Spoilers ahead for Avengers: Endgame. After the latest MCU movie retired and killed off some of its most significant superhero characters, more change is definitely coming. And the possibilities are endless, given the rich history of Marvel's comics. Marvel Studios president, Kevin Feige told ComicBook.com that the MCU continue to expand out into space, despite its earth-bound origins. And obviously, the cosmos are already playing a big part. Beings from other planets are all over this storytelling universe, but it can be easy to get them confused. So we put together this guide to all the alien species in the MCU so far, to help you keep them straight.
When the MCU got its start with Iron Man in 2008, aliens seemed a long way off. But by the end of Iron Man 2, S.H.I.E.L.D. had found Thor's hammer in New Mexico, signaling that an alien — an Asgardian — had made his way to Earth. And things just sort of took off from there, bringing species after species into this franchise. Some are major characters, others we only see briefly. And you never know which ones the MCU may choose to focus on in the future. (See: The Eternals movie that's reportedly in the works.)
You can at least bet on a Captain Marvel sequel and a third Guardians movie coming out in the future, so it's a good time to catch up on all of the alien beings you've already met over the 11 years of the MCU's existence. You'll surely have to memorize some more soon.
Thor, his father Odin, and his step-mother Frigga are each members of this humanoid race that hails from Asgard. The Asgardians are known for their superhuman strength and longevity, as well as their connection to Norse mythology.
Krees play a big part in Captain Marvel, and their longstanding rivalry against the Skrulls resulted in one of the most epic wars in the comics, involving some of the Avengers. They live on the planet Hala, where Captain Marvel first wakes up in the recent MCU film. They're known for their strength and stamina, and Marvel's Wiki reports that Kree women often demonstrate psychic abilities.
The Sakaarians are heavily featured in Thor: Ragnarok, which takes place on Sakaar, known as the garbage planet. As Valkyrie says, "Sakaar seemed like the best place to drink and forget and to die one day."
Sakaarians, also known as Sakaarans, are a humanoid race that includes two ethnic groups: "The red-skinned Sakaaran Imperials and the grey-skinned Shadow People," per the Marvel Wiki.
Guardians of the Galaxy characters Corpsman Dey (John C. Reilly), Xandarian Nova Prime (Glenn Close) and Denarian Saal (Peter Serafinowicz) are all Xandarians. They look like humans, and in the comics they often battle against the Kree with their army, the Nova Corps.
Skrulls show up in Captain Marvel, shaping the narrative because they're the shape-shifting aliens that can adopt anyone's appearances and powers by changing their DNA. As CBR.com reports, the Skrulls invaded various superheroes in Marvel's comics, including the Fantastic 4. Their leader in the MCU is Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) who ends up working with Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) to defeat the Kree, the Skrull's longstanding rivals.
6. Frost Giants
You've seen Frost Giants in Thor, The Avengers, and Thor: The Dark World. They're the massive ice-wielding rivals of the Asgardians, led by King Laufey (Colm Feore), who turned out to be Loki's (Tom Hiddleston) father.
7. The Eternals
While most people know that Thanos comes from the planet Titan, little about his species, the Eternals, has been addressed in the Marvel films. The group of Eternals was genetically engineered by the Celestials, for which they became servants for thousands of years. Last fall, Variety reported that Marvel booked The Rider director Chloe Zhao to direct the MCU's upcoming movie about them, so you can expect to see more of Thanos's kind in the future.
Nebula belongs to this alien race, which was wiped out in the comic books when Galactus ate the planet of Luphom, so only the Luphomoids who weren't on their home planet survived, according to Looper. Another Luphomoid from the comic books is the villain Zorr.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 villain Ego (Kurt Russell) belongs to the ancient race known as Celestials, which can wield the powers of the Infinity Stones. The powerful beings mimic humans and can manipulate or create beings on a molecular level.
You know Flerkens from Captain Marvel, which introduced one of the cutest characters the MCU has ever seen, the alien-cat named Goose. Goose first belonged to the Kree scientist Mar-Vell (Annette Bening) before Carol Danvers found him while retracing her mentor's steps on earth.
Flerkens have tentacles that can shoot out of their mouths. Their mouths also contain pocket dimensions, so they can hide an object like, for example, the Tesseract. You can definitely expect to see more of these furry creatures in the future, and yes, they're always cats.
11. Dwarves Of Nidavellir
Peter Dinklage's character in Infinity War belongs to the ancient race of blacksmiths and foragers known as Dwarves, from the realm of Nidavellir. The Dwarves forged both Thanos' Infinity Gauntlet (under duress) and Thor's weapons, including his hammer, Mjølnir.
12. Flora Colossus
Our favorite tree-like creature belongs to this alien species of plant beings.
The Chitauri have arguably been the most pervasive alien species throughout the MCU's history as they have battled against the Avengers numerous times. Their first appearance is in 2012's The Avengers, when Loki creates a portal to outer space in New York that allows in the reptilian alien beings. Later, you see a lot of the Chitauri in Infinity War and Endgame as the evil aliens battle as Thanos' army.
Originally from an asteroid field in space called Sanctuary, or Chitauri Space, the alien beings combine organic genes with machines, making them a technologically advanced and menacing race.
14. Dark Elves
The Dark Elves, like the Frost-Giants, are enemies of the Asgardians who have the power to control the super weapon, the Aether.
This pink-skinned species to which Guardians' Bereet (Melia Kreiling) belongs hasn't played a major role in the MCU so far, though they often appear in subservient positions. Carina (Ophelia Lovibond) in Guardians of the Galaxy is the Collector's slave.
Kronans come from the planet of Ria. The most notable member of this rock-like humanoid race is Korg, who first appears in Thor: Ragnarok as a gladiator on Sakaar.
The alien race that Gamora belongs to comes from the planet Zehoberei. As you'll remember from Infinity War, Thanos destroys half of its population and then "adopts" her as a daughter.
Rocket the Raccoon is a both genetically and "cybernetically" engineered animal belonging to the race known as Halfworlders. Presumably not all of them have the sass that Rocket is best known for.
19. Elders Of The Universe
Benicio Del Toro's Guardians of the Galaxy character, the Collector, is an Elder of the Universe, which means that he is one of the oldest living beings there is. Another Elder of the Universe is Jeff Goldblum's Thor: Ragnarok character, the Grandmaster, at least according to the comics. Both The Collector and Grandmaster evolved into humanoids after the Big Bang.
If you thought that the Elders were long in the tooth, the Watchers have them beat, as they are the hands-down oldest species in the universe. Appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, this alien race simply observes and compiles information about all beings in the galaxy. You know, no big deal.
21. The Sovereign
The Sovereign live on the planet of Sovereign, where the all-gold genetically engineered aliens had captured Nebula in GOTG2. Because the Sovereign fancy themselves pristine and perfect beings, they enlist the Guardians to partake in a messy battle.
That battle is against a giant tentacled alien known as the Abilisk, which can travel between dimensions. Not only is it a giant, durable beast, but it can shoot trans-dimensional rainbow beams out of its mouth, making it spectacularly powerful.
There are way more weird, powerful Marvel aliens where these came from, and some of them will definitely make the jump to the films.