The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been around for ten years (side note: does this make you feel old too?) and in those ten years Disney and Marvel Studios have forever changed the superhero genre and the cinematic landscape. The unstoppable Marvel machine has pumped out a total of 20 movies, all of which were mostly positively received and grossed large sums of money. But Marvel isn’t only making some of the top-grossing blockbusters of today, it’s also producing excellent television series. Over the years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has introduced a myriad of characters in both movies and TV shows, and some of its heroes and villains — main and supporting, comic book and original — have been either exceptional or entirely forgettable.
Obviously, not all characters are made equal and over the years some of the many MCU characters faded away. Their storylines were abandoned, or the actors couldn’t return for another movie, or their shows were cancelled, or Marvel just forgot they existed. For whatever reason, a number of characters have vanished from the MCU without much explanation as to why they’re suddenly nowhere to be found. They’re just gone and we’re supposed to go with it. Some of the characters who went AWOL are dearly missed and others… well, others we’re hoping never make their way back. But, no matter how we may feel about each and every of these abandoned and neglected characters, the MCU seems to have given up on them indefinitely. So, here are the 19 Characters The MCU Let Fade (And 1 We’re Glad Left).
Remember The Incredible Hulk? It was the second movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, yet funnily enough, it’s often overlooked. The movie introduced us to Bruce Banner, Betty Ross, Thaddeus Ross and Emil Blonsky.
Blonsky, also known as Abomination, was the main villain of the movie and he’s presumed to be alive and still lurking somewhere in the MCU. However, Marvel Studios seem to have given up on Hulk’s nemesis, as he hasn’t shown up anywhere in ten years. It would be fun to see the Hulk throw down with Abomination again, so we’re hoping Marvel brings the other big guy back.
19. JANE FOSTER
Is Jane Foster permanently gone from the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Is Natalie Portman done with Marvel? Well, nothing is certain yet. Jane’s absence in Thor: Ragnarok, her breakup with the Asgardian and Portman’s statements seem to suggest we’ve seen the last of Jane Foster.
However, according to Marvel Studios, they haven’t yet given up on Dr. Foster just yet. Anthony and Joe Russo made some comments that might suggest Jane’s return, but it could just be a way to throw us off the track. Jane was last seen in Thor: The Dark World and it remains to be seen if she’ll be completely abandoned in the future.
18. “THE MANDARIN”
The plot twist in Iron Man 3 didn’t sit right with everyone… well actually, everything surrounding the Mandarin is a highly polarizing topic. Ben Kingsley’s character Trevor Slattery is either celebrated or denounced by the fans.
Last time we saw him was in the Marvel one-shot All Hail the King, which follows a documentary filmmaker who’s made a deal with the now-iconic Trevor Slattery to make an in-depth profile documentary. If you skipped this one-shot, then Slattery being taken to prison is your last memory of the fake Mandarin. In any case, odds are we won’t be seeing Trevor Slattery ever again — for better or for worse.
17. HOWARD THE DUCK
Howard the Duck made his MCU debut in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. The anthropomorphic duck formerly resided in Taneleer Tivan’s museum on Knowhere. At first, he was in a cage, but in the post-credits scene we see Howard’s been let loose.
Howard the Duck made his second appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as yet another easter egg, but by the looks of it, Marvel Studios doesn’t have big plans for Howard the Duck. Most likely, he’ll either be an easter egg in the third Guardians movie and then he’ll just fade away entirely.
16. BOBBI MORSE
Bobbi Morse, known in the comics as Mockingbird, made her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and she was supposed to have a more prominent role in Marvel’s Most Wanted, a series centered around Bobbi and her ex-husband Lance Hunter.
Unfortunately, ABC decided not to pick up the Marvel’s Most Wanted pilot and as things stand now all plans for the show have been abandoned. Bobbi Morse was last seen in season three episode “Parting Shot” after which she was supposed to move on to Most Wanted. Here’s hoping Jed Whedon brings Bobbi back at least for the last season.
15. LADY SIF
According to Avengers: Infinity War directors Anthony and Joe Russo, Lady Sif was among the many casualties of Thanos’ universe-balancing snap. The confirmation of Lady Sif’s dusting left us heartbroken as we were still holding out hope for her eventual return.
Jaimie Alexander couldn’t swing by in Thor: Ragnarok due to scheduling conflicts with her show Blindspot, so last time we saw of her was in the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. While we may have hoped for her return at least on the small screen, it’s safe to assume that the MCU is done with Lady Sif.
14. AGENT CARTER
Agent Peggy Carter made her MCU debut in Captain America: The First Avenger and instantly became a fan-favorite. Hayley Atwell then got her own one-shot in a TV series titled Agent Carter. The ABC series was sadly cancelled after only two seasons. Since then, Agent Carter had a few cameos in the movies, but her story in the ’40s will probably remain unfinished.
13. JUSTIN HAMMER
Justin Hammer was one of the villains of Iron Man 2. Portrayed by Sam Rockwell, Hammer was the CEO of Hammer Industries, a rival of Stark Industries. Hammer first attempted to damage Stark’s public image and when that didn’t work he hired Ivan Vanko to replicate Stark’s arc reactor.
Hammer’s plans once again failed and he was taken to Seagate Prison. In the Marvel one-shot All Hail the King, Hammer was seen complaining to his boyfriend about Trevor Slattery getting more attention than him. This appearance was played as a gag more than actual plot development and Hammer hasn’t been seen since. It’s safe to assume, he’s not coming back.
Unlike most other characters on this list, Mike Peterson, aka Deathlok, hasn’t been completely phased out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, when the character was first introduced, it seemed as if the writers on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wanted him to play a more prominent role in seasons to come.
It’s possible that the lack of positive reactions from fans of the show led the creators to drop Deathlok. The half-human, half-cyborg pops up from time to time, like in the season five finale, but his story has been mostly abandoned. Perhaps once they come up with a better costume, Deathlok will return in all his glory.
11. ERIK SELVIG
Erik Selvig is an original character created for the purposes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, who made his debut in Thor. The Professor of Theoretical Astrophysics was a colleague of Jane Foster and later became a consultant for S.H.I.E.L.D.
Last time Erik Selvig was seen in the MCU was in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Due to his knowledge of Asgard and scientific expertise, Selvig was recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. and given his own team of scientists to assist the Avengers in keeping the world safe. Considering the mayhem Thanos caused, he’s not doing the best job or the MCU just forgot he existed.
Cosmo first popped up as one of the exhibits in the Collector’s Museum at Knowhere in Guardians of the Galaxy. In the post-credits scene, Cosmo is shown again, only this time he’s out of his cage and seemingly comforting the distraught Taneleer Tivan.
In the comics, the telekinetic dog Cosmo becomes the Chief of Security at Knowhere, so when we saw Cosmo out of his cage we were hoping that in the future he would assume that position in the MCU as well. Unfortunately, Cosmo hasn’t been seen again and the MCU seems to have given up on him.
9. ADVANCED IDEA MECHANICS (A.I.M.)
So far, the two organizations that have been at the center of the MCU are S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA. Roxxon was referenced a number of times and it’s only now coming into spotlight with Freeform’s Cloak & Dagger.
However, there’s one other huge Marvel Comics company that was teased in Iron Man 3 but hasn’t made an impact yet. Advanced Idea Mechanics, A.I.M. for short, is the company owned by Aldrich Killian. In the comics, A.I.M. is the evil corporation historically associated with HYDRA. And now that HYDRA is gone, it seems like the perfect time to get A.I.M. more involved. Sadly, this storyline has been stagnant for years.
Donnie Gill, nicknamed Blizzard, was a student at the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy of Science and Technology who was brainwashed into working for HYDRA after developing the ability to instantly freeze any item around him.
Last time we saw Blizzard was in the season two episode “Making Friends and Influencing People” in which he was supposedly shot down by Skye, causing his body to start freezing itself as he sunk further down into the ocean. Donnie’s body was never recovered and his status remains unknown. Theoretically, he could still come back, however, as of now the show seems to have no plans to bring him back.
7. BETTY ROSS
Bruce Banner’s love interest from The Incredible Hulk, Betty Ross, has evaporated from the MCU. Not only has she not appeared ever since the Edward Norton Hulk movie, she hasn’t even been mentioned by Bruce or anyone else.
The closest we have to a confirmation she even exists in the MCU is Tony dubbing the Hulkbuster Veronica, a nod to Archie Comics’ Betty and Veronica. It’s safe to assume, Bruce and Betty are no longer together since he’s pursuing a relationship with Natasha. It’s also a safe guess that the MCU has left Betty Ross behind with no intention to ever bring her back.
6. LANCE HUNTER
Lance Hunter and Bobbi Morse left Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in season three with plans to get their own show on ABC titled Marvel’s Most Wanted. Unfortunately, the pilot didn’t get picked up and Hunter and Bobbi found themselves out of the loop.
Hunter returned in season five to help Fitz break out of prison and find out what happened to Coulson and the rest of the team. After helping Fitz go to cryo sleep, Hunter once again vanished from the show. Given that both Bobbi and Hunter were given a send-off, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. can’t very well just bring them back — as much as we’d like them to come back.
5. DARCY LEWIS
The reasoning behind the inclusion of the original character Darcy Lewis is somewhat baffling. Darcy’s only purpose seems to be to fill out the role of the quirky scientist, which begs the question why wasn’t this task simply given to Jane Foster? After all, Jane could have used more screen time. She’s a scientist and she was just the right amount of quirky, so why did we need Darcy?
4. AGENT BLAKE
Felix Blake is the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Nick Fury tasked with finding the Item 47 in the Marvel one-shot of the same name. Agent Blake also made a number of appearances on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., where he unknowingly became HYDRA’s pawn.
Last time we saw Agent Blake was in the season three episode “Watchdogs”. The Watchdogs are a radical group that aims to eliminate the Inhumans and it was founded by Felix Blake. The group is still active and Blake is still alive, but he hasn’t popped up in a long time. Hopefully, Marvel hasn’t forgotten about him or his evil organization.
3. SAMUEL STERNS
So pretty much every character from The Incredible Hulk, aside from the big green guy himself, has been abandoned by the MCU. Samuel Sterns, known in the comics as the Leader, showed up to help Bruce find a cure for his hulking out issue.
Sterns ended up with Bruce Banner’s gamma irradiated blood in his system, prompting him to transform as well. Though we never saw the results of his mutation, we know it’s what turns him into the villain, Leader. Unfortunately, it is safe to say that this legendary bad guy won’t pop up in the MCU ever again.
2. DAMAGE CONTROL
In 2015, ABC announced plans for a Damage Control TV series, which would be based on the Marvel Universe construction company of the same name, tasked with cleaning up the mess superheroes leave behind. The company was name dropped in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and played an important role in Spider-Man: Homecoming, so fans assumed the plans for the comedy series were still ongoing.
Sadly, talks of the Damage Control series are pretty much non-existent at this point, which leads us to believe that Marvel Studios gave up on the idea altogether and Damage Control will continue operating in the background.
1. GLAD THEY’RE GONE: THE INHUMANS
It really does say a lot when the one Inhumans character that could possibly get a pass is a giant teleporting dog. The Inhumans series was a huge mistake but the writings were on the wall way before the show aired, so we were not surprised.
The expensive IMAX series was one big snafu, so when Marvel decided to pull the plug after only one season there wasn’t much turmoil form the fans. However, a petition was started to give The Inhumans a second chance, but evidently their efforts didn’t bear fruit. Considering how badly the show was received, it’s unlikely to say the least that the MCU will ever bring these characters back.
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