The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is an American media franchise and shared universe centered on superhero films and other series starring various titular superheroes independently produced by Marvel Studios and based on characters that appear in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The shared universe, much like the original Marvel Universe in comic books, was established by crossing over common plot elements, settings, cast, and characters. Due to the galaxy-spanning nature of the franchise, multiple species have been introduced.
The Asgardians, or the Æsir, introduced in Thor, are the inhabitants of Asgard, on whom the gods of Norse mythology are based in MCU mythology. In the first film they are shown as a race of superhuman extraterrestrials who look similar to humans but possess a highly advanced form of technology resembling magic and sorcery, upon which their entire civilization is built. However, later films contradict this, with Thor: Love and Thunder establishing that Thor and Zeus are actual gods in the fictional universe. The film's post-credit scene also confirms the existence of Valhalla in the MCU.
The Asgardians are shown suffering major losses, first during Hela's attempt to harness Asgard's power in Thor: Ragnarok, and later by Thanos on his quest to retrieve the Tessaract, as revealed in Avengers: Infinity War. A group of survivors escapes to Earth, and builds a settlement under the rule of King Valkyrie.
They appear in the films Thor, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame and Thor: Love and Thunder; as well as the ABC series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Disney+ series Loki and the animated series What If...?.
Celestials are an ancient race of entities introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy and later expanded upon on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Eternals as beings with vast matter and energy manipulation abilities.
In Guardians of the Galaxy, they are introduced as being present in the universe long before the galactic communities and even the Asgardians. Their origin and nature are not elaborated upon. Whatever is known about them is known only by a few characters, such as Taneleer Tivan, who reveals that the Celestials utilized the Infinity Stones as a means of power against lesser life forms. The severed head of a deceased Celestial, which was converted into Knowhere, appears in this film, Avengers: Infinity War, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Eson the Searcher is shown in a flashback sequence as a former owner of the Power Stone in Guardians of the Galaxy. He uses its power to level the surface of an entire planet.
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Ego the Living Planet, Star-Lord's biological father, is a Celestial who controls a humanoid avatar to travel the universe. His planetary form is a living extension of his Celestial consciousness. Over the course of many years, he plants thousands of alien-seedlings to expand his existence across all life sustaining planets. However, Ego needs another Celestial's assistance to activate them, so he fathers children with various alien races and had Yondu Udonta retrieve them so he could gauge their Celestial powers. Quill is the only child who gains his father's Celestial abilities, though he loses them after killing Ego and foiling his plans.
In Eternals, Arishem the Celestial is revealed to have planted seeds of other Celestials in planets with life for millions of years, and created and dispatched Deviants and Eternals to prepare the planets for their birth. After the Eternals of Earth defy his orders and stop the birth of Celestial Tiamut, their remaining members are taken away by Arishem for judgement.
Celestials also appear in the Disney+ animated series What If...?.
The Chitauri are a powerful, reptilian warrior race, introduced in The Avengers as a hybrid between organic beings and machines. They have a caste-like society, with each caste (nearly a different species in itself) fulfilling a different role in Chitauri society. They are in league with Thanos through his vizier, a hooded being called "the Other". They are presented as a race of grey-skinned, six-fingered reptilian humanoids that have a bio-mechanical physiology and superhuman attributes. Their technology ranges from hovercraft-like skimmers and Necrocraft, to living airborne troop carriers called Leviathans, all neurally linked with a mothership.
They also appear in the Disney+ series Loki (archival footage), What If...?, and Hawkeye (flashback).
The Clandestines, introduced in Ms. Marvel, are a group who claim to be Djinn that were exiled from their home Noor dimension. Their presence on Earth is shown to be tied to the background of the family of series protagonist Kamala Khan. Kamala's great-grandmother Aisha is revealed to be a former Clandestines in a flashback sequence set in the period up to the Partition of India. In 1942, Aisha leaves the group, falls in love with a human man named Hasan, and gives birth to Sana, Kamala's grandmother. In 1947, the other Clandestines find Aisha, and their leader, Najma, kills her. The other members include Fariha, Aadam, Saleem, and Kamran, who tries to protect Kamala from the other Clandestines when they attempt to forcibly use her to return home.
The Clandestines appear in the Disney+ series Ms. Marvel.
A race of aliens based on the Chronomonitors called Chronicoms appeared in the television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Each of the Chronicoms are sorted by their roles of predictor, hunter, and anthropologist. Known Chronicoms include the anthropologists Enoch (portrayed by Joel Stoffer), Noah (portrayed by Joel David Moore) and Isaiah (portrayed by Jan Uddin), hunters Atarah (portrayed by Sherri Saum), Malachi (portrayed by Christopher James Baker), Baal-Gad (portrayed by Christian Ochoa), and Luke (portrayed by Luke Baines), and predictor Sibyl (portrayed by Tamara Taylor). Introduced at the end of the fourth season with Enoch bringing the title characters to the future to attempt to help them escape a time loop and prevent the past destruction of Earth in the fifth season. Their leading faction was additionally featured as the main antagonists for the seventh season of the series after sporadically featuring throughout the sixth season in a minor role as they seek to make Earth their next planet after their homeworld Chronyca-2 was destroyed by Izel and the Shrike.
Deviants are a race of organic beings introduced in Eternals, created by the Celestial Arishem. Like Eternals, they are sent to planets to ensure the development of intelligent life, creating the necessary conditions to birth a Celestial. Deviants achieve this by eliminating the apex predators of planets, allowing populations to grow. But unlike Eternals, Deviants evolve from absorbing traits from those they killed and eventually become a threat to intelligent life themselves. Eternals are revealed to have been sent as replacements with the additional mission to eliminate Deviants.
On Earth, Deviants are believed to have been eliminated by Eternals led by Ajak in 1521, until their resurgence in 2024. One of these Deviants, Kro, kills Eternals Ajak and Gilgamesh and absorbs their abilities to gradually evolve into a sapient being.
Dwarves, introduced in Avengers: Infinity War, are an ancient race of skilled forgers and blacksmiths hailing from the realm of Nidavellir. They are ruled by King Eitri. They are close allies of the Asgardians, and after being asked by Odin, forged Mjolnir. Unlike the comics, Eitri was shown to be larger than normal.
Eitri appears in Avengers: Infinity War, when Thor, Rocket, and Groot arrive on Nidavellir. They find Eitri who informs them that Thanos killed the rest of the Dwarves after they forged the Infinity Gauntlet.
Dwarves also appear in the Disney+ series What If...?.
Elves are two separate races, the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim, and the Light Elves of Alfheim.
In Thor: The Dark World, The Dark Elves, as with their enemies the Asgardians, are depicted as ancient astronauts. It is stated that they existed in the primordial darkness that predated the current vibrant state of the universe. Their goal is stated as destroying the current universe and returning existence back to that state. They were believed extinct, but unbeknownst to the Asgardians, Malekith and a number of warriors escaped and went into stasis in deep space until another attempt would be possible. For the film, David J. Peterson created a language for the Dark Elves called Shiväisith. In Guardians of the Galaxy, an imprisoned Dark Elf appears as an exhibit in Taneleer Tivan's museum. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Dark Elf technology that was salvaged from the Battle of Greenwich was used by Tinkerer alongside the technologies from the Chitauri and Stark Industries.
Runa, a Light Elf with shape shifting abilities, appears in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. After impersonating various people including Megan Thee Stallion, she is caught and sentenced to pay damages and serve a 60 day sentence.
Elves also appear in the Disney+ series Loki (archival footage) and What If...?.
Eternals are an immortal race of superpowered synthetic beings appearing in the film of the same name. They are revealed to have been created by the Celestials at the World Forge to rid planets of Deviants in order to ensure the continual growth of their native populations, allowing new Celestials to "emerge" when the time comes. A group of ten Eternals—Ajak, Sersi, Ikaris, Kingo, Sprite, Phastos, Makkari, Druig, Gilgamesh, and Thena—are sent to Earth on their starship, the Domo, by Arishem in 5000 BC, where they help humanity progress while refraining from interfering in human conflicts. In the present day, this group of Eternals rebel once they learn of their true purpose, with Ajak being betrayed by Ikaris and her and Gilgamesh both being killed by Deviants in the process. Sersi replaces Ajak as the team's leader and activates the Uni-Mind, successfully preventing the Celestial Tiamut from being born and destroying the planet. A guilt-ridden Ikaris, who had vowed to uphold Arishem's instructions but was unable to bring himself to kill Sersi, flies into the Sun, while Sprite is turned into a human.
The Flerken, introduced in Captain Marvel, are stated to be alien creatures that completely resemble Earth's cats in appearance and behavior, but are shown to possess human-level intelligence. They have tentacles that come out of their mouths and can swallow up large objects and store them in pocket dimensions in their bellies. Flerken also have longevity.
Goose is the Flerken that makes her appearance in Captain Marvel. She accompanies Carol Danvers and Nick Fury on their mission, where she demonstrates her abilities by defeating Kree soldiers and swallowing the Tesseract. Later, she stays with Fury. In The Marvels, Goose gives birth to numerous offsprings which help with the evacuation of the collapsing S.A.B.E.R. station.
The Frost Giants, introduced in Thor, are a race of 10 ft. tall humanoid beings that inhabit the frozen, barren realm Jotunheim. They are ruled by Laufey, king of the Frost Giants, who is also Loki's true biological father. Small and weak for a Frost Giant, Loki is abandoned by his father in a temple, and left to die. In 965 A.D., not long after the war between the Giants and the Asgardians, Loki is found by King Odin and raised as his son.
After Thor, they also appear through Loki in the films The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, as well as the Disney+ series Loki and What If...?.
The Inhumans are introduced in the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with further development in the third season. They were created by the Kree, with experiments with the Inhumans dating back to the Maya civilization when a Mayan hunter was turned into Hive. The Alpha Primitives appeared in the show's third season, though they are referred to simply as "Primitives". This version of the Primitives are the result of Hive and Holden Radcliffe's failed experiments to turn humans into Inhumans through a pathogen created from a combination of Terrigen Crystals, the blood of Daisy Johnson and a Kree Reaper, and Hive's own parasitic organism. While the Primitives have enhanced strength and infrared sensory capabilities, they also retain the skills they had before their transformation.
An eight-episode live-action television series, titled Marvel's Inhumans, premiered on ABC after the first two episodes were screened in IMAX theaters for two weeks beginning on September 1, 2017. IMAX is also a financial partner for Inhumans, and this was the first time a television series premiered in IMAX. The series centered on Black Bolt and other members of the Royal Family (Medusa, Maximus, Karnak, Gorgon, Crystal, Triton, and Auran), and was not intended to be a reworking of the planned film from Marvel Studios, nor a spin-off of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Scott Buck served as showrunner and executive producer on the series. The series was panned by both fans and critics alike, and was canceled after one season.
A trade report in March 2011 said Marvel Entertainment was developing an Inhumans film. In November 2012, Stan Lee reported that the film is in development. In August 2014, it was reported that Marvel was moving forward with the development of an Inhumans film, with a screenplay written by Joe Robert Cole. In October 2014, Marvel Studios confirmed Inhumans, with a release date of November 2, 2018 and with Vin Diesel openly attached to the role of Black Bolt shortly after the film's announcement, despite already having a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Groot. The date was later pushed back to July 12, 2019. By October 2015, Cole was no longer involved with the film and any potential drafts that he may have written would not be used. In April 2016, the film was taken off of Marvel's 2019 release schedule for unknown reasons, though it is not considered canceled. In July 2016, producer Kevin Feige said Inhumans would "certainly" be a part of the discussion regarding the film ideas for 2020 and 2021, adding the following November that he was still optimistic the film could be released in Phase Four, but had since not commented on the reason for the film's removal from its slate. Since then, there have been no further updates regarding the film's development, leaving the project in limbo.
The Kree are a militaristic race of mostly blue-skinned humanoids from the planet Hala, first featured in the ABC series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. One of the most technically advanced races in the galaxy, the Kree are skilled in genetic engineering and are responsible for the creation of the Inhumans on Earth.
The species made its cinematic debut in Guardians of the Galaxy with Ronan the Accuser and Korath the Pursuer. The Kree Empire is stated to have just signed a peace treaty with the Nova Corps of Xandar, thereby ending a centuries-long war between the two races. This treaty prompts the radical Ronan to embark on a renegade campaign of genocide against all Xandarians, before being defeated and killed by Guardians of the Galaxy.
The Kree briefly appear in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, where their planet Hala is nearly destroyed by Ego.
They next appear in Captain Marvel. Pace and Hounsou reprise their roles as Ronan and Korath, and are joined by Yon-Rogg, Minn-Erva, Att-Lass, and Bron-Char, who are members of the Kree military team Starforce. Mar-Vell and the Supreme Intelligence also appear in the film. Yon-Rogg comes to Earth when the Kree discovers that Mar-Vell is working on a light-speed engine experiment as well as harboring some Skrulls. When Mar-Vell dies in a crash with Carol Danvers and Yon-Rogg arrives, Carol shoots the engine and gets exposed to its energies. After a blood transfusion from Yon-Rogg, Carol's memories are altered and she works under him and the Supreme Intelligence. Carol then comes back to Earth following an encounter with the Skrulls led by Talos. On a parley with Talos, Carol learns of what the Kree did to the Skrulls and their homeworld. After removing the damper from her head, Carol uses her powers to fight the Kree forces, resulting in most of them either being killed or incapacitated. Yon-Rogg is sent back to Hala to relay Carol's message to the Supreme Intelligence.
The Kree also appear in The Marvels as well as the Disney+ animated series What If...?.
The Mutants, are an enhanced species that, from birth, possess specific genetic mutations that grant them unique superhuman abilities or distinct physical characteristics. Usually, the term mutants refer to Homo superior, a race that came into being by having genetically evolved from Homo sapiens. However, due to a wide variety of factors, from being a half-human hybrid to being the ruling member of the aquatically-adapted Talokanil, various other types of individuals are able to develop mutations and those individuals would also be classified as mutants.
They have appeared in the films Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and The Marvels, and the Disney+ series Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. They will also appear in Deadpool & Wolverine.
The Outriders are mindless, feral aliens utilized by Thanos in his army, first appearing in Avengers: Infinity War, in which they invade Wakanda. Alternate versions of the Outriders appear in Avengers: Endgame during the final battle, but are disintegrated at the end.
The non-canon novel Thanos: Titan Consumed gives their origin as the result of Thanos combining samples of DNA from the Chitauri, himself, and of various species that he has killed.
Sakaarans, also known as Sakaarians, are a sentient insectoid race native to the planet Sakaar.
They also appear in the Disney+ animated series What If...?
The Skrulls are a race of extraterrestrial shapeshifters hailing from the planet Skrullos, introduced in Captain Marvel.
Alternate universe versions appear in the Disney+ series Loki, and What If...?.
The Sovereign, appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, are a golden-skinned humanoid race that has advanced through genetic engineering and live on the amalgamation of planets of the same name, later revealed to be creations of the High Evolutionary. They are led by Ayesha, the Golden High Priestess. In a post-credits scene in, Ayesha oversees the birth of the latest member of the race—Adam Warlock, who she intends to use as a weapon against the Guardians.
They appear in the films Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and the Disney+ series What If...?.
The Talokanil, introduced in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, are the inhabitants of the underwater kingdom of Talokan. They are descended from an enhanced group of humans from Yucatán who consumed an underwater herb infused with vibranium.
Several other species make appearances throughout the MCU, often in the form of a single character. These include:
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