So Kevin Feige, the brain behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe, really loves Star Wars. Captain America’s “To Do” list in his second movie has “Star Wars/Trek” listed, Spider-Man references “The Empire Strikes Back” in the airport action sequence in Civil War, and Coulson makes multiple references in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., including calling Maveth “Tatooine” and making nerdy use of his hologram projection system.

Kevin Feige loves Star Wars so much that he broke the MCU into “phases” – He considers Phase One (From Iron Man through to the Avengers) his “A New Hope”, and Phase Two (Iron Man 3 through Ant-Man) his “Empire Strikes Back”. What a lot of people don’t know is that he actually included an intentional nod to Episode V in every Phase Two property, with a character getting their arm cut off in every movie.

Iron Man 3

Tony Stark cuts off Aldrich Killian’s hand with a hidden blade. It doesn’t help much, through – it quickly grows back due to the Extremis in his blood.

Thor: The Dark World

Thor makes the mistake of trusting Loki as they parley with Malekith. Loki betrays his adopted brother, resulting in the chopping off of his hand. This ends up being a ruse by Loki and was all part of Thor’s plan. Malekith himself later has his arms teleported away by Dr. Selvig’s portals to Svartalfheim.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

It turns out Bucky Barnes survived his fall from the first Captain America movie – unfortunately, his arm did not. It is amputated and replaced with a metal arm in the process of making Bucky “The Winter Soldier”.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Groot loses both of his arms in a battle with Gamora early on. Later, while dangling off a ledge, Nebula chooses to fall to apparent death than be saved by Gamora. She severs her cybernetic hand and falls, landing on a Ravager ship.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Not only does the Hulk destroy one of the arms of the Iron Man Hulkbuster armor, Wakandan vibranium smuggler Ulysses Klaue has his arm forcibly removed by Ultron.


When Scott shrinks to tamper with the Yellowjacket suit, one of Darren Cross’ arms shrinks down, imploding in on itself.

You could even argue that this trope extended to the television shows that aired during Phase Two:

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Isabelle Hartley and Phil Coulson both have their arms amputated after touching the deadly Diviner metal which cases Terrigan crystals.

Agent Carter

Strongman Jerome Zandow has his arm permanently disabled when Peggy attacks him with “The Constrictor”, one of Howard Stark’s inventions that causes muscle contractions to the point of breaking.


Aito, one of Nobu’s henchmen, has his arm sliced off by Stick in the martial arts master’s first appearance.

Jessica Jones

Thanks to the orders of the sadistic Kilgrave, both of his own father’s arms are removed.

But it doesn’t stop there! Despite Phase Two being over, this appears to have continued into Phase Three so far, with the only movie released featuring an iconic maiming.

Captain America: Civil War

Bucky Barnes loses his arm for the second time, when Tony Stark blasts his metal prosthetic with an arc reactor during the final battle. As mentioned earlier, Spider-Man also makes a reference to the movie itself – and what song plays when Peter Parker first shows up on screen?

Alt-J – Left Hand Free.