Who would have thought Marvel’s Purple Man, who spent the better part of his existence as a punchline “Daredevil” bad guy, would ever make the leap from D-level comic book super villain to a live-action threat audiences could take seriously? And yet, David Tennant’s turn as Kilgrave on Netflix’s “Jessica Jones” proved to be perhaps the most complex and chillingly dangerous live-action Marvel villain to date.
Of course, this begs the question of which other unlikely villains are waiting for their chance at cinematic glory. At a glance, it would seem that there are some bad guys just too insane to make the transition from one medium to the other — but is that really fair? Who would have expected Arnim Zola, arguably one of Jack Kirby’s more grotesque and bizarre Marvel characters, to feature in two Marvel films and cameo in a Marvel television series? Sure, his design was far different from Kirby’s, but Marvel still managed to present the character in a way that paid homage to his comic book counterpart.
With that in mind, let’s break out our “Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe” and see what other super-powered evildoers will never make their mark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — or will they?
Fin Fang Foom
One of the strangest and most well known of Kirby’s pre-Marvel superhero creatures, the dragon known as Fin Fang Foom has plagued the Marvel Universe since he debuted in “Strange Tales” #89 (Oct. 1961), at times in some pretty epic stories. For the most part, the purple trunks-wearing, giant, green villain has ties to Iron Man, constantly proving himself as a potent threat despite having a whimsical name (and, again, giant purple underwear!). While there are no solo “Iron Man” films on the immediate horizon, given a slightly modified character design, Foom would fit nicely into, say, the upcoming “Thor: Ragnarok” if only in a cameo role, or perhaps as a more traditional dragon in the upcoming “Iron Fist” Netflix series.
There’s an odd appeal to the idea of a villain using his head — especially when it’s unbreakable. On the surface, the gangster known as Hammerhead appears to be a ripoff of classic Dick Tracy foe Flattop, and you can almost hear an Edward G. Robinson-like voice coming from him. But there’s much more to Hammerhead than his strange appearance. He’s an OG in the Marvel Universe that, when used right, has the skills and presence to rival even Wilson Fisk. This take no prisoners gunsel would fit right into the street-level world of Marvel’s Netflix series, or perhaps he’d be better served hewing closer to his comic book roots, joining the “Spider-Man” franchise as a foe for new Peter Parker actor Tom Holland.
We can already hear your objections. There’s no way Marvel brings M.O.D.O.K. — a giant, murderous, floating head with tiny little T-Rex arms — into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And yet, one look at the Mental/Mobile/Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing proves this literal murder machine is no joke. AIM, the organization that built M.O.D.O.K. in the comics, was introduced in “Iron Man 3,” so the stage is set for this unsettling mechanoid to arise. Using the character in a film or as a villain on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” might sound unlikely, but so did the inclusion of Armin Zola at one time. Taking M.O.D.O.K.’s rich history with Iron Man into consideration, perhaps it’s time Hollywood accepts the value of a giant, evil, floating head with naught but killing on its mind.
Rocket Raccoon proved that kickass space rodents are nothing to laugh at in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but for Rocket to become a lasting icon he needs his very own furry nemesis. You might not think an intergalactic bounty hunting rabbit like Blackjack O’Hare would ever get close to a big budget Marvel film, but five years ago no one thought Rocket would be a household name either. The first “Guardians” film saw Star Lord tangle with Ronan the Accuser, Gamora take on Nebula and Drax swear vengeance on Thanos. Each member of the Guardians had an arch nemesis except Rocket (and Groot). The cinematic arrival of Blackjack O’Hare and his Black Bunny Brigade could change all that. Blackjack’s comic book appearances have established the rowdy rabbit as a cosmic badass, a intergalactic hunter of unparalleled deadly skill. Bottom line: He’s a Bunny Fett ready to hunt down Rocket and company in a potential fur flying film.
“Captain America: Civil War” will include the cinematic villainy of Crossbones and the debut of Baron Zemo who, along with Red Skull, are Cap villains very much grounded in reality. Now, with Benedict Cumberbatch becoming the Sorcerer Supreme in “Doctor Strange,” the idea of a Nazi vampire like Baron Blood arriving in a future “Captain America” film perhaps doesn’t feel that far-fetched. Blood’s vampiric abilities including hypnotism, command over bats, mice, rats and wolves and more might be exactly the kind of antagonist that Steve Rogers, the trained soldier, has no idea how to combat. Magic is coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and threats that once seemed impossible, like one of Cap’s most surreal foes, are closer than ever to becoming reality.
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