Marvel Studios has rewarded the loyalty of its fans in a lot of ways (chief among them the simple fact that they produce consistent, quality content), but here I want to specifically highlight the way they reward loyalty to fans of the comicbooks, to people who enjoy accuracy to the source material. I had the thought recently that Marvel Studios often plays the long game; they start with some elements of comicbook lore being more grounded or restrained, then when the characters or basic concepts have been successfully introduced, in later movies they fold back in additional elements that are more faithful to the source material. Sometimes they even do it within the span of a single movie (such as the Red Skull appearing to have a normal face at first, and then later revealing it was only a mask, hiding his comic-accurate look), but it's more common for them to wait and let the viewers get used to the basic concept before making it more fantastical.
Now, let me clarify for the people who aren't comics fans; I'm not stating these elements as being intrinsically better purely because they follow the comics. There can be situations where a movie is better off deviating from the source material, but from the standpoint of a comic fan, it always makes me happy when they try to bring things closer to the source. Personally, I don't understand why people bother to adapt things if they're not gonna try to honor the source material, but that's a whole other discussion…
That being said, here are seven different times Marvel Studios has rewarded comic fans' loyalty in that way.
In Iron Man, SHIELD was only represented by a few guys in suits. When SHIELD came back in Thor, it was more thoroughly staffed and expansive, but still just guys in suits or the standard black-clad special-ops types.
And it was far from what existed in comics, with their form-fitting blue uniforms, sci-fi weapons and Helicarrier.
But finally in the Avengers, Joss Whedon gave us more of the SHIELD was in comics, blue uniforms, a Helicarrier, and a pretty big sci-fi gun for Agent Coulson.
- Black Widow's Russian Past
In Iron Man 2, so we found out that the Black Widow was Russian by knowing that her real name is Natasha Romanoff, than Natalie Rushman. There was nothing about either her Russian heritage and her villainous past.
Then, again in the Avengers, in the first scene with her so she speaks Russian, and later a character's defining scene dug in her dirty, violent history. The Black Widow in Iron Man 2 was a cipher, only the form and function of the Black Widow with no heart or soul. In The Avengers, she was Natasha Romanoff real.
- The Mandarin
[Spoiler warning for those who have not seen Iron Man 3 yet but still do not want to be spoiled on it; and also for the one-shot, All Hail the King.]
In Iron Man 3, all trailers and prerelease materials immortalized lost to Ben Kingsley played Mandarin. In the middle of the movie, but we know that Kingsley's character (Trevor Slattery) is just an actor pretending to be a larger-than-life radical as a front for the machinations of AIM's Aldrich Killian. In essence, they basically just ripped off Ras Al Ghul from Batman Begins.
Then, in the One-Shot short strokes, "All Hail the King," we go behind the scenes of a documentary-in-progress about Trevor Slattery, gives us a look at his prison life (in Seagate Prison), and a little background on her acting career. It's all very easy and quite funny at times, to the very end when the man makes documentary reveals itself to be a highly skilled operative of the real Mandarin, which is quite upset Slattery to dedicate his name and persona. Of course, now that Iron Man 4 will come to the movies, so it's probably likely that the wire is monitored in the foreseeable future, but the simple fact that there are now canonical verification of a real mandarin exists is a great gift for fans of the comic accuracy .
- The "Howling Commandos" name
In Captain America: The First Avenger, Cap was supported by a diverse group of soldiers, most of whom were borrowed from the comicbook, "Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos," but in that movie, the group wasn't given any official name. In Captain America: Super Soldier (the video game spin-off of the movie), the group was referred to as "The Invaders," a name taken from the team of World War II superheroes in the comics (and one that's a lot more restrained than "Howling Commandos"). However, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve visits a museum exhibit honoring the efforts of Cap and his allies, and there, they are referred to by name as The Howling Commandos.
Now, it may not seem like the mere reference of a group title is worth making an entire item on this list, but I think it does demonstrate how Marvel Studios cares about upholding the source material. As the legend goes, Stan Lee chose the name "Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos" on a sort of dare, specifically because of how ridiculous it sounded. So in adapting the comics to a movie that you want people who aren't comic fans to take seriously, it would seem like a name specifically intended to be ridiculous should be the first to go. But in The Winter Soldier, they were referred to as the Howling Commandos, for no other reason than that's what they were called in the comics. It's as if the people who made that decision were saying, "we don't care if this is ridiculous, we're gonna do it because it's true to the source material, and hey, guess what, notice how it doesn't have any negative effect on the movie." It was an attitude that was played out much more overtly in various ways throughout Guardians of the Galaxy, and I'm confident such acceptance of the inoffensively ridiculous parts of comics will continue to be seen in further Marvel Studios movies.
- Arnim Zola
In the comics, Zola was a Nazi scientist who transferred his consciousness into a robot body. The robot had no human-shaped head; Instead, it was a picture of Zola's face appears on a screen in the robot's belly. Of course, like a bit much for a live-action film, as in Zola's first appearance, the closest we got was when he was watching through a magnifying glass. But after it became Zola series accurately paid in two different ways. Most of the people who would bother reading this will probably have seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where Zola's consciousness preserved in a computer system, with a picture of his face is displayed on the central screen. But that's not what we wanted, but we want a robot body with a display on the stomach with his face on.
But even before that, in Captain America: Super Soldier (The video game, which was spun off The First Avenger tell another story about Cap adventures during World War II), we get to see the full comic style Zola's mind-in-body with -robot his face on a screen in the robot's stomach (the video game not keep up with the continuity of the films in a few different ways, so it's definitely not the MCU canon, but it's pretty close).
In the comics, Edwin Jarvis was the butler in Tony Stark's mansion that was home to the Avengers, and so he became the butler of the Avengers for years. Sure, it's too similar to Alfred, so they would never do it on film, right?
But instead of an old English butler (who had been a really funny thing in my opinion), Jarvis was reduced to just being a voice of Tony Stark's ear during the series with the Iron Man films.
But the real human character of Edwin Jarvis announced as a regular character in the upcoming Agent Carter TV series (And had he been dead during Tony's time). I doubt seeing some stuffy old English butler was high on many people's comic-adaptation wish list, but it's still pretty fun just because there is another element drawn from the series, now brought to life on screen.
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
In some ways, the series as a whole is exemplified this concept with Marvel begins with something very basic and then reward loyalty comic fans who stuck with it. In the beginning it was a small crew (consisting of Coulson, two field agents, two types of smart and a hacker) take on the usual culprit-of-the-week conflict, regardless of major infrastructure SHIELD finally we got to see in The Avengers. But with the events in The Winter Soldier causing massive upheaval to the infrastructure and the general status quo of what it means to be a SHIELD agent, has effectively unmade structure of the show and build up a picture more like shield series.
The scale is still much less than a fully staffed Helicarrier, but now we see something much more like the original Lee / Kirby or Jim Steranko stories of SHIELD vs Hydra and spy vs spy (with much larger-than-life characters thrown in). In addition to the change in total size, there have also been many individual characters sprinkled in here and there to excite a fan of the series. From the top of my head, we have Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Jasper Sitwell, Sif, Peggy Carter and a couple of Howling commandoes visit from the movies, and Deathlok and Glen Talbot (both with significant recurring roles) and Mockingbird would soon come, except crooks who absorbing Man Lorelei and the Blizzard.
All of this came from this site (With some modifications): http://www.gooo.se/vJ