The game-changing deal that will send Fox's Marvel characters into the MCU brings with it a bunch of amazing villains for the shared universe to explore. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has enjoyed unprecedented levels of success, raking in over $13.5 billion over the course of 17 films. Those films have performed remarkably well with critics as well, sporting an eye-popping 83% average fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But despite all that success, detractors have been quick to point out the MCU's lack of compelling bad guys as the biggest area in which the shared universe is lacking.
There aren't many big screen MCU villains that have proven to be all that memorable. Outside of Tom Hiddleston's Loki, Marvel's baddies are a largely unoffensive but forgettable lot. Hell, even the villains that are generally viewed as the shared universe's worst efforts (like Malekith from Thor: The Dark World, or Whiplash from Iron Man 2) came and went with little fanfare. The MCU's heroes have consistently overshadowed the bad guys, for better or worse.
Marvel will look to change this with Avengers: Infinity War. The MCU has been building toward Thanos' first headlining appearance for nearly a decade now, and with folks behind the scenes promising that he'll be the shared universe's "biggest and baddest" villain yet, expectations are certainly high. But who comes after Thanos? The nefarious Infinity Stone collector will be a tough act to follow, but luckily, the Fox/Marvel deal has unlocked a brand new batch of baddies for the MCU to dive into. Some of the finest evildoers in Marvel Comics are now primed for adaptation, and we're taking a look at the best of the bunch with 5 Awesome Villains The MCU Can Now Use Thanks To The Fox Deal.
Of all the villains on our list, Magneto is surely the one that common moviegoers are most familiar with. Having been memorably brought to life on the big screen by Ian Mckellen and Michael Fassbender, he's easily been the most successful villain to feature in the X-Men movie universe so far. But it's that cinematic success that could prove to be the biggest obstacle standing in the way of the Master of Magnetism making his way into the MCU in the immediate future.
We still don't know just how quickly Marvel will look to insert the recent acquisitions from Fox into its shared universe. More importantly, we don't know how they're planning on doing it. Will they attempt to merge Fox's X-verse into the MCU, bringing the two universes together into one shared reality while keeping folks like Fassbender onboard? Or will they do what they did with Spider-Man and start from scratch with a full-on reboot? If they opt for the latter, it may be a bit too soon to introduce a whole new take on Magneto. Still, whenever he does arrive in the MCU, he'll shake the earth.
Jumping from our collection’s best known member straight to the most anonymous baddie of the bunch, the leader of the Negative Zone comes in at number four. Primarily known as a Fantastic Four villain, Annihilus nearly succeeding in bringing the entire universe under his heel in the appropriately-titled Annihilation storyline (though he was eventually defeated by the next entry on our list).
Before sweeping changes were made to the film, Annihilus was actually slated to appear in the 2015 Fantastic Four movie. Having dodged that landmine, the villainous Arthrosian could well make his cinematic debut in Phase 4 or 5 of the MCU, where he'd be a welcome addition. If properly executed, he could be straight-up terrifying on the big screen.
A former space explorer who merged with the Sentience of the Universe before the Big Bang even created the cosmos as we know it, Marvel villains just don’t get much bigger than Galactus. His powers are beyond comprehension; this dude literally eats planets and is capable of destroying multiple solar systems at once. Calling him an outright villain would be an oversimplification, however. He’s basically just a really hungry god that must consume worlds in order to survive. The concepts of good and evil, he’s beyond all that. Galactus has allied himself with Earth’s heroes almost as often as he’s opposed them.
He's appeared on the big screen once before, where he was reimagined as a bleeping cloud in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. And while that 1000% was not the way to go, Galactus isn’t exactly the simplest character to adapt in the Marvel Universe. His true form cannot be perceived by mere mortals, so his appearance is actually dictated by whomever's looking at him. (So if humans are looking at him, he'll look like a giant human.) Even if he were adapted faithfully, his proper comic form could easily get real goofy real fast. Still, if concept art like this was ever utilized, Galactus could prove to be a natural fit as the next big bad of the Marvel Universe.
2. Kang The Conqueror
This time-traveling big bad originally hails from the 30th century, and his backstory is about as complicated as they come. Originally a scholar named Nathanial Richards (and a distant relative of the Fantastic Four's Reed Richards), over the years, he's come to be known as Iron Lad, Immortus, and Rama-Tut, among many more identities. He'd almost certainly be simplified for his first live-action appearance, but the necessary tweaks would be worth it. Kang stands as one of the Avengers' greatest villains ever. He's even succeeded in conquering the planet before, having done so in the famed Kang Dynasty storyline.
With time travel seemingly playing a major role in Avengers 4, it's very possible that the groundwork is already being laid for Kang's MCU debut.
1. Doctor Doom
It's tough to argue against Doctor Doom's place at the very top of the Marvel villain food chain. Piss poor film adaptations haven't left much of an impression on moviegoers, however, so non-comic fans may not be aware of just how awesome Victor von Doom really is. The ruler of Latveria has an unmatched lust for power, and he's willing to go to any lengths to achieve his goals. Doom ranks as one of the smartest beings on Earth (he invented the universe's first known time machine) as well as one of its most powerful sorcerers (his abilities have been depicted as rivaling those of Doctor Strange). He's a polymath of the highest order, and perhaps Marvel's best bet for a worthy follow-up to Thanos that wouldn't feel like a retread.
Having been depicted onscreen three times in the last 13 years, the only thing standing in the way of the MCU fast-tracking him into their shared universe would likely be audience fatigue. But given how painfully off-base those previous adaptations were -- you'd be forgiven if you didn't even realize that this was supposed to be Doctor Doom -- Marvel shouldn't hesitate.
If/how Noah Hawley's Doctor Doom movie will fit into the MCU will definitely be something to keep an eye on in the coming months.