With the directors of Marvel’s upcoming magnum opus, Avengers: Infinity War, promising a movie stuffed full of 68 unique characters, it seems as if almost every Marvel character ever created is going to appear in a single film. These days, the limits on a character being too “out there” no longer apply: hard as it may be to believe, a genre that once considered yellow spandex too crazy is now going to release a sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy, featuring a tree baby and a badass talking squirrel, where the biggest new character introduction will be the infamous Ego the Living Planet.
In an era where a talking planet is going to be played by Kurt Russell — seriously, wrap your head around that one — previously unmentionable cosmic beings like the Living Tribunal and Eternity are also now on the table. But not every Marvel character, cosmic or otherwise, is going to make the cut when Infinity War stampedes into theaters, and some pretty major ones are going to be left out of all the fun. Here are 15 Marvel Characters You Definitely Won’t See In Avengers: Infinity War.
15. Fantastic Four
It’s no small irony that Marvel’s “first family,” the very comic book team that launched off the Marvel Universe as we know it, has been conspicuously absent from its cinematic equivalent. It’s strange that in a world where Hulk is going to be costarring in a Thor film, the Fantastic Four are still not allowed to join the proceedings, but the reality is that despite what a flop last year’s Fantastic Four reboot was, the rights to the characters are still very much with 20th Century Fox.
Though Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four was supposed to be the beginning of a brand new franchise, this dark and gritty take on one of the brightest and most wacky comic books out there resulted in widespread disappointment, and all discussions about potential sequels quietly being tabled. While there have been some rumors of Fox striking a deal with Marvel (akin to Sony’s Spider-Man deal) wherein their characters could crossover, we wouldn’t count on it happening — and definitely not in time for Infinity War.
14. Silver Surfer
When Fox scooped up the Fantastic Four rights, back in the years before Marvel Studios was more than a glimmer in anyone’s eye, they also got a huge handful of the characters who first premiered in the Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four comics. Because of this, one of the biggest losses to the MCU is Norrin Radd, a favorite character of both Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the philosophical, self-sacrificial alien who surrenders his freedom twice — once to save his world, and again to save the Earth.
Development on a Silver Surfer movie has occurred many times over the last few decades, and when the character finally made his cinematic debut in Tim Story’s second Fantastic Four movie, Fox was aiming at a spinoff series. Unfortunately, the Silver Surfer’s rights are now languishing with 20th Century Fox, so it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll make an appearance in a Guardians of the Galaxy film anytime soon, if ever. Though Silver Surfer played a role in the Infinity War/Infinity Gauntlet storylines in the comics, the movies are going to have to get by without him.
So far, the breakout character of 2016 has definitely been the so-called “merc with a mouth.” Deadpool, the violent, R-rated cult anti-hero from the ’90s, ended up being a surprising success at the box office on his way to his current status as a household name. But Ryan Reynold’s hard-swearing, psychotic, limb-severing character won’t be appearing in Infinity War, and not just because he’d be something of an awkward fit with all of the PG-13 heroes; his rights are also with Fox.
As an X-Men character, albeit only in the loosest sense in which one can be an X-Men character despite having never joined the team, Deadpool isn’t going to be interacting with the Avengers, the Guardians, or Spider-Man anytime soon. Given that Deadpool was such a success for Fox, it seems unlikely that they’d be willing to loan out the character to Marvel and have to share the profits. That’s okay, since Deadpool tends to work the best on his own, anyway (or with Cable).
Unlike the characters above, the rights to Marvel’s foremost vampire are right where they belong. Marvel got the rights back to Blade in 2013, along with Punisher and Ghost Rider. This means that there is a strong likelihood that a new version of Blade, probably one hugely inspired by the Wesley Snipes movies that turned him from a B-list character into a blockbuster horror icon, will one day exist in the same universe as Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark.
But not yet. And definitely not in Avengers: Infinity War.
The general audience doesn’t yet even conceive of Blade as a Marvel character, and bringing him into the MCU is going to be a tricky process that they have to get just right. While Marvel is opening the doors to a new landscape of obscure and bizarre entities with the release of Doctor Strange this November, the Blade character will have to introduce the idea of vampires, and somehow integrate these bloodsuckers into the MCU we already know. None of this is impossible, since Marvel has proven time and again that they know what they’re doing, but introducing a world full of vampires into the already packed-and-stuffed cosmic storyline of Infinity War wouldn’t make much sense.
Back before Avengers: Age of Ultron hit theaters, everyone expected Marvel’s take on Pietro Maximoff, the speedster known as Quicksilver, to be one of the film’s breakout characters, and to likely have a huge part to play in future Avengers movies. While this ended up being true of his twin sister, the Scarlet Witch, Pietro himself saw his Avengers career become shockingly short-lived when he sacrificed himself to save Hawkeye from a hail of machine gun fire.
With the MCU having already received a lot of criticism over its revival of dead characters, the studio knows that at this point they’re under a microscope. In order for the stakes to matter, characters not only have to die — they have to stay dead — and Quicksilver, as the first major Avenger to bite the bullet, will serve as the ultimate example of this, particularly if and when Infinity War begins killing off some of the biggest characters in the series. It doesn’t make sense to bring him back.
10. Adam Warlock
Okay, so this isn’t a definite. But at this point, let’s face it, it probably ain’t happening.
Adam Warlock, first known as Him, is an iconic, messianic Marvel character that played a huge role in the comic book universe’s Infinity storylines. He would seem to be a sure bet in the movies, except that Infinity War is already jam-packed with characters, Thanos still requires a lot of character exploration, and Warlock himself has a long backstory that the movie won’t have much room to delve into. Many fans thought that Warlock might be revealed as Starlord’s father in the second Guardians of the Galaxy, but since that role has instead been given to Ego the Living Planet, there really isn’t much chance to set “Him” up beforehand.
Adam Warlock’s “egg” was shown in the Collector’s museum, but according to the director, this was little more than a (literal) Easter Egg for the fans. James Gunn has said that he likes the character, but doesn’t foresee using him anytime soon.
Most importantly, Adam Warlock’s place in the Infinity War storyline has already been taken — by the Vision, a similarly deity-like character who happens to have an infinity stone right in his forehead. The cinematic Vision is already an amalgam of the comic book version and Adam Warlock, which means it’s highly likely that Vision will, for the time being, take Warlock’s place. Which doesn’t bode well for Vision, when Thanos comes knocking…
One of the biggest “cosmic” characters in Marvel’s stable is Uatu, the Watcher, the bald, big-headed member of an alien species who dedicate themselves to impartial observance of all events across the universe. Uatu is the Watcher of our section of the galaxy, stationed in the blue area of Earth’s moon. Though the Watchers are sworn to not interfere in the affairs of other species, Uatu has violated his oath on numerous occasions, most significantly to warn Earth about the invasion of Galactus.
However, when Thanos comes to our world, Uatu won’t be calling up the Avengers.
Why? Because, as a character who has a significant involvement with the Fantastic Four, the Watcher’s rights are most likely also tied up with Fox. While there’s some wiggle room with characters like the Black Panther, who first appeared in a Fantastic Four comic but whose storyline generally has very little to do with the foursome, Uatu is very much a FF character, whom just happens to operate on a cosmic scale. Unfortunately, even if Fox does revive the Fantastic Four in some light, they’ve shown little inclination to explore the more cosmic aspects of these characters, which currently leaves the Watcher stranded in limbo.
8. Any of the X-Men
Considering that the Sokovia Accords would probably have a big impact on the mutant population, and we can’t imagine that Charles Xavier would’ve been too happy with Tony Stark’s imprisonment of those superhumans who broke the rules, the X-Men seemed rather quiet during the events of Captain America: Civil War.
And why? Because in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the X-Men don’t exist. No X-Mansion, no Magneto, no mutants.
Back in 2000, Bryan Singer’s X-Men served as the fuse that lit 2002’s Spider-Man and set off the superhero explosion that has continued to this day. The rights to Charles Xavier’s team of mutant fighters, like the Fantastic Four, reside within 20th Century Fox’s vault. Unlike the Fantastic Four, however, who Fox has struggled to ignite many times, the X-Men franchise has been a rousing success for the studio. The mutants have made Fox billions of dollars for almost two decades and won widespread critical acclaim, with only occasional setbacks, so the idea of them outright letting go of the X-Men rights anytime soon shouldn’t be expected.
Of course, if the X-Men don’t get to play around with Thanos in the Infinity War, that means that their star has to sit this one out as well. Though Hugh Jackman tried his best to get a cameo with Spidey all the way back in 2002 — seriously, the only reason Wolverine didn’t get to share a brief moment of screen time with Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker was because the actor couldn’t find his Wolverine costume in time — the reality of the situation in today’s more crossover-friendly world is that Wolverine’s adamantium claws are at Fox, and so for now, the MCU will have to stick with vibranium as its miracle metal.
Furthermore, with the upcoming Wolverine 3 marking Jackman’s final performance as the X-Men’s foremost member, it’s likely that the Wolverine character, if not recast, will probably take a seat on the bench for a little while. This will allow new characters like Deadpool, X-23, and Gambit to stand on their own feet, until Fox figures out if a post-Jackman Wolverine is possible.
In the MCU that we know so far, one of the most powerful cosmic presences is certainly Odin, played by Anthony Hopkins, the Allfather of Asgard, father of Thor and Loki, and the prime deity of Norse mythology. But as important as Odin may be, don’t count on him still being around by the time Infinity War hits — that is, if he’s even still alive today.
We all know that during the events of Thor: The Dark World, Loki somehow took Odin’s place on the throne of Asgard, and rumors abounded that Odin had been killed offscreen. Anthony Hopkins made the comment that “I’ve done two, that’s enough,” which certainly stoked the flames. But the mystery of the Asgardian King’s disappearance probably won’t be answered for sure until Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters. Current rumors suggest that Odin may have had his memory wiped, and that he’s currently wandering the Earth as an apocalypse-proclaiming homeless man, one of those “end is nigh” types.
With Doc Strange coming in November, can The Dread One be far behind?
Not so fast. Dormammu, the antagonistic god of the Dark Dimension, is Dr. Strange’s greatest enemy and one of the weirdest menaces in the entire Marvel Universe, but he’s also a villain far beyond the abilities of a new sorcerer to handle; don’t count on seeing anything but setup for him until a Doctor Strange sequel, at the earliest. Considering that the first movie still seems to be portraying Strange’s archenemy Baron Mordo in a heroic light, signifying that the character has not yet turned to the dark side, the idea of bringing in Dormammu still seems a little ways off.
Assuming that Doctor Strange is a success, there’s no doubt that this horrifying character will someday grace screens across the nation… but not in time for Infinity War. Again, with 68 characters all vying for screen time, introducing a character as complex and massive as Dormammu will have to wait for another time.
Spider-Woman, AKA Jessica Drew, is a great character who has seen a revitalization in recent years, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see her make her way into the movies. Though originally only introduced to make sure that another company didn’t try to capitalize on the idea of a female web-slinger, Spider-Woman has since gone on to become a significant character in her own right, only tied to her male counterpart by their codenames.
However, seeing as Spider-Man was only introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe this year, that shared spider-association is probably going to keep discussions of Spider-Woman off the table for a while longer, unfair as that may be. Though Jessica Drew was created completely independently of Peter Parker, and the two have very little shared history outside of simultaneous Avengers membership, rights are a weird thing. It’s entirely conceivable that Sony may have the rights to her, by virtue of her identity alone, and Sony did hint at wanting to do a female “Spider-spinoff” a few years ago. With all this in mind, seeing Spider-Woman on the big screen is probably a ways off.
Where the Silver Surfer goes, Galactus follows. In the real world, that also means the giant, purple-helmeted devourer of worlds followed his sentry into the legal hands of 20th Century Fox, who purchased him as part of their Fantastic Four package. Unlike the Surfer and the Fantastic Four, however, Galactus hasn’t really had a chance to appear on the big screen… unless you count that toxic space cloud that they tried to pass off as Galactus in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
There were rumors back in 2012 that Fox and Marvel were negotiating to let Fox hang onto the Daredevil rights a little longer in a bid to get the Surfer and Galactus back, but whether these rumors were true or not, they never came to pass. Thankfully, this led to the Daredevil Netflix series — arguably the best live-action superhero show of all time — but it also means that, for the foreseeable future, the rights to one of the biggest bad guys in the Marvel Universe will continue to be unexplored. Someday, maybe.
2. Kang the Conqueror
However, there’s another character who is lesser known but arguably more important to the Avengers, and thus leaves a bigger shadow in his absence. This character’s rights are also tied up with Fox, despite the fact that he’s really more of an Avengers character.
Kang is a man born in the 30th century, who travels through time all the way back to ancient Egypt, where he becomes the Pharaoh Rama-Tut, then zooms forward to the 40th century to become an armored villain named the Scarlet Centurion, and then finally arrives in our time as the being known as Kang. As a genius historical scholar with access to technology from many future time periods, Kang becomes one of the greatest threats that the Avengers ever has to face, and even plays a role in the Infinity War.
So why won’t he be in the movie? Because Kang’s true identity is Nathaniel Richards — the 30th-century-born descendant of Reed Richards, AKA Mr. Fantastic. Because Kang was first introduced as Rama-Tut in a Fantastic Four story, his rights reside also reside with Fox, in the same vault that holds the right to the X-Men, Deadpool, and the Silver Surfer.
1. Doctor Doom
If there’s one character that is an even bigger loss to the MCU than the Fantastic Four themselves, it’s their archenemy. Victor Von Doom, the dictator of Latveria, would-be world conqueror, scientific genius, and black magic sorcerer, is perhaps the most iconic Marvel villain of all time. Doom possesses one of the most developed backstories of any villain in comics history; he is equal parts sympathetic and terrifying, honorable and detestable, a character every bit as raw and real as Magneto has been in the X-Men movies.
It’s no surprise that his rights reside with Fox, since even though Doom has confronted almost every major hero in Marvel at one time or another, his most personal vendetta lies with Reed Richards. What is surprising is that despite having such an incredible villain to work with, every Fox depiction of Doom to date has completely missed the mark.
Unlike Magneto, whose treatment in the X-Men movies has created one of the most iconic cinematic villains of this generation, every attempt at Doom so far has changed everything that makes the character great, almost as if the writers only looked at a picture of the character and ignored everything else. Doom isn’t an antisocial computer programmer, and he isn’t a corrupt businessman. If there’s one character who deserves a place in what might end up being the biggest comic book crossover of all time, it’s Stan Lee’s favorite baddie. But unfortunately, the arrival of Doom in the MCU will have to wait for another day.
What other major Marvel characters will be missing out on the apocalyptic fun? Let us know in the comments.