With Phase 4 and beyond looming ahead, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going to have to make a few creative decisions. There are several directions the MCU can take in the coming years. One of them is the Dark Avengers. Judging by how Marvel made special care to request that Sony avoid using Norman Osborn in their Spider-Man spin-off films, it's clear that the MCU has plans for Norman. Perhaps those plans involve the Dark Avengers.
But which pre-established MCU villains would play a role? Which characters would join Norman's roster? Chances are, some of the characters have yet to be established, but, for now, let's go down the list of the MCU's villains to see which among them might join the Dark Avengers.
Let's go with this pipe dream. While, yes, Venom is a character in Sony's spin-off universe, there is a tangible possibility that Sony might ask Marvel to have some MCU crossover appeal with Venom in the future. In this unlikely event, what better character to join the MCU's Dark Avengers than Venom?
It would be a fantastic crossover with some pretty insane potential. Of course, as it is very unlikely, it sits right at the bottom of the list. But, as an MCU adjacent character, it is just enough of a possibility to not totally discount.
8 THUNDERBOLT ROSS
For years, fans thought they had seen the last of William Hurt's General Ross. However, over the last couple years, he's made something of a comeback. However, following Thanos's finger snapping, it feels as if the Accords might not remain all that relevant in the MCU for much longer.
So why would not hold Ross back from his ultimate destiny of becoming Red Hulk? As Red Hulk, this reoccurring villain can finally reach his full potential as an antagonist, offering Norman Osborn both the military strategy and muscle to exact his agenda?
If not the Red Hulk, then perhaps this old-school villain should return. Offering muscle and a dangerous drive for destruction, the Abomination seems the kind of bad guy who doesn't question the morality of his actions. You point, he fights. All Norman needs to do is unlock this guy's cell and let him wreak havoc.
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The Abomination hasn't been seen back since 2008, but fans have not forgotten this Phase 1 bad guy. If Red Skull could fin a place in the MCU in Phase 3. the Abomination can return for Phase 4.
Yes, this HYDRA agent did blow up in Captain America Civil War, but Crossbones remains a character with a whole lot of potential. Considering that this is the MCU and characters can, conceivably, survive some pretty intense situations, there is always the possibility that Crossbones can return to join the Dark Avengers.
There's definitely an appeal in seeing this bad guy in an enforcer role once again.
Yes, Killmonger did die in Black Panther, but there is already confirmation available that this MCU villain will be returning in Black Panther 2. So why not bring him back for another appearance in a Dark Avengers film?
In this capacity, Killmonger may seem an odd choice. He's far too clever and intelligent to choose to work for Norman Osborn, which leads the door open for some internal strive. Does he have an ulterior motive for joining their forces? Could he have some greater plan? Killmonger could offer a fascinating twist to an otherwise straight forward supervillain team-up.
Mysterio has yet to appear properly in the MCU, but even after a few seconds in the Spider-Man Far from Home trailer, he has established himself as a villain with a lot of potential. So why not exploit that potential even more by bringing him into the Dark Avengers.
Mysterio clearly wants the world to see him as a hero, so this might be the chance he has to become a hero to so many. Of course, there's probably some financial motivation behind his heel-face turn, but all that hardly matters when one considers the incredible illusions he can cast in Osborn's favor.
Another great Spider-Man villain, the Vulture is surprisingly one of the MCU's best villains. As such, it would be a shame not to see him return in some capacity. So why not join the Dark Avengers?
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He could be serving Osborn's forces in exchange for a lighter prison sentence or in order to earn a lot of money fast -- depending on how legitimate the Dark Avengers are in the context of their eventual appearance. Still, as a clever old-timer able to fly under the Avenger's radar for years, this old bird has a lot he can offer.
Ghost needs one thing: a cure for her condition that keeps her phasing from dimension to dimension. While Ghost is apparently cured by the end of her film, it's highly possible that she needs consistent supplies of quantum energy to keep her stable.
Given her history as an assassin and her dependency on quantum energy, Ghost seems like the easiest MCU villain to strong-arm into submission. Ensure that no one else can offer her the cure she needs. Instant loyalty. It could make for a tragic story that demonstrates Osborn's pettiness while also setting up some karmic punishment.
It is very possible that Nebula won't survive Avengers Endgame. However, should she find herself coming out the other side in one robotic piece, she might be wandering the MCU without a clear destination.
Enter the Dark Avengers, which ought to offer Nebula a place to utilize her skills anew. It will offer her a new arc for this character, putting her in direct conflict with a cast of characters far different from any she has confronted prior in the MCU. There are a lot of directions this story could go.
The most obvious entry here for a number of reasons. In the Marvel Universe (616, not MCU), the Dark Avengers launch an invasion on Asgard. Loki played a key role in this. There are, of course, a few obvious issues with this option, being that neither Asgard or Loki are in one piece. However, this can be easily remedied with a new Asgard being built in the stars (following Endgame, with Thor as their King) and Loki just coming back (it's not like he hasn't done that before).
Once that's settled, a new landscape for Loki to cause mischief on Earth would be welcomed. We've already seen what he's done with Thor, so why not put him in a game of wits, hoping to out-maneuver Osborn (and possibly Killmonger) in a vast scheme with so many factors? It could be quite entertaining to see him acting outside the box.