The release of Avengers: Endgame marked the end of a Marvel era. Bringing the Infinity Saga to a close, the movie capped off the journeys for many heroes, but opened the door for many more to appear. It also served to close the story of Thanos’ search for the Infinity Stones, making room for the Avengers, and their new allies, to turn and face new villainous threats.
Over the years, threats to the members of the Avengers included massive extraterrestrial forces, like Thanos and his minions, or the Chitauri. Threats also came from villains already on Earth. Some had personal agendas, like Erik Killmonger in Black Panther or Helmut Zemo in Captain America: Civil War. Others were more interested in world domination, like Loki in The Avengers, or Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Still others were simply misunderstood, like Ghost in Ant-Man and the Wasp. That large variety of villains, with different backgrounds and motivations, isn’t going away.
With Avengers: Endgame now available for public consumption, we wanted to take a look ahead at which villains the new configuration of the team will face next. Future movies and behind the scenes news only confirmed a handful of characters for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Most of the rest are the rest of speculation from fans and rumors that sprouted up as writers started drafting new scripts.
We combed the internet and assembled Avengers: 12 Villains Rumored To Appear After Endgame (And 8 Who Are Confirmed).
25 Rumored: Namor
Every time fans are on pins and needles waiting for Marvel to announce new projects, a wave of rumors surrounding Namor starts. Like Aquaman in DC Comics, Namor hails from Atlantis and is the ruler of an underwater people.
He also has a long comic book history of not getting along with T’Challa and the people of Wakanda, despite often being a hero himself. Fans point to Iron Man 2 containing an Easter egg for Atlantis as hope that he’ll one day appear. Talk of an underwater earthquake in Avengers: Endgame started the rumors all over again. We’ll have to wait and see if he ever gets the chance to make trouble for T’Challa in a Black Panther sequel.
24 Rumored: The Brood
The Brood aren’t so much a rumor as an alien race that there are plenty of fans holding out hope for. Their story primarily played out in X-Men comics, so many fans thought they’d never see them in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the Disney-Fox deal going through though, all of those X-Men characters can now be used by Marvel Studios.
Of the characters in the MCU now, it’s Captain Marvel who has the most experience with the Brood. The alien race is one of parasites. They lay their eggs in hosts and then take over their bodies. At one point, they experimented on Carol Danvers and gave her the power equivalent to an exploding star. They’d be a pretty horrifying enemy for her to face on screen.
23 Rumored: Red Skull
When Red Skull fell through a portal in Captain America: The First Avenger, fans wondered if we’d seen the last of him. He popped up again in Avengers: Infinity War, but not in a way many expected.
Red Skull had a new job guarding the Soul Stone on Vormir. With the Soul Stone no longer held there, his free to roam again. Fans have a lot of questions about the villain and have started speculating that the MCU might just bring him back for more stories. Besides, Ross Marquand did a great job taking over the character, and it would be a shame if he didn’t get to continue.
22 Confirmed: Mysterio
Trailers for the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home revealed Jake Gyllenhaal playing the role of Mysterio. Interestingly, he appears as an ally to Spider-Man, but something tells us that won’t last.
When Mysterio first appeared in Marvel Comics, he also acted as an ally to Spider-Man before double-crossing him and becoming a major recurring villain. In fact, Mysterio make ups part of the Sinister Six in some of the villainous group's incarnations. It will be interesting for audiences to see how his relationship with Spider-Man comes to life on the big screen.
21 Rumored: The Mandarin
The Mandarin left a lot of fans wanting more in Iron Man 3. While the movie revealed the character thought of as the Mandarin was a fake, the one shot All Hail The King revealed the real one is still out there.
The leader of the Ten Rings, the Mandarin had his hands in a lot of weapons deals. He was actually in the background trying to get his hands on Tony Stark’s armor in the tie-in comics to the movies. Because his story still feels unfinished, fans theorize that one day, he might prove to be an antagonist to the next team of Avengers.
20 Rumored: Erik Killmonger
When Black Panther’s solo movie debuted, the MCU introduced an incredibly compelling villain in Erik Killmonger. Many fans disliked that Michael B. Jordan’s new character didn’t appear to live to see a sequel. Thanks to an interview with Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance though, rumor has it he’ll be back.
Because we didn’t actually see Erik close his eyes for the last time on screen, plenty of fans hope he still lived to recover from his injuries with the help of Wakanda’s superior science. If he didn’t, there are still plenty of ways we could see him return to the MCU. Perhaps it will be in flashbacks, or in a visit to the Black Panther’s ancestral plane.
19 Confirmed: Baron Mordo
Karl Mordo was an ally for Doctor Strange in the sorcerer’s self titled debut. By the time the credits rolled, however, he changed his mind. Believing only the worthy should have magic, Karl Mordo was well on his way to becoming his comic book alter ego, Baron Mordo.
Scott Derrickson confirmed that he plans on using Karl Mordo as a villain as soon as he gets the chance to tackle another Doctor Strange story. Watching two sorcerers go head to head long after Doctor Strange discovered the extent of his power should be a real treat.
18 Rumored: Yelena Belova
The woman who attempted to succeed Natasha Romanoff as the Black Widow in the comics might finally get her turn on the big screen. There’s a Black Widow movie on the way, and casting two women younger than Scarlett Johansson has many speculating that Yelena could be making a play for the title.
Yelena graduated from the Red Room Academy years after Natasha did in the comics - decades, in fact. She was obsessed with being the best, and as a result, she wanted to take out the best. It put her and Natasha at odds more than once. Her introduction to the MCU would be a great way to explore Natasha’s past.
17 Rumored: Madam Slay
A woman with a penchant for cheetah print clothing in the comics, Madam Slay was the girlfriend of Erik Killmonger. It’s not clear whether the woman along for the ride on Erik’s crime spree in Black Panther was meant to be the movie version of her or not, so fans are still hoping she’ll come to the big screen for revenge.
In the comics, Madam Slay not only seeks out the Black Panther for revenge for her loss, but she also actually succeeds in bringing her old beau back to life. Her introduction could lead to Killmonger’s return as well.
Besides, fans are hoping for more female villains now that the MCU has expanded its female hero count.
16 Confirmed: The Elementals
With Spider-Man: Far From Home being the only MCU property we have a lot of information about so far, we at least know of a few villains coming to the screen there. When Peter Parker and his classmates travel to Europe for a school trip, one of the villains they’ll come across is a group known as the Elementals.
These villains are based on, you guessed it, the four cardinal “elements” of old. Each one has powers rooted in earth, air, fire, and water. Trailers have already shown Mysterio and Spider-Man teaming up to take on the water elemental, which is Hydro-Man for the purpose of the movie.
15 Rumored: Druig
One Marvel property on the way is The Eternals. Centering on a group of beings that are just like humans, but Celestial in origin, and therefore, nearly immortal, the movie is rumored to play like a soap opera.
In the comics, Druig is a member of the Eternals who finds himself at odds with his brethren when he wants more power. Sounds like the making of just about any super villain.
14 Rumored: Zheng Zu
With a Shang-Chi movie in development, the new big screen hero is going to need his own villains. One of the most logical choices, and the one whispers on the internet have pointed to, is Zheng Zu.
Also known as Fu Manchu, Zheng Zu is actually Shang-Chi’s own father, which would bring a new dynamic to villainy for the MCU. We’ve seen siblings squabble for power, but we haven’t seen a hero have to stop their own father from taking over the world - yet.
13 Confirmed: Adam Warlock
All due respect to Adam Warlock and the good he did in the comics, but we don’t know in what context he’ll finally emerge from his cocoon in the MCU. Last we saw his potential cocoon, it was in the hands of the Sovereign, who had it out for the Guardians of the Galaxy. As a result, he lands on the villain list.
James Gunn, who has been rehired for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, has repeatedly voiced his desire to get the character on the big screen. The appearance of his cocoon means his introduction is inevitable. It’s just a matter of when.
12 Rumored: Minn-Erva
Captain Marvel brought together several comic book characters to create the Starforce team. One of those was a Kree named Minn-Erva who was slightly different than her comic book counterpart.
Known as Dr. Minerva in the comics, Minn-Erva was a sharpshooter in the movie. Gemma Chan worked with her relatively small role to make Minn-Erva an interesting antagonist. Fans hope that since her demise wasn’t shown in the climactic fight scene, she’ll pop up as a major villain in a later movie.
11 Rumored: Kraven The Hunter
It seems like every time a new Spider-Man project is announced, fans can’t wait to speculate about the new villain. Green Goblin is out, and the one who frequently gets the most internet chatter is, surprisingly, Kraven the Hunter.
Kraven is a big game hunter who likes to hunt “one of a kind” trophies. One of the trophies he wants most in the comics? Spider-Man himself.
Even when Spider-Man: Far From Home was announced, fans wondered if this could be the time that Kraven finally made it to the big screen. That’s unlikely, but the MCU still has plenty of mileage for him to appear.
10 Confirmed: Vulture
One Spider-Man villain we will definitely see again is the Vulture. Played by Michael Keaton in Spider-Man: Homecoming, he’s confirmed on the cast list for Spider-Man: Far From Home as well.
Last we saw the character, he was in prison, paying for his role in salvaging alien technology and creating high tech weapons. He could, however, end up a big problem for Spider-Man since he knows the hero’s real identity. The credit scene hinted he made powerful friends in prison, so the potential exists for a team built behind bars.
9 Rumored: Taskmaster
One villain comic book fans find fascinating is Taskmaster. Capable of mimicking body movements and fighting styles after observing an opponent, he’s a hard villain to beat. Only Deadpool’s unpredictable combat style leaves him scratching his head.
He’s long been rumored to see an introduction as a street level villain in a Marvel Netflix series, but with those canceled, fans wondered if he could get a big screen debut instead. As casting announcements for the Black Widow movie hit the internet, some fans thought David Harbour or O-T Fagbenle might be playing a version of Taskmaster, but nothing is known for sure just yet.
8 Rumored: Kilgrave
Kilgrave made a huge impression on fans in the first season of Jessica Jones. Though Jessica ended the villain’s life by the time the season came to an end, that didn’t mean the show was done with him. Instead, he popped up as a hallucination in season two, and fans want more.
With Jessica Jones as the last Netflix series standing (season three will air this year), fans are waiting to find out details about what’s next. When one said goodbye to Kilgrave on twitter, showrunner Melissa Rosenberg’s response of, “not yet,” got the rumor mill of another appearance in season three going.
7 Confirmed: Loki
Loki isn’t always a villain. In fact, sometimes, he’s been a great ally to Thor. Even though he lost to Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, we’re still going to see more of his old tricks, and possibly his old villainy, in an upcoming Disney Plus series.
The show is set to feature Loki as an “unlikely influencer of historical events.” Without giving away too many spoilers, that idea sounds like it might stem from a particular set of events in Avengers: Endgame. With Loki whispering in the ears of leaders (like he did to Erik Selvig in The Avengers), we could see some very interesting takes on important points in history.
6 Rumored: Ivan Petrovich
Those who watched Avengers: Endgame were treated to one tiny bit of information about Black Widow’s past. Her father’s name was Ivan. That wasn't her father's name in the comics. Ivan Petrovich, the same man responsible for her joining the Red Room program to become the Black Widow, raised her.
With her solo movie on the way, and likely a prequel, the movie version of Ivan Petrovich could be both her father and a villain. Introducing him to the MCU could serve to flesh out the Red Room program quite a bit.
5 Rumored: Ultron
Avengers: Age Of Ultron probably isn’t anyone’s favorite Avengers movie. It received a lot of mixed reactions to the story choices made for the core six characters. One thing fans agree on though is that Ultron could still be an interesting villain.
As an artificial intelligence with many robotic bodies, it’s entirely possible that the programming that created Ultron is still out there in the world in the MCU. There’s always room for a return of old villains to cause trouble for a new generation of heroes.
4 Confirmed: Nightmare
Doctor Strange’s sorcery opened up a lot of new doors for the MCU. That includes the idea of other dimensions and alternate universes. One of those other dimensions - the Dream Dimension - is home to the entity known as Nightmare in the comics.
When Doctor Strange writer C. Robert Cargill attended a question and answer session last year, he made it clear that Baron Mordo wasn’t the only villain he and Scott Derrickson wanted to tackle. They also planned to include Nightmare if given the chance. Adding a villain who operates in dreams and nightmares would certainly give the movie an even more trippy quality than the first.
3 Rumored: Doctor Doom
Until recently, FOX held the screen rights for the Fantastic Four and their chief villain Doctor Doom. With Disney and FOX striking a deal, Marvel now holds the option of using those characters on screen. One project in development before the deal happened has fans speculating that Doctor Doom could join the MCU next.
Producer and writer Noah Hawley worked on a script for a Doctor Doom movie before the studios announced the merger. Though the project is now up in the air, Hawley did meet with Marvel’s Kevin Feige to discuss his work, so it’s entirely possible the movie could still happen or the character could join the ranks of series for Disney Plus.
2 Rumored: Black Widow
The Natasha Romanoff version of Black Widow has been a hero since audiences met her in Iron Man 2. She’s been a spy and a liar willing to do whatever it takes for a mission - but still a hero. That could change with her solo movie.
The Black Widow centric movie sat in development for years until casting ramped up recently. With the rumor out there that the prequel will be set before Natasha becomes a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, it’s possible she’s actually the villain of the story. At the very least, she’s probably not going to be the superhero we’re all used to.
1 Rumored: The Sinister Six
Once upon a time, Sony planned to produce a movie centered on the Spider-Man villains the Sinister Six. The team up would have united the villains audiences had already seen in the Amazing Spider-Man movies. When the franchise abruptly ended, so did the plans.
Now that Spider-Man is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, however, word spread that the plan might not be dead in the water. Vulture, Scorpion, and Shocker already exist in the Spider-Man movies. With Mysterio on the way, it looks like Sony might be building to a Sinister Six story in connection with the MCU.
Who are you looking forward to seeing in the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Is there one rumored villain you think the Avengers just have to square off against? Let us know in the comments.