When fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe think of the Avengers, they'll think of those well-known characters who've been all over the big screen - like Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow, Thor, Hawkeye, Vision, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch for example. Fans with even a peripheral knowledge of the original comic book series know that popular and long-standing members from the comics, like Spider-Man, Black Panther, Ant-Man, Wasp and Wolverine, have also joined the Avengers at some point.
But the hardcore fans of the original film know that there has, in fact, been a considerably larger group of characters who have been members of the team. Whether they are more strongly associated with another team, or they are generally viewed as being too small-time to be associated with such a big team, or they classically aren't considered to be "heroic" or "good" characters, these Avengers members might surprise you. The following are ten heroes you didn't know have been members of the Avengers.
10 Yondu Udonta
Yondu Udonta is an expert archer and member of the Centaurian species, with blue skin and a striking red mohawk. He has recently come into the mainstream, having been played by Michael Rooker in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. In the comic book, Guardians of the Galaxy is the team he is most strongly associated with. He has, however, also been a member of the Avengers.
In Avengers volume 1 #168 - back in February of 1978 - a number of future Guardians of the Galaxy travelled back in time to the 20th century and served as honorary members of the Avengers during the Korvac saga. The others were Martinex, Charlie-27, Nikki, Starhawk, Aleta Ogord and Vance Astro.
Quake - also known as Daisy Johnson - is a superhuman with earthquake-generating powers who is also the daughter of the villainous Mister Hyde. She is most commonly known as an agent of the espionage organisation S.H.I.E.L.D., having been taken in by the organisation as a youngster.
A version of the character has been played by Chloe Bennet in the live action television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - but, in the comic books, she has also been an Avenger. After the Fear Itself storyline in 2011 - and during the Shattered Heroes storyline in the same year (specifically in Avengers volume 4 #19, in November of 2011) - Captain America recruited her to the team as he was forced to make wholesale changes to the Avengers line-up.
8 Captain Britain
Captain Britain - a British superhero, as you would expect from his name - is Brian Braddock. Braddock was granted superhuman powers (super-strength, speed, flight and energy blasts etc) by the legendary wizard Merlin, who mystically forged the powerful items known as the Amulet of Right and the Star Sceptre into an outfit for the character to wear in his superhero ventures.
Despite being British and being more strongly associated with MI-13 and his own Captain Britain Corps, he has actually been an Avenger. Like Quake, he was recruited by Captain America during the Shattered Heroes storyline (in his case, in Secret Avengers volume 1 #22, in January of 2012).
Richard Rider is indeed a human, and an American hailing from New York. He is most strongly associated with the Xandar-based Nova Corps, who were seen in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
Nova was recruited by Rhomann Dey, who was played by John C. Reilly on screen. After being granted the uniform and powers of a Nova Centurion, Rider adopted the name Nova and became a cosmic superhero.
Following the Dark Reign and Siege events, however, he officially became an Avenger, joining the Secret Avengers in Secret Avengers volume 1 #1, in May of 2010. He wasn't a member for long, as he left in the same year to participate in the events of the Thanos Imperative storyline.
6 Red Hulk
Red Hulk introduced as a villain to the heroic (and more famous) green Hulk and a menace to the Marvel universe in general. It was later revealed that he was actually none other than General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, a long-standing antagonist of the Hulk (played by William Hurt in the Marvel Cinematic Universe). It may come as a surprise to you, then, to find out that he has since become a member of the Avengers.
Following the Dark Reign and Siege events, he was recruited to the team in Avengers volume 4 #12, in June of 2011. More recently, he has been a member of the Thunderbolts team (perhaps more appropriately, given his real name).
5 Sharon Carter
Sharon Carter AKA Agent 13 is the niece of Peggy Carter. She was previously the younger sister of Peggy Carter, but that was retconned due to the passing of time making it implausible. Sharon is an American S.H.I.E.L.D. agent whose vast range of skills include being a peak-level athlete and martial artist who is highly trained in espionage, weaponry and computing.
Played by Emily VanCamp in the Marvel Cinematic Universe - a universe in which she is also merely an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. - she has actually been a member of the Avengers themselves in the comic books. Following the events of Dark Reign and Siege, she was recruited to the Secret Avengers roster in Secret Avengers volume 1 #1, in May of 2010 (although she has since departed the team).
4 Forgotten One
The likelihood is that you've either never heard of, or you've (ironically) forgotten about, the Forgotten One. He's hardly a big name character - which makes him an unlikely Avenger to begin with - but he's also not the kind of character you'd expect to be a member of a superhero team. That's because he's a near-immortal member of the ancient cosmic race known as the Eternals.
Real name Gilgamesh, the Forgotten One possesses massive superhuman strength and durability, a healing factor and optic blasts (amongst other powers), and he joined the Avengers in Avengers #300, in February of 1989, following the Inferno storyline. He was seemingly killed in action in 1995, but returned in 2008.
3 Various X-Men
It would be silly to include just one mutant that you might be surprised to learn has also been an Avenger when there have been so many. Of course, most people know that Wolverine has been a member of both teams, but several of his fellow mutants have made the move to the Avengers roster as well (a number of which have appeared in the live action X-Men movies, for example).
Storm (as played by Halle Berry in the movies), Beast (as played by Kelsey Grammer and Nicholas Hoult in the movies), Havok (as played by Lucas Till in the movies), Sabretooth (as played by Tyler Mane and Liev Schreiber in the movies), X-23 and Namor are just some of the mutants who are more strongly associated with the X-Men and related teams that have also been members of different Avengers incarnations.
2 The Fantastic Four
The Fantastic Four have had a number of members over the years, but classically they are Reed Richards (AKA Mister Fantastic), Sue Storm (Invisible Woman), Johnny Storm (Human Torch) and Ben Grimm (The Thing). Those four were depicted in the first live action Fantastic Four movies (played by Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis, respectively) and will be making a comeback in an upcoming reboot (with Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell, respectively).
However, at varying points in time, all four of those characters have been members of the Avengers in the comic books. Sometimes, their stints as members of the team have crossed over with each other, but not in every case.
Most often associated with being a Spider-Man villain, the Venom symbiote is an alien parasite that, when attached to a human host, has generally proven to be highly malevolent.
However, in the comic books, after Eugene "Flash" Thompson (Peter Parker's bully and a huge Spider-Man fan) lost his legs in the Iraq War, he was bonded to the symbiote and actually controlled it. Adopting the name Agent Venom, he joined the Avengers after the 2011 Fear Itself storyline - specifically in Secret Avengers volume 1 #23, in February of 2012. He went on to become a member of the Thunderbolts and Guardians of the Galaxy.