION (7)
This one might come as a shock to most MCU fans. However, it is important to remember that, while Vision did not appear until Avengers: Age of Ultron, he used to be J.A.R.V.I.S., and he has been around since the first Iron Man movie.
J.A.R.V.I.S. appeared in Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Avengers and Iron Man 3. After those four appearances, he was transferred into the android body of Vision, who then fought Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron, took Iron Man’s side in Captain America: Civil War and fought Thanos in Infinity War — a total of seven appearances in the MCU.
5. BLACK WIDOW (7)
Black Widow made her debut in the MCU in Iron Man 2 when she was sent in by Nick Fury in as a covert agent to keep an eye on Tony Stark. She made her mark and became a founding member of The Avengers on the big screen before moving over to the Captain America movies for both Winter Soldier and Civil War.
Add in both Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War, and her total movies as an active superhero hit six. However, take a close look at Thor: Ragnarok and it was her pre-recorded appearance on a video monitor that helped Hulk finally submit and return to Bruce Banner in that movie, giving her seven official appearances.
4. THOR (7)
Thor was the fourth MCU movie and introduced the God of Thunder to movie fans. His weapon Mjolnir made a cameo appearance in the post-credits of Iron Man 2 but that doesn’t count for these appearances. After Thor made his debut, he next took part in The Avengers and then got a second solo movie the following year.
He then disappeared for a little bit before coming back for Avengers: Age of Ultron. After a cameo appearance in the post-credits of Doctor Strange, and then he enjoyed his greatest adventure in Thor: Ragnarok. Avengers: Infinity War was his seventh appearance in the MCU.
3. NICK FURY (8)
Nick Fury sits in third place and that isn’t too surprising either. He popped up in the end credits of Iron Man to ask if he had heard of the Avengers Initiative, leaving audiences excited at what was coming next. Fury then popped up in Iron Man 2, where he dresses down the hero in front of Black Widow.
Next is Thor and then the final scene of Captain America: The First Avenger when Steve wakes up in the present day. Add in The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron and you are up to six movies. He disappeared after that, but then popped up in the post-credit scene of Infinity War to make eight.
He is guaranteed to be in two upcoming 2019 movies, and if he also pops up in Avengers: Endgame, then he will pass everyone with 11 appearances.
2. CAPTAIN AMERICA (9)
Captain America was the fifth Avenger introduced in the timeline, following Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Black Widow. However, since that time he has moved to the forefront and is tied with Iron Man for the most appearances. Just like Iron Man, he has three movies with his name on them and appeared in all three Avengers movies.
Captain America also appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming in videos that the kids in school had to watch and was in Thor: The Dark World, although that proved to be Loki casting an illusion over his own appearance. Add in one last post-credit scene in Ant-Man and you have nine appearances with a 10th coming in 2019.
1. IRON MAN (9)
It should come as a surprise to no one that Iron Man is at least tied for the most appearances for any superhero in the MCU. He was the first superhero introduced when Marvel started their own shared universe. He was the first to get a trilogy of movies. As a matter of fact, he had three movies before anyone else had two.
He appeared in all three Avengers movies (with one more to go) and even fought Captain America in that hero’s third movie. Add in a mentoring role in Spider-Man: Homecoming and a post-credit appearance in The Incredible Hulk, and Iron Man hit nine total appearances, with a 10th coming in 2019.