There are a lot of dangers for characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Aliens, evil sentient robots, highly trained assassins, mysterious mystical forces, and mad scientists are only a few of the threats a character can face across the movies and television shows that make up that specific fictional world.
However, for a handful of characters (yes, that's a pun) those threats don't kill or defeat them. Instead, there are several characters in the MCU who end up losing an arm or hand. In fact, there are so many characters in the MCU who have lost an arm or a hand that they can practically start their own support group. In fact, over on Reddit's Marvel Studios sub, one user has even jokingly called it the "MCU One Armed Club".
Of course, it's no accident that there's a lot of missing arms in the MCU. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has said plethora of arms being cut off is tribute of sorts to Star Wars. Feige told Cinema Blend in 2015 that while it didn't start out as intentional, it became kind of a running reference.
"So, I'm obsessed with Star Wars -- and it didn't start out as intentional, but it became intentional," Feige said. "It sort of happens in every Star Wars movie, but I was sort of looking at it, 'Okay, is Phase Two our Empire Strikes Back'?' Not really, but tonally things are a little different. Somebody gets their arm cut off in every Phase Two movie. Every single one."
So, just how many characters in the MCU have lost an arm (or hand)? The actual number depends on just how you want to count the characters -- for example, do you count the time in Thor: The Dark World where Loki cuts off Thor's hand to trick Malekith as one of his grand illusions? -- but we say let's count them all. We've compiled our list of those in the MCU for whom it was all fun and games until they lost an arm. If you think we've left someone out, be sure to let us know in the comments. There are certainly a few minor characters and henchmen who probably lost a limb or two that we didn't count, but if you have a solid argument for why we should have included them, we'd love to hear it.
Read on for our list!
Ulysses Klaue loses an arm not once, but twice. The villain first loses his arm to Ultron after Klaue enrages the sentient robot by comparing him to Tony Stark. It happened so fast that Klaue barely had a chance to process what happened, but he ended up getting a sweet prosthetic. It's that prosthetic that ended up being cut off in Black Panther.
One should always be careful what they touch in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Isabelle "Izzy" Hartley from Agents of SHIELD is proof of that. After grabbing the mysterious obelisk, the extraterrestrial artifact was literally killing Hartley so, to prevent her own death, she had Lance Hunter cut off her arm with a knife.
Daredevil's mentor Stick has the distinction of having both cut off a hand as well as having cut off his own. Not only did he cut off the hand of a man who was involved with the Hand, but in The Defenders Stick cut off his own hand in order to escape from Elektra.
Like Klaue, Groot has lost an arm more than once. In Guardians of the Galaxy, Groot lost both arms to Gamora during their first encounter. Luckily, Groot was able to grow them back, a skill that came in handy during Avengers: Infinity War when he sacrificed his whole arm to create the handle for Thor's new axe, Stormbreaker.
Yes, technically, it's a "different" Groot. But, c'mon. Groot's Groot.
Groot wasn't alone in losing an arm in Guardians of the Galaxy, by the way. Nebula also lost an appendage, cutting off her own hand (though it's technically a bionic hand) so that she could escape the Battle of Xandar. As for when she lost her real hand? Not a clue, but we're sure Thanos was involved.
Phil Coulson is another character who could be the poster child for being careful what you touch in the MCU. When Coulson reaches out and catches a Terrigen Crystal, it begins to turn his arm to stone. Fortunately for him, Mack was around with a handy axe. He chopped Coulson's arm off midway between wrist and elbow, saving Coulson's life.
Oh, Bucky. First, Captain America's best friend survived the fall from Arnim Zola's train but lost his arm in the process, something we learn about in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Then, in Captain America: Civil War, Bucky loses his arm again when Iron Man literally blows his prosthetic arm off. He ends up getting a really amazing new arm in time for Avengers: Infinity War. Too bad it was dusted with him when Thanos snapped his fingers....
Another character to lose their arm in The Defenders, Misty Knight's arm is cut off by the sword-wielding Hand founder (and former mentor of Colleen Wing) Bakuto when Misty intervenes in an attempt to save Colleen as she fights Bakuto. Misty's life is saved by Colleen and Claire and, later, Misty is given an impressive prosthetic from the Rand Corporation.
Yo-Yo Rodriguez didn't lose just one arm, but two on Agents of SHIELD. When Ruby Hale moved ot use her disk blade to kill Mack in the episode "All the Comforts of Home", Yo-Yo leapt in front of the blade to save him. Unfortunately, she lost both of her arms in the process, an injury made all the more grave when one considers that the injury foreshadows the future self she met in 2091 when she had been taken by the Kree to act as a seer for Kasius.
We mentioned this one already, but Thor "lost" his hand in Thor: The Dark World when Loki cuts it off to trick Malekith. It was all an illusion, mind you, which is fortunate for Thor, but things don't go so well for Malekith.
Malekith ended up losing both of his arms to a teleportation device created by Erik Selvig in Thor: The Dark World. He was also later killed, crushed by his own ship which itself was teleported to his location using the same devices.
In Ant-Man, Darren Cross/Yellowjacket is ultimately killed when his suit shrinks uncontrollably, but before his somewhat horrific death, the villain loses an arm to the process.
One thing you can count on in the MCU is that Tony Stark/Iron Man will always have some pretty cool tech and it is cool tech that led to villain Aldrich Killian losing an arm in the final battle in Iron Man 3. Tony had a hidden blade and off went Killian's arm.
Groot wasn't the only character in Infinity War to lose a hand. Cull Obsidian also lost a hand, though in his case it was becaus he tried to jump one of Dr. Strange's portals and it didn't go so well.