Marvel is the source of a lot of fantastic characters. It doesn’t take a comic book aficionado to be able to instantly picture the publisher’s most famous creations, with superheroes like Spider-Man, the Avengers and the X-Men dominating not only the comics world but the film box office over the last few years. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU) has brought together many of Marvel’s biggest heroes and villains, forging an on-screen shared universe unlike any seen before, but despite all the critical and financial success, not every live-action character that stars in the MCU can be as charming or interesting as Tony Stark.
Now, every film ever released has its less engaging characters, the people whose purpose is to make the heroes look more heroic, and the MCU is no exception; the franchise has released seventeen films so far, so it's a logical conclusion that not everyone in them will be a smash hit with audiences. In this list we take a look at the people who just don't make the cut when it comes to compelling characterisation, whether they be annoying, useless or just plain dull, here are 15 supporting characters that the MCU really would be better off without.
15 TRISH WALKER
In a television series with a lot of great features, Trish Walker is possibly the worst thing about Jessica Jones. Featuring heavily in the show (and appearing in Defenders too for that matter) Trish is the eponymous hero's adoptive sister and best friend, but the way she sticks her nose into Jess' business, you'd think they were married.
In a show with great performances from much of the cast (we're looking at you in particular, David Tennant) Rachael Taylor's less than convincing portrayal of her character leaves a slightly bitter taste in the mouth; most likely around for years to come (with hopefully fewer and fewer appearances) we best get used to Jessica and Trish being a package deal, just don't expect her to step into her comic book role of Hellcat any time soon.
14 HANK PYM
A founding member of the Avengers in the comics, Hank Pym was relegated to aged advisor in 2015's Ant-Man, a decision made when the focus was switched to the younger, Scott Lang version of the character. Paul Rudd's casting works well with the comedic tone of the film and in turn Michael Douglas portrays an older Pym with a certain enthusiasm, however his presence in the film was simply not needed; why have the last Ant-Man hanging around when the story could have focused more on Scott's theft and use of the Ant-technology with a few references to the previous hero or perhaps a small cameo.
Pym will feature in the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp, and after the younger Ant-Man presumably finds Hank's missing wife in the Quantum Realm, maybe this old-timer will make his exit from the MCU.
13 MARIA HILL
Former deputy director of S.H.I.E.L.D (deep breath -- Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement Logistics Division) Maria Hill has been a staple in both Avengers films as well as featuring in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D TV show, but has yet to prove anywhere near as interesting as her comic book counterpart.
Popular in the comics because of her stern nature and refusal to back down, Hill has a somewhat softer side in the MCU (and although can still get the job done) seems like an unnecessary addition to the overpacked Avengers films, with characters like Black Widow, Hawkeye and Phil Coulson already providing the distinctly non-powered human touch. Already confirmed to be appearing in Infinity War, it looks like Maria Hill is here to stay, although it's be impressive if she managed to stand out among the sheer volume of heroes appearing in the next Avengers blockbuster.
12 CLAIRE TEMPLE
This one's a funny one. During her time in Daredevil season one, Claire is shown to be a strong yet vulnerable character, trying her best to make a difference in the world while attempting to wrap her head around the crazy situations she kept finding herself in. When Claire shows up in Luke Cage she becomes the title character's love interest, helping along the way when Luke needs a bullet removed from his impenetrable hide.
By the time Iron Fist roles around Claire is fighting ninja in China alongside trained martial arts experts Danny Rand and Colleen Wing. Don't get us wrong, Claire grew up in Harlem, she can take care of herself, but c'mon, ninjas? Claire has gone from being a likeable and sympathetic supporting character to an annoyance present in almost every Marvel Netflix series; next she'll be fighting Thanos.
11 JONATHAN PANGBORN
Jonathan Pangborn is a name you're probably not going to not know. Well, you can be forgiven for forgetting him because JP is a forgettable kind of guy. Pangborn is the factory worker crippled in Doctor Strange, after his accident he travels to Kamar-Taj and is healed by studying magic, much like the journey of the good doctor months later.
The reason that we could do without Pangborn's presence in the movie is that his story detracts from Strange's; why is the doctor's journey so special if it's already been done by some regular guy? Aside from his pilgrimage he just really isn't that interesting, sure he's a nice guy, but other than that, what reason do we have to care when Mordo re-cripples him?
Despite a great first half of the season, Luke Cage lagged a bit towards the end and one of the reasons for this was a character called Shades. In a series full of criminals, gangsters and betrayal Shades is someone whose true allegiance is often in question, which itself is not a bad thing, it's his lack of personality and character when surrounded by a number of especially charismatic characters that makes him a bore to watch.
Cottonmouth, Mariah and even Diamondback have their own stand-out personalities, something essential for a good villain, but Shades drifts through Luke Cage without any interesting development, he has a cool pair of sunglasses, we'll give him that, but we're fairly sure no one is clamouring for his return in season two.
9 DARCY LEWIS
Oh Darcy, please don't come back. A student of 'political science' and intern of Dr Erik Selvig (more on him later) Darcy Lewis brought her annoying mix of sarcasm and failure to properly pronounce word to Thor and Thor: The Dark World, but was thankfully free from the recent Thor: Ragnarok so her fate remains unknown.
It can be argued that her particular brand of comedy is amusing to some and brings a sense of comic relief to the rather dreary Dark World, however after two films of Darcy, her presence must grate on even her biggest fans; we'll have to wait to see if she shows up in future MCU instalments, with any luck she'll be crushed by Thanos' arriving ship in Infinity War.
Showing up half way through Iron Fist to sulk through the rest of the season, Davos is Danny Rand's childhood friend and fellow student of the mystical K'un-Lun. Played by an English actor with an extremely unconvincing English accent, Davos really is a drag (and considering this is Iron Fist we're talking about, that is saying something) and makes Danny look like a laugh riot in comparison.
Iron Fist is by no means perfect and Davos is a perfect example of what's wrong with the show; compared to a supporting character like Colleen Wing who sees meaningful development as well as being actually likeable, Davos' character should have spent more time at the drawing board before being added to the show, and a re-casting wouldn't hurt either.
7 KRAGLIN OBFONTERI
Don't remember the name Kraglin Obfonteri? You're not the only one. Yondu's first mate during their time with the Ravagers in both volumes of Guardians of the Galaxy, Kraglin is the kind of background character that it's almost impossible to recall without a visual cue of some kind.
Whereas it may seem that it wouldn't make a difference whether a character this forgettable was present in the Guardians films or not, Kraglin's inclusion in Yondu's emotional send-off following his demise in Vol. 2 (spoiler, we know, but you really should have seen it by now) somewhat cheapens the scene, when we already have Star-Lord there at the captain's side, why would we care about the emotions of a single Ravager whose name we can't remember?
6 ERIK SELVIG
An original MCU character, Dr. Erik Selvig has featured in four films in the universe so far, and in our opinion that's at least three too many. Debuting in Thor and serving as the obligatory mumbo-jumbo talking scientist, Selvig has found his way into Thor: The Dark World alongside his relentless assistant Darcy, and both Avengers films too, needless extensions of such a basic character.
It's not that Selvig isn't sympathetic; he's a pretty nice guy; his main problem is that he detracts from the films he's in by taking away from the action too much (which is fairly difficult to do in a Marvel movie) alongside this, his reduction to role of comic relief via his incarceration in a mental institution during Thor: The Dark World seemed in pretty bad taste.
5 THADDEUS "THUNDERBOLT" ROSS
Playing an important role in The Incredible Hulk and later showing up in Captain America: Civil War, former General Thaddeus Ross is the no-nonsense tough guy famous for pursuing the Hulk to the ends of the Earth throughout the Jade Giant's comic history (as well as in two films: the aforementioned The Incredible Hulk and 2003's non-MCU-set Hulk -- but the less said about that the better).
William Hurt's performance as Ross really can't be faulted; he wears the moustache well, however the character's unnecessary addition to Civil War after no appearance in the MCU for eight years feels shoehorned in; why not focus on a new character or develop key Civil War players like Miriam Sharpe rather than returning focus to someone thought long gone.
4 JUSTIN HAMMER
Although it would be hard to argue that Justin Hammer wasn't well portrayed by Sam Rockwell, the character would have been better off left for a later film in the series or reimagined as more of a shadowy background figure across multiple Iron Man films. Already an overcrowded film, Iron Man 2 introduced many characters and ideas to the MCU, a number of which were never visited again, and a character like Hammer (played by an actor like Rockwell) deserved some real focus and development to shine, rather than a single film arc and small appearance in a subsequent one-shot.
It's unlikely we'll see Hammer again, and given the way that the MCU squandered this character/actor combination, that is most definitely a good thing and he won't be missed at all.
3 JOY MEACHUM
Another entry from the divisive Iron Fist series, Joy Meachum is an odd character. Not given as much focus or development as her brother Ward, yet chosen for an extreme character change as she teams up with Danny Rand's enemies in the final episode, Joy feels like half a character, split down the middle from Ward (who in the comics is her uncle rather than brother) in an attempt to add more depth to an already complex situation.
It could be argued that simply removing a couple of characters would not be enough to save Iron Fist, but taking away Joy though would certainly allow some other characters more room to breathe, something which this series was in need of throughout its 13 episode run.
The most mysterious and arguably least interesting member of the five leaders of The Hand, Murakami joins the fight during Defenders and spends a lot of time standing around brooding, pausing every now and again to mumble the odd phrase in Japanese. It's no exaggeration to say that Murakami could be replaced by virtually any other character, with his lack of distinguishing backstory making him a walking and talking mystery.
Present throughout the series and last seen being crushed under the rubble of the collapsing Midland Circle building, it's entirely possible that we've seen the last of Murakami and his associates, however given the re-appearance of Daredevil following the same fate, maybe one day we'll have to endure further intense staring matches from this emotionless criminal.
1 PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE IN AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D
Since Inhumans came along it seems like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has been having a much easier time. Black Bolt and his familial troubles have taken some of the heat off Coulson's crew. Adding the whole series to this list could be debated, as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D obviously has a number of main characters, however in the MCU as a whole, these characters often deal with the fallout of the events of the films set within the shared universe, so in a way are part of a large extended cast.
Given the quality of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D compared to the films of the MCU and often fantastic Netflix shows, Skye and co deserve to be stuck firmly in the background, or better yet taken off the air; but considering the recent debut of season five, it's likely that they'll be around to 'support' for years to come.