With the release of Civil War and the launch of its ‘Phase Three,' the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues its dominance of the movie landscape. Civil War has primed audiences for multiple new characters who’ll prove increasingly important in upcoming movies, and there are plenty more significant characters that will turn up in films like Doctor Strange, Black Panther, and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Some characters that’ll show up in upcoming movies will have a significant impact on the future of the MCU – heroes and villains which will play major roles in the development of future films will be introduced over the next few years, as the series continues to adapt and change over time.
While it’s not possible to predict every new character that’ll make a major impact on the MCU, fans of Marvel Comics are not above making educated guesses about which elements from the comics will soon show up on the big screen. Here are fifteen characters from Marvel comics that might make their debut in the very near future.
16 Norman Osborn
Movie audiences have already been introduced to several incarnations of the Green Goblin over the past few years – in both the Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man franchises, Norman Osborn and his son Harry have appeared to make trouble for the Web Head. Willem Dafoe’s portrayal of the dual personalities that make up the complex character of Osborn remains one of the most popular elements from the first Spider-Man trilogy, and news that the actor will be starring in the upcoming Justice League movie has upset many fans who’d been holding out hope that he might reprise his iconic role in the MCU.
Nevertheless, the MCU needs a Norman Osborn. Not only is the character pivotal to the Spider-Man mythos, but in more recent years, Osborn has played a large part in significant Avengers comics. Not only is Osborn the original comic book Iron Patriot, but he also took control of US national defense and the Avengers for a short time during the Dark Reign comic storyline.
As Spider-Man’s collection of key characters enter the MCU, it’s unlikely that Osborn will be skipped, and there’s plenty of potential for the character to take on a wider role in a Phase Four movie after a new big bad villain is needed for the series in the wake of Infinity War.
15 Kamala Kahn
The new Ms. Marvel hasn’t been around very long, especially not compared to the more established Marvel superheroes, but her impact has been phenomenal. Widely credited as being responsible for a new era of superhero comics aimed at young female audiences, the character of Kamala Kahn has also drawn a lot of praise for portraying a Muslim American who breaks many of the established norms for popular comic book superheroes.
Considering the widespread popularity that Ms Marvel has achieved in such a short time, there’s no doubt Marvel is looking at ways to capitalize on the character’s large appeal. With a Captain Marvel movie in the works, it’s highly likely that Kamala will feature in the story, setting up the introduction of a another hero who, like Spider-Man, has to worry about curfews, secret identities, and schoolwork as well as saving the world.
14 Jessica Drew
Known more commonly as Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew is a key character in Marvel comics, most notably for her friendship with Captain Marvel. It’s common for the two heroes to spend time together, whether in-costume or not, and her inclusion in the Captain Marvel movie would be an excellent way to introduce Spider-Woman to the MCU.
While in the comics, Spider-Woman essentially functions as a super-powered Black Widow (having been trained as a spy to make best use of her powers), it’d be likely that Marvel would take a different approach with the character in its movies. Even the name Spider-Woman might not stick, as it could lead to confusion with the far more well-known Spider-Man. Instead, it’s likely that Drew will first appear without any mention of superhuman abilities, before Marvel decides what to do with her a little later on.
13 Miles Morales
When news broke that the Spider-Man franchise would be rebooted yet again, many fans were hopeful that this would mean seeing a different take on the character. A hugely popular character in Marvel comics in his own right, Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man, has won a lot of support from fans since his introduction a few years ago, to the point that he’s now been inducted into the main Marvel comics universe instead of living in the separate continuity that he originated from.
The MCU is no stranger to featuring multiple characters who share the same heroic identity – both Sam Wilson (the Falcon) and Bucky Barnes (the Winter Soldier) have taken on the mantle of Captain America in the past, and its likely that Bucky’s inclusion in the first Captain America movie was designed to lay the groundwork for his role as a superpowered character in future films. Similarly, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Miles Morales introduced as a friend of Peter Parker’s before gaining his own spider powers at a later date.
The pantheon of Norse gods as presented within Marvel comics features more than a few interesting characters that haven’t yet made it to film. One such is Angela, otherwise known as Aldrif Odinsdottir, who’s notable within comics for being a creation of renowned author Neil Gaiman and artist Todd McFarlane. While popular in her own right, a 2014 comic story arc revealed that Angela is Thor’s half-sister, after having been sold to Marvel comics by Gaiman.
There’s plenty of speculation that Angela might be appearing in the upcoming Thor Ragnarok. Now that Cate Blanchett is officially Hela and Tessa Thompson is Valkyrie, is there room for another powerful woman character in the Thunder God's third solo movie? We can only hope.
11 Adam Warlock
The team members of the Guardians of the Galaxy that appear in the movie of the same name don’t constitute the entire team as they appear in Marvel comics – the group has a regularly changing roster and has featured some fairly diverse characters over the years, including Venom, Captain Marvel, and the X-Men’s Kitty Pryde.
One character who may appear in the upcoming sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy is Adam Warlock, one of the most powerful cosmic beings in Marvel comics who is partially responsible for saving the universe from the destructive power of the Infinity Gauntlet when Thanos gets his hands on it during the Infinity War comics event.
James Gunn has confirmed that Star Lord’s father, the warlord J’Son in the comics, will have a different identity in the next movie, and will be played by Kurt Russell. This has led to speculation that the movie will instead reveal that Adam Warlock is Peter Quill’s dad, though take that with a grain of salt of course.
10 Ego the Living Planet
One of the more bizarre characters in the Marvel comics universe, Ego the Living Planet’s name is exceptionally accurate – he's an enormous, sentient planet, Ego has lofty goals of conquering the universe, and often finds himself at war with various superheroes in his attempts to do so.
While Ego’s first big tangle in comics is with Thor, who is understandably concerned about Ego’s plans for universal domination. That said, the inherent silliness of a living planet probably fits better with the Guardians of the Galaxy, who’ve also faced Ego at different times in the comics. Considering that Ego is an enormous, bearded planet, if this character does appear in the MCU, it’ll probably be as a joke.
9 Felicia Hardy
Known more commonly as the Black Cat, Felicia Hardy is probably the most famous love interest for Peter Parker who hasn’t appeared in a significant role in a Spider-Man movie thus far – possibly due to the similarities between her alter ego and Catwoman from the Batman franchise.
This is a shame; the Black Cat has the power to manipulate probability, always proving lucky in intense situations, which is a fun super power that hasn’t yet made its way to the big screen. While Felicia makes a small appearance in Amazing Spider-Man 2 and plans were underway for her to appear as Black Cat in future movies, the decision to reboot the Spider-Man world for a second time meant that this didn’t actually happen.
For Peter’s third web-swinging attempt, as fans have already seen a love story with both Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy at the center, it makes sense for the MCU to try a different direction. Some fans speculate that Zendaya, officially credited as playing a character known only as Michelle, might actually be playing the Black Cat. Whether this speculation proves to be true will likely become apparent as work on the movie progresses, so stay tuned.
With the Doctor Strange movie drawing closer, there’s plenty of speculation going around as to what villain Stephen Strange will face. There's no shortage of iconic villains that could appear, but considering that Chiwetel Ejiofor is playing Baron Mordo and appears from production images to be working alongside Doctor Strange, most speculation is turning to Dormammu, the fiery demonic evil that Strange often tangles with in the comics.
Some fans speculate that Mads Mikkelsen is playing Dormammu, while others suspect that he’s playing a character who at some point falls under Dormammu’s sway, in a fresh take on the Mindless Ones from comics – semi-sentient beings that do Dormammu’s bidding. Whatever role Dormammu takes in the upcoming movie, it’s very likely that the character will appear in some form or other.
The name of Captain Marvel has been applied to a variety of characters over the years. The first Captain Marvel, now better known as Shazam, belongs to DC comics and is scheduled to appear in an upcoming movie starring Dwayne Johnson. The Captain Marvel who’ll be appearing in the MCU in her own movie in 2018 was the original Ms. Marvel, and is better known as pilot Carol Danvers.
The original Captain Marvel in Marvel Comics, however, is an alien named Mar-Vell, a Kree warrior who crash-lands on Earth and defends the planet for a while before his death. Originally, Carol Danvers gained her abilities from Mar-Vell, so it’s possible that in telling her story in the Captain Marvel movie, audiences will get the chance to see Mar-Vell on-screen.
That said, the story of a pilot who comes across a crashed alien spaceship might sound a bit too much like Green Lantern for some movie fans, so Carol Danvers’ story might be tweaked a little to bear less resemblance to other existing comic book movies.
6 The Hood
One of the more interesting villains in the MCU, The Hood was originally a low-level thief who gained magic powers from a mystical hooded cloak, which he uses to carve out turf as a crime boss. The character has grown quickly within the comics universe, to the point that he’s been considered one of the major players in the criminal underworld at different times, and has tangled with Daredevil, the Avengers, and Doctor Strange on various occasions.
If there’s one thing the MCU lacks, it’s strong, compelling villains that are capable of holding a candle to the heroes. The Hood would be able to provide this, giving audiences another Loki-esque villain with a memorable enough backstory to warrant his support, even as he uses his dark powers to commit crimes.
The Nova corps make an appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy, and it’s likely that the intergalactic police force will return for the upcoming sequel. One character that hasn’t appeared, though, is the superhero known simply as Nova.
There have been several Novas in Marvel comics – while one of many members of the Nova corps, these space cops have been unique in their placement on Earth and therefore have the chance to get to know their fellow heroes. While James Gunn is opposed to featuring a distinct Nova hero in Guardians 2, he might show up elsewhere – having a cosmic, space faring character whose home base is on Earth is, rather unexpectedly, something that the MCU hasn’t seen yet.
4 Wonder Man
It’s been confirmed that Simon Williams, better known in Marvel comics as Wonder Man, will appear in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, if only in the form of posters on the wall of a movie theater. These posters show off the grinning face of Nathan Fillion, best known as everyone’s favorite space cowboy, Malcolm Reynolds from Joss Whedon’s Firefly.
What’s not yet known is whether or not Fillion will have a substantial role within Guardians 2, as opposed to simply appearing as window dressing – although the prominent inclusion of his face on one of the movie’s sets does suggest that he’ll be a bit more than just a fun easter egg for fans. What’s even more uncertain is whether or not Fillion’s Simon Williams will also be Wonder Man, a superhero originally created by Baron Zemo, the secretive principal antagonist from the Civil War movie.
3 Blackbolt and the Inhumans
While Marvel have officially hit the pause button on their previously in-production Inhumans movie, it’s unlikely that the work which has gone into adapting the Inhumans for the big screen is going to be completely ditched. They're already a large part of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series, and with efforts already underway to create a treatment for the main group of Inhumans, who live on the moon in a space colony under the rule of Blackbolt, these character may well turn up somewhere in one of Marvel’s upcoming movies.
Blackbolt is notable for being the leader of the Inhumans, but also of being so powerful that he cannot speak, for fear of destroying planets with his raw energy. Vin Diesel had been tipped to be involved with the Inhumans movie, perhaps providing a body for a silent character to parallel the voice he provides for the CGI walking tree and barely talking Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s not impossible that Diesel could appear as Blackbolt in a different Marvel movie, possibly in the Infinity War films that’ll be released in 2018 and 2019.
2 The Young Avengers
In the comics, after the official Avengers disband, a group of well-meaning teenagers with superpowers come together to serve as their replacement. These include Ant Man’s daughter Cassie Lang, as well as other heroes who all in some way have connections to former Avengers.
Following the events of Civil War, now would be the perfect time to introduce the Young Avengers into the MCU, as the youngsters do their best to fill the shoes of their idols. Cassie might be a little too young to take up the role, but other Young Avengers such as Wiccan, Hulkling and Miss America Chavez are fan favorites, and would no doubt be welcomed into the pantheon of MCU heroes.
With two movies coming out every year for the foreseeable future, there’s going to be a lot more growth in the MCU before too long. Phase Three looks set to introduce a variety of new and interesting characters, many of whom open up exciting new aspects of Marvel comics canon for exploration in the movies.
Which Marvel comics heroes are you looking forward seeing brought to life on the big screen? Which characters on this list do you think will appear soon, and which ones are less likely? Leave your thoughts in the comments.