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11 MCU Characters Who've Already Broken the Fourth Wall

Deadpool, Wanda, Captain America, Groot
By Richard Nebens

While it isn't a concept that's entirely new to Marvel Studios, MCU fans are about to get increasingly familiar with a fun method of cinematic storytelling - breaking the fourth wall. To put it simply, this is when a character in any given movie or TV show speaks directly to the audience or references the fact that they're in a movie or TV show, and it's about to be used a whole lot more in the MCU.

Currently, the most prominent fourth-wall-breaker comes in Tatiana Maslany's She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, whose leading character has often referenced the real world during her run in Marvel Comics. This has translated over to her MCU debut, and even with only two episodes under her belt, she's already making an impact on the franchise using this unique ability.

But while she was actually the first Marvel character to break the fourth wall on the comics page, nobody has done more with this trope than Wade Wilson/Deadpool. The unkillable mutant is known to speak to the audience often in all forms of media, which is especially true in his two solo movies from 20th Century Fox.

However, Wade and Jennifer are far from the only heroes who have used this meta form of storytelling, which usually winds up bringing a ton of laughs for the audience.

So, without further ado, here are 11 examples in and out of the MCU where characters have broken the fourth wall.

1.) Deadpool, Deadpool 2 - Wade Wilson

Deadpool
Marvel

"Fourth wall break inside a fourth wall break?! That's, like...16 walls!"

There may be no character in comics, movies, TV shows, or any other medium that's known for breaking the fourth wall more than Marvel's friendly neighborhood Pool-guy. He does this not only by speaking directly to the audience, but he also goes as far as referencing other roles played by Ryan Reynolds, showing his knowledge of the X-Men movies, and blatantly ripping off other film classics.

His first solo movie in 2016 literally started with the leading anti-hero wiping a piece of gum off of a camera lens during a taxi ride, and he only kept going from there.

Wade Wilson bought food from Feige's Pizza (a nod to Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige) and asked "Agent Smith" (a Matrix reference) not to "make [his] super-suit green, or animated" as a reference to Reynolds' time playing Green Lantern for Warner Bros. And that doesn't include a Batman and Robin reference, joking about some NSFW activity with Wolverine, and even paying homage to Ferris Bueller's Day Off with the post-credits scene.

Deadpool 2 only continued this trend, with Wade using the oft-maligned "Martha" twist from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as an excuse for being late for his anniversary dinner with Vanessa. He also compared Josh Brolin's Cable to the MCU's Winter Soldier, introduced himself to Cable as Batman, and even called Zazie Beetz's Domino "Black Black Widow" in another MCU nod.

This trend is confirmed to continue in Marvel Studios' Deadpool 3, with character creator Rob Liefeld teasing how many Avengers cameos could come to fruition in this epic new outing.

2.) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - Baby Groot

Baby Groot
Marvel

While Groot has never uttered one of his famous "I Am Groot" lines directly to the audience, Baby Groot had his own fourth-wall break in the opening credits from Vol. 2.

After falling off of an Orloni during his dance number, the camera pushes in a little too far and actually makes Baby Groot knock into the lens for a second. This comes after he seemingly looks directly into the camera for a moment as he's holding on for dear life while the rest of his team fights the giant tentacled monster threatening the Sovereign's Annulax batteries.

Baby Groot is currently starring in his own five-episode series on Disney+ entitled I Am Groot, to which the critics have offered high praise after its debut.

3.) What If...? - The Watcher

The Watcher
Marvel

"Too bad this might spell the end of the world. But that's a story for another day."

While The Watcher isn't the first character fans might think of with regard to fourth-wall breaks, he fits the billing perfectly after his first season in What If...?.

Jeffrey Wright's cosmic guardian serves as the narrator for the series as he takes fans through the stories in each episode of alternate reality-based adventures. He even tells the audience in the intro to each episode that he is "your guide through these vast new realities," speaking directly to anybody with their eye on these adventures.

With each new story, The Watcher explains directly to the viewer what's happening and how it differs from the prime MCU timeline. While he doesn't ever blatantly acknowledge that the viewers are watching a TV show, he makes it clear that they're looking in on some kind of story which he helps to narrate.

As Marvel fans prep for What If...? Season 2 next year, bigger things are already being planned for The Watcher in Season 3.

4.) WandaVision - Vision

Vision WandaVision
Marvel

"What am I doing, sitting here, talking to you, when I should..."

Episode 7 of WandaVision took the opportunity to pay tribute to an era of television not too far before the current one, as it was made in the style of 2000s mockumentaries like The Office and Modern Family. The episode is literally titled "Breaking the Fourth Wall," making it quite obvious what fans are in for right from the get-go.

This included plenty of instances where characters broke the fourth wall, including Paul Bettany's leading hero, Vision.

Vision largely did so through Modern Family-style sitdown interviews, one of which he even got up from aggressively and left as soon as he realized that he needed to get back to Wanda to help her. He also went full Jim Halpert and had a few moments where he would look directly into the camera lens during a scene, fully expressing his emotions with no words needed.

Take a look at every time Episode 7 of WandaVision referenced Modern Family and The Office.

5.) WandaVision - Darcy Lewis

Darcy Lewis
Marvel

"Yeah, I'm not great at this gig, I gotta be honest."

Darcy Lewis also joined in the meta fun of WandaVision Episode 7, although she was only stuck under Wanda Maximoff's control for about 12 minutes of screentime in total.

When this happened, she became an escape artist with the circus, which featured the rest of the SWORD team that got sucked into Wanda's Hex when it expanded. This gave Darcy one opportunity to have an in-universe interview directly to the camera, although Vision helped her get her mind back shortly after her fourth-wall break early in the episode.

Darcy got her own solo poster for WandaVision after the Hex took her captive, which can be seen here.

6 & 7.) WandaVision - Billy and Tommy Maximoff

Tommy Maximoff
Marvel

"Mom's been weird since Uncle Pietro got here."

Wanda Maximoff's twin sons got even more opportunities to break the fourth wall than the rest of the cast, as two episodes of WandaVision featured them using this classic TV trope.

In Episode 6, the two kick off the story by speaking directly to the camera about how special Halloween is to them, with Billy celebrating the chance to be somebody else for a day and Tommy hyping up the candy that comes with the holiday. Billy also has another moment later when he discusses how things have changed after Evan Peters' Pietro Maximoff returned, even calling him a "man-child" in the process.

This was used as a tribute to the classic '90s sitcom Malcolm in the Middle, in which Frankie Muniz's Malcolm often broke the fourth wall during his own shenanigan-filled adventures.

While Episode 7 didn't give the twins the opportunity to take part in interviews like their parents and others, Billy took after his dad and paid homage to John Krasinski's Jim Halpert from The Office in this entry. As Wanda was trying to hold herself together and explain what was happening, Billy looked right into the camera lens for a moment as he started really worrying about his mother.

Billy actor Julian Hilliard took the time to share what he hopes to see in his MCU future in an exclusive interview with The Direct.

8.) WandaVision - Agnes/Agatha Harkness

Agatha Harkness WandaVision
Marvel

"I actually did bite a kid once."

Kathryn Hahn's Agatha Harkness jumped right into the meta madness as Episode 7 of WandaVision began, using her comedic prowess to turn back the dial to the early 2000s style of TV mockumentaries.

Along with a couple of instances where she looked directly into the camera, Agatha took part in a couple of her own interviews with the in-universe crew. She joked around about biting a kid in the past, and she even admitted how difficult it was to not tell two 10-year-olds that their mother was, as she put it, "cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs."

Later, she had a moment that teased her villainous reveal at the end of the episode, where she was the one who asked Wanda in her own interview if she thought that she deserved what she was going through. During the Emmy-award-winning song "It's Been Agatha All Along," she revealed herself to have been in the director's chair during that moment, showing how she'd been pulling all the strings the entire time.

Agatha Harkness will return in her own solo Disney+ series in Winter 2023, which was recently given a new title of Agatha: Coven of Chaos.

9.) WandaVision, Doctor Strange 2 - Wanda Maximoff

Wanda Maximoff Doctor Strange 2
Marvel

"It's probably just a case of the Mondays, am I right?"

And of course, with so many other characters enjoying the Modern Family-style fourth-wall-breaking shenanigans in WandaVision Episode 7, it's only fitting that Wanda herself would get that same treatment.

Wanda was featured in numerous interviews during this episode, explaining to the crew how everything was falling apart around her and how she couldn't fix what was happening. Even though she tried telling herself that she was okay, she still looked unquestionably freaked out while she detailed what was happening, especially when Agatha spoke directly to her off-camera.

She even got another quick moment of fourth-wall breaking in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which was possibly the MCU's most terrifying moment to date. After dreamwalking into her Earth-838 Variant, Wanda takes just a second to look directly into the camera lens before going to Billy and Tommy, with a look on her face that teased something truly scary on the way.

While Wanda is presumed to be dead after Doctor Strange 2, some have their theories as to how she may be set for a role in Agatha: Coven of Chaos.

10.) Doctor Strange 2 - Pizza Poppa

Pizza Poppa
Marvel

"It's over!"

When director Sam Raimi makes a movie, more often than not, it will include actor Bruce Campbell in some form or another. And this turned out to be exactly the case with Raimi's first MCU movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, where Campbell even had the chance to shine in his own post-credits scene.

This stinger showed Campbell's Pizza Poppa finally freeing himself from Doctor Strange's spell that forced him to punch himself over and over again. This included a chance for Campbell to break the fourth wall, as he looked directly into the camera and celebrated his much-needed freedom with the viewing audience as soon as the spell lifted.

While Campbell enjoyed his moment in the MCU spotlight, he also cleared up an interesting rumor about his time with the franchise in a recent interview.

11.) She-Hulk: Attorney at Law - She-Hulk

Jennifer Walters
Marvel

"So, now my family knows, and Nikki knows, and you know."

Not only is Jennifer Walters Marvel's most recent fourth-wall breaker, but she's also one of the characters from Marvel Comics who does it on a regular basis. Known for her meta humor in the comics, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law has now taken that trope from the pages to the screen in her first appearance in the MCU.

At the end of her first scene, Walters takes a moment in her office to speak directly to viewers as she kicks off a flashback to her origin story alongside her cousin, Bruce Banner. She also took a moment during the origin story to speak to the audience, telling them that Bruce didn't really mean it when he said it was okay for her to return to her regular life before looking at him and back to the camera.

Following that big chunk of screentime in Episode 1, Walters continues speaking to the camera and explaining to the audience that she hasn't Hulked-out since her days of training, while also making it clear that fans are watching a "lawyer show." 

This only continued in Episode 2, with Jen sharing her feelings about the decision behind hiring her for her new position while walking only a foot behind her new boss.

These are far from the only times that Jen will break the fourth wall in She-Hulk, and only time will tell what other references she makes to the real world and other in-universe events during the show's last eight episodes.

Already on the hit list for She-Hulk is Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, who will be referenced directly during later episodes of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.

Spider-Man: Homecoming - Captain America (Bonus Round)

Captain America
Marvel

This last entry is a bit of a tricky one, as it's not the same kind of fourth-wall breaking that viewers have seen elsewhere in the franchise.

In Spider-Man: Homecoming's post-credits scene, Chris Evans' Captain America speaks directly to the camera to discuss the idea of patience, making a bit of a joke about how MCU fans wait patiently for the series' signature post-credits scenes. However, this wasn't completely meant to be a shot at the viewing audience.

The Avengers' leader had done a set of PSA advertisements that were shown earlier in the movie for Peter Parker and his high school classmates in P.E. class and detention. This post-credits scene was simply another one of those ads, although it toed the fourth-wall-breaking line by having its content be so applicable to the real world.

Whether Marvel or Sony considers this moment one with a fourth wall break is a mystery, although the decision could legitimately go either way.

Take a look at how Spider-Man: Homecoming almost included even more material with Evans as Captain America.

Which MCU fourth-wall breaking moment was your favorite? Who do you want to see She-Hulk discuss in her own meta moments? How far do you think Deadpool will go in the MCU with this opportunity? Let us know on Twitter at @MCU_Direct, @TheDirect, and @RichardNebens.