MCU movies aren’t made with Disney magic and wishes of the heart. They must follow strict rules, regulations, and contract clauses.
In Avengers: Age of Ultron, we see Ultron singing to the creepily altered tune of “I’ve Got No Strings” from the 1940 Disney movie, Pinocchio. This scene not only depicts Ultron’s resemblance to a freed puppet, but it also marks the beginning of the merger between Disney and Marvel Studios.
Age of Ultron was released in 2012 as the first MCU movie to be filmed under the Disney name. Since then, the Avengers, the Guardians, and most of the other on-screen Marvel characters have been under the rule of Walt Disney’s super company.
However, working for Disney isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
Disney didn’t become one of the biggest production companies in the world simply due to Disney magic and the wishes your heart makes. The company is successful because it adheres to some strict rules and regulations.
Behind the scenes, every MCU director, writer, and actor must follow many of Disney’s family-friendly themes, insane contract clauses, and odd traditions.
Only after navigating these Disney waters can the MCU develop some of the extraordinary movies you see on the big screen.
So, get ready to break out the rulebook because here are the 17 Crazy Rules Disney Makes the MCU Follow.
17. FAKE SCRIPTS AND WINDOWLESS ROOMS
At the Seattle ACE Comicon on June 24th, 2018, Elizabeth Olsen revealed some interesting things about the MCU.
To read a full movie script, each actor must individually go into a dark, windowless room without their cell phone and finish the reading in one sitting.
During the panel, Paul Bettany also said that it was hard for him to read because he has dyslexia. It took him hours to read the Infinity War script only to find out that his script wasn’t entirely real.
Apparently, each script came with fake items and endings to prevent actors from spoiling the movie.
They didn’t find out the truth until right before shooting or when they saw the finished movie.
16. ALL MCU ACTORS HAVE TO MAINTAIN THE DISNEY IMAGE
Throughout Disney’s career, the company hasn’t hesitated to drop actors because of their public image or any negative publicity. This means that once the Avengers strip off their tights, they still have to remain a superhero in real life.
Each MCU actor must maintain his or her public image by constantly being a person that children look up to.
This means that they volunteer at children’s hospitals, partake in charities, and give back to the community.
Recently, Marvel Studios celebrated its 10th birthday by donating $800,000 to Make-A-Wish and $450,000 to Starlight Children’s Foundation.
15. NO CREATIVE CONTROL FOR THE ACTORS
Most actors have significant creative control over their movies. However, there are so many people wanting to be in Marvel movies that Disney can simply replace the actors that don’t agree with their creative vision.
Some people cite this as the reason why Ed Norton was replaced in the Marvel franchise.
Norton played Bruce Banner in the 2008 version of The Incredible Hulk. Apparently, he was set to reprise the role in The Avengers but was ultimately “Hulk smashed” because of creative differences.
Assuming that he had some creative control, Norton did a rewrite of his character that writers and directors didn’t agree with.
Ultimately, Disney couldn’t resolve the dispute and replaced him with Mark Ruffalo.
14. R-RATED CONTENT IS RESERVED FOR MARVEL TV SHOWS
The MCU is known for its light comedy while the DCEU is known for its darker tone. This is because Disney strictly restricts the use of R-rated content in their movies.
After the tremendous success of Deadpool, many people thought that some superhero movies would be more inclined to take on mature content.
However, Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger said “We don’t have any plans to make R-rated Marvel movies.”
Every MCU movie to date has been rated PG-13. However, the studio does allow Netflix and Hulu to stream Marvel TV shows with more mature content.
The maturity is expected to remain with the streaming services while MCU movies will target audiences of all ages.
13. MCU MOVIES RELEASE DATES CANNOT COINCIDE WITH OTHER DISNEY FRANCHISES
When a Disney movie comes out in theatres, it’s as if the whole world stops. Everyone focuses on the one movie and can’t think about anything else. This is because Disney wants you to feel this way.
Since the MCU has entered the House of Mouse, they’ve had to work around the family schedule.
Therefore, Marvel Studios can’t simply release a movie whenever it feels like it.
MCU movies cannot come out in theatres during the same time range as any other Disney franchise, such as Pixar or Star Wars.
This allows the movies to coexist with each other rather than compete for viewership or ratings.
12. WHEREVER YOU ARE, YOU MUST COME BACK FOR RESHOOTS
Where in the world is Idris Elba? Apparently, it doesn’t matter because he’s coming back for re-shoots.
During an interview with The Telegraph, Elba revealed that MCU actors are required to return for MCU movie re-shoots no matter where they are or what they’re doing.
While spending months in South Africa filming Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, a movie that was near and dear to his heart, Elba was called back to Asgard to do re-shoots for Thor 2.
He told Telegraph, “I was like, ‘This is torture, man. I don’t want to do this.’ My agent said: ‘You have to. It’s part of the deal.’”
11. NO SMOKING IN MCU MOVIES
Nick Fury is not only known for his behind-the-scenes involvement of the world’s mightiest heroes, but for also being a huge smoker.
In the comics, Fury constantly had a cigar in his mouth and is seen with puffs of smoke in many of his appearances. However, we don’t see him smoke in the MCU.
This is because every Disney movie has to follow a set of rules and one of them states that there can be no smoking in PG-13 movie.
The only exception to the ban is if smoking was part of the historical background of a real-life person.
Disney CEO, Bob Iger extended their smoking ban to Marvel, LucasFilm, and Pixar in 2015.
10. AVENGERS CANNOT PERFORM ALL OF THEIR OWN DANGEROUS STUNTS
When asked if he did his own stunts in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Tom Holland said, “I did as many [of the stunts] as I could, but there are some things legally that I couldn’t do.”
Disney contractually prevents actors from performing stunts that pose an extreme risk of bodily harm. This is because the actors are irreplaceable during filming and any injury would completely disrupt the production process.
Since insurance costs for actors are also significantly high, preventing MCU actors from doing dangerous stunts would also save Disney some extra cash.
Although some actors such as Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth have been able to skirt around the rule, the stunts are usually left to the professionals.
9. STRICT GYMMING AND DIET RULES
If you’re going to play a Greek god or a physically perfect experiment, then you better look the part.
Therefore, MCU actors must go through intense training and dieting to maintain their figure and keep their role.
However, this training isn’t a typical gym routine. After filming The First Avenger, Chris Evans said, “This was different… I’d be like, ‘I need to vomit. I hate this trainer. I hate this movie’… working out sucked, eating sucked more. You get to a point where you just can’t even look at another piece of chicken.”
MCU actors clock-in two hours a day at the gym and follow a strict diet of boiled chicken and dried oats.
8. MCU ACTORS MUST SAY YES TO ANY MCU FRANCHISE APPEARANCES
Each MCU actor signed a contract that determines how many movies they will be a part of.
For example, we know that Chris Evans is contractually obliged to play Captain America until Avengers 4, Chadwick Boseman is signed on for five movies, and Tom Holland has a six-film contract.
However, the actors don’t just sign on to be in these movies, they also sign a contract to be a part of the entire Marvel franchise.
This means that each actor must appear in the MCU whenever they are asked as long as they have a standing contract – even if it’s just for a three-second cameo.
7. MCU ACTORS MUST GO INTERNATIONAL
Playing an Avenger, a Guardian of the Galaxy, or a treacherous villain is basically a 24/7 job.
Once the actors finish filming, their job isn’t done. They simply pack their bags and get ready to strut their stuff on the red carpet or chat with the world at global press conferences.
Many MCU actors are contractually obliged to partake in global press tours.
This means that they must travel the world to promote their movies to die-hard fans after they have spent long hours shooting.
Even though it’s written in their contract, these actors endure hours on planes and tackle sleep deprivation with a huge smile on their face.
6. EVERY ACTOR MUST GO THROUGH A BACKGROUND CHECK
Just like any serious job position, every MCU actor is also required to go through an extensive background check.
Tom Vaughan-Lawlor said that he underwent a background check before being allowed to play Ebony Maw.
According to Lawlor, “With social media, there’s so much potential for leaks so [Marvel] understandably wants to micro-manage things and make sure it goes out when they are ready.”
“They didn’t know me, so when I went over, they were meeting me for the first time. They do background checks to make sure you’re not a white supremacist and they’re not hiring someone with weird baggage,” he said.
5. DISNEY REFERENCES THROUGHOUT MCU MOVIES
Now that Marvel is a part of the Disney family, the company is using MCU movies to promote its other franchises.
Ultron singing Pinnochio’s “I’ve Got No Strings” was the start of the MCU/Disney merger, and since then, the MCU has featured many Disney Easter eggs.
Disney also has the final say on any Easter eggs added to the movies. For example, they overruled a Captain America Easter egg that was intended to be featured in Infinity War.
According to the Russo Brothers, Steve Rogers’ phone number in the movie was originally meant to be a real number that movie watchers could call.
The number would lead to a voice message left by the man himself.
4. NO BEHEADINGS ALLOWED IN DISNEY MOVIES
Along with no smoking in any movie, Disney also has another rule against the use of extreme violence in its movies. This means that no Disney film can show beheadings of any kind.
Although Disney movies have featured characters who have been beheaded in the past, such as the Headless Horseman in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow or Madame Leota from The Haunted Mansion, no human-like Disney character has ever been beheaded on screen.
This rule has also clearly extended into the MCU. We have never seen a human-like character beheaded throughout the existence of the cinematic universe.
3. MCU ACTORS ARE AT THE BECKONING CALL OF TOY COMPANIES
Not only are the MCU actors at the beckoning call of the MCU or the Disney franchise, but they must also report to any of the company’s outside vendors.
This is how it’s possible for children to play with Hulk action figures or a life-size replica of the Infinity Gauntlet.
Whenever one of these vendors needs to put an actor in front of a green screen for a toy, video game, or product, the MCU gladly hands them over.
An MCU actor’s face is no longer their own and can be seen on any number of merchandising products.
2. THE NON-COMPETE CLAUSE
During a panel at the 2017 Supernova Comic-Con in Australia, MCU actor Chris Hemsworth revealed that it’s “illegal” for Marvel actors to appear in DC movies.
The competition between the MCU and DCEU is like the modern-day version of the Pepsi vs Coke or McDonald’s vs Burger King rivalry.
The two studios are direct competitors in the comic entertainment industry and it’s clearly evident in the box office and among die-hard fans.
Therefore, it only makes sense that the two universes discourage actors from cross-contaminating and working for both franchises.
1. THE INFAMOUS VAN AND IMMEDIATE SHOOTS
At the ACE Comicon, Elizabeth Olsen revealed that the actors didn’t know anything about Infinity War until they were all stuffed into a mysterious van and told everything at once.
Later on, Sebastian Stan was also asked about the van and jokingly said that although he knew about the mysterious vehicle, he didn’t jump into it because he was “raised better than that.”
After they were given the details of the movie, the actors had mere seconds to shoot the scenes.
According to Tom Holland, he didn’t find out that he was “turning to dust” until Kevin Feige told him and he immediately had to film his demise.
Have you heard about any other crazy rules that Disney makes the MCU follow? Let us know in the comments!