The recent villains of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been very impressive, assuaging many fan worries about a lack of good villains in Phases 1 and 2. Zemo, Ego, the Vulture, Hela, the Grandmaster, Ulysses Klaue, Killmonger, Thanos, and Ghost have all been memorable in unique ways and pave a promising path for future antagonists of the series. But there are still so many more baddies from the Marvel comics that the MCU has yet to show off. And with new heroes slated to appear in Phase 4, they will need some powerful opponents to face.
Now, I would love to incorporate X-Men and Fantastic Four villains here (things are looking great for the Disney-FOX merger!), but let’s assume they are not on the table for now. Besides, I could easily fill an entire list only with characters from those comics. With that said, here are six villains we want to see next in the MCU:
MODOK (Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing) is a super-intelligent, experimental project done by AIM, who we briefly (sort of) met in Iron Man 3. Visually, he could look a lot like Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, though hopefully more threatening. MODOK’s a silly character at heart, no doubt, but a more realistic take on him as a secondary villain for Captain America or S.H.I.E.L.D. could add to a techno-thriller film. There’s a surprising amount of interest to have MODOK in the MCU from writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Many fans thought Peter Dinklage would be a good choice to play him him before he was cast in Avengers: Infinity War, but I have always thought that Star Trek: Discovery‘s Rainn Wilson would be a good fit.
Tony Masters is an assassin for hire that can mimic and predict his opponents’ movements and fighting strategies. His skull-faced costume is iconic and his sword-based weaponry lends itself well to the same stylized hand-to-hand combat and editing of, say, the John Wick films. Taskmaster could be written as a villain or an anti-hero, or better yet as a force of nature that neither side can control. He would be a good antagonist for Black Widow, Hawkeye, or even Iron Man. My casting choice? Justified‘s Timothy Olyphant would bring a sinister charisma to the role.
4. Molecule Man
Okay, I know it is lazy of me just to copy and paste from a previous article, but the idea of introducing the Molecule Man into the MCU has stuck with me for over a year. Owen Reece, an unassuming lab technician, goes from being nobody special to one of the most powerful beings in the universe when he gains the ability to control all matter at a molecular level. He is not just a reluctant villain, like Michael Keaton‘s Vulture, but a reluctant villain who can’t control his world-changing powers. Molecule Man would work well in a story where he is roped into a larger conflict against his will and our heroes wrestle with the ethics of taking out an otherwise innocent man who is too powerful of a threat to leave unchecked. Colin Hanks from Fargo is the perfect choice.
The Red Skull has a daughter? After all, he thought himself to be the most advanced human, so why wouldn’t he have wanted an heir? Sintha Schmidt is a brilliant spymaster and a highly skilled killer who in the MCU could also lead a team of villains called the Serpent Society. Like Cap and Bucky, Sin could have been hibernating in a secret HYDRA facility since World War II and was released when S.H.I.E.L.D. fell in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. She’d be an interesting way to tie a new Captain America (either Bucky or Falcon) to the original Cap’s history. I think Nina Dobrev from The Vampire Diaries would play the part well.
2. The Thunderbolts
The Thunderbolts have undergone many iterations in the comics, but the MCU’s team could function a lot like the DCEU’s Suicide Squad (only, you know, better…) The team would be led by established MCU characters like Daniel Brühl‘s Zemo, Hannah John-Kamen‘s Ghost, or even Jeremy Renner‘s Hawkeye like in the comics. Already dead characters like Crossbones and the Absorbing Man are out, but new ones like Bullseye, Songbird, Moonstone, the Swordsman, and more would make for an interesting team of villains. A film from their perspective, with a few heroes in antagonist roles instead of having a “bigger bad” to fight, would be a refreshing change of pace for the MCU.
1. Norman Osborn
Who else could have been number one? Norman Osborn a.k.a. the Green Goblin is one of Spider-Man’s best villains and an incredible character in the wider Marvel universe. Willem Dafoe‘s performance as the Goblin was great, but the MCU’s version should focus more on the Norman Osborn side of the character. Don’t get me wrong, the MCU’s Spider-Man should definitely fight the Green Goblin in a future sequel, but previous films should establish Osborn as the most powerful businessman in NYC, pulling strings behind the scenes of other villainous activities. I can only see one actor in this role: Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey.