With almost a decade of connected Marvel movies and television shows, it’s understandable when we forget a few faces. Iconic heroes like Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hulk, and even Hawkeye are the ones taking center stage in the grand Marvel Cinematic Universe that we sometimes forget there’s a whole array of other characters living their lives in the MCU.
Most of these small-time heroes solely exist in the Netflix and ABC domain, while others have had limited appearances in the movies. Even villains that are so memorable in the comics have being left in obscurity in the MCU movies.
Now, this could be because these heroes and villains only appeared for a short period of time or perhaps because their costumes were not similar to their comic book counterpart’s. Regardless of the reason, most of these characters have been forgotten indeed (or inadvertently glanced over).
There are also other characters that have only being mentioned in the context of conversations and still need to make their MCU debut. While a quick name-drop in an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may serve the fanbase, other viewers aren’t so quick to catch the fun reference. Ultimately, this won't help the character’s wide MCU recognition.
From cosmic powerhouses to street-level crooks, here are 8 Superheroes And 7 Villains You Didn’t Know Are In The MCU.
15 Villain - Batroc The Leaper
Batroc the Leaper is not one of Captain America’s most well-known adversaries, so it’s not surprising many fans missed the fact that MMA fighter Georges St-Pierre played the villain in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Batroc is not necessarily a supervillain, as he doesn’t possess particular super powers, nonetheless, he’s made himself a formidable opponent of Cap, Deadpool, the Punisher, Hawkeye, and even Spider-Man.
He first appeared in Tales of Suspense issue 75 in 1966 and since, has appeared a number of times in comics and animated TV shows. Batroc is a French kickboxer of incredible hand to hand combat skills. Despite having no superpowers, he has shown to possess impeccable flexibility, strength, and agility. Batroc can even withstand a punch from Captain America and not lose stamina in the process.
No wonder Marvel Studios cast one of this generation's greatest fighters in Georges St-Pierre to take on Captain America one-on-one.
14 Hero - Human Torch
While it’s one of Captain America: The First Avenger’s best Easter eggs, most people don’t know that the Human Torch exists in the MCU - the original Human Torch that is. In the Stark Expo scene at the beginning of The First Avenger, the Human Torch can be seen in display.
In the comics, the Human Torch was an android much like Vision, and as his name implies, he was engulfed in flames. He hasn’t appeared much recently in comics but his inclusion in the MCU is marvelous indeed. Many fans were hoping that he would appear in Agent Carter, but that unfortunately never happened. It was later rumored that actor Jason O’Mara would play the Human Torch on Season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but that was quickly debunked when he was revealed to be playing Jeffrey Mace, aka The Patriot.
The Human Torch hasn’t made an MCU appearance since his quick cameo in Captain America: The First Avenger. He's about due for a comeback!
13 Villain - Blizzard
Before Dylan Minnette rocked Netflix as Clay Jensen in the acclaimed series 13 Reasons Why, he played the supervillain Donnie Gill/Blizzard on ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. In the episode “Seeds,” Donnie and a friend created a device that can control the weather to impress Ian Quinn, a wealthy genius inventor. The device backfires and electrocuted Donnie while killing his friend. As a result, Donnie got the power to generate blizzards, manipulate the cold, and create ice.
In a later episode, Hydra is after Donnie to use him as a weapon. S.H.I.E.L.D. tracks him down to a cargo ship and Hydra agents follow suit. While inside the ship, Donnie kills various Hydra agents by freezing them to death and when he is about to do the same to Jemma Simmons and the entire cargo ship, he is shot by Daisy Johnson (who at the time was known as Skye). His body turns to ice and falls to the bottom of the ocean. It is then revealed that the authorities were unable to recover Donnie’s body.
With Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. taking the team to space in Ssason 5, it’s unlikely that Minnette's Blizzard will ever return to the show.
12 Hero - Doc Samson
The Leader wasn’t the only prominent Marvel Comics character to appear in The Incredible Hulk. Another big name Marvel personality to appear in the movie was Doc Samson. Played by Ty Burrell, Samson was in a relationship with Betty Ross while Bruce Banner was in hiding in South America.
Like in the comics, Samson was also a psychiatrist in the movie. This version of Doc Samson never received his comic book powers, but it was alluded to in the movie.
In the comics, there was a time when Samson’s superhuman abilities were strictly tied to how long his green hair was. As silly as it sounds, the longer his hair, the more stronger he was, and vice versa. Later in the comics, the length of his hair didn’t affect his overall strength and he soon was able to stay in peak form no matter his hairstyle.
Samson’s powers are similar to that of the Hulk, except his strength doesn’t come close to that of the Jade giant. The Hulk gets stronger the angrier he gets, but Samson’s strength is constant no matter how angry he becomes.
11 Villain - Doctor Faustus
Doctor Faustus was played by Ralph Brown in the first season of Marvel’s Agent Carter. He was first referred by the moniker "Ivchenko" and was a high operative of the Russian spy agency Leviathan. By the end of the season, he was imprisoned by Peggy Carter and met the Hydra scientist Arnim Zola.
This version of Doctor Faustus was not too different from his comic book counterpart. Though in the comics Faustus was always a member of Red Skull’s Hydra, in the MCU he was more in line with the Russian version of S.H.I.E.L.D., Leviathan. Like in the comics, though, in the MCU he also possessed vast intelligence.
While Agent Carter was canceled before season 3, the groundwork was already done for the eventual return of Doctor Faustus. The character’s last appearance saw him interact with Arnim Zola. It’s possible that if season 3 of Agent Carter came to fruition, both Zola and Faustus could’ve being the main villains.
10 Hero - Jocasta
It seems Avengers: Age of Ultron was the movie for Marvel Comics robots. Not only were Ultron, Vision, and Friday in the film, but Jocasta was actually present as well.
In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene, we can see that among the various A.I. in Tony Stark’s arsenal is one named Jocasta. Instead of Jocasta, Tony chooses Friday to replace the beloved JARVIS. This was a fun little Easter egg as Jocasta is essentially the female version of Ultron in the comics.
In the comics, she was created by Ultron as a love companion and was supposed to have the Wasp’s brain. This, of course, didn’t come to fruition as Jocasta quickly alerted the Avengers and Ultron was defeated. It took some time for Jocasta to be fully accepted into the Avengers, but she eventually became one of the team’s most important members.
While it’s unlikely we’ll see her in android form in the MCU, she does play a prominent role in the mobile game Marvel Future Fight, a game heavily tied to the MCU.
9 Villain - The Leader
The Incredible Hulk is perhaps the most forgotten film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It released just a few months after the first Iron Man and starred Edward Norton as Bruce Banner/Hulk instead of Mark Ruffalo. Eventually the Hulk was recast in The Avengers and The Incredible Hulk was seemingly erased from everybody’s mind.
It is in The Incredible Hulk though that one of Marvel’s most iconic Hulk villains was introduced. We are talking about Samuel Sterns, aka the Leader, of course.
Played by Tim Blake Nelson, Sterns is one that tries to cure Bruce Banner from his Hulk persona. Sterns fails and by the end of the movie accidentally exposes himself to the substance he created, turning him into the Leader. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen the Leader since. The only character from The Incredible Hulk that has resurfaced in the MCU is Thunderbolt Ross, who had a prominent role in last year’s Captain America: Civil War.
Though the MCU is heading towards its 17th film, there’s no sign of Doc Samson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since he last appeared in 2008.
8 Hero - Johnny Blaze
The Robbie Reyes incarnation of Ghost Rider was a prominent character and made his MCU debut in season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. But did you know that in the episode “The Good Samaritan”, it was revealed that Robbie got his Spirit of Vengeance from the original Ghost Rider? That’s right, Johnny Blaze is up and riding in the MCU!
While it’s unclear whether Blaze completely transferred his Spirit of Vengeance into Robbie, evidence suggests that that’s exactly what happened. Throughout the season, we saw Robbie transferring the Rider to Mack and Agent Coulson. This transfer left Robbie without his devilish powers. If that is the case, then Johnny Blaze right now doesn’t possess the Spirit of Vengeance like his comic book counterpart.
Before Blaze was introduced, though, there were various hints throughout the show that pointed to Blaze’s existence. The mystical book the Darkhold was found in Quentin Carnival, the famous festival tied to Blaze in the comics. Next to the book was a motorcycle and a black jacket with spikes.
7 Villain - Graviton
While a rather obscure Avengers villain in the comics, Dr. Franklin Hall/Graviton made his MCU debut in the episode “The Asset” on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Played by Ian Hart, Dr. Hall was kidnapped by Ian Quinn and forced to finish a deadly device that could manipulate gravity. The device contained heavy traces of the rare element Gravitonium. When Phil Coulson and the S.H.I.E.L.D. team arrived to save Dr. Hall, the gravity device was sabotaged by Hall and he accidentally fell into a huge glob of unstable Gravitonium.
Later, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team send the now-secured Gravitonium to the Fridge, a containment facility, and the episode ends with a hand sticking out of the Gravitonium, alluding to Graviton.
After Hydra unleashed its invasion and infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D., the Gravitonium was given to Ian Quinn and since then, it hasn’t appeared on the show.
6 Hero - The Original Guardians Of The Galaxy
James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise has been used to introduce many of Marvel’s cosmic characters. What many new fans of the MCU failed to catch was that the original Guardians of the Galaxy from the '60s made their MCU debut in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
One of the end credit scenes of the movie saw the old team reunite. Their leader Stakar Ogard, aka Starhawk, was played by none other than Sylvester Stallone. Other members of the team include Martinex, Aleta, Yondu, Charlie-27, and Mainframe - who was voiced by pop singer Miley Cyrus in the movie.
The MCU is set to focus on its cosmic side in Phase 4 and James Gunn has teased that we could see more of this iteration of the Guardians in the future.
5 Villain - Tina Minoru
In the comics, Tina Minoru is the mother of Runaways member Nico Minoru. In the MCU, actress Lina Louise Duan portrayed the superhero in Doctor Strange. While her scenes were cut from the final version of the movie, Tina Minoru was present in many of the marketing material of the film, appearing in various trailers and TV spots. She was even depicted in the MCU prelude comics of Doctor Strange. It is here where we learn a lot more on the character and her ties to the Ancient One and Kamar Taj.
She was originally a member of the Masters of the Mystic Arts along with Wong, Daniel Drumm, and Kaecilius. After Kaecilius betrayed the Ancient One and sided with Dormammu, it is presumed that Tina Minoru was made safekeeper of the Hong Kong sanctum.
At the end of Doctor Strange, the Hong Kong sanctum was destroyed and Wong was shown to be the only mystic revived by Doctor Strange. It is unknown if Tina survived the attack on the Hong Kong sanctum.
4 Hero - The Living Tribunal
The Living Tribunal was briefly mentioned in Doctor Strange by Baron Mordo. When Mordo and Stephen Strange were having a sparring session, Mordo revealed that magic which is too powerful for humans is stored in relics. The relic Mordo had in hand was the Staff of the Living Tribunal
. At some point in the MCU's timeline, the Living Tribunal must have had to come in contact with the Ancient One to allow such relic to exist. This safely puts the second most powerful character in all of Marvel in the MCU.
Now, since the Living Tribunal is a major character in both the Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity War comic series, it’s possible that he could make an appearance in one of the upcoming Avengers movies. Thanos will be the most dangerous foe the Avengers will ever face and it might take the power of the Living Tribunal to bring the mad Titan to justice.
3 Villain - Cardiac
Perhaps one of Spider-Man’s least known villains, Dr. Elias Wirtham, aka Cardiac in the comics, replaced his heart with a device that in the process gave him superhuman strength, agility, enhanced stamina, and regenerative abilities. He was briefly referenced in the final episode of Netflix’s The Defenders.
In the scene where Misty Knight is visited by Colleen Wing at the hospital, on the wall next to Colleen is a patient sheet detailing who Misty’s nurse and doctor are. The doctor’s name is E. Wirtham while the nurse’s name is Linda Carter (the original Night Nurse from the comics).
The Easter egg is definitely a nod to the Cardiac character, but we shouldn’t expect him to appear on the Netflix Marvel shows anytime soon. Nonetheless, this is the closest we’ve got to an actual Spider-Man reference in the Marvel Netflix shows, and firmly establishes the existence of Cardiac in the MCU.
2 Hero - Man-Thing
The creature known as Man-Thing was first referenced in the MCU on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. when agent Maria Hill mentioned he had escaped from the Fridge after the Hydra attacks. Then in Iron Man 3, Man-Thing’s wife from the comics, Ellen Brandt, was one of the main Extremis villains in the movie working for AIM.
The location of Man-Thing right now is unknown in the MCU, but we got another Easter egg of the creature in the latest Thor: Ragnarok trailer. In the very opening scene of the trailer, sculptures of Ares, Bi-Beast, and Man-Thing can be seen nestled onto the Grandmaster’s tower in Sakaar.
Could this be hinting at an appearance from Man-Thing in Thor: Ragnarok? Or perhaps Man-Thing was dethroned by the Hulk when the Jade Giant made his presence on the planet? We’ll have to wait and see when Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters.
1 Villain - Fin Fang Foom
The beloved Marvel Comics dragon had a brief cameo in the first Iron Man movie. In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene, a large billboard promoting a fake Fin Fang Foom movie can be seen plastered on a building. The image is a real design of the Marvel dragon from the comic book Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas.
In the comics, Fin Fang Foom is an alien dragon from the planet Kakaranathara and possesses an incredible array of superpowers, including telepathy and a healing factor. While his appearance in the MCU is limited to the first Iron Man movie, the dragon has appeared various times in a number of Marvel TV shows.
He has appeared in the '90s Iron Man Animated series, The Super Hero Squad Show, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., Disney XD’s Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers Assemble, and in the Guardians of the Galaxy animated series.
Did we miss any Marvel characters in the MCU? Let us know in the comments.