When it comes to movies, 2019 is going to be a pivotal year for Marvel Studios. While they've spent the last decade building up one of the most popular film franchises ever, they're at a turning point. First of all, with Avengers: Endgame (2019), the first major arc will be wrapping up. It's also unclear who, if any, of the original Avengers plan on sticking around for more movies. On top of all that, Sony released two successful movies for their Spider-Verse franchise. On the bright side, with the acquisition of Fox, Marvel now has the rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises. Change is coming, and this year will finally reveal what direction the studio is going in.
The best way for Marvel to do this is to introduce new characters. That's the model they've been using. Black Panther appeared in Civil War (2016) before getting his own movie. Dr Strange and Spider-Man were both referenced in various filmed before making their debuts. Marvel has plenty of characters that have either been referenced or name dropped in some way that can take the spotlight in the next phase. They just need to actually make an actual appearance first, so that fans can get a taste before committing to a full series of films.
This one is a no-brainer. In Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), the Nova Corps was officially introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Several members played significant roles in the film's plot, including Nova Prime and Rhomann Dey, played by Glenn Close and John C Reilly. Unfortunately, the Marvel Universe's most famous Nova didn't make an appearance.
Rich Rider first appeared in The Man Called Nova #1 (1976) by Marv Wolfman and John Romita Sr. While he's never been an A-lister, Rider has a dedicated fan base. Ever since the Corps appeared in the films, they've anxiously been waiting for him to appear. With multiple MCU films taking place in the cosmos in 2019, it's time for Rider to debut.
19 MILES MORALES
When it comes to Spider-Man, 2019 could be a pretty huge year. The wall-crawler is set to appear in both Avengers: End Game and Spider-Man: Far From Home. Also, 2018 ended with Sony releasing Into the Spider-Verse, which introduced Miles Morales to the the big screen.
Based on that film's popularity, it would make sense to bring a version of Miles to the MCU. His presence was already established in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), when the character Aaron Davis mentioned having a nephew. Davis is Miles' uncle, so now all Marvel and Sony have to do is actually introduce a live action version of the character and they're all set.
18 ADAM WARLOCK
With Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Marvel introduced audiences to many of Marvel's weirdest cosmic entities and concepts. For example, the Collector's trophy is witnessed several times, and a giant cocoon is visible. After the room is destroyed, the cocoon can be seen opened in the background. This was a clear nod to Adam Warlock.
Oddly, the sequel featured a completely different nod to Warlock. An artificial cocoon was revealed during the end credits, which apparently contained someone named "Adam." Either way, enough is enough. The character has clearly been set up, it's time to actually show him to audiences.
Another Easter egg from Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), audiences were likely confused by the presence of a dog in an astronauts uniform in the Collector's possession. While this may have seemed like just a cute gag to most people, comic fans recognized this as Cosmo, the head of security on Knowhere.
The space dog first appeared in Nova #8 (2008) by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Wellington Alves. A former cosmonaut for the Russians, Cosmo gained telepathic abilities after traveling to space. While he has technically appeared in the MCU, the character deserves a proper introduction and storyline. Considering his job, he'd definitely make a great ally against Thanos.
16 SAM ALEXANDER
Like many of Marvel's characters, there are multiple Novas. While Rich Rider is the original (Earth) centurion, Sam Alexander has recently joined the Corps. He debuted in Marvel Point One #1 (2011) in a story by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. Unlike Rider, Sam wasn't chosen to be a member of the Corps.
In fact, when Sam came across his father's helmet, the Corps was actually in disarray. He initially donned the helmet to find his missing father, who was lost among the stars. Since then, he's gone on to briefly join the Avengers and help rescue Richard Rider from the Cancerverse.
15 SUPER SKRULL
Captain Marvel (2019) will officially introduce the Skrulls to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The shape shifting aliens first appeared in The Fantastic Four #2 (1962) by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Up until recently, the film rights to the Skrulls were somewhat complicated. Marvel and Fox both owned the rights, but Marvel couldn't use specific Skrull characters. With the recent merger, however, Marvel should soon be able to use whatever Skrulls they wish.
That being the case, this is the perfect time for Kl'rt, the Super Skrull, to debut. He's an alien warrior who has the combined powers of the Fantastic Four, along with the Skrulls other natural abilities, making him a truly scary threat.
14 SUPREME INTELLIGENCE
The Marvel Cinematic Universe version of the Kree are somewhat mysterious. Captain Marvel (2019) will likely give more details into their culture and species. In the past, the MCU has found clever ways to incorporate some of the stranger elements of the comics into the films, especially when it comes to cosmic characters.
Hopefully, this means that the Supreme Intelligence will make an appearance on the big screen. The ruler of the Kree empire, the Supreme Intelligence is a giant head in a jar and is made up of all of the brains of the Kree's greatest thinkers. It's super weird and just what the MCU needs to keep things interesting.
13 QUEEN VERANKE
After the events of Endgame (2019), the MCU is going to need another big threat to deal with. With the Skrulls being introduced, many fans have theorized that the studio will start laying the groundwork for Secret Invasion, a comic book crossover from 2008 by Brian Michael Bendis.
Essentially, the shape shifting aliens discover a way to perfectly mimic the superheros. Not even Wolverine can tell the difference, allowing the Skrulls to slowly replace key characters with alien spies. The invasion was led by Queen Veranke, who replaced Spider-Woman for several years. With Thanos likely defeated, Veranke could serve as the next threat to take down.
12 BETA RAY BILL
Thor: Ragnarok (2017) redefined the Thor franchise. While the first two movies fully embraced the fantasy elements of the character, Ragnarok made things weird. It took every element from the comics that everyone ever said couldn't work on the big screen and turned it into a fantastic film. This is what fans wanted all along, and it's time to take things even further.
Ragnarok included a reference to one Marvel's weirdest characters, Beta Ray Bill. A powerful alien, Bill is worthy of lifting Mjolnir. So, Odin created a new hammer for him, called Stormbreaker. A statue of Bill was visible in Ragnarok, which means the character is out there, somewhere.
While everyone was freaking out over Beta Ray Bill's statue in Thor: Ragnarok (2017), they may have missed another cameo right under their noses. One of the other statues at the arena depicts Ares, the God of War.
In the Marvel Comics Universe, the Asgardians aren't the only ancient "gods" roaming around Earth. Many of the Greek Gods exist, including characters like Hercules and, of course, Ares. Initially, Ares appeared in the comics as a villain, before eventually siding with the heroes and becoming an Avenger. Apparently, the Greek Gods also exist in the MCU, in some form or another. If Thor is on his way out, Ares could be a good replacement.
10 THE ACTUAL MANDARIN
When the trailers for Iron Man 3 (2013) first arrived, fans were blown away by Ben Kingsley's take on the Mandarin. Unfortunately, when the actual film itself arrived, it turned out to be a bait-and-switch. Kingsley was actually playing an actor who had been hired to pretend to be a mysterious goon to cover for explosions caused by AIM's failed experiments.
Obviously, fans were disappointed. Then, Marvel released a short film titled All Hail the King (2014) which revealed that there was an actual Mandarin in the MCU, and he wasn't happy about the fake-Mandarin thing either. It's been five years since this reveal, it's time for him to finally reveal himself.
9 THE ORIGINAL HUMAN TORCH
Looking back, Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) did a lot to set up the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Set during World War 2, it showed the beginnings of SHIELD and the Stark empire, while also laying the groundwork for Asgard and the Infinity Stones. With all of those references, it's easy to forget a small, but possibly important, cameo.
At the Stark Convention, a robotic man can be seen standing in a glass tube. As any Marvel fan knows, this was the original Human Torch, the very first Marvel superhero. With time travel possibly playing a big role in Endgame (2019), it's time to finally give this important character more than just a background cameo.
8 THE LIVING TRIBUNAL
When it comes to their cosmic entities, Marvel has some pretty abstract characters. For example, the Living Tribunal is a cosmic being with no neck and a floating head with multiple masked faces on it. It first appeared in Strange Tales #157 (1967) by Stan Lee and Marie Severin, and the Tribunal maintains balance across the various realities of the Marvel Multiverse.
Technically speaking, this would already have included the MCU. However, the Living Tribunal was directly referenced in Doctor Strange (2016) when Karl Mordo mentioned the staff of the Living Tribunal. Considering that Thanos wiped out half of all life in the MCU in Infinity War (2018), the Tribunal might want to come check things out in 2019.
Technically speaking, the Vision debuted in the very first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, Iron Man (2008). Back then, he was still known as J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony Stark's AI assistant. In Age of Ultron (2015), the AI was merged with a robotic body and the mind stone, creating the hero now known as the Vision.
Tony then installed a new program, this time a female voice called Friday. However, when he's shown looking through the possible replacements, one of the other programs is clearly labeled "Jocasta." In the comics, she's a female robot created by Ultron. Since Ultron was created to stop threats like Thanos, it'd make sense for Tony to try again with Jocasta.
6 AMADEUS CHO
Technically speaking, this character already appeared, but it may not even count. In The Incredible Hulk, Bruce Banner uses a pizza to bribe a student to let him use the computer lab. According to the film's novelization, the character was named Amadeus Cho. Unfortunately, he was played by Martin Star, who appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) in a completely different role.
While Amadeus' status is currently vague, his mother, Helen, appeared in Age of Ultron. She was a geneticist who helped the Avengers on various projects and was forced into helping Ultron build Vision's body. Since The Incredible Hulk is mostly ignored, an all new and all different Amadeus Cho could finally step up to the plate.
5 RICK JONES
It's crazy that Rick Jones hasn't appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet. He first appeared all the way back in The Incredible Hulk #1 (1962) by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Initially, he served as a supporting character/sidekick to the Hulk before eventually moving on. Since then, he's served as Captain America's sidekick and teamed up with both Captain Marvel and Rom.
While Jones hasn't appeared in any of the movies, he was mentioned in the opening credits of The Incredible Hulk (2008). Considering how prominent he is in the comics, and the Avengers currently devastated ranks, this marks the perfect time for him to finally show up and be the best sidekick the world has ever seen.
It seems like Sony has finally figured out how to get their Spider-Man film universe off the ground. With both Venom (2018) and Into the Spider-Verse (2018), they've successfully branched out the franchise from focusing on just Peter Parker. The studio clearly has plans to expand, and it's unclear how this is going to interact with Tom Holland's Spider-Man in the MCU.
Technically speaking, Silk's alter ego appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) as a fellow student. Since they've already established that she exists, Marvel should move ahead and introduce Silk for real and set up a firm relationship with the rest of the Spider-Verse.
3 J JONAH JAMESON
One of Spider-Man's oldest foes hasn't appeared on the big screen in over a decade, despite the character's constant reboots and spin-offs. JK Simmons brilliantly portrayed J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy. Since then, the character has only been mentioned or referenced in the films, and it isn't clear what presence (if any) he has in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
J. Jonah Jameson is a huge part of the Spider-Man mythos, and he's been gone for way too long. His son, John Jameson, appeared in Venom, so it would be the perfect time for Marvel or Sony to find a place for him in Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019).
2 KREE SENTRY
With Captain Marvel (2019), Marvel will finally fully unite their cosmic stories with their Earthbound heroes. While franchises like Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy have explored the cosmos, the Earth has remained relatively isolated from those adventures. In fact, aside from Thanos and his forces, aliens haven't posed much a threat to Earth.
Captain Marvel will introduce the conflict between the Kree and the Skrulls and put Earth right in the middle. In the comics, the Kree used robots known as Sentries to guard their military outposts. Finding an ancient Sentry robot on Earth would be an easy to establish that the Kree have been visiting for a very long time.
It turns out, when a huge company buys another one, it's a very complex process. Even though Fox agreed to be bought by Disney, it's not clear when exactly the sale will be finalized. So, it's not clear when Marvel will have access to X-Men characters. That being said, it's possible that everything could be all set at some point in 2019.
Recently, a PG-13 cut of Deadpool 2 (2018) was released. It's speculated that due to the popularity of Ryan Reynolds' version of Deadpool, Disney may just integrate him directly into the MCU. It would be amazing if the post credit scene for Endgame (2019) was Deadpool making his MCU debut.