The release of Avengers: Infinity War is almost upon us. Soon, Marvel fans will flock to the theater to see the Avengers assemble once again to face the biggest threat they have seen: Thanos. The Mad Titan is coming to Earth, and he's looking to assemble his mighty Infinity Gauntlet and extinguish half of all life in the universe. He has been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since he was first teased in the mid-credits scene of 2012's The Avengers, and since then he has made sporadic appearances to build up to his big arrival in the third Avengers film.
The character's arrival is the result of years of planning and build-up, and many are excited to finally seem him get the spotlight he deserves as one of the Avengers' biggest villains. But what about after? While we don't know which superheroes will be coming out of this alive, we do know that the MCU will keep going. After Infinity War and Avengers 4, we already know that there will be a Black Panther sequel, another Spider-Man film, a third Guardians of the Galaxy, and more. So which big villains will the heroes of the MCU face next?
15 DOCTOR DOOM
Doctor Doom is one of the biggest and most popular villains of the Marvel Universe; and yet, Marvel Studios hasn't been allowed to use him in the slightest. However, that may be set to change soon, with Disney currently in the process of purchasing Fox's assets – which include the rights to the Fantastic Four and their main foe, Doctor Doom. But Doom isn't just a Fantastic Four villain. He's an Avengers baddie as well.
A fan-favorite to many, Doom is a character that most would like to see join the MCU. The character has been at the head of many events that saw him become a threat to the world and the universe itself, and he even tried his hand at heroism by becoming a successor of Iron Man. There is definitely room for Doctor Doom in the MCU, and he would make a great villainous addition following Thanos.
The Black Panther film was a massive critical and financial success that is still breaking records. With such a great response to the film, Marvel quickly confirmed that a sequel would be coming and this time around, anticipation will be incredibly high for the film. Killmonger proved to be a very strong addition to the cast of the first film, and one of Marvel's best villains, according to most.
The sequel will then need to up the ante when it comes to villains. For that reason, some fans believe that Namor, the King of Atlantis, could be introduced in the second film. The two characters have a deep rivalry, and they are just as likely to punch each other as reluctantly work together. Perhaps, then, Black Panther 2 could offer us a confrontation between Wakanda and Atlantis.
13 NORMAN OSBORN
We already know that the first MCU movie that will follow Avengers 4 is the Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel. According to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, the movie will pick up mere minutes after the events of Avengers 4. This means that the story of the film could be closely tied to the events of Avengers 4. Perhaps then will the MCU see the arrival of Spider-Man's biggest foe: Norman Orsborn.
But since the audience is quite aware of Osborn's villainous alter ego the Green Goblin, perhaps he will step into a different role. In the comics, Osborn once managed to save the world when the Avengers could not, an act that resulted in him becoming the new Nick Fury of H.A.M.M.E.R. With the Iron Patriot suit, Osborn heralded a “Dark Reign” over the superheroes, and it's something that we could see happening in the Spider-Man sequel.
Once Thanos is inevitably defeated by the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy, there just might be a power vacuum in the far reaches of space. With Thanos gone, what other possible cosmic threat could surface to once again threaten the very existence of the Earth? The answer could be found in Disney's acquisition of Fox's assets. If the Fantastic Four return to Marvel, then so too does Galactus.
The Devourer of Worlds is a colossal threat that would once again require the presence of all of the world's superheroes, Guardians of the Galaxy included. A moon-sized giant, Galactus arrives looking to feed on planets to satiate his hunger, and he has long been on fans' most wanted lists for the MCU. In fact, Galactus' coming could very well become the overarching story of Marvel's Phase 4.
11 THE SINISTER SIX
After Infinity War and Avengers 4, Spider-Man is set to become one of the central characters of the MCU going forward. The young superhero has a long career ahead of him, and many fans would like to see his next films build to a proper introduction of the Sinister Six, the famous team of half-a-dozen Spider-Man supervillains, often led by Parker's nemesis, Doctor Octopus.
We've seen many superhero team-ups on the screen, but we haven't seen all that many supervillains fighting side-by-side against the heroes they despise. The introduction of the Sinister Six would be a way to do that, to give fans something that they want, and it would also allow Spider-Man to face an even bigger challenge than before. This could even work to introduce Scorpion, who was teased in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
10 KANG THE CONQUEROR
Kang the Conqueror is a different villain than most because he hails from the 30th century. A time-traveler, he managed to weaponize time itself and found his way to the present. There, he became one of the Avengers' biggest threats, as he sought to usher in a new dynasty worthy of his name. With Thanos dealt with, many fans would like to see Kang emerge as the MCU's next big threat.
The Conqueror's introduction to the movies could allow us to see a glimpse of the future. With time-travel involved, Marvel could debut new and alternate versions of characters fans know and love, all while setting up a future that the Avengers must band together to prevent. There are a lot of possibilities with Kang involved, and he could help shape not only Phase 4, but Phase 5 and beyond if Marvel plans that far ahead.
There is no certainty that Thor will make it out of the next two Avengers movies alive, but Chris Hemsworth has gone on record to say that he would love to stick around the MCU. With the actor ready to reprise his role as the God of Thunder. Along with Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi also willing to return to the MCU, the stage could be set for a new Thor movie. But what villain could the hero face?
Since the God of Thunder faced and defeated his sister Hela, perhaps another female Asgardian villain could step forward. The evil sorceress Enchantress is a fan-favorite character who is long past due for a big screen debut. What's more, her partner in crime Skurge, who was introduced in Ragnarok, could also be brought back as a villain through some form of magic.
Taskmaster, with his abilities to mimic and counter any attack that comes his way, has been a fan-favorite character for a long time. With his shield, skull mask and cape, he has a design that his quite unique, something that has no doubt contributed to his popularity. Marvel fans have been waiting a long time for the assassin to transition to the big screen, and now would be the ideal time.
If Phase 4 of Marvel quiets things down and focuses on individual characters, Taskmaster could surface as a smaller villain in a smaller film. Not all Marvel films are cosmic space affairs, after all. Some stick to the streets of New York and other cities, and this is where we could find a villain like Taskmaster. Perhaps he would make a worthy opponent for Natasha Romanoff, in the much rumored solo Black Widow film.
In the Doctor Strange film, viewers saw the Master of the Mystic Arts take the fight directly to Dormammu. However, fans of the villainous character were left wanting. The big Marvel foe was quickly vanquished, and they never got to see more than his head. To them, this appearance was only an introduction to the character, one similar to Thanos' introduction in Joss Whedon's The Avengers.
Therefore, Phase 4 could continue to establish Dormammu as the next big threat to the world through various movies, just like the MCU has done with Thanos. If a Doctor Strange sequel ever happens, the character's return could be teased, and his reappearance could lead to an epic team-up of Marvel's biggest mystic characters like Scarlet Witch, Doctor Strange, Brother Voodoo and the Ghost Rider. Marvel's cosmic corner is already quite vast -- time to let its magical universe reach the same heights.
6 THE MANDARIN
In Iron Man 3, Marvel fans thought that they would get to see Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark face off against the character's biggest comic book villain, The Mandarin. However, the film's infamous twist, which revealed that the Mandarin was only an actor, infuriated a lot of fans. In fact, fans were so vocal in their disappointment that a short movie, “All Hail the King,” would be released to retcon the twist.
Thanks to the short film, fans now know that the “real” Mandarin is out there somewhere. This means that Phase 4 would be the perfect time to bring the character into the fold. We're uncertain if Tony Stark will still have a role going forward in the MCU or if a successor will step into his mechanical suit, but fans could finally have Iron Man facing a magically-infused Mandarin.
5 THE LEADER
The Incredible Hulk might not be the most loved or important MCU film, but it did manage to first seed the idea of the shared universe aspect of the MCU. What's more, it also set up the introduction of a very big Hulk villain in the form of Samuel Sterns. The character appeared in the film as a scientist, but last we saw him, his head was beginning to grow thanks to a drop of Bruce Banner's gamma-irradiated blood.
Fans know that the character is then supposed to have his skin turn green and become a smart and devious foe to the Incredible Hulk and other Marvel heroes. Since the character is already established in the MCU, many fans hope that the character will be brought back for Phase 4 of Marvel's movies. In fact, the Hulk could easily come to face The Leader in his next team-up film.
4 EZEKIEL STANE
Ezekiel Stane is the genius and mischievous son of Obadiah Stane, the first villain of the MCU. Since little was known about Obadiah's life outside of Stark Industries, it's entirely possible that he had son out there – a son who could now step forward looking to avenge the death of his father. Ezekiel appeared in the comics when he first attacked Iron Man, and this could be the case in the films.
But without even considering Tony Stark, it's also possible to re-imagine Ezekiel as a Spider-Man villain. In fact, Peter Parker, in some ways, is a surrogate son to Tony Stark, and Ezekiel could look to take his anger out on him. That way, we could have a battle between sons that stretches all the way back to the beginnings of the MCU.
3 RED HULK
In the comics, Red Hulk first surfaced as a villain of the Incredible Hulk. His identity was kept secret for a long time, until General Thunderbolt Ross was finally revealed as the crimson villain. Whether Ross returns in the MCU or not, the Red Hulk is a character that many fans would like to see brought to the screen. The character is a clear match for the Hulk, and is extremely powerful.
Whether the Red Hulk appears as a Hulk villain or a general Avengers villain, it wouldn't really matter. In fact, if Mark Ruffalo steps away from the MCU, the Red Hulk could even eventually become a force for good, just like he has in the comics. In fact, Thunderbolt Ross wouldn't even have to be the one behind the Red Hulk. The movies could also play the mystery card, and have the audience guessing his identity.
On the other side of the galaxy, Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot are fighting all manner of evil aliens. They first fought Ronan and his army, then they took on both the golden priestess Ayesha and Ego the living planet, and now they are set to have another adventure in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Which villain could they face this time?
Perhaps the answer can be found in the mid-credits scene of Guardians Vol. 2. As viewers might recall, one scene featured a distraught Ayesha creating Adam to possibly send after the Guardians, a creation whom fans know to be Adam Warlock. But since Adam is actually on the side of good, perhaps we will instead get his evil counterpart, Magus, also make his arrival in the third Guardians film, seeking to destroy the galaxy. Let's not forget, he was the main, Infinity Gauntlet-wielding baddie of the comic book series Infinity War!
1 THE MASTERS OF EVIL
During its first phase of movies, Marvel did the unprecedented and assembled separate characters from separate franchises to bring them all in one giant superhero team-up movie. Ever since, much of Marvel's movies have focused on these fan-favorite heroes fighting together. But why stop there? After a superhero team-up, many fans would love to see a supervillain team-up.
In the comics, the Masters of Evil was the name given to a team comprised of some of the respective Avengers' foes. Now sure, most of the Marvel Studios villains have died in their respective movies -- but not all of them have. Baron Zemo could easily be the one to put this team together of both old and new nemeses alike! The one question about this approach, of course, is whether Marvel could beat DC to the cinematic punch, especially after the tease given by Lex Luthor at the end of Justice League!