The Marvel Cinematic Universe is without a doubt the most successful exercise in world building attempted by Hollywood to date. Sure, there's a lot to love about the DCEU/Worlds Of DC. Heck, there are probably a lot of people out there still hoping that Universal's Dark Universe will work out some day. And Sony's Universe Of Marvel Characters will no doubt give us a lot to look forward to... or at least Venom. But what is it that keeps us coming back to the MCU after 10 years and 20 films?
Is it the way in which the films of the MCU keep outdoing themselves in terms of action, effects and visual spectacle? Is it the sheer human drama hiding behind the gaudy costumes and ostentatious visual effects that continues to hook and engage us? Or perhaps it's the way the Marvel movies and TV shows have an uncanny ability to take everything great about the characters on the page and amplify it through great writing, casting and performance. Not only has the MCU given us a plethora of heroes and villains to fall in love with, it's also given us a world of supporting characters. Men and women who've enriched the universe and provided perfect foils for their respected heroes. Join us as we take a tour of some of these unsung supporting heroes that deserve more screen time, those we've seen enough of and one who we hope was turned to dust by Thanos' fatal finger snap purge...
20 MORE OF: PEGGY CARTER
Sure, Peggy Carter may have breathed her last off camera in Captain America: Civil War. Sure, her own show on ABC was cancelled after just two seasons. But Hayley Atwell's winsome performance was so adored by fans that nobody would complain if she were to make future appearances in the MCU.
Even if her show never returns (which would be a shame considering what the writers told Den Of Geek they had in mind for season 3), there are plenty of ways Peggy can be brought back into the fold. As a founding member of S.H.I.E.L.D. she could easily work her way into any number of flashback scenes in future films.
19 NO MORE: BETTY ROSS
This may not be a terribly popular opinion, but Liv Tyler is vastly underrated as an actress. Moreover, her lilting soft spoken voice, big blue eyes and kindly persona make her a perfect choice for the role of Betty Ross. Who better to salve The Incredible Hulk's unquenchable rage? But while we have a great deal of affection for both character and actress, we're not sure she should come back.
Too much time has passed and Bruce Banner's heart now belongs (we hope) to Natasha Romanoff. At the very least, we'd like to see a proper resolution to the romance that was hinted at in Avengers: Age Of Ultron before Betty was brought back into the fold.
18 MORE OF: NAKIA
While Okoye may have earned our love and respect for her battle prowess and unabashed awesomeness in both Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, we feel that Nakia has the most ongoing story potential. Her complicated romance with the new King T'Challa is just begging to be further explored on-screen and the chemistry Lupita Nyong'o shares with Chadwick Boseman merits further screen time.
Moreover, in an age where studios are finally aware that audiences can't get enough smart, empowered and compelling female characters, Nakia is a prospect that warrants further exploration. She's a warrior and a diplomat who's defined by an irrefutable love and compassion. Yup, she's pretty much the MCU's Wonder Woman!
17 NO MORE: JANE FOSTER
Natalie Portman is a great actress... when committed to the material. Her career of highs and lows shows that in the eyes of some actors there are some jobs you do for the love and others you do for the paycheck. For every Leon: The Professional there's a Phantom Menace. For every Black Swan there's a Thor: The Dark World.
In all fairness, Ms Portman has been quite open about her lack of a desire to return to the MCU. While Thor and Jane shared some cute moments in the original Thor, its sequel proved just how frustrating it can be when Thor's exploits are constrained to Midgard. Let's keep Thor in space where he belongs and wish Dr. Foster the best in her career.
16 MORE OF: SHURI
Whip smart, full of heart and brimming with potential for future storylines, we hope that Shuri has a long and storied history in the MCU. Actress Letitia Wright brought not only outstanding screen presence and comic timing to the role, but a sense of compassion, heart and boundless intelligence that will be invaluable in dealing with the aftermath of Avengers: Infinity War.
Whether she eventually dons the Iron Heart armor as many fans have speculated or whether she simply remains in her civilian identity. Whether she remains with her people in Wakanda or takes her talents to the world stage as a Young Avenger there are so many places Shuri can be taken in future stories.
15 NO MORE: HARLEY KEENER
There was a lot about Iron Man 3 that divided the fan base. Some complained that the film's tone was inconsistent with previous entries. Others claimed that it was a decent enough Shane Black film but a poor Iron Man film. A great many were perplexed by the infamous Mandarin twist and opinions were split on Ty Simpkin's Harley Keener.
While the young actor did an admirable job and his chemistry with Robert Downey Jr. was pretty good, we can't help hoping that the rumors of Harley's return in Avengers 4 are false. Even if you liked the character it's hard to imagine what meaningful part he can hope to play in the ongoing saga of the MCU.
14 MORE OF: FOGGY NELSON
The role of Foggy Nelson is a potentially thankless task which would bury a lesser actor. The character's unassuming nature makes it easy for him to fade into the background. Fortunately, Elden Henson gives Foggy the charm, emotional range and unwavering moral constitution that the character deserves.
Foggy is the quintessential supporting character. He'll never pull on a mask and start kicking butts in dark alleys but he's an invaluable part of the Daredevil mythology. Without his sage moral (and legal) counsel, Matt Murdock's world would have fallen apart years ago. We need lots and lots more of this actor playing this character.
13 NO MORE: THE MEACHUMS
Iron Fist had all the makings of a great show. Unfortunately its rushed and troubled production schedule is painfully evident in each and every episode. A meandering plot, uneven pacing and the presence of way too many filler episodes plagued the show's first season. The rushed schedule and lack of time to give Finn Jones proper fight training even robbed the show of what should have been its USP -- imaginative fight choreography.
While the Meachums might not be among the show's most egregious offenses, they're still a presence we could frankly do without. And if Ward and Joy Meachum must play a role in the ongoing Iron Fist sage, at least put them in some scenes that take place anywhere except in a boardroom.
12 MORE OF: JUSTIN HAMMER
Justin Hammer's appearance in Iron Man 2 showed us that a great actor can elevate even the most pedestrian of parts. As a poor man's Tony Stark, Justin Hammer has absolutely no right to be as compelling as he was... but darn it if Sam Rockwell didn't make us fall in love with this insufferable slimeball.
Rockwell's charm shines through the veneer of sleaze inherent in the character. While we can't take our eyes off him when he's on screen we have no doubt whatsoever that this is not the guy to root for. He's the definition of a character we love to hate. It would be a real shame if he were never again to befoul the MCU with his spray tanned presence.
11 NO MORE: KRAGLIN
The galaxy is a big place, and if the Thor franchise has taught us anything it's that cosmic characters should always be taking us to new weird and wonderful destinations. As such, as much as we enjoyed our time with Kaglin and his fellow Ravagers, we think it's best that Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 3 move on to new realms and characters.
Plus, no matter how you feel about James Gunn's firing from the upcoming project, one can't imagine that actor Sean Gunn will be on the best of terms with Disney and Marvel Studios after his brother's termination.
10 MORE OF: M'BAKU
One of Black Panther's many triumphs is that it got us to invest so heavily in the various supporting players in Wakanda without compromising our investment in T'Challa himself. One could argue it helped that Captain America: Civil War did such a great job establishing the character and that Chadwick Boseman's natural charm did a lot of the heavy lifting.
Nonetheless, the film had many standout characters, especially M'Baku. Winston Duke's multi-layered performance was captivating and reminded us that even your most vociferous enemy can be turned into a friend and ally. When it comes to this character... we are most certainly not done!
9 NO MORE: NED LEEDS
It's not that Jacob Batalon didn't do a great job as Ned in Spider-Man: Homecoming. He did. It's not that he didn't have great rapport with Tom Holland's Peter Parker. He definitely did. It's just that if we're to see a more comic book accurate version of Spider-Man in the MCU, Peter needs to strike out on his own.
One of the great things about Spider-Man is that for all his powers, he's as fallible as any of us. He makes mistakes and has to deal with the consequences. He needs to be allowed to fall and get back up stronger every time. And it's not easy to do that when you have a guy in the chair to help you navigate perilous situations.
8 MORE OF: TURK BARRETT
Turk Barret is a survivor, no matter what dangerous happenstance he find himself embroiled in and whatever menacing individuals he crosses paths with. No matter what unpredictable lunatics are in his address book. Even when the odds of survival are infinitesimal, Turk finds a way to not only survive, but thrive. He's the MCU equivalent of a cockroach.
For decades, he's been a staple presence in Daredevil comics, and while we all share a distaste for the man and his idea of free enterprise, we have to admire his staying power. Whether through lies, deception or sheer dumb luck, Turk always finds a way. And that's exactly how it should be in the MCU.
7 NO MORE: JASPER SITWELL
Damn you, Agent Sitwell. We trusted you. As we got to know S.H.I.E.L.D through the MCU Movies, the Marvel one-shot shorts and of course the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D TV show we came to rely on his ubiquitous presence. But in Captain America: The Winter Soldier it was revealed that he was one of the Hydra double agents who had infiltrated the organization all along.
Whether it's the pain of his betrayal or the fact that he seems to have served his purpose in the meta-narrative of the MCU, we have no real desire to see his double crossing face again, so we hope he stays buried and we don't ever have to suffer him in any possible flashbacks.
6 MORE OF: AUNT MAY
Can you imagine a Batman movie without Alfred? Or a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie without Splinter? Of course not. That's because as much as we love to see our heroes save the day, we also need to know they're fallible. They need to be able to turn to their mentors and parental figures to give them moral guidance and emotional support.
Marissa Tomei has imbued the role of Aunt May with a vitality that we haven't seen in previous on-screen incarnations of the character and we get a real sense of her finding her way as a parent just as Peter Parker is finding his way as a hero. Plus, both her chemistry and comic rapport with Tom Holland are a joy to behold.
5 NO MORE: THUNDERBOLT ROSS
In The Incredible Hulk we got about as good a depiction of the antagonism between General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross and Bruce Banner as we're ever likely to get. Since Universal seem increasingly reluctant to allow Marvel Studios to make a standalone Hulk movie, we're not sure that Ross will ever live up to his full potential in the MCU.
While it's been great to see him return in both Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War his role has become that of a stuffy bureaucrat. We're unlikely to see this version of General Ross assemble the Thunderbolts and we certainly don't expect him to become Red Hulk. Perhaps we should just let him retire and hope that he repairs his relationship with his daughter.
4 MORE OF: LADY SIF
Is anyone else still upset with how quickly and easily The Warriors Three were dispatched by Hela in Thor: Ragnarok? Sure, it's important to establish Hela's power and threat level but her destruction of Mjolnir proved that quite eloquently already. Fortunately, Lady Sif was absent on Asgard at the time of the Goddess of Death's purge.
While she's been an occasional presence on TV's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D, we can't help but hope that we haven't seen the last of Jaimie Alexander's Sif on the big screen. Come on, who wouldn't want to see Sif riding into battle alongside Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie? After Ragnarok breathed new life into the Thor franchise, there's at least a chance that we'll see this character again.
3 NO MORE: KORG
It's not that Korg wasn't funny or charming in Thor: Ragnarok. But anyone who read the "Planet Hulk" story line knows that there's way more depth to this character than the one-note comic relief that we got from the film. While casual fans and mainstream audiences enjoyed the (admittedly hilarious) one liners in Waititi's soft spoken islander tones, comic book purists were left frustrated by the character's lack of substance.
As endearing as Taika Waititi's performance was, we're not sure that this version of Korg can contribute much more of value to the MCU. But who knows? Perhaps with a really aggressive pamphlet campaign he might be able to change our minds.
2 MORE OF: THE HOWLING COMMANDOS
As great as Captain America: The First Avenger was, it has a lot of ground to cover. Even though the film should be lauded for keeping the setting in World War II and resisting the urge to transport the action into the 21st century, there were still some elements of the mythos that felt short changed. The montage which saw Cap and the Howling Commandos in action hinted at a wealth of future storytelling possibilities.
While some members of the crew appeared in the Agent Carter TV show, there's still value in a full blown Howling Commandos movie that explores the group's adventures prior to Cap's disappearance. Imagine Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds set in the MCU and tell us that you wouldn't see that movie!
1 HOPE WAS SNAPPED AWAY: DARCY
Kat Dennings is legitimately funny and a rather charming screen presence. But the role of Darcy is not the best showcase for her talents. Let's be honest... Darcy's kind of annoying. Her comic interjections seem forced in both Thor movies and as a character she contributes very little to the overall mythology. If we won't be seeing Jane Foster again, it's very unlikely that we'll ever see her intern again.
Darcy was clearly intended to inject levity into the Thor franchise but Chris Hemsworth has amply proven that he can handle the heavy lifting when it comes to comedy. Moreover, given the destruction of "Miaowmiaow" in Thor: Ragnarok, it looks like her sole valuable contribution to the MCU has now been nullified.