With "Avengers: Infinity War" set to cap a decade of Marvel Studios stories since 2008's "Iron Man" kickstarted Nick Fury's Avenger initiative, one of the key questions is what direction things will be headed in, especially once the heroes stem the threat of Thanos. The MCU has already begun looking outside the galactic realm, punctuated by the mystical dimension in "Doctor Strange" last year.
However, fans have also absorbed new worlds exposed in the "Thor" franchise and "Ant-Man," so what they'll be eager to see is the new breed of Marvel heroes and villains in Phase Four that will join or replace the roster of Avengers we've become so familiar with, and who will replace the Mad Titan himself as their antagonist. With that in mind, CBR decided to analyze 15 new faces we'd like to see join the MCU!
15 KANG THE CONQUEROR
Kang The Conqueror is one of the Avengers' biggest threats, not due to any superhuman abilities, but because of his genius, which has rivaled the likes of Reed Richards and Dr. Doom. As a time-traveler trying to rule Earth since the ancient times of Egypt as Rama-Tut, most of his past was linked to the Fantastic Four and even Apocalypse. However, his MCU potential can be seen in later feuds with Avengers such as the Vision, Scarlet Witch and Captain America.
Depending on what happens with Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet, if realities are splintered or alternate timelines are created, then Kang would fit right in. He's a huge wildcard as he's helped the Avengers at times, as well as the Guardians of the Galaxy (in "Realm of Kings" when Adam Warlock became Magus again). Of course, his help comes with a sense of dread and mistrust. This was shown recently in the "Age of Ultron" comic event, when he brought the Apocalypse Twins into the equation, and the "Uncanny Inhumans" book, where Black Bolt left his son, Ahura, in Kang's care.
14 THE SENTRY
Robert Reynolds rocked the Marvel universe with his "power of one million exploding suns," thanks to a special serum. He boasts two distinct personalities: the nervous, heroic Sentry and the malevolent destroyer called the Void. Tony Stark saw his potential as an Avenger and it showed in a destructive battle with the Hulk in "World War Hulk" before his evil persona (sometimes hinted at as cosmic, other times as biblical) tore the Greek god of war, Ares, apart as part of Norman Osborn's "Dark Avengers" in "Siege."
This dichotomy and unpredictability would make him a great option for the MCU because not only does he possess the power of a god, he's a ticking time-bomb which could draw parallels to Bruce Banner and Scarlet Witch, as per "House of M." The Sentry's powers of flight, super-strength, speed, invulnerability, energy projection and molecular manipulation, and the Void's ability to create hurricanes and trap opponents in its tendrils, inflicting trauma and nightmares, make Reynolds a physical and mental omega-level threat that would have both heroes and villains on edge in case he goes off the hinges.
13 SHUMA GORATH
Shuma Gorath is an ancient evil who's all about ruling planets, especially Earth. His demonic presence has been repelled numerous times by the Avengers, but mostly he finds himself trapped in battles with Doctor Strange ever since he tried to use the Ancient One as a means to return to rule the world. Given that the "Doctor Strange" movie already took care of Dormammu and began the descent of Baron Mordo as a villain, there's an opening in the supernatural dimension for this entity to fill.
This godlike force of chaos is one of Marvel's biggest mystical antagonists and we could already see him wreaking havoc on New York like he did in the "Infinity" storyline where Luke Cage's Avengers had to quell his threat in the comics. Dormammu wasn't portrayed as a destroyer in the movie so this presents the ideal opportunity to unleash this Lovecraftian menace from the Cancerverse in a similar fashion to what Guillermo Del Toro did with his behemoth in "Hellboy." Fans of Marvel's supernatural realm are definitely craving a force of destruction that won't be outwitted by mind games.
12 THE HIGH EVOLUTIONARY
The High Evolutionary caused a major stir recently when it was revealed that he was responsible for experimenting on Pietro and Wanda Maximoff at birth, giving them their powers and retconning the concept of their being Magneto's mutant offspring. It was bold but it fit Herbert Wyndham's character as someone who evolved from a student of Mister Sinister to a mad, genetic scientist, thanks to cracking the human genetic code and due to the Inhuman outcast scientist, Phaeder.
As he set up his citadel of science, transitioning into the High Evolutionary, his resulting experiments and cloning (including on himself) saw Wyndham tussle with the Avengers, Asgardians, X-Men, the Celestials and even Galactus. The MCU needs its own genetic scientist extraordinaire, which could easily tie into the program that birthed Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in Joss Whedon's "Age of Ultron," as well as ABC's "Inhumans." What also helps expand the scope of his character is that Wyndham worked with the fathers of Jessica Drew (Spider Woman) and Marvel Boy (from "Agents of Atlas"), which could sew seeds for even more new faces.
Surtur is a fire demon hailing from Muspelheim who's been one of the biggest threats to Asgard and its people. Bearing an eternal vendetta against Odin for stopping his tyranny and burying him deep beneath the Earth, he usually found freedom and aid via the wicked Loki, who often tried to manipulate the monster to go against everything Thor loves. With "Thor: Ragnarok" out in November, it's unlikely that popular faces such as him, Balder or even the Enchantress get a look-in.
Surtur is one in particular that fans have called for for a long time because they know the cinematic spectacle he would bring and how crucial he has been to the Norse mythos, even outside the comics, regarding the end of days for gods and men. We only really saw Thor battle huge monsters in his first flick, though his third outing will see him in a "Planet Hulk"-like escapade, so if they hold off on Surtur, the MCU better be storing him for an epic throw-down, whether it be as part of a Loki assault on Asgard, or in ravaging Earth.
10 AMATSU MIKABOSHI
Adapted from Japanese culture, Amatsu Mikaboshi is known in comics as the Chaos King, a demonic entity who has tried to put an end to all reality, only to be stopped time and time again by the likes of Thor, Hercules and the Avengers. He was initially the dark, primordial void and force of nature known as the barren universe before it became populated with the essence of light and life (the latter of which became worshipped as the Kami). This enraged Mikaboshi then began an everlasting quest to return the universe to darkness.
This was observed in his constant battles against Hercules' Olympians, reaching feverish heights in "Chaos War." His bloodlust even claimed Zeus' life and took down Galactus, but was eventually stopped due to the genius of Amadeus Cho. Given the nature and godlike abilities of Mikaboshi, the best place for him to pop up would be the mystical realm that Doctor Strange occupies. Apart from Hercules' pantheon of gods, other characters such as Brother Voodoo, Satana and Daimon Hellstrom could be great entries to combat this dark devourer.
Hyperion has been seen as Marvel's version of Superman, with quite a few iterations going through the ringer. Recently, we saw the Marcus Milton version and his Squadron Supreme fight alongside the Avengers, but in a violently protective manner which resulted in Hyperion decapitating and killing Namor. Another evil version appeared in "Secret Wars," only to be killed by Nighthawk, who was ironically killed when a version of Hyperion's team once invaded and tried to protect Earth on their terms.
Apart from his superheroic persona in the comics currently, Hyperion's a character who, even when trying to do the right thing, ends up using excessive force and an iron fist, and ends up running amok like Zack Snyder's take on Superman. Having such a firecracker in the MCU could be risky, especially given that Hyperion is from an alternate Earth and doesn't stick to the rulebook; but if controlled, someone like General Ross, the MCU could have a ruthless yet stoic powerhouse in their arsenal to tackle Asgardian gods or the Hulk, in the aftermath of the "Civil War" movie. Also, think of a Hyperion vs. Sentry fight!
She-Hulk may be a tough tie-in to the MCU at this juncture but her fan-base is something that Marvel Studios can't ignore. Jennifer Walters, Bruce Banner's cousin, received an emergency blood transfusion from him when she was wounded, which resulted in her becoming a version of the Hulk, but retaining her personality, intelligence and emotional control. Her condition became permanent and like her cousin, her strength grows the more enraged she becomes.
Jen recently made waves in "Civil War II" as part of the Thanos assault that took War Machine's life and almost claimed hers. With Amadeus Cho as the new Hulk and General Thaddeus Ross as Red Hulk, it remains to be seen if Kevin Fiege's creative team will unleash more Hulks on the MCU, but what separates Jen from the rest is her philosophy for justice, stemming from her lawyer background, which made her an integral part of teams such as the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. If anyone can follow up the woman power of Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, it's surely the Sensational She-Hulk!
7 MOLECULE MAN
Owen Reece is one of the most underrated villains at Marvel. He became Molecule Man after a radiation accident, which subsequently allowed him ultimate control over matter and energy. The reclusive and introverted Reece then began to lash out as a supervillain, often in conflict with the Fantastic Four, and being used by Doctor Doom, repeatedly in the "Secret Wars" event as a power source.
Molecule Man has often tried to redeem himself but due to his gullibility (and his decaying sanity), he finds himself confused easily. This was also on display when he was confronted by the Dark Avengers, spearheaded by the Sentry, in a gruesome showdown. He recently overcame Doom's influence and finally took a permanent step towards the light by joining Reed Richards and family to reconstruct the multiverse in the wake of "Secret Wars." He also brought Miles Morales from the Ultimate Universe to the 616 mainstream comicverse, showing that he truly can be as benevolent as he is powerful. He'd definitely be a major force to be reckoned with in Thanos' wake.
6 CAPTAIN BRITAIN & MI:13
Brian Braddock, brother of X-Man Psylocke, was granted superpowers by Merlyn to uphold justice in Britain. Over the years, his prowess and virtuous stance would see him play crucial roles alongside mutants in a team known as "Exaclibur," but also alongside Captain America in the Avengers. His MI:13 team was a more contemporary update to the Captain Britain mythos, boasting other heroes such as Pete Wisdom, Spitfire, Union Jack and even Blade, in what was essentially the British version of the Avengers.
Not only is he a genius scientist, he also has powers similar to Hyperion, but more grounded in mystical roots. His team was an immense force against the Skrulls and their "Secret Invasion," so surely the MCU could find room for another team that's actually the perfect middle ground between the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy. From galactic threats to magic showdowns, Braddock has done it all and could be a huge part of Marvel Studios taking a bigger portion of the British box office. His ensemble could also be a great accompanying piece to Doctor Strange's mysticism.
5 THE MIDGARD SERPENT
It would be a travesty if "Thor: Ragnarok" doesn't use the Midgard Serpent, who usually symbolizes the Asgardian end of days. Fans are praying that when this creature appears, it won't be something that's glossed over like Fox's Galactus cloud or what Marvel Studios did with Dormammu. We already aren't getting Iron Man's Fin Fang Foom, so the Midgard Serpent needs to make up for this, a la Godzilla.
This monster from Hel could be the key plot driver of the Enchantress, or another assault on Earth from Loki; but when it does hit screens, it needs to be a major spectacle. Prophecy has it that even if he defeats the Serpent, Thor will die from its poison, so that could be another way of passing Mjolnir to someone else to wield, such as Jane Foster (the female Thor and a recent Avenger), or Beta Ray Bill. Either way, the Serpent will bring a huge wave of destruction like the Chitauri monster-vessels did in "The Avengers," and watching it hunger for the Nine Realms could be the injection the franchise needs.
4 BLUE MARVEL
Created by "Underworld" mastermind, Kevin Grevioux, Adam Brashear was a football player and ex-Marine Corps hero. His scientific genius, however, was right up there with Reed Richards and it was during his research on harnessing anti-matter that he became empowered thanks to an accident which also created his nemesis, Anti-Man. He boasts Superman-level powers, as well as molecular manipulation, enabling him to tussle with the likes of the Sentry and Hyperion. This power set has afforded him membership in high-profile teams like Luke Cage's "Mighty Avengers," and more recently, "The Ultimates."
Adding another powerful black hero to the MCU alongside Black Panther would be a great move, especially after Blue Marvel had to retire in the books because the '60s weren't accepting of his ethnicity. He'd pop back up later on in "Fear Itself," as well as "Secret Wars," where he chastised the Illuminati for not consulting the other heroes when it came to world-breaking decisions. He's a man who sticks to his code and moved from obscurity to a well-respected member of the current Marvel universe, and could be another big juggernaut to add to the MCU Avenger ranks.
3 DR. DOOM
Fans are still waiting to see Latveria's regal, emperor-aspiring version of Victor Von Doom on-screen. Fox failed to deliver in two "Fantastic Four" movies, as well as that Josh Trank reboot, which painted Doom as a petulant geek more than a supervillain. Given that Fox swapped Ego The Living Planet for Marvel Studios' Negasonic Teenage Warhead, we're hoping a bigger trade can be made, like what happened with Sony and Spider-Man. The MCU deserves one of Marvel's most prominent villains ever and the next Phase is the ideal ground to bring him into the fold.
There are too many events to list where Doom has been crucial. Modern fans can recall his vibranium war on Black Panther's Wakanda, his manipulation of Wanda after "House of M," his godhood in "Secret Wars," and now, his new role in taking over the Iron Man mantle. He's often tried to do good, but through nefarious means, which makes him as beloved as he is hated. Given that his roots are deeply embedded in magic as they are in science, Doom is the perfect foil for the new age of MCU heroes post-Thanos.
2 THE BEYONDER
The Beyonder is an all-powerful, reality-shaping villain, who was set free in the accident that energized Molecule Man. He'd go on to forge the "Secret Wars" events while having to deal with Doom, who lusted for his abilities. His recent interpretation as a nonchalant and child-like person, was due to a retcon that depicted him as an Inhuman-mutant hybrid, and a child locked away by the senior Beyonders (until the aforementioned accident freed him).
This may have diminished the reverence some fans had for him, but he was still seen as a major power to deal with. If the MCU can't have Reed Richards' son, Franklin, then hopefully we get this character. If Thanos splinters reality in "Infinity War" and the result is Battleworld, where heroes and villains engage each other in a multiversal battle until the death, there's no better person to oversee the fracas than the Beyonder. He loves his gladiator fights and if the MCU goes the "Secret Wars" route, where everyone's reset to an alternate world, then he could take the place of Emperor Doom from the comics.
The Atlantean ruler is another fan-favorite that we're begging for. His absence made it seem like there was a hole missing in the MCU. Recently, Namor got a major push in the comics, not just as part of the secretive Illuminati, but as part of the "Avengers vs. X-Men" event that saw the mutant bestowed with a portion of the Phoenix Force. His subsequent war on Wakanda and Black Panther was another key Marvel arc, as well as his death at the hands of Hyperion, which showed that the publisher weren't holding back on using him as an arrogant instrument of destruction and war.
Namor antagonizes and polarizes heroes and villains alike, but it's his charm, especially when it comes to ladies such as Emma Frost and Susan Storm, that makes us love him. He's the definition of an anti-hero who epitomizes what it is to walk that fine line on the darker, more aggressive side of things. DC may have already gotten the jump with "Aquaman," but Namor's connection to the Avengers universe makes him an indispensable asset, which outweighs his reputation as an uncontrollable liability.
Thoughts on our picks? Let us know in the comments which new faces you'd like to see in the MCU!