It might seem like there have been so many comic book movies at this point that there would be a hard time introducing a hero or villain who has not already been adapted to the big screen. There have certainly been a lot of sequels and familiar faces showing up this year, but there have also been quite a few characters that have appeared who never had a live-action appearance before. Admittedly the majority of the big names have already had some time to shine, but then there are still some cases like Wonder Woman who didn’t get her cinematic debut until 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The year isn’t quite finished at this point, so it’s possible there may even be a few surprise appearances that we don’t know about yet. But with 2017 quickly drawing to a close, we’ve definitely seen the majority of the newcomers and it’s a pretty diverse bunch. We’ve seen heroes, villains, sidekicks and everything in-between. These are 2017’s Biggest Live-Action Comic Book Character Debuts.
It was common knowledge as Logan was coming out that it was going to be Hugh Jackman’s last time playing Wolverine, so a lot of the attention was on his potential successor. Though Wolverine is now officially back from the dead in the comics, Logan was his big cinematic send off, so someone was going to have to take up the slack with the claws. Fortunately, X-23 proved quite capable of living up to the legacy.
Child actors can make or break a film, but the actress behind Laura was solid in all of her scenes. So while Logan did leave fans sad that Wolverine was gone, it also left them pondering how to get X-23 into more X-Men movies. It’s unclear if there will be more X-Men films in the present day timeline after Dark Phoenix, but if not, setting some films after the events of Logan and letting X-23 return would no doubt have people intrigued.
After five Spider-Man movies where the Green Goblin played a prominent role, it was a relief to many when it turned out Spider-Man: Homecoming wasn’t going to be about an Osborn. It seems to have paid off too, since Homecoming is now considered by many to be the best Spider-Man movie we have had. Hopefully the future Spider-Man movies follow suit by continuing to introduce more fresh ideas to keep fans interested.
Taking the Vulture lightly just because he is an older villain would be a mistake since he clearly acquired a lot of knowledge to bring into a fight. Everyone might be excited about Venom right now, but time has shown it’s the more humanized villains who strike a chord with people. The Sinister Six members like the Vulture are classic villains for a reason, because time has shown they resonate with the audience.
So much of the lead up to the release of Logan was focused on X-23’s role in the movie that we did not really have a good picture of who the villain was going to be. It looked like it was just going to be a general group of mutant hunters, but this was only so viewers wouldn’t be prepared when the true antagonist made his debut. X-24 was like Wolverine in his prime, and showed off his power immediately by killing off Charles Xavier.
X-24 was not exactly someone fans were ever anticipating seeing in a movie since he was not based on a comic book character. So it was actually a pretty bold choice for Logan to introduce a totally original villain. Yeah, Wolverine had faced similar opponents in the form of Sabretooth, but X-24 gave Logan a glimpse of what he could have been like had he never found Professor X to help him.
The year is quickly coming to a close, but there is still a little more time left for a few more comic book movies. One of the biggest is left for last with November’s Justice League, DC’s big crossover movie. Surprisingly most of the characters in the movie wouldn’t qualify for this list since Batman v. Superman marked the movie debuts of Wonder Woman, the Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman. That takes some of the biggest names off the table, but the villain of Justice League still remains.
Steppenwolf might be best known as Darkseid’s right hand man, but that doesn’t mean he’s not fearsome in his own right. After all, if you’re able to get Darkseid’s stamp of approval, you have to be a pretty tough and evil person. There’s little doubt that Steppenwolf is probably just a stepping stone for an even bigger confrontation with Darkseid, but it will be the Justice League’s biggest test to date.
Though Wonder Woman can’t lay claim to having her live-action debut in 2017 since she appeared in 2016’s Batman v. Superman, her arch nemesis can. It was broadly known heading into the release of Wonder Woman that Ares would be the main antagonist, but not who the actor playing him would be. That mystery lasted the majority of the film as Diana tried to track down the god of war and put an end to his influence driving soldiers to the battlefield.
When David Thewlis was revealed as Ares it was certainly surprising, given the actor’s kindly appearance, but he might have actually been a bit too inconspicuous for his own good. Once it came time for Ares to start destroying everything, a number of fans couldn’t help pointing out how it was a bit weird seeing the guy who played Professor Lupin in Harry Potter as an evil god.
While we won’t get to see Domino in action until we start seeing some trailers for Deadpool 2, we have seen what her official look for the movie will be. Actress Zazie Beetz showed off the character in a pose duplicating Deadpool’s pose used in the marketing of the original movie, seductively lying in front of a fireplace. The only difference is Domino chose to use Deadpool’s body as a rug to lie on.
Fans weren’t sure what to make of this iteration of Domino since she looked so different from the Domino of the comics, but most everyone is willing to give the new interpretation a chance. After all, nobody would have ever thought Hugh Jackman’s version of Wolverine would be a hit without his iconic costume, but now it’s become Jackman’s most definitive role.
9. DOCTOR POISON
Obviously Doctor Poison wasn’t the main antagonist in Wonder Woman, but she was the one we saw the most of heading into the release of the movie. Her masked face immediately had fans curious when they saw her in the trailers, and people knew just by her name that she would be mixing up some dangerous surprises. She actually had to carry the majority of the tension in the movie since the true villain didn’t show up until the big finale.
One interesting thing about Doctor Poison is that Wonder Woman did allow her to live at the end of the movie, so it’s very possible that she’ll be showing up again in a sequel. Diana seemed to hope that Poison would have the capacity for change, so maybe she could even reform. Though with a name like Doctor Poison, that doesn’t sound too likely.
Even though Josh Brolin already has a major role in comic book movies with his part as Thanos, he’s still got time to take on some more work for other companies. It was hinted in the credits scenes of the original Deadpool that Cable would probably be coming in the sequel, and as production of Deadpool 2 got underway, Cable’s part was made official. It won’t be until 2018 that we get to see Cable in action in the movie, but his reveal did come this year and left fans impressed.
In the comics, Deadpool and Cable are known for having a contentious friendship that usually sees Cable taking charge of things. The two have fought (usually with Deadpool losing) but they also often work as a team. It takes a common enemy for them to stop disagreeing long enough to combine their efforts, so it’ll be interesting to see how well Deadpool and Cable can cooperate on the screen.
Thor: Ragnarok might not be the next official Avengers movie, but it is going to be a star-studded affair. We’ll see the return of Thor and the Hulk, Loki joining in with the efforts of the heroes, and a daunting new villain in the form of Hela. The intent with the third Thor movie was to create something drastically different than the previous two movies, and Hela looks like she’ll play a big part in making a new kind of impact for the franchise.
The god of thunder has had his challenges in the form of the trickster god Loki, but Hela definitely looks like she’ll be Thor’s greatest challenge yet. Seeing as how Thor is enlisting the Hulk and Loki to help in the fight against the Asgardian goddess of death it’s pretty clear he’s not taking her lightly. Ragnarok is the end of days in Norse mythology, so we’ll see if the movie lives up its title.
When it was announced Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 would be featuring Ego as the main antagonist, people had some trouble envisioning how that would go what with the guy being a planet in many depictions. So a lot of people were surprised yet pleased when a charming Kurt Russell took on the role in human form, giving the movie a very grounded and relatable villain. In fact, Ego and Star-Lord bond so well in their father and son moments that it almost made it a shame the character couldn’t stick around.
The Guardians films are in an interesting boat compared to a lot of the MCU since the heroes deal with cosmic threats rather than just city-wide threats. So while the MCU certainly has access to a lot of other Marvel villains they could use, the Guardians wouldn’t exactly be going after someone like Iron Man’s typical adversaries. Introducing Ego was a good way to keep with the cosmic theme, while also upping the ante by endangering billions of people.
5. THE RUNAWAYS
Obviously the Runaways are more than just one character, but they are a package deal, so they pretty much have to be listed together. And in contrast to the majority of the characters on this list, this group isn’t making their debut in movies, but on TV. Though the Runaways TV series is confirmed to be an official part of the MCU, Runaways will be a distinct entity that isn’t building towards anything Avengers related. So the MCU looks like it’ll be continuing its influence on TV after its batch of Netflix shows.
Alex, Nico, Chase, Gert, Molly, and Karolina will be going against their own parents in the show, and will be providing a rare look at some younger heroes being in the spotlight. After the more youthful iteration of Spider-Man in Homecoming was such a hit, the Runaways look like they could be tapping into a good market for the MCU.
4. BLACK BOLT
Though Black Bolt and the Inhumans have had a number of animated depictions, his first ever live-action portrayal came in the form of this year’s Inhumans TV series. Like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Inhumans does take place as a part of the MCU. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. made that connection clear early on thanks to a cameo from Nick Fury, but Inhumans is going the more subtle route of trying to find its legs before committing too strongly to any tie-ins. As of right now, Inhumans is focused on establishing exactly who Black Bolt is and why he’s important.
While Black Bolt is the ruler of the Inhumans, he is not exactly a chatterbox in his role. Black Bolt’s specialty is the power of his voice, so speaking can cause devastating consequences. Even a whisper from him can unleash destruction. It does make for an unusual character to see as one of the leads of a series, but the writers have to stay true to what the character is known for. Black Bolt will really get people to perk up when he does speak, though, because then we’ll see some chaos.
Though the Hulk is the closest rival Thor is getting in his own new movie, there will actually be a totally new face joining the side of the heroes in Thor: Ragnarok. This is the female warrior Valkyrie who is largely known in the comics for being a member of the Defenders. She might not have as big a name as Thor, but it looks like she’ll be just as capable of putting up a good fight as him.
Apparently Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige was interested in including Valkyrie to give Thor a female character more on an equal level as him than Jane Foster was. A woman who is as used to dealing with gods as Thor is probably will make things considerably different. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how well Valkyrie impresses on the screen in a movie packed with so many big name characters.
Marvel just keeps asserting their dominance across all mediums as they spread more into not just movies, but TV shows. Despite already having Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as all the shows comprising the characters from the Defenders, the MCU continues to expand now with Inhumans. Inhumans technically broke even more new ground by opening in theaters for its debut before transitioning to the world of TV, meaning it has premiered in both formats.
The critical response to Inhumans might not be great, but it has still given us our first live-action look at Medusa, the superheroine who makes a weapon out of her own hair. Marvel hasn’t given up on any of their properties yet, so even if Inhumans does flounder, we’ve got to imagine we’ll continue to see Medusa somewhere in the MCU. And where she goes, her dangerous hair will follow (or flow).
The Guardians of the Galaxy already looked pretty fully formed at the end of the first movie, but the trailers for the sequel indicated pretty strongly that they would be getting a new member in the form of Mantis. From the trailers it looked like she would be the movie’s comic relief, but she actually had a much bigger role to play in the grand scheme of things. Though she started out aiding Ego, she quickly switched sides once she saw the Guardians provided an opportunity to stop Ego’s threat.
It has already been confirmed that Mantis will be a member of the team going forward, set to appear in both Avengers: Infinity War, as well as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. She might not have the name recognition of a lot of the bigger heroes out there, but Mantis was actually a member of the Avengers for a time in the comics, so she’s earned her place with the group.
Which heroes or villains are you looking forward to seeing on-screen next?
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