Beyond any long-term story arcs about Infinity Stones and globetrotting action sequences, the biggest strengths of Marvel’s shared cinematic universe has always been its characters. However, the fictional universe is quickly reaching a critical mass and finding it harder and harder to juggle an ever-expanding roster of heroes, villains, sidekicks and renegades. They’ve done a pretty good job of servicing three main Avengers (Iron Man, Thor and Captain America) thus far but there are literally dozens of other equally compelling characters who end up doing little else beyond simply appearing.
This is a list for those characters, the ones we never get tired of watching. Here are 15 MCU Characters Who Need More Screen Time.
Yondu’s Ravagers played a pretty big role in Guardians of the Galaxy but we didn’t see nearly enough of Yondu beyond his interactions with Chris Pratt’s Starlord. With Michael Rooker set to reprise his role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, we can only hope that Yondu will get a bit more time with both the returning (Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana) and new cast members (Kurt Russell, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki and Chris Sullivan) the film is set to bring with it. Yondu brought a fun irreverence to the first film and we can’t wait to see more of that in the second. Beyond that, we may even see him cross streams with the Earth-based Avengers in Infinity War. Given his weapon of choice, I bet he’d have some great chemistry with Hawkeye and based on what we’ve heard about the scope of the two-film story, it’s all hands on deck.
14. Hank Pym
Michael Douglas’ tortured genius Hank Pym played a pretty major role in the first Ant-Man movie, but he also played things pretty straight to great effect. Given how many Marvel heroes made it into Captain America: Civil War, it’s almost surprising we didn’t get even to check in with the former-Ant-Man, especially given his connection to Howard Stark. In any case, It’s been confirmed that Douglas will reprise his role in the sequel, our last glimpse of his character suggested he’ll be helping his daughter Hope take up the mantle of The Wasp but with any luck he’ll have more of a role to play than just that. Douglas has even commented on where he’d like to take the character, saying “In the next one I hope things get a little more bizarre.” Given how strange and quirky that first film was, it’s just another great reason to get excited about a second Ant-Man film.
13. Maria Hill
Cobie Smulder’s Agent Maria Hill was a fun minor player during the early phases of Marvel’s cinematic universe but her character really has fallen by the wayside as of late. Technically, she’s still in the employ of Stark Industries and the Avengers but she didn’t make an appearance in Captain America: Civil War and it’s unknown as of yet when or if she will return at all. This is a shame. Smulders brought a fun colloquial charisma to the ranks of S.H.I.E.L.D and it was always interesting to check in with her character from time to time. She makes for a very grounded contrast to the gods and supersoldiers around her. In the comics, Maria Hill eventually succeeds Nick Fury as the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Even if the Marvel movies seems to have left exploring the remnants of the organization in the hands of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. we can only hope that Maria Hill returns sooner rather than later.
12. The Collector
First appearing the post-credits scene for Thor: The Dark World, Benicio del Toro’s Tanaleer Tivan aka The Collector is a figure with a huge legacy as a character in the Marvel comics and fascinatingly creepy on-screen demeanor. While director James Gunn has already confirmed that The Collector will be sitting out Guardians of the Galaxy 2, there’s no reason we can’t hope to see him in other non-Guardians Marvel films. His major role in the first Guardians of the Galaxy was primarily one of exposition but hopefully future appearances give more development to the character. Given his previous appearances, the next logical place to expect him would be Taika Waititi’s upcoming Thor: Ragnarok but we’ll just have to wait and see. The film’s said to have a very cosmic focus, so an encounter with The Collector doesn’t seem too out of left field. Beyond that, well… those Infinity Stones aren’t going to collect themselves.
Idris Elba makes a stunning impression as Heimdall in both the original Thor and the sequel. The British actor overcame an initially unfriendly fan response to become one of the best castings in the Marvel universe and a character every bit as compelling to watch on-screen as the bigger heroes of the franchise. Of all the Asgardian characters Marvel has brought to the big screen, the omnipresent Heimdall arguably feels the most godly. Despite rumors that Elba hated working on Thor 2 and described Marvel’s franchise movies as “torture,” the actor has insisted that that’s not the case, suggesting that he may yet appear in Thor: Ragnarok and beyond. Marvel last managed to squeeze him into Age of Ultron via Thor’s dream sequences, but there are plenty of other places he could appear. Heimdall’s gaze, after all, does span all of the nine realms.
10. Lady Sif
Alongside Heimdall, Jamie Alexander’s turn as Lady Sif was another strong point for the Asgardian wing of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Alexander brought just the right kind of personality and physicality to the role. She’s more than a match for Hemsworth’s God of Thunder and wasn’t afraid to throw down in action sequences as well. She’s the Peggy Carter of the Thor movies and it’s a shame she hasn’t gotten a one-shot of miniseries of her own yet. Sif has appeared a few times over the course of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but her character has a huge history in the Marvel comics and we can only hope to see more of that get explored on-screen. At this time, a reappearance in Thor: Ragnarok seems most likely but it wouldn’t be amiss to see Sif pop into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, either.
Anthony Mackie’s appearances as Sam Wilson (aka Falcon) has been limited to the Captain America films and Ultron so far, but after seeing his on-screen chemistry with the rest of the Marvel roster in both Ant-Man and Civil War, we can only hope for Marvel to give him more screen time. He’s got a knack for delivering sharp dialogue and fantastic chemistry with everyone from Tom Holland’s Spider-Man to Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther. What’s more, it’d be interesting to delve into his backstory and character a little more. A solo movie for him doesn’t have the same support from fans as certain other heroes do. Mackie originally pushed for the role of Black Panther but it’s impossible to imagine anyone taking on the role of Falcon as deftly as he has. He knows how to be serious when he needs to be serious and he knows how to be hilarious when he needs to be hilarious. In any case, it’s uncertain how he’ll fit into the rest of Phase 3 but it’s clear he absolutely deserves more screen time – though whether he’ll take up the mantle of Captain America at some point is still up for debate.
8. Sharon Carter
After being first introduced in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Sharon Carter’s romance with Steve Rogers in Captain America: Civil War turned a few heads due to the lack of actual on-screen time we’ve spent with the character. We can only hope that this changes in the future – though it’s unsure where that extra character development might come from. There’s plenty of potential in exploring Peggy’s niece beyond just her heritage and connection to Rogers, someone at Disney and Marvel just needs to tap it. Though her comic-book counterpart is a little less idealistic, she’s still a highly-trained and effective secret agent. In fact, considering the role her character has played in the comics, it’s almost a shock that she hasn’t turned up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. yet. Sharon Carter’s romance with Steve Rogers was an undeniable weak point in an otherwise strong movie, here’s hoping that Marvel look to address this in the future. On the surface, she seems like a pretty cool character – she just needs more depth and development.
Michael Peña brought was an original character whose lightning-quick storytelling sessions proved a scene stealer in the first Ant-Man film. Throughout the film, his comedic timing was snappy and his presence added a little more diversity to the Marvel universe. With any luck, we’ll see more of him in Ant-Man and The Wasp but there’s a lot of potential in sharing him around to other corners of the Marvel universe. It’s easy to imagine him being caught up in Steve Rogers’ post-Civil War shenanigans or even running into Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming. It’s easy to write Luis off as simple comedic relief, but his brand of humor feels very unconventional and off-beat. As Marvel approaches the end of Phase 3, Peña is absolutely the kind of character they should be investing more time into in order to keep things fresh and interesting.
6. Nick Fury
Considering Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury is the man whose appearance in the post-credits stinger of the first Iron Man film got the ball rolling for the whole Marvel cinematic universe, it’s quite surprising to see him missing in action since last year’s Age of Ultron. Not that Fury is at fault here. With S.H.I.E.L.D. dismantled and Tony Stark taking up the task of mentoring Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming, there’s not a whole lot for him to do. It’s a shame, really. Jackson brings a hell of an energy to his performance as the character and it’s pretty fun to watch him team up and riff with pretty much any Marvel character. Captain America: Civil War screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus have all but confirmed in interviews that Fury will be back for the Infinity War films. In the meantime, things don’t look too likely for Fury to get any more screen time in the near future – although another guest spot on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is always a possibility. We still haven’t learned what happened to his eye.
5. Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter
Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter debuted as part of the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and they quickly rose to become fan favorites on the show’s cast. The pair have a very fun and unconventional relationship and are constantly bouncing off one another, both in dialogue and in fight scenes. After being written out of the Agents and set up for their own series, Marvel’s Most Wanted, it looked like we were going to see a whole lot more of these two. However, production on the spin-off seems to have stalled following ABC passing on the pilot episode. It’s unknown whether they’ll return to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or end up elsewhere in the universe but we can only hope for more of them. The pair make a fun duo and would be a delight to see bounce off the bigger screen Avengers characters like Black Widow and Bruce Banner.
4. War Machine
The surprising amount of screen time that James Rhodes got in Captain America: Civil War proved an unexpected highlight of the film and it showed that his character has a whole lot more to offer than just an iron suit and a string of cheesy one-liners. Rhodey’s resistance to being reduced to side-kick status makes for a great dynamic with Tony Stark in the Iron Man films and his refusal to be treated like a second-tier Avenger during Civil War was similarly compelling. Given his last few appearances have been essentially limited to fight scenes, Cheadle has gone above and beyond when it comes to his performance. His military training lends him a different fighting style to Stark and a different perspective on things. While his crippling at the hands of Vision in the most recent Marvel blockbuster is undeniably tragic, hopefully it opens the door for his character to get some further exploration. Civil War showed that Rhodey has a lot to offer below the surface and we can only hope that future movies capitalize on that.
3. Scarlet Witch
Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch has come a long way from her debut as a villain in Avengers: Age of Ultron. She’s strong, smart and capable of terrifying supernatural powers. While she spends a lot of Civil War out of play, we’re hopeful that future Marvel movies will give her more of a role. Even disconnected from her heritage and the rest of the X-Men, there’s a lot they could do with the character. These days, the smart money is on her showing up alongside Doctor Strange in his solo film this November. Given their shared supernatural background, there’s plenty that both characters could learn from one another. In any case, Olsen has done a great job of bringing Wanda Maximoff to Marvel’s cinematic universe and it’ll be a crime if we don’t see her take center stage at some point. Olsen herself has said that she’d love to bring the character’s famous ‘House of M’ arc to life one day. Given Fox’s control over the X-Men, we don’t know how likely that’ll be.
2. Wilson Fisk
Vincent D’Onofrio’s take of the Kingpin has proved to be a standout across both seasons of Marvel’s Daredevil and he’s a character that moviegoing fans are dying to see interact with the greater Marvel universe. D’Onofrio has amazing on-screen presence and it’d be great to see the scope of his role expand to match that of his comic book counterpart. He’s brought a great sense of humanity to a character often defined by his physicality and absolutely deserves more screen time. Plenty of fans have already expressed their hopes for him to appear opposite Tom Holland’s Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming but there’s plenty of room for him to appear in any of Marvel’s other shows from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to Luke Cage and even perhaps the in-development Punisher series. D’Onofrio even recently commented on the Spider-Man rumors saying via Twitter, saying “I love all this action about me doing Spider-Man. Tell Marvel!”
1. Hawkeye or Black Widow
Ever since their debuts (in Iron Man 2 and Thor, respectively) Black Widow and Hawkeye have been the most underrated element of Marvel’s Avengers lineup. Black Widow brought some much needed gender-diversity to the team in the first Avengers and Hawkeye’s mundane weaponry (compared to the other Avengers) made for a great comedic throughline in Age of Ultron. Marvel has drawn on the huge legacies of both characters when bringing them to the big screen and fans have been calling for them to get a solo outing ever since. According to Marvel’s Kevin Fiege, the studio are committed “creatively and emotionally” to giving Black Widow her own movie – a possibility which many say is more likely after Marvel’s recent creative restructuring. According to Fiege, “She’s a lead Avenger and has amazing stories in her own right to tell that we think would be fun to turn into a stand-alone franchise.” Whether anything comes of these encouraging words is matter for Phase 4. Meanwhile, fans of Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye have called for the character to get his own dedicated Netflix series. Renner said during an audience Q&A at a recent Silicon Valley Comic Con that “These are things that are really not in my control, but I’d be open to it. I’ve really enjoyed getting to explore the character more recently. The Netflix model is where all the character drama goes to now, you’re doing a superhero movie or a Netflix or HBO kind of model. So I’d be open to it. Not up to me, though.” Failing these options, we can expect for both Hawkeye and Black Widow to return to our screens during the two-part Avengers: Infinity War – Though without a bigger, more-dedicated offering it seems like we’ll never find out what happened in Budapest.