How Many ‘Gods’ Exist in the MCU?

Moon Knight's latest episode added another wrinkle to the Marvel Cinematic Universe this week. The introduction of the gods Khonshu and Ammit confirms the existence of the Egyptian pantheon in the MCU. This begs the question: how many deities actually exist in this one universe?

Between the Norse gods, the Eternals, the Celestials, and more on the way, all of these all-powerful beings seem to all exist in the same space. Theologians might debate the religious questions of our world, but in the MCU, they would have all resigned out of confusion at this point. How do they all fit together in one consistent cosmology? Let's break it down group by group to figure out how many gods the MCU actually has and if some of them should even be considered gods.

The Norse Gods May Not Be Gods at All

Thor, Odin and Loki in 2010's Thor

The most famous deities in the MCU are the Norse gods of Asgard. Thor, Loki, Odin, Frigga, Heimdall, Sif, Tyr, Hela, Bor, and others are prominent deities from real-world Norse mythology who all have counterparts in the MCU. These characters are treated as and self-identify as gods, so any attempt to map the various pantheons of the universe must start here. Thor's status as a deity was a large part of what made the formation of the Avengers so extraordinary to the people of the MCU. In the very first scene of Thor, audiences see the incredible events 1000 years ago that inspired the Norse myths. But the question must be asked: are the Asgardians actual gods in-universe?

Sure, they have all-encompassing inexplicable powers. However, the first Thor movie repeatedly stated that Asgardian magic was considered science in Asgard, as they were more akin to aliens than deities. This made sense when Thor was the only supernatural hero in the MCU's Phase One, but one wonders if this explanation is still preferred in the current mystical framework of the MCU. However, there is other evidence of the Asgardians' mortality. They slowly but surely age, based on Thor and Loki being young children when they first visited Earth and Odin passing away naturally of old age. One might wonder how Thor and Loki inspired the ancient Norse myths of their adulthood if they were children during that first visit, but that's a question for another time.

Besides their limited life spans, Loki established that Asgardians have variants scattered across the multiverse, another example of them being bound by mortal laws. It also begs the question of what makes Thor and Heimdall gods but not the Warriors Three, the Frost Giants, or the huddled masses of Asgardians seen in Thor: Ragnarok. Perhaps fate does have something to do with it. For now, we'll limit our count to those Asgardians identified as gods in the real world and move on to another real-life pantheon.

moon knight khonshu

Khonshu made his terrifying first appearance in Moon Knight. But the Egyptian god of the moon isn't the only god from that mythology introduced into the series. The cult of Ammit is still going strong in this universe, and their rivalry might put Thor and Loki's to shame. In keeping with the real-world differences between Egyptian and Norse mythology, these gods are much more animalistic than the Asgardians and might even be more powerful. However, an earlier MCU project introduced another Egyptian God that is intimately connected to an Avenger.

Black Panther's opening sequence revealed that the line of Wakandan heroes owed their strength to the panther goddess Bast leading them to the heart-shaped herb. In the comics, Bast is confirmed to be the same as the real-life Egyptian goddess Bastet, who is usually depicted as a type of cat-like creature. Her links to Khonshu are strong in both ancient mythology and the comics, so presumably, it would be true of their MCU counterparts as well. While no one can be sure if further Egyptian Gods will be introduced, there's one more real-life pantheon that is on its way to joining the MCU.

Thor: Love and Thunder Will Introduce the Greek Gods

Russell Crowe Superman Bad On-Set Behavior

While the Greek Gods have been key to several DC Extended Universe films, including Wonder Woman, Justice League, and Shazam, they have been noticeably absent in the MCU. This is a far cry from the comics, where the Greco-Roman pantheon has frequently appeared in Thor's adventures, and Hercules is even a prominent Avenger. However, Thor: Love And Thunder will change that, as Russell Crowe has been announced as playing Zeus in the film.

Presumably, he will help the remaining Asgardians fight off Christian Bale's Gorr The God-Butcher, whose god-butchering M.O. will presumably clear up the questions about who counts as a god in the MCU. Hopefully, the MCU's introduction of the Olympian will not only clarify that issue but also their suspicious similarities to another group of Marvel heroes.

Are the Eternals Gods or Something Else?

Eternals group shot, from the Marvel teaser

A key part of the concept of the Eternals in both the comics and the film is that they inspired the majority of the world's myths. Ajak, Sersi, Thena, Makkari, Gilgamesh, Kingo, Druig, Sprite, Phastos, and Ikaris are said to have been the inspiration for such similarly named beings as Gilgamesh, Mercury, the character of Peter Pan, and Icarus. This aspect of their lore has always been a tricky concept in any version of the Marvel Universe that features the Eternals existing alongside actual mythological pantheons such as the Norse and Greek gods. Tellingly, the Eternal, Zuras, who was an obvious analog for Zeus, was excluded from the film. Perhaps that indicates the MCU might avoid that overlap.

However, an additional wrinkle is that the MCU Eternals are interchangeable robots who are sent around the universe to do the Celestials' bidding. This again raises the question of if they should be thought of as "gods." There are certainly enough deities in the MCU without over-analyzing that question or the existence of Eros, who identifies as both an Eternal and the brother of Thanos. Loki said the latter space tyrant would never be a god in Avengers: Infinity War, so let's disqualify him and turn our eyes to the Eternals' creators, who might be the true gods of the MCU.

The Celestials Are the Gods Who Rule the MCU

Arishem the Celestial from Marvel's Eternals

In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Ego the Living Planet states that he and his fellow Celestials are gods "with a small 'g,'" with some humility on his part. Later revelations indicate he was maybe being too humble. Eternals and other MCU materials state that they existed before the beginning of time and not only cause the Big Bang but also created most planets with intelligent life in order to hatch new Celestials, including Earth. This fulfills the functions most real-life people would expect of deities and suggests Ego and his fellow Celestials, including Arishem the Judge, Eson the Searcher, Hargen the Measurer, Jemiah the Analyzer, Nezarr the Calculator, Tiamut the Communicator, and the Celestial whose skull became Knowhere, hold the ultimate power in the MCU as its true "gods." However, there are other beings who might be equal to them in interdimensional power.

There Might Be More Gods in the MCU Than Can Be Imagined


While all the beings in the MCU who have already been treated as Gods have been listed, there are possibly more beings who might rival them in power. Dormammu, the Dweller in Darkness, and Surtur have all demonstrated powers greater than even the mightiest Asgardian. The Collector and the Grandmaster are sometimes treated like gods in the comics, but that doesn't seem to be true of their cinematic counterparts. If one looks to the Disney+ shows in their search for gods, one might ask if He Who Remains' power over the timeline is all-encompassing enough for him to have attained the rank of godhood. And if Agents of Shield and other Marvel Television shows are ever confirmed to still be canonical to the main MCU, the Hydra cult that was devoted to the first Inhuman, Hive, would be enough to add him to the list as well. Ghost Rider's existence in that show suggests the existence of another demon in the MCU, who might be the same as the Satanic Marduk Helstrom of Helstrom.

If one adds those five questionable beings to the 31 beings explicitly identified as gods, then the MCU has 36 alleged deities. That number will likely get bigger as Phase Four develops and more characters with supernatural ties are formally confirmed to exist in the MCU. One can hope that one day, we will know what power level truly qualifies a character for godhood. Perhaps all of these characters are true gods, or perhaps Captain America was right to assume that "there's only one god" in the MCU who doesn't dress like these wacky characters. Regardless, they should all keep an eye out for Gorr the God-Butcher, just to be safe.

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