Avengers: Endgame is being released in a few short weeks and with its release it will bring the end of The Infinity Saga, the culmination of a 22 movie arc that started back with Iron Man in May 2008. Everything has been leading to this, the final confrontation with Thanos. So where does the Marvel Cinematic Universe turn to next? Who is a big enough threat to warrant our heroes teaming up again in the future? I take a look at the potential prospects for future villains plucked out of the comicbook world.
Villains don’t physically get bigger than Galactus. The God-like character consumes planets to quell his hunger and sustain his life force and as such earned the moniker The Devourer of Worlds. From the world of the Fantastic Four, Galactus is an entirely realistic option thanks to the Disney buy-out of Fox Studios. Galactus even briefly appeared in 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, but only as a shadow in clouds and fire. Galactus would pose as big a threat as Thanos has during The Infinity Saga and is definitely an option that the MCU has. With the introduction of Galactus it would also provide the chance of bringing Silver Surfer into the MCU.
Another villain from the pages of the Fantastic Four, the brilliant Victor Von Doom. Although he is of the most beloved villains among comicbook fans, Doctor Doom has been given a hard time on the big screen, having appeared in all 3 Fantastic Four films but never being done justice. The character is the monarch of the fictional nation Latveria, which gives him the power of diplomatic immunity, meaning he can essentially never be charged for his crimes. Doom is one of the most intelligent characters in the Marvel Universe and also has a large grasp on mystic powers, like Doctor Strange. His mastery of the mystic arts led Doctor Strange to admit that Doom could be a Sorcerer Supreme. Doom has a wealth of powers and is one of the most consistent villains to appear throughout Marvel Comics and in the right hands, could easily be the main villain for the next phase(s) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Symbiotes – Venom & Carnage
Within the symbiote family of Spider-Man there is most famously Venom and Carnage. Carnage is similar to Venom in terms of powers, but unlike Venom, Carnage has almost no redeeming qualities, especially if he has latched onto Cletus Kasady. Where Venom can often be an anti-hero or even a full-fledged hero, Carnage is unbridled evil and chaos. On their own, it can be argued that they don’t warrant being an over-arching nemesis for our heroes. But having the 2 characters go up against the future-Avengers could be very interesting. But there are more symbiotes that can be pulled from the pages of Spider-Man comics, including Anti-Venom, Toxin, Scream, Mania and a lot more. The combined might of symbiotes with Carnage at the helm to take on the heroes sounds like a lot of trouble and fun. Realistically, this isn’t likely given Sony’s intentions on creating a cinematic universe using the many secondary characters from Spider-Man’s world. But we didn’t expect to see Spider-Man to escape the clutches of Sony in the first place, so maybe there’s a chance.
Green Goblin/Norman Osborn
The wealth of villains in Spider-Man comics is only comparable to Batman’s catalog of villains. The webslinger has such a deep pool of established villains and secondary characters that he could have his own cinematic universe, as Sony have been trying to do for many years now. At the top of the list of villains is Norman Osborn, the best-known incarnation of Green Goblin. The character gained worldwide prominence thanks to the fondly remembered work of Willem Dafoe in 2002’s Spider-Man. When exposed to an experimental formula, Osborn had his physical abilities and intellect enhanced, making him a match for both Spidey’s strength and smarts. As the head of the multi-billion dollar company Oscorp, he also has massive financial power and pull within the world. Again for this to be a reality it would rely on Sony and Marvel Studios reaching some kind of agreement, but Osborn is a clear candidate for the future of the MCU. And with his introduction it could also lead to The Sinister Six.
A mercenary that has the ability to instantly learn and copy his opponents skill sets makes Taskmaster one of the most prolific combatants in the Marvel Universe. Whether it be Hawkeye’s pinpoint accuracy with a bow and arrow or Black Panther’s lighting-fast agility, he can match anybody. But not only can he match them, he can then predict their next move, making him an almost impossible foe to take down.
The Skrull’s were introduced into the MCU during Captain Marvel which opens the door for Super-Skrull. His abilities include those of the normal Skrull, most notably the ability to shapeshift. But what makes Super-Skrull so…super, is that he has all the powers of the Fantastic Four. He can manipulate heat like the Human Torch, crate force-fields and turn invisible like the Invisible Woman, stretch his body like Mister Fantastic and has superhuman strength like The Thing.
How do you defeat a villain that is always reborn upon death? Annihilus has the usual powers we expect, super strength and the ability to fly. But his greatest tool is the Cosmic Rod he wields that allows him to manipulate cosmic energy. With the Rod he can easily take on any hero and has done so many times throughout the years.
Imagine the Hulk on steroids and you’re part way to understanding how strong Maestro is. The character is the Hulk from an alternate future who has suffered from a century’s worth of radiation as opposed to the Hulk we know who had the laboratory accident. A key difference between Hulk and Maestro is that Maestro retains all his intellect and as such he is much more than just a heavy hitter.
This is just a very small list of characters that Marvel Studios can choose from as the list could be almost endless. The MCU now has the chance to revitalize X-Men villains such as Magneto and Apocalypse. Or they could introduce the likes of Mephisto, Mister Sinister or MODOK. Some may be better utilized as a villain for a single film rather than in the Thanos role. But it will be interesting to see where the films go after The Infinity Saga has ended. Thanos is already regarded as one of the greatest villains of all time and it’s hard to imagine somebody stepping into the same role he has owned for so many years.