The MCU is packed with a ton of awesome characters -- there have been so many heroes that there’s an entire movie focused on the heroes fighting each other. The villains have become cultural icons as soon as they’ve graced the screen, with characters like Loki and Thanos being particular fan favorites. Unfortunately, the Marvel movies have misrepresented some of the characters in their film adaptations. These characters are either completely underused or completely redefined or redesigned to the point of being unrecognizable from their comic book counterparts. When pressured to make a movie that appeals to all audiences, of course there are going to be changes, but still, comic fans are passionate about their characters, and it doesn’t take much to step too far and leave the fans scratching their heads at what exactly they just saw.
The thing is, the MCU, for how expansive it is, is only scratching the surface of the catalog of characters that are available for film adaptation. There are literally decades of comic books available and tons of characters that have never been seen or referenced yet in any Marvel TV or film adaptation. Some of these characters have huge followings and deserve to have their own moment in the spotlight. We took a look at both sides of the coin, and chose ten characters from the MCU that simply don’t belong, and another ten characters from the comics that deserve to be included in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.
20 SHOULDN’T BE: ALDRITCH KILLIAN
In Iron Man 3, the big bad villain of the movie ends up being Aldritch Killian. Sporting a Chinese-dragon tattoo and the powers of the Extremis virus, Killian returns from Tony’s past to get revenge for having once been ditched at a New Year’s Eve party. Declaring himself to be the Mandarin, Killian ultimately gets taken down by Pepper Potts.
But honestly, he shouldn’t have been in the movie, let alone in the MCU. In the comics, Killian is a character who’s confined to a few pages only. His comic counterpart quickly kills himself after developing the Extremis virus. Honestly, had the actual Mandarin gotten his hands on the Extremis virus, the movie would have been better, and Killian wouldn’t have even been a character.
19 SHOULD BE: MS. MARVEL
Ms. Marvel is a comics character whose appearance hasn’t been referenced or teased in the MCU, and yet, the popularity of her character and the demand for diversity in films in this day and age make her future MCU status almost guaranteed. Since Captain Marvel is coming in 2019, and Ms. Marvel takes her name after her idol, it’s possible that we could see some tease of this character in the upcoming movie.
Kamala’s power set is one that the MCU hasn’t seen yet, and Ms. Marvel should absolutely be a part of the upcoming generation of new heroes in phase four of the MCU and beyond.
18 SHOULDN’T BE: AMADEUS CHO
Amadeus Cho is a fantastic comic character -- he is the Totally Awesome Hulk, a newer, more modern character who has gained a Hulk side. He’s one of the smarter characters in the comics, and has become intertwined in the universe as a whole.
Though the character appeared in Incredible Hulk, he was completely underused. He was given no lines and simply held pizza and nodded at Bruce Banner. Martin Starr, the actor who played the character, also isn’t Asian, and the character is, which makes it one more case of Marvel miscasting a minority role. Fortunately, the character wasn’t identified by name in the movie, so hopefully the MCU can smoothly recast the character and reintroduce him to the MCU in Phase Four.
17 SHOULD BE: THE MANDARIN
While the Iron Man 3 character Trevor Slattery looked like the Mandarin that fans were familiar with, he was ultimately just fodder for the movie’s twist.
The Marvel One-Shot Hail to the King tried to right this situation by stating outright that the Mandarin was a real character and that he was upset at the misuse of his name by Killian and Slattery. That the character was introduced as a red herring in Iron Man 3 just makes the fact that he hasn’t really appeared all the more painful -- especially because Ben Kingsley made a really great version of the character (well, you know, prior to the twist).
16 SHOULDN’T BE: BATROC THE LEAPER
Batroc the Leaper shows up in the very beginning of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, during Cap’s first mission of the movie. Cap fights Batroc, who uses a martial arts form that emphasizes jumping and kicking, and he gets taken out almost immediately. It turns out that Batroc was hired by Nick Fury so that he could get Black Widow in place to extract intel about the impending Hydra mutiny within S.H.I.E.L.D.’s ranks.
Still, the character is among Cap’s more ridiculous villains. While they grounded him for the movie and made his jumping abilities more realistic, he’s not a character that anyone was really hoping would show up in a movie in the first place.
15 SHOULD BE: BLADE
Blade was really the first successful Marvel movie back in the 1990s, even though most people hadn’t realized that the movie was based on a Marvel property. It’s hard to believe that a R-rated comic book movie wasn’t so unheard of at one point in time, but the series was dark, violent, and full of awesome action, led by the entertaining Wesley Snipes as the title character.
It’s time that the character be brought to the MCU. There are rumors that Sony may be developing a Morbius movie, focusing on Spider-Man’s vampire friend; further unity between Marvel and Sony would make such a movie a great place to introduce Blade, the vampire hunter.
14 SHOULDN’T BE: BARON ZEMO
Baron Zemo is a name that actually belongs to two different generations of villain, and both have been adversaries of Captain America in the comic books. Both have been among Cap’s greatest enemies, the elder being directly responsible for the explosion that led to Cap’s freezing and Bucky’s eventual path to becoming the Winter Soldier.
In Captain America: Civil War, Zemo is instead a former soldier from Sokovia who gets revenge on the Avengers by pitting them against each other through a series of manipulated events. That he’s not involved in Hydra like his comic counterparts makes the villain feel extremely disconnected from the source material. If you’re going to put one of Cap’s greatest nemeses in your movie, at least do it right.
13 SHOULD BE: AMERICA CHAVEZ
America Chavez comes from an alternate reality, and goes by the name Miss America. As the first openly LGBTQ Latin-American female superhero, she’s become something of an icon already. With a history of teaming up with a number of popular characters (including Ms. Marvel), America is a shoo-in for the next generation of MCU heroes.
She’s super strong, super fast, and can jump between dimensions and realities. With all the new layers of reality being introduced and explored in the Doctor Strange and Ant-Man movies, America could be just the character needed to make some sense of the MCU’s multiverse moving forward.
12 SHOULDN’T BE: DORMAMMU
Dormammu is one of the most powerful interdimensional beings in the Marvel multiverse. He is older than the known multiverse, as mythic as the forces that rule over it. As the leader of the dark dimension, he is essentially omnipotent within his own domain.
Which is why he should totally be in the MCU at some point, but just not yet. For a being that is so extremely powerful, Marvel used him way too quick. Unless they have him come back at some later point to get revenge, it seems that Marvel could have been better served by setting him up over time as Doctor Strange’s main villain behind the scenes, with villains like Kaecillius, Baron Mordo, and Mephisto showing up in earlier movies.
11 SHOULD BE: MEPHISTO
Mephisto is essentially the Marvel equivalent of the Devil. As such, he’s obviously quite evil, and therefore ends up being responsible for some of the worst acts in the Marvel Comics Universe. He’s faced off against many heroes and villains over the years, including the Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom, Doctor Strange, and Ghost Rider.
He would function well as a villain for Doctor Strange to encounter in an upcoming movie. Fans of the Doctor might recall a storyline in which he and Doctor Doom travel to Hell to reclaim Doom’s mother’s soul. While Doom hasn’t been introduced to the MCU yet, another popular villain’s mother is also gone. Perhaps they could use Loki instead of Doctor Doom for the movie.
10 SHOULDN’T BE: VULTURE
Vulture is the villain of Spider-Man: Homecoming. To be honest, he’s one of the better villains in the MCU, but that’s because of Michael Keaton’s acting, not because the villain is a worthy opponent to Peter Parker. That’s why the MCU’s version is so different from his comic book counterpart.
In the comics, Vulture is an elderly scientist who develops a suit that allows him to fly, and a serum that allows him to de-age. In the movie, Vulture is a middle-aged father who is running an illegal alien tech business. The only similarity between the two is the flying suit -- and even that looks different. If your character needs to be redesigned from the ground up, you probably shouldn’t use him.
9 SHOULD BE: WONDER MAN
With Captain Marvel joining the MCU in February, fans expect that Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man, won’t be too far behind. After all, the two characters shared a romance in the comics while Captain Marvel was the leader of the Avengers.
It would make a lot of sense to see the character very soon -- perhaps even in Captain Marvel or Avengers 4. He can fly, has super strength, has heat vision, and even teleportation -- basically, he’s Superman, and then some. His powers could give the MCU’s heroes the edge they need to fix the universe and revive those that were lost in the snap.
8 SHOULDN’T BE: MALEKITH
Malekith is a pretty decent villain in the comics, but is far from being one of Thor’s most memorable or most dangerous opponents. Fans of Thor wouldn’t often choose Malekith as a favorite villain, and yet, he was chosen to be the main antagonist of Thor: The Dark World. The villain was underdeveloped and the conflict felt like a flimsy reason to introduce the next Infinity Stone.
It’s possible that the movie would have been horrible anyway, but Thor has plenty of other villains who could have been used. The Wrecking Crew is one group that fans have been hoping to see in the movies, and the movie would have been a lot more enjoyable with them instead of Malekith, the Dark Elf.
7 SHOULD BE: NOVA
Fans have been clamoring for Nova to join the MCU for years. When the planet Xandar was featured in Guardians of the Galaxy, many expected that Nova would appear, but he was nowhere to be found. Given that Xandar was destroyed offscreen prior to the events of Avengers: Infinity War, there is plenty of opportunity to show exactly what happened and how one final member of the Nova Corps survived.
This could be part of Avengers 4, but it seems more likely the character will make a cameo somewhere and then have a solo movie explore his history in more detail.
6 SHOULDN’T BE: WHIPLASH
Iron Man 2 featured Whiplash, but the villain bore little resemblance to the comic book source material. The movie version of the character was something of an amalgamation of Crimson Dynamo and Whiplash, rather than being a faithful adaptation of either of the characters.
Honestly, Whiplash isn’t that great of a villain in the first place. The only reason they combined him with Crimson Dynamo for the movie is so that we weren’t forced to watch Iron Man fight a copy of himself- Whiplash’s whips were something new. But Iron Man has plenty of other, better villains, so there was no need for Marvel to choose Whiplash in the first place.
5 SHOULD BE: RED HULK
Of course, General Ross is in the MCU already. He first appeared in Incredible Hulk and then showed back up years later in Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. But in the comics, Ross eventually intakes some Hulk-serum of his own and emerges as the Red Hulk.
He leads a team of supervillains-turned-heroes (think Suicide Squad) known as the Thunderbolts for some time, and proves to be a pretty powerful adversary to the Hulk. A Thunderbolts movie would be awesome, and a final showdown between Ross and Banner’s stronger alter egos would be epic indeed. Fingers crossed they both stay in the MCU long enough for this to play out.
4 SHOULDN’T BE: BARON VON STRUCKER
Baron Von Strucker is another of Captain America’s underused villains. He’s a leader of Hydra in the comics, and therefore a major antagonist to the Sentinel of Liberty. He’s popped up time and again with scheme after scheme, always a thorn in the side of freedom and the American way.
Apparently in between The Avengersand Avengers: Age of Ultron, the team has been finding Hydra bases and shutting them down, but we only see their last battle in the effort to end Hydra at the beginning of Age of Ultron. Strucker, therefore, is only seen in a post-credits scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the very beginning of Age of Ultron. He's written off away from the screen -- another completely underdeveloped MCU villain.
3 SHOULD BE: MILES MORALES
This is another character that is sort of in the MCU, but hasn’t really shown up yet. Miles Morales was referenced in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and he has an upcoming animated movie that looks like it’ll be pretty awesome, but there’s no word yet of Miles showing up in a live-action movie.
Honestly, anyone who has played through the Playstation 4 Spider-Man game knows that it’s possible to set up the character organically without focusing on the character specifically. The MCU could easily introduce the character and develop a movie for him down the line. Miles Morales is a fan favorite, and if they weren’t thinking of making a movie featuring him, they ought to start.
2 SHOULDN’T BE: THE PROWLER
The internet loves Donald Glover, perhaps the most beloved role of his among comic fans was on the Ultimate Spider-ManTV series. On the show, he is the voice of Miles Morales, who is a fan favorite character, and one who has yet to be seen within the MCU.
In a nod to this role, Donald Glover was cast in a role for Spider-Man: Homecoming. In the movie, he is trying to buy some alien weapons. He references his nephew, and fans pieced together that the character he was playing was a Spider-Man character called the Prowler. Unless they actually develop the character in the future, though, this cameo is nothing but disappointing. It would be unfortunate if this casting didn’t pay off.
1 SHOULD BE: MOON KNIGHT
Another fan favorite character, Moon Knight is one that carries with him seemingly limitless possibilities. In addition to basically being the closest thing that Marvel has to Batman, Moon Knight also has so many identities and personalities that a skilled writer could have a blast developing a movie for him.
Fans have actually been hoping for a Netflix series -- the grittier, darker, more violent nature of the Netflix corner of the MCU seems to be a better fit for Moon Knight than that more family-friendly films that hit the big screen. Let’s hope something works out and that fans get what they want!