www.cbr.com

The Next Big Things: 20 D-List Marvel Characters We Hope The MCU Turns Into Household Names

Shang-Chi: Master of Kung-Fu is now set to get his own movie set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel is planning on bringing in an Asian filmmaker to direct and it will be written by David Callaham, himself of Chinese descent. This is set to be one of Marvel’s next big tentpole features and it stars a character even more obscure than Iron Fist, another Asian-themed hero. Shang-Chi is an interesting character, but one that was not as well known as Spider-Man, Hulk, or Wolverine, so he's an interesting choice..

The MCU has become an unstoppable juggernaut. By producing such a fantastic array of movies, Marvel has earned audience trust. Marvel should use this audience trust to experiment with some of the more interesting D-List characters it has in their vast roster. If it can turn a radically obscure team like the Guardians of the Galaxy into A-List characters in high demand, it can do it with anything or anyone. There are so many vague characters in the Marvel roster that, with a proper updating and role, can flourish in the rapidly expanding MCU. Characters like Stilt-Man, Tyr, Attuma, and Black Knight all have the potential to offer us a bunch of new and interesting characters that can carve out their own roles in the MCU. Even if a character doesn’t feature heavily in the comics, he/she can still shine in the MCU or even headline his/her own series. Let’s discuss these characters in 20 D-List Characters We Hope The MCU Makes Into A-Listers.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

20 MOON KNIGHT

Moon Knight has found himself on many lists like this and he will continue to be placed on them until he’s given a movie. Moon Knight is also known as Marc Spector, a Marine with exceptional martial arts skills. After receiving a vision from the Egyptian god Khonshu on his deathbed, he gains enhanced attributes and decides to fights crime.

Moon Knight could be a great movie with a mid-range budget and a more visceral feel. In addition, Spector’s mental illness offers some meaty material to discuss with audiences and allow them to question what’s actually happening. This role would also show off the acting range of whoever ends up portraying Spector. There are so many reasons why this would work extremely well.

19 BLASTAAR

Blastaar is a tyrant originating from the Negative Zone. He’s fierce enemies with the other famous Negative Zone inhabitant: Annihilus, and spends much of his time in a competition with him to see who can conquer more. Over the years, he’s had some pretty legendary battles with Annihilus, the Fantastic Four, and the Avengers.

A Negative Zone being that’s just as strong if not stronger than the more famous monster in there. He could be used to provide a deeper look into the Negative Zone ecosystem or he could be one of Annihilus’s generals. There are many ways Blastaar could be used in the MCU and we’d love to see those ways explored.

18 REVEREND ACHEBE

Black Panther doesn’t have an expansive rogues gallery. Klaw is a well known antagonist to T’Challa and Wakanda, and after 2018’s Black Panther movie, Erik Killmonger is far more relevant than ever. But after that he shares most of his antagonists with other people: Namor, Doctor Doom, and Mephisto. This is why Reverend Achebe was a welcome addition to the Black Panther mythos.

Achebe is a joker-like revolutionary who took over Wakanda with his cunning and a deal with Mephisto. He has a very tragic backstory that sees him make a deal with Mephisto to save his life and then raze a village for the demon. This would be a very interesting character to introduce the more metaphysical aspects of Black Panther lore.

17 STILT-MAN

Though he may be considered primarily a joke character, Stilt-Man is practical enough that Marvel could make him a more serious character if they wanted. They’ve already done this once with Batroc the Leaper. They turned him from a joke character who can jump high to a dangerous Algerian pirate.

Wilbur Day is a skilled mechanic and inventor, and the Stilt-Man armor can be dangerous -- with the right redesign it doesn’t have to be silly. Maybe Day will be the B-villain to a more dangerous villain or maybe he’ll be a gag villain. Either way, Stilt-Man offers the opportunity for a good character.

16 BALDER

Thor Balder Loki cover header

There’s never enough Asgardians in the MCU. As a different race than humans that grew up in a whole different culture, they have great potential as colorful characters. We haven’t seen enough Asgardians from the comics, as there are a plethora to play with. Balder is Thor’s half-brother and catalyst of Ragnarok.

Balder is a very interesting character and a key cog in Asgard. The revelation that he was Thor’s half-brother served as an important plot point for a while. He’s been king of Asgard. He even escaped Hel by defeating every soul he’d ever taken in a battle that lasted until his hair turned white. Balder gives the MCU another great Asgardian to work with.

15 TYR

Another complicated Asgardian, Tyr is a character with issues that led to him betraying Asgard several times. That fact alone is more than enough to make him an interesting secondary villain in a standalone Thor movie. But there’s even more to Tyr that has made him stand out over other lesser known Asgardians.

Tyr is the one-handed Asgardian god of War who absolutely craves battle. His blind love for battle was what led to him betraying Asgard more than once. But his heart is still pure and he always returns to the side of good. Tyr is also another one of Odin’s children and he has shown contempt for Thor after he usurped his title of Asgard’s greatest warrior.

14 THROG

This is the direction that the MCU is heading. People have seen nearly everything before, but we guarantee you that the vast majority of audiences have not seen a frog version of Thor. However, Throg doesn’t have to just be a joke character.

Not only is Throg a sentient frog from Central Park whose people get into turf wars with rats all day, he also was worthy of wielding a tiny, adorable version of Mjolnir after finding a sliver of the enchanted armor. Not only that, but he was virtuous enough to dedicate himself to protecting his people from the rats -- Throg is a hero. Exploring what makes him tick and the society he lives in can be both compelling and so much fun.

13 ATTUMA

Fans have been wondering for a long time: where are the Atlanteans? An easter egg in Iron Man 2 hinted at the existence of Atlantis, so why hasn’t Namor and the rest of his kingdom been introduced? Well if that ever does happen, Attuma would be a great choice for his first foe.

Attuma is more of a raw force villain than anything else. But this would give audiences time to connect more with Namor. But Attuma himself is extremely powerful and has allied with Doctor Doom and successfully taken the throne from Namor. Attuma would be the perfect foil to mitigate Namor’s prickly personality.

12 DETROIT STEEL

A newer concept, Detroit Steel is what you would get if you fused a Gundam and an Iron Man suit. Created by Hammer Industries, the massive battle mech requires surgical modifications to operate but is able to easily square up with Iron Man in his Bleeding Edge armor. The Detroit Steel mech can be outfitted with a wide array of weaponry and also a specialized chainsaw that can cut through Iron Man’s Bleeding Edge armor.

This would be an incredibly cool thing to introduce into the MCU. And with the fantastic design department at Marvel Studios, there’s no doubt they would come up with something awesome.

11 MOONDRAGON

Moondragon has a backstory similar to Star-Lord’s, except she applied herself far more than he has and she has a strong link to Thanos. Heather Douglas lived a normal life until Thanos crash landed near her family during a road trip and dispatched with her parents to eliminate witnesses. She was then taken to Titan by Thanos’s father and trained herself to the absolute limit than a human can achieve.

After training with Titanian monks, Moondragon possesses very powerful psionic abilities but is also a genius and master martial artist. Moondragon would allow MCU audiences a glimpse into what Titan used to be and what humans could be with the proper training.

10 TASKMASTER

Taskmaster has one of the most interesting power sets in the Marvel Universe and that makes him one of the most powerful opponents in their world. Taskmaster has the ability to perfectly replicate someone’s fighting style and remember it forever. This ability isn’t limited to just the hand-to-hand aspect either. By simply watching Captain America, Hawkeye, the Punisher, and Silver Samurai, Taskmaster was able to master the art of wielding a shield, a bow and arrow, firearms, and a sword respectively.

Taskmaster could be an integral commander of a brutally effective Thunderbolts team or a personal threat to show off incredible martial arts and stunt choreography. Taskmaster would offer the MCU an incredibly unique and deadly threat.

9 BEN REILLY

3-Ben Reilly Scarlet Spider

Before anybody clicks away, hear us out. Ben Reilly is the first clone of Spider-Man introduced in the 1975 "Clone Saga" (the one that everyone actually liked). After the clone’s supposed “death” in that storyline, he adopted the name Ben Reilly and returned to NYC under the guise of the Scarlet Spider.

The MCU doesn’t necessarily have to adapt the entire clone saga, just enough to justify the existence of another Spider-Man. From there, they can make Reilly act whichever way is most convenient. And due to his since he’s been both an ally and antagonist in the past, it’d be very easy and believable for him to turn from good to bad or bad to good.

8 BLUE MARVEL

An immensely powerful, immensely intelligent black superhero is always a welcome addition to any comic book franchise. Many people don’t know about Blue Marvel, but he’s easily one of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel Universe. Former Cornell University fullback and United States Marine Corps legend Adam Brashear was performing an experiment as the project lead on an effort to harness antimatter when a malfunction turned him into a stable antimatter reactor and ultra powerful superhero.

There’s so much that can be done with this concept. If you want to see a Superman analogue then you have one. If you want to comment on civil rights, that’s a big part of Brashear’s life. If you want pure action, he’s immensely powerful and cinematic.

7 BLACK KNIGHT

black-knight

There have been several iterations of the Black Knight in the Marvel Universe. And though he might be a weird addition to the MCU, he’d be an addition that’s sure to diversify the type of characters and powersets audiences experience. Just imagine the sight gags possible at his expense.

What better way to shake up the new MCU than to have a tale set in medieval times that follows a knight who battles an evil relative of King Arthur with an enchanted blade? Or if you don’t want to pursue the historical aspect, there have been several Black Knights in modern Marvel continuity; you can choose any one of them to mold into a useful character with an interesting gimmick.

6 KATE BISHOP

Hawkeye Kate Bishop

The stylized nature of archery means that it probably will be in comics for the foreseeable future. But it should be embraced and Kate Bishop would be a great addition to the MCU.

This is an easy way to continue to have a Hawkeye on the Avengers while still changing things up and giving us a new personality. Or if you don’t want her on the Avengers, a solo series would be a great way to explore her character. Bishop is a tough, self-made girl. She learned to fight so that she wouldn’t be assaulted. She followed the Young Avengers after an encounter with them and invited herself to the team -- that’s a very unique way to join a superhero team.

5 SPEEDBALL

Not only does Speedball have an interesting set of powers, but he also has a deeply troubled history in the Marvel Universe. Speedball, or Robbie Baldwin, is a young hero who gained the ability to manifest fields of unknown energy with massive kinetic and reflective potential.

Robbie’s powers allow him to reflect anything; his primary method of combat is running into objects so he can reflect himself into his enemies. That is way different than what we usually see and could be so much fun to see on the big screen. Also, he carries a massive guilt after 612 people perish during a battle between a group of supervillains and his team during the "Civil War" comic storyline. He’s really an interesting character.

4 RED GHOST

Red Ghost is a Fantastic Four analogue that ended up becoming a recurring villain for the Fantastic Four. He wanted to visit the same cosmic storm that the Fantastic Four were going to. To that end, he trained three primates to be his crew as he built his own rocket and launched to the cosmic storm where he gained the abilities of intangibility and invisibility. Meanwhile, the primates each gained their own special power.

A Soviet Era genius with three super primates is exactly the kind of insane concept that the MCU seems to embrace now. The bonkers characters don’t have to be reserved for the Cosmic MCU. The world is big enough and diverse enough that crazy things can happen on Earth as well.

3 STATURE

Lang Stature

MCU fans may remember Cassie as Scott Lang’s (aka Ant-Man’s) charming young daughter. In the comics, Cassie actually develops into a hero in her own right called Stature. Due to her father’s Pym Particles affecting her over time, she gained the ability to grow and shrink on her own. She soon became a staple member of the Young Avengers.

Abby Ryder Fortson who portrays Cassie Lang is one of the most charming child actors we’ve seen in quite some time. With Fortson’s portrayal, Cassie is smart, likeable, genuinely funny, and loyal to her well-meaning father. Her character deserves to be developed into the young superhero that her comic book counterpart is.

2 GUARDIAN

He’s gone by many other names, but James Hudson is a proud superhero from Canada. Hudson has been known as Guardian, Weapon Alpha, and Vindicator. Hudson goes into battle with a self-designed battlesuit emblazoned with a truly Canadian maple leaf.

With a hero on the roster literally named Captain America, diversity in the nationality of our heroes are welcome. James Hudson, aka Guardian, is the leader and founder of Alpha Flight which would go on to be Canada’s premiere superhero team for many years. A series about him recruiting Alpha Flight would be incredibly unique and potentially hilarious.

1 CAPTAIN UNIVERSE

Spider Man Cosmic Captain Universe

With Marvel expanding into the cosmic side of things, there’s no doubt that many more ethereal concepts and characters will be introduced into the MCU. An Eternals movie has already been greenlit and beings such as Eternity and the Living Tribunal have already been hinted at. Captain Universe would be an unexpected but really fitting character to bridge our heroes and those ethereal constructs.

Captain Universe is supposed to be the protector of Eternity and isn’t actually a person; it’s an extradimensional force that possesses a deserving being in times of crisis. The wielder gains a vast increase in power and the force can even possess superpowered beings, augmenting their abilities too.

Next 9 Reasons The Silencer Has To Survive DC's Purge Of The New Age Of DC Heroes

More in Lists