The Marvel Universe is populated with literally thousands of characters – so it’s hardly surprising that not all of them are exactly winners. Indeed, some of these characters are downright embarrassing, even by the outlandish standards of the superhero genre.
That makes it all the more incredible when you realize that Marvel Studios has managed to successfully incorporate several of these characters into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sure, this has sometimes meant toning down their more bizarre attributes, but, it’s undeniably impressive just how many supposedly “unusable” characters have appeared in the MCU.
At the same time, while Marvel has proven that it’s capable of achieving the seemingly impossible – remember, the MCU itself was considered a major gamble – there are limits to what the studio can accomplish. That’s why some of the more ludicrous players seen in the comic books will never make their film or TV debut. Only a genuine miracle could reinvent these characters enough to prevent audiences laughing at the sight of them.
It’s also worth noting that there are some characters who are ostensibly more than qualified to star in the next MCU installment, until you consider the questionable overtones inherent to them. In situations like this, Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige and his team are more than likely to avoid using such a character – or if they do, will rework them until they barely resemble their comic book counterpart.
With this in mind, here are 13 Embarrassing Characters Who Will Never Appear In The MCU (And 12 That Already Have).
25 Already Has – Egghead
With a name like “Egghead”, you wouldn’t expect this character to make the grade for an MCU berth – let alone in one of the more emotional scenes of Ant-Man and the Wasp!
Marvel Studios established this criminal genius as the father of Ghost.
Egghead – or Elihas Starr, as he is known in the movie – doesn’t get much to do during his cameo appearance, other than kick the bucket.
While Starr doesn’t showcase his superhuman gift for absorbing knowledge, he does at least sport a bald noggin - although it’s not as noticeably egg-like as his comics equivalent.
24 Will Never Appear – Doctor Druid
A character so unpopular that even comic book pros have been known to openly ridicule him, Doctor Druid regularly finds himself ranking high on “Worst Avengers Ever” lists. What’s particularly galling is that as a supernatural monster hunter – which may well be the single greatest vocation ever – this guy should be awesome.
Everything about him – from his awful hairstyle to his mediocre magical abilities – brands him as a bit of a goofball. Toss in his undeservedly arrogant personality and reputation for betraying his teammates, and it’s clear Doctor Druid has no place in the MCU.
23 Already Has – Man-Ape
The Black Panther comic books were a huge step forward, with the titular character being the first superhero of African heritage depicted in mainstream comics. Yet that doesn’t mean every single member of the Black Panther supporting cast is as impressive as its celebrated protagonist. Take Man-Ape, who parades around in a white gorilla costume, for example.
That’s probably why Marvel Studios gave Man-Ape such a major overhaul when it came time for his MCU debut.
The supervillain from the comics is reinvented as a principled anti-hero known by his birth name, M’Baku.
The character incorporates a subdued gorilla motif into his tribal outfit.
22 Will Never Appear – Walrus
Walrus is kind of meant to be taken as a joke – which doesn’t make him any less embarrassing. The unfortunate end-product of an experiment to fuse human DNA with that of a walrus, this blubbery slob gets around in a painfully on-point ensemble replete with tusks.
In short: he’s every bit the gag character he was devised to be, which isn’t such a problem within the broader landscape of comic books that comprise the Marvel Universe. The same can’t be said for the comparatively more tonally uniform MCU, which – although it features some installments that are far lighter or darker than the norm – can’t accommodate anything as madcap as Walrus.
21 Already Has – The Mandarin
Objectively speaking the Mandarin is a formidable supervillain worthy of respect. There’s also no getting around the fact that the genesis of Iron Man’s archenemy has its roots in unpleasant, racially insensitive stereotypes -- something Marvel Studios seems keenly aware of.
Marvel Studio’s president Kevin Feige has openly commented on how uncomfortable he is with the character.
That’s why, to date, the only version of the Mandarin we’ve seen in the MCU is an invented persona played by drunken British actor Trevor Slattery – although short film Hail to the King indicates the real deal might be out there somewhere.
20 Will Never Appear – Starfox
With Thanos currently the greatest threat facing the MCU, comics fans have speculated whether his brother, Starfox, will show up to confront his sibling in next year’s Avengers 4. To be honest, we really wouldn’t count on it.
Starfox’s powers include the ability to psychically manipulate the emotions of those around him, enabling him to make to people feel deeply attracted to him. This makes his “ladykiller” reputation seem more than a little creepy. It makes this “hero” highly cringe-worthy in a post #MeToo world.
19 Already Has – Ego The Living Planet
Ego the Living Planet is one of those delightfully absurd concepts you rarely see outside of comic books: a sentient planet, complete with a gigantic, bearded face on its side!
A character this outrageous seems an unlikely candidate for inclusion in the more grounded MCU.
Fortunately, there was room such cosmic craziness with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
True, for most of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, Ego adopts a humanoid body to interact with Star-Lord and the rest of the team. But patient comics fans were rewarded during the film’s climactic battle, when Ego’s visage manifests itself on the surface of his planet when viewed from space.
18 Will Never Appear – Stilt-Man
Stilt-Man has been battling it out with Daredevil for decades now – but that doesn’t mean he’s gotten any less laughable.
As his name suggests, this loser’s main gimmick is that his advanced suit of armor is equipped with telescopic, hydraulic stilts that can extend over 200 feet.
If you’re having trouble imagining this kind of silliness rearing its head in the decidedly serious, gritty world of Netflix’s Daredevil series, you’re not alone. Indeed, we reckon the closest fans will get to seeing Stilt-Man in the MCU is via the recurring cameos by Turk Barrett – the low-life crook who briefly assumed the Stilt-Man identity in the comics.
17 Already Has – Purple Man
Marvel’s Netflix series have been responsible for some of the MCU’s most memorable and terrifying villains, and arguably the best of these is Kilgrave.
In an inspired revamping of the potentially ludicrous Purple Man, Kilgrave eschews the violent-tinged skin of his comic book counterpart.
Inspired by comics scribe Brian Michael Bendis’ take on the character, the show dials up his creepiness factor even further.
Benefiting from a knock-out performance by actor David Tennant – who even manages to elicit surprising amounts of sympathy from viewers – Kilgrave chillingly embodies the theme of exploited women at the heart of Jessica Jones.
16 Will Never Appear – Flag-Smasher
The underlying idea behind Flag-Smasher is actually pretty smart. Intended to contrast with Captain America, he symbolizes the downsides of anti-patriotic sentiment in the same way that Cap embodies all the virtues of patriotism.
The problem is that – clever conceit aside – Flag-Smasher is a bit of a joke. Maybe it’s his generic supervillain attire, or it could just be his rather on-the-nose codename.
All we know is that Flag-Smasher represents a decent concept let down by lackluster execution, and he’s not going to be troubling the heroes of the MCU any time soon.
15 Already Has – Batroc The Leaper
The version of Batroc the Leaper seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier is pretty much as good as it gets when it comes to this otherwise embarrassing mercenary.
For his brief appearance as a minor antagonist, Marvel Studios eliminated the more campy elements of the character, who is known here by his full name, Georges Batroc.
Batroc has also substituted his purple and yellow spandex for a more practical military get-up which still incorporates a similar color scheme.
However, the most important elements of this classic baddie – he’s a gun for hire who specializes in martial arts – are all present and accounted for.
14 Will Never Appear – The Matador
These days, Daredevil boasts a fearsome rogues gallery including the likes of Bullseye, the Kingpin, and Elektra. But back when the Man Without Fear first burst onto the scene, the foes he faced were a lot less imposing.
Case in point: the Matador. As the name suggests, this clown is a disgraced bull fighter who commits crimes clad in the traditional attire associated with the sport.
As if that weren’t silly enough, the Matador doesn’t even have any superpowers or hi-tech gadgets – he relies solely on his bull fighting cape and skills to get by.
In short: there’s absolutely nothing cool about him, and Marvel Studios would be crazy to feature him in the MCU!
13 Already Has –The Whizzer
The Golden Age of comics was a more innocent time – an era where you could give a superhero an alter-ego like “Whizzer” without worrying about the sniggering of cynical readers.
That’s just how it was in the early 1940s: if a superhero whizzed about with super-speed, you called him the Whizzer.
Of course, tastes have changed in the nearly 80 years since this guy first debuted, so much so that it was impossible to imagine the Whizzer would ever wind up in the MCU, much less its Netflix-based corner. Yet there he is in season 2 of Jessica Jones, zipping around in a yellow hoodie that evokes his original yellow duds!
12 Will Never Appear – The Living Eraser
Let’s face it: when your chosen criminal alter-ego is The Living Eraser, your chances of being considered eligible for the MCU are already pretty slim.
If your gimmick also happens to be that you literally “erase” your opponents from reality – by teleporting them to “Dimension Z”, naturally – what little hope you did have of seeing yourself on the big screen quickly evaporates.
The odds of the Living Eraser earning himself a movie counterpart aren’t exactly great, but given that he’s a walking disgrace to the not-so-noble supervillain profession, that’s hardly unfair.
11 Already Has – Bushmaster
Many critics considered the second season of Netflix’s Luke Cage an improvement over the first, and at least part of this has to do with central antagonist Bushmaster.
Ostensibly a terrible fit for the gritty vibe of the show – much like Diamondback in season 1 – this Jamaican gangster ended up slotting in perfectly.
Once again, this was a case of Marvel refining the aspects of the character that would translate well on screen, and jettisoning those that wouldn’t. This meant scrapping Bushmaster’s flamboyant spandex, and devising a plausible explanation for his equally florid moniker, at which point he was promptly established as a top-tier bad guy.
10 Already Has – The Tinkerer
Over the last decade, Marvel Studios has shown a knack for squeezing less notable villains into minor antagonist roles. A brilliant example of this is how – rather than creating a new, generic character – the filmmakers behind Spider-Man: Homecoming used the Tinkerer instead.
It didn’t actually take much to rehabilitate the Tinkerer for the screen.
The first step was ditching this retro baddie’s rather laughable name ; he goes by his civilian identity, Phineas Mason, instead.
After that, all that was needed was to focus more on his phenomenal engineering prowess and less on his penchant for whimsical schemes. The Tinkerer was transformed into the perfect lackey for Homecoming’s primary threat, the Vulture.
9 Will Never Appear – Rocket Racer
Skateboards are cool. Rockets are cool. But unfortunately for Marvel, a villain based around skateboards and rockets is most definitely not cool.
Perhaps it’s his eye-wateringly bad red and yellow costume, or maybe it’s just thanks to the inherent awkwardness of middle-aged comic book creators trying to embrace youth culture, but whatever the reason, Rocket Racer is just plain bad.
Unless this guy receives a monumental make-over from Marvel Studios, it’s virtually unthinkable that he’ll turn up in the MCU to bedevil Spider-Man with his “homicidal Tony Hawk” schtick.
8 Already Has – Shades
In the comics, Shades is a mid-level thug who occasionally tries his hand at the supervillain game, adopting hideous spandex and a dorky visor that emits energy blasts.
Marvel Studios wisely decided to emphasize the character’s less outlandish traits when it added him to the cast of Luke Cage, where he’s portrayed as slick and effective criminal operator Hernan “Shades” Alvarez.
In keeping with Marvel’s efforts to flesh-out the villains in its Netflix series, Shades is a morally and emotionally complex figure.
Sure, he’s a ruthless criminal who gleefully recounts his despicable acts. However, he’s also deeply loyal to his partner in crime, Comanche, and actively avoids needless bloodshed.
7 Will Never Appear – The Kangaroo
Outside of maybe Batman, no other superhero comes close to matching the quality of Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery. However, even among the malicious miscreants plaguing everyone’s favorite webslinger, there are a few dubious customers responsible for lowering the overall standard of villainy.
Chief among them is the Kangaroo, an Australian bandit with the ability to bound and kick like his home country’s most famous native animal. Not only is this beyond cliched – seriously: an Aussie character who mimics a kangaroo? – but it’s also about as entertaining as this guy gets.
He’s got no distinctive aesthetic, no compelling origin or motivations – and therefore no reason whatsoever to appear in the MCU.
6 Already Has – Arnim Zola
The co-creator of the vast majority of the Marvel Universe, Jack Kirby is one of the most influential comic book artists of all time. That’s not to say that some of “Kirby’s creations weren’t a little “out there” at times – like Arnim Zola, an evil scientist who inhabits a robot body that projects an image of his face via its torso-mounted TV screen!
Although Zola appeared in his human form as a supporting villain in Captain America: The First Avenger, nobody expected any further MCU appearances from him.
To our surprise, a computerized version of Zola played a pivotal role in the sequel The Winter Soldier.
5 Will Never Appear – D-Man
We’re going to be blunt here: D-Man – also known as Demolition Man – is just the worst. This failed professional athlete possesses literally no redeeming features.
His costume shamelessly steals its design from Wolverine’s mask and Daredevil’s original (and much-maligned) yellow bodysuit – and the combination isn’t flattering.
Admittedly, poor D-Man has been known to suffer mental health issues, so maybe we should cut him some slack. But at the end of the day, despite his noble intentions, this guy’s comically underwhelming aesthetic style and backstory just does not belong in the MCU – and that’s without mentioning his allegedly appalling body odour.
4 Already Has – Shocker
Shocker is a fine example of a supervillain whose name perfectly encapsulates everything about him. Not only do his high-tech gauntlets emit vibration-based shockwaves, but thanks to his cartoonish codename and quilted, yellow-and-red outfit, he’s, well, a bit of a shocker.
Not so in the MCU, however, where Herman Schultz is portrayed as one of the Vulture’s henchmen in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
A stripped back depiction of the character forgoes both the “Shocker” handle and his less-than-flattering costume.
The MCU incarnation achieves what his comic book equivalent never could: he’s actually a credible enemy!
3 Already Has – The Owl
Another less than stellar foe from early in Daredevil’s crimefighting career, the Owl draws his visual identity and powers from one of nature’s less intimidating creatures.
While he has some redeeming traits – he can fly and he has claws like Wolverine – Leland Owlsley is hardly a supervillain to write home about. That’s probably why in the MCU, he isn’t a supervillain at all.
In the Daredevil Netflix series, Owlsley is portrayed as the Kingpin’s accountant.
Make no mistake: he’s still very much a criminal – just not the kind who would ever style his hair like nocturnal bird of prey and don a garish green cloak inexplicably topped off with a red cravat.
2 Will Never Appear – 3-D Man / Triathlon
There are two versions of the 3-D Man – and both are about as embarrassing as each other. The original incarnation was a former test pilot who found himself reduced to a two-dimensional form, but who regained his missing dimension (along with superpowers) when his brother wore a special pair of glasses.
The second version appeared in the pages of The Avengers, and was initially known as Triathlon. He was a bland, one-time Olympic trackstar who started out as the spokesperson for a New Age-style cult. Triathlon’s storyline became more confusing (and even less entertaining) as it went on, making it clear that neither 3-D Man belongs in the MCU.
1 Already Has – Gladiator
The beauty of the serialized nature of comic book storytelling is that characters who start out lame actually have a chance to evolve into something much cooler. Such is the case with Gladiator, who in his original form – a crazed, muscle-bound supervillain with buzzsaw blades strapped to his wrists – would probably not have featured in the Daredevil Netflix series.
Fortunately, the MCU was able to draw upon the more recent version of Gladiator to craft its own.
Here, Melvin Potter is a brilliant tailor forced to design bulletproof clothing for the Kingpin and his cronies. He nevertheless supports Daredevil whenever he can.
Know of any other embarrassing characters who will never appear in the MCU? Let us know in the comments!