Ranked! Marvel Villains We Could (And Should) See Come Back Around in Phase 4
Marvel Studios isn’t exactly known for doing villains well. This isn’t to say that Ant-Man’s Yellowjacket or Guardians of the Galaxy’s Ronan are bad, they’re just exactly what you’d expect: one-dimensional, well, bad guys. Okay, so they’re bad. Loki, Thanos, and Killmonger aside, rarely do Marvel audiences get an adversary on par with Heath Ledger’s Joker.
If you’ve been watching Disney+’s Loki then you know the Marvel Cinematic Universe has officially embraced the idea of the multiverse—which means any and every character that you’ve ever seen in a Marvel movie could come back around in Phase 4; including Spider-Man villains from the Sony franchise like Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) and Doc Ock (Alfred Molina). That said, pretty much any MCU villain could return but we’re going to rank the ones that make sense from a narrative standpoint (and that haven’t already been confirmed. Ex. Abomination).
Cover Photo: Marvel Studios
The Mad Titan was either teased or featured in all of the MCU’s first three phases. He was inevitable. now he’s dust. Following Tony Stark’s sacrificial snap in Avengers: Endgame, there’s really no reason to bring back another version of Thanos. However, the upcoming Eternals movie will, at the very least, mention him given his status as an Eternal/Deviant. A lot of Thanos’ comic book lineage/history has not been explored and there’s always room for flashbacks. Marvel Studios would just have to pay Josh Brolin more than it’d be worth.
That last we saw of Kaecilius in Doctor Strange, he became a skeleton and was sucked into Dormammu’s Dark Dimension. While his fate seems definite, Mads Mikkelsen has teased a return to the MCU in the past. How? Well, Kaecilius is Dormammu’s bitch and Dormammu is the good doctor’s greatest adversary in the comics—the talking head will return and might use Mikkelsen’s character as a vessel on Earth.
11. The Collector
Everyone assumed that Benecio del Toro’s the Collector met his demise when Thanos went to Knowhere for the Reality Stone; however, we never actually saw this very old and very creepy individual bite the dust. Del Toro himself has said he believes his character is alive. That said, in the comics, Thanos gets the stone from the Collector by trading with him—which can easily be explained on the big screen.
Captain Marvel’s Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) was one of the lamest villain reveals in the MCU. On top of that, their final confrontation was as anti-climatic as they come. Regardless, Carol Danvers sent Yon-Rogg back to Hala to tell the Supreme Intelligence what’s up. It seems likely that his fate, and the fate of his planet, will at least be alluded to in The Marvels.
9. Justin Hammer
Sam Rockwell’s CEO of Hammer Industries was sent to prison at the end of Iron Man 2—a film where his company was obsessed with rivaling Stark Industries. Now, two shows concerning Iron Man’s legacy are being developed for Disney+: Ironheart and Armor Wars, with the latter seeing James Rhodes/War Machine fight against a dystopian future resulting from Stark’s tech falling into the wrong hands. Hammer?
8. Red Skull
Hugo Weaving played Elmo’s evil twin, Johann Schmidt /Red Skull, in Captain America: The First Avenger. At the end of that film, the former head of Hydra disappeared after grabbing the Tesseract. In Avengers: Infinity War, it’s revealed that Red Skull (now played by Ross Marquand because Weaving has better things to do) guides others to a treasure he cannot possess as the Soul Stone’s eternal guardian. This poses the question: when the Soul Stone is taken from Vorimir, can Red Skull leave? According to the Russos, yes—which means Red Skull can now run around the MCU naming everyone’s parents.
Dormammu seems like the type of guy who holds a grudge. Suffice to say, the almighty ruler of the Dark Dimension has not forgotten his defeat in Doctor Strange—when the now Sorcerer Supreme “came to bargain,” forcing Dormammu to leave Earth. That said, is Dormammu an entity of his/her/its word? The talking head has an essentially unlimited amount of power and could easily return as a big bad.
Michael Keaton’s Vulture, despite his seeming change of heart at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming, is still out there. The character showed up in that Morbius trailer; however, it’s unclear if Sony’s universe is part of the MCU. Regardless, we now find ourselves amid a Keatonaissance. Marvel Studios will certainly bring him back for future Spider-Man films because they should. Fans have been wanting the web-slinger to face the infamous villain team, The Sinister Six, for quite some time, and Vulture is a notable member of that gang in the comics.
5. Agatha Harkness
Kathryn Hahn’s “noisy neighbor” turned (vaguely) cliché witch was just the vehicle this often-overlooked thespian yet overall national treasure needed. At the end of WandaVision, Scarlet Witch turned her back into a sitcom neighbor so that whenever she needs Agatha’s magical expertise, she’ll know exactly where to find her. Elizabeth Olsen will reprise her role in the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and, given the implications of its title, she’s going to need all the help she can get.
4. Baron Zemo
In Captain America: Civil War, Baron Helmut Zemo broke up the Avengers without ever throwing a punch. In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, he threw multiple punches, but also won our hearts. Daniel Brühl went all out as the charismatic, steadfast, and ethically ambiguous Baron. Make no mistake, the “heroes” didn’t defeat the Flag-Smashers, Zemo did. In the season finale, Baron was seen in Raft prison and, for some reason, it seems like that’s exactly where he wants to be. Zemo v. Hammer dance off?
Tom Hiddleston’s 2012 version of his trickster returned for his own Disney+ series. Let’s speak plainly: by the end of it, Loki has been neutered; he’s not the master manipulator he once was but rather an actual, dare we say, hero. That said, Loki introduced the idea of variants via a slew of Lokis, most of which are not to be trusted. Loki has already been confirmed for a second season and it seems likely more Lokis will come with it.
2. Ravonna Renslayer
The Time Variance Authority’s ever-loyal Judge, Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), has a serious case of Stockholm Syndrome. Even when she found out that the Time-Keepers are fake, and she and her coworkers are all variants, she still believes in the TVA’s mission. She must. In Loki’s sixth episode, Miss Minutes gave Ravonna an unknown piece of information that He Who Remains thinks will be useful; all Ravonna told Mobius is that she’s off to find free will. Given Ravonna and Kang the Conqueror’s intimate history in the comics, she’s probably off to find Kang’s 31st-century variant and facilitate his rise to power (hence that final shot).
1. Kang the Conqueror
In Loki, when Sylvie stabbed He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors), he said “see you soon.” It’s the same thing you can hear him whisper when the Time-Keepers are revealed to be nothing but mindless androids. He Who Remains warned the Lokis that his presence and the TVA were the only things keeping his other, less pure of heart, variants from conquering the Sacred Timeline and/or starting a multiversal war. Loki officially set up Kang the Conqueror as the MCU’s next big bad and he’s about to be seen all over the place.
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