One of the prominent, defining features of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is its overlapping stories and seemingly unrelated characters who get to interact with one another.
The Avengers featured a super soldier who fought in World War II, a genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist, a Norse god, a scientist whose gamma radiation exposure turns him into a raging green monster and two super spies coming together to be a superhero squad. In the near decade since that 2012 movie, the partnerships and team-ups within the MCU have only increased — and become even weirder in a good way.
But with an ever-expanding list of characters from both films and television shows, there are a significant number of characters who have never interacted but would be great to see do so.
In honor of What If…?, what if the following characters interacted in the Marvel world?
Phil Coulson and Scott Lang
If The Avengers is any indication, then Phil Coulson is the resident fanboy of the Marvel universe.
First, Coulson fumbles a bit when speaking with the one and only Captain America on the Quinjet as they make their way to the Helicarrier. He mentions being around when Steve Rogers was first asleep after being taken out of the ice, and he brags about having input on the revived Captain America uniform. Coulson even asks Rogers to sign his “near-mint” Captain America trading cards “if it’s not too much trouble.”
The only person who could potentially rival Coulson’s Captain America fandom? Scott Lang.
When Lang makes an appearance in Captain America: Civil War to help out Team Cap, he is so fazed by getting to meet Rogers that he shakes his hand for too long and cannot speak straight, delivering the memorable “Thinks for thanking of me” line. But Lang also mentions how he’s a fan of the other heroes he’ll be fighting alongside, such as Wanda Maximoff.
Seeing the two interact and geek out over their love for the Avengers would be a fun, wholesome moment that could lead to a great friendship.
Bucky Barnes and Daniel Sousa
When it comes to Marvel and being a man out of time, Steve Rogers is likely the first name that comes to mind. But given the events of Avengers: Endgame and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, it’s clear that he’s no longer around.
How exactly Rogers is absent remains to be seen. However, there are still men out of time in the Marvel universe. Not only that, but there are specifically still World War II veterans living in the 21st century as men out of their time: Bucky Barnes and Daniel Sousa.
In The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Barnes is seen trying to adjust to modern living after being cured of the Hydra brainwashing that forced him to be the Winter Soldier for decades.
Sousa, originally from Agent Carter, made his way to the present day after the time-traveling adventures that took place in the final season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson and company take Sousa from 1955, and he stays with the team as they return to their own time.
At the end of both The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Barnes and Sousa seem to have each found a place for themselves in the present day with their respective new families. Barnes is in Louisiana, enjoying his time with Sam Wilson and his family. Meanwhile, Sousa is traveling space alongside his girlfriend, Daisy Johnson, and her out-of-time sister, Kora.
Those are heartwarming situations, but it would be nice for the two World War II veterans to meet, interact and even become friends. While it is important that they are comfortable enough with the 21st century, knowing that they are not alone in their situation would be worth exploring.
The amount of things they could bond over is seemingly endless from both being men out of time to having served in the war to their experiences with Hydra. They both even knew and worked with Peggy Carter. It’d be an unexpected relationship for either, but one that could be of great value.
Daisy Johnson/Quake and Matt Murdock/Daredevil
Both Daisy Johnson and Matt Murdock spent time at the Saint Agnes Orphanage in New York City, so there’s a good chance they were both at the home at some point.
Johnson was dropped off at the orphanage by a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent after her mother’s (supposed) death. It was at the children’s home she was given the name “Mary Sue Poots.” While she lived with foster families, a pre-existing agreement between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the orphanage meant that Johnson never stayed at a foster home for too long and always returned to Saint Agnes.
Similarly, Murdock moved to the New York City-based orphanage following the death of his father, Jack. He grew up at the orphanage and even went on to return there as an adult, secretly staying there during season 3 of Daredevil, when he was thought to be dead.
Given the significant amount of time both characters spent there, it’s tough to think their paths didn’t cross at some point. They have each come a long way since their days at the orphanage, so even if they somehow didn’t know each other then, it would be interesting for them to compare experiences from both their pasts and presents.
After all, what are the chances that two kids from an orphanage in New York City would become superheroes?
Harley Keener and Peter Parker
At the scene of Tony Stark’s funeral, there are many familiar faces gathered at the Stark home to mourn the hero. But there was one person in particular whose face, while familiar to Iron Man fans, wasn’t immediately recognizable in the way everyone else’s were. That person? Harley Keener, the boy who both annoyed and assisted Stark in Iron Man 3.
Because it wasn’t a public event, Keener’s presence at the funeral implies that the two maintained a relationship well after Stark, known to Keener as “the Mechanic,” gifts him with new equipment and the “Potato Gun Mark II.” But Keener isn’t the only young engineer Stark has given custom gifts to.
When Spider-Man makes his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker is still using a raggedy homemade suit complete with bulky goggles that help his vision stay focused. It isn’t until Tony Stark visits him and begins that mentor-mentee-esque relationship that Parker gets a suit that lives up to his abilities.
Given their similar interests and past history with Stark, Parker and Keener could make a great duo — both as engineers and as friends. It would be fun to see how the two interact in a work setting, both trying to create new technology and bouncing ideas off of each other.