Marvel, one half of the "Big Two" in comics, continues to expand a global empire that includes blockbusters that are among the highest-grossing movies annually and hit small screen shows like The Defenders, The Punisher and Runaways.
Marvel is poised to have an even bigger 2018 with the release of Marvel Studios' Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and the Wasp — plus Fox Marvel adaptations The New Mutants, Deadpool 2, and X-Men: Dark Phoenix, as well as Sony's Venom and the animated Miles Morales-starrer Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — but first a look back at the biggest Marvel-centric stories of 2017.
Mark Ruffalo and Tom Holland Can't Stop Spoiling Things
Bruce Banner-slash-Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo and Peter Parker-slash-Spider-Man actor Tom Holland are really, really bad with keeping secrets.
The actors' proclivity for letting things slipped has become a well-known meme to fans to the point that Marvel used Holland to "accidentally" reveal the first Avengers: Infinity War teaser poster in a cheeky Instagram video.
Ruffalo jokingly chastised the young actor for the "leak" on social media, but Ruffalo let slip a big reveal about Infinity War deaths and he accidentally live-streamed part of Thor: Ragnarok at its Hollywood premiere.
Thor Gets Maimed
Thor: Ragnarok seriously advanced the plot for Chris Hemsworth's Asgardian Avenger, who discovered he had a murderous, long-lost sister — a villainess who eventually claimed his eye.
Ragnarok also saw Thor suffer another massive blow as the eponymous event — the destruction of his home world, Asgard — came to fruition, leaving the Asgardians packed into a single ship and stranded in space.
The situation is about to get worse for all aboard — including Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), and new fan-favorite Korg (Taika Waititi) — as the mid-credits scene teased the Asgardians having a run-in with the Sanctuary II: a massive ship belonging to Thanos, the big bad so bad he's responsible for uniting the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe against him in Avengers: Infinity War.
Spider-Man: Homecoming Emerges as Highest-Grossing Superhero Movie of 2017
Fifth time's the charm, as proved by Marvel Studios' Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Disney-owned Marvel Studios served as creative producers on Spidey's fifth solo cinematic outing — his first as part of the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe — after the character made his MCU debut in last summer's Captain America: Civil War.
A critical and commercial hit, Spider-Man: Homecoming webbed up the biggest box office of any superhero movie in 2017, swinging past Logan, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Wonder Woman, Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League.
The House of Ideas revamped itself with the Marvel Legacy event, an initiative launched to return the spotlight to Marvel Comics' core heroes, including Spider-Man, Captain America, the Hulk and Wolverine.
Described by Marvel's chief creative officer Joe Quesada as "a celebration of everything that makes Marvel the best in fiction" and the "signifier of a new era for Marvel Comics,” Legacy kicked off in September with relaunches for The Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers, Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men: Blue and X-Men: Gold, and more.
The Failure of Marvel's Inhumans
Marvel's Inhumans arrived to ABC with little fanfare in September and may have been cancelled after just one season.
The live-action television series premiered its first chapter exclusively in IMAX theaters before migrating to the small screen on ABC, and fans were quick to point out the oft-maligned series' fatal flaws.
What was once poised to be another Marvel Studios blockbuster hit was shuffled off Marvel's big screen release calendar before its "demotion" to the small screen, where it served as a spinoff of sorts to established Marvel series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — the first television entry of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The series — which had no involvement from Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige, the visionary behind the studios' cinematic efforts — struggled with audiences and critics alike, making it unlikely Marvel's royal family will get much to do in the future.
The Death of Stuntwoman Joi "SJ" Harris
Fox's Deadpool sequel temporarily suspended production over the summer following the tragic death of stuntwoman Joi "SJ" Harris, a professional racer making her feature debut.
The first-time stunt driver lost control of her bike while performing a motorcycle action that saw Harris doubling for actress Zazie Beetz, who plays mutant Domino.
Brolin called the tragedy an "absolute freak accident."
"It wasn’t even a stunt," Brolin said, "it was a freak accident."
The Deadpool sequel is expected to be dedicated to Harris' memory.
First Look at Cable in Deadpool 2
Ahead of Fox's popular Deadpool franchise return to the big screen this summer, the studio debuted the first look at Josh Brolin suited up as the time-traveling Cable.
Jokingly described by leading man Ryan Reynolds as a "grumpy, heavily armed Uncle from the future," Cable frequently teams with the Merc with a Mouth in the Deadpool comics and makes his long-awaited live-action debut in Deadpool 2.
Brolin later debuted a full body look at the gun-toting mutant over the summer, adding to the Deadpool sequel's already sky-high hype.
Marvel Becomes First Franchise to Cross $5 Billion at Domestic Box Office
Marvel Studios launched their shared universe in 2008 with Iron Man, and has since produced nearly 20 blockbusters in their near-decade history.
November's Thor: Ragnarok marked the 17th consecutive #1 opening for Marvel Studios, and Disney's Marvel hits have helped make the only studio to hit $6 billion twice at the worldwide box office.
Avengers: Infinity War Trailer Released
Marvel Studios finally premiered the first Avengers: Infinity War trailer in late November, giving fans their first look at Marvel's most massive undertaking yet: a crossover between all of its franchises to this point, including the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man and Black Panther.
Avengers: Infinity War opens May 4.
Disney Purchases 21st Century Fox
The Walt Disney Company purchased 21st Century Fox's film and television assets in a massive $52.4 billion dollar deal, a deal that will see former Fox-controlled properties Deadpool, X-Men and Fantastic Four integrated into the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Disney CEO Bob Iger said the company is "looking forward to" expanding the connected universe, which already includes the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man properties.
Both companies expect the regulatory process around the deal to take between 12 and 18 months, but Guardians franchise director James Gunn is already looking forward to utilizing previously restricted characters and fans have been quick to theorize ways X-Men and Fantastic Four characters could be brought into the fold of the ongoing franchise.