Although purely fictional, filled with superhuman strength, aliens, magic users, and time travel, the Marvel Cinematic Universe manages to feature some real historical events in their Disney+ movies and series. How would they avoid it even if one of America’s first superheroes was created solely to defeat the Nazis and help win one of the world wars, after all? Indeed, part of the franchise’s earlier efforts to ground comic book superhero movies in the real world was to infuse real historical events, such as Captain America’s involvement in World War II and, more currently, Tony Stark’s contribution to the war in Afghanistan.
Although there have been a number of instances where the fantasy world has intermingled with the real world, most of them are strongly Eurocentric. Indeed, the MCU has only recently begun branching out into cultures outside of the West, and we’re honestly here for the new representation. Let’s take a look at six real historical events that have been included in the MCU movies and the Disney+ series.
6/6 The origin of Black Panther — Black Panther
What is special about Black Panther and T’Challa is that, per Digital Spy, he’s considered the first superhero of African descent in Marvel Comics. First appearance in Marvel The Fantastic Four in 1966, he then got his own comic in 1977. And then, of course, it took another few decades to create a movie about him and include him as one of the Avengers in the MCU. It is important to note that Black Panther was created in the context of the Black Power movement, when African Americans demanded equal rights under American law and fought against racial segregation. Creating and naming the first black superhero after the Black Panther party was surely a step in the right direction.
5/6 Post-Cold War Espionage — Black Widow
Anyone reading this probably knows what the Cold War was, but to refresh your memory: it was the geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, which has lasted practically until today. How it works Black Widow play in all this? The story of the superheroine was built around the theme of “the Russian spy”, because she was also trained to be one. Natasha was abducted as a child and trained to become a black widow, Russian assassin and spy. Also, when she was a child, she was part of an American family that were actually undercover Russians infiltrating American society to gather information. Believe it or not, according to NPR, this was common practice during the Cold War and, as we see Black Widowwell after.
4/6 The Birth of Babylon—Eternals
Before the release of Eternals, it was announced that the story would span over 7,000 years and completely change the trajectory of the MCU timeline. The time of the Eternals on Earth spanned from 5000 BC. AD, when they arrived on Earth, in 2024. It turns out that this group of heroes played a vital role in the development of the ancient cities that we have come to know in the course of history, helping them to progress. as civilization. The main focus, of course, was on Babylon. The city was the largest in the world, existing from c. 1770 to approx. 1670 BC, and again from c. 612 to c. 320 BC. It was thought to be the first city to reach over 200,000 citizens. The MCU tied all of this greatness and prestige to the Eternals’ attendance over time.
3/6 The War in Afghanistan — Iron Man
The Iron Man franchise is overlaid with US involvement in Middle Eastern affairs under the guise of 9/11. Even the creation of the Iron Man suit was prompted by the kidnapping of Tony Stark by Afghan forces, which later turned out to be funded by Tony’s right-hand man. Everyone knew that Stark Industries made weapons and then shipped them to soldiers to fight in Afghanistan, but it also turned out that the weapons were used by the terrorists themselves, which was a nice allegory of America’s own history of terrorist financing. Luckily, Stark realizes the grave mistake and stops manufacturing after his direct (and near-death) experience.
2/6 Partition of India – Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel dives deep into the history of India and Pakistan. This is an extremely important plot point for Kamala Khan and her family’s roots. The historical event they focus on in particular is the night of India’s partition and the unthinkable chaos wrought by the Indian Independence Act of 1947. As you may already know, British royalty was insatiable when It was about colonizing different countries under the pretext of the “white man’s burden”. Hindus and Muslims lived in harmony for the most part until the partition of India. Those who wanted to feel safe practicing their Islamic religion left for Pakistan and vice versa. The show depicts chaos and the masses of people trying to catch a train, giving up their own lives because of British rule once again.
1/6 WWII – Captain America: First Avenger
Last but not least, we have Captain America and the only reason he was created: to defeat the Nazis by The First Avenger. Although the concept of super soldiers is highly fictional, the reason for founding the project was actually real. The United States wanted a true American hero with all the “good American qualities” to help them win the war and defeat the Nazis in Germany during World War II. While everyone doubted Steve Rogers was the right choice for such an important mission, they couldn’t have been more wrong, as Captain America single-handedly played a major role in the MCU’s version of WWII.