Marvel and the Fox-owned Marvel properties are absolutely killing it right now, with the exception of the Fantastic Four. One of their main problems (if there's any to begin with) has to do with the villains. With the exceptions of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki and Sir Ian McKellan’s Magneto, the Marvel villains have often been criticized for a lack of depth, and are generally considered to be quite forgettable.
There are still plenty of amazing villains in Marvel’s catalog to choose from. With Kang the Conqueror, Morgan LeFay, Ares, Taskmaster, and dozens of others that have yet to make an appearance on the big screen, there’s still plenty of chances for Marvel and Fox to bring us some amazing bad guys.
But, there’s a lot of villains who may never make it to the movies, and with good reason. Some are just lame, others are way too complicated, and there are a few that are just downright stupid.
Here’s 15 Marvel Villains We'll Never See In A Movie
Stryfe is the poster boy for all that was wrong with ‘90s comic books. His costume is ridiculous, his origin story is unbelievably convoluted, and he is the epitome of style (flashy storytelling) over substance (compelling characterization of any kind). The sad thing is, he’s still kind of awesome. If the X-Men movies continue their trend and set the next movie in the ‘90s, he’s a character that could suit the era really well.
Stryfe is a clone of Cable who was sent to the future to be cured of a techno-virus given to him by Apocalypse. The clone was found by Apocalypse’s forces and mistaken for the original. The boy was raised as Apocalypse’s son and became known as Stryfe. He reveled in causing misery and agony until he learned of Cable’s existence and decided to focus his energies on making his “brother’s” life as tragic as possible. They both come to the present day and end up battling once more in a dispute involving the X-Men, Apocalypse, Mister Sinister, and just about all of Earth’s significant mutants.
The thing is, his origins involve far too much time-travel and cloning for him to be effective as a movie villain. It would take a huge amount of time to introduce him and his connection to the key players and would also involve even more messing with the timeline, and that’s something the X-Men movies really don’t need.
14 The Trapster A.K.A Paste Pot Pete
Although he was considered a fairly serious character in his inception, Paste Pot Pete became synonymous with ridiculous villains, as his primary weapon is essentially super glue. He adopted the more intimidating moniker of The Trapster after he faced Spider-Man, who couldn’t properly fight the villain after he burst into laughter at the mere mention of his original name.
Despite it being a running joke that being beaten by Paste Pot Pete is a sign of a hero having fallen really low, the character is still something of a major player in criminal circles. He is a regular member of The Frightful Four, and his traps and adhesives are respected by geniuses such as Reed Richards and The Wizard. He is also a member of The Intelligencia, the cabal of genius super-villains that were responsible for the creation of the Red Hulk.
More recently, The Trapster has been seen in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoons and is still very much on Marvel’s radar. As his early adventures were in the pages of Fantastic Four, it’s likely that Fox owns his movie rights. And given the current status of the Fantastic Four franchise and his slightly absurd premise as a villain, it’s unlikely that we will ever see him adapted for the big screen.
13 White Rabbit
When your primary nemesis is the hero known as Frog-Man, it’s safe to say you aren’t a serious character. That’s pretty much the case when it comes to White Rabbit.
Lorina Dodson was born to a wealthy family who forced her to marry a wealthy billionaire many decades her senior. Due to her boredom, and her frustration with being a trophy wife, she snapped and killed her aged husband. When questioned about his death, she merely responded that he “died happy”. She took the mantle of White Rabbit due to her fondness for the Alice in Wonderland books by Lewis Carroll, and sought out to become a master criminal. She mainly only robbed fast food establishments, however, and she ended up spending far more cash on her elaborate giant mechanical robots than what she actually gained from villainy.
Her playboy-bunny style costume, insanity, and wacky criminal capers make her fairly reminiscent of DC’s Harley Quinn. And while Harley is currently enjoying new heights of popularity thanks to Margot Robbie’s portrayal of her in Suicide Squad, it would be against the established brand of the more family-friendly, and Disney-owned, Marvel to feature such a bizarre character.
12 The Shockwave Riders and The Neo
The Shockwave Riders and The Neo were born out of the era between the first X-Men movie coming out and Marvel actually getting their stuff together in the wake of the comic book crash of the ‘90s.
In context, the ‘90s saw a massive boom in comic book sales, with many people speculating that they would become overnight collector’s items. Marvel in particular published an insane volume of titles, with their flagship X-Men series being granted an ever-increasing number of spin-offs. But like all booms, there came a bust, and by the late ‘90s Marvel was in major trouble. The X-Men series took a major hit, and new creators were being hired and fired in short order. The solution was to re-hire comic legend Chris Claremont. His epic run on X-Men from the ‘70s to the early ‘90s has long been considered its greatest era, as it introduced some of the X-Men’s best villains.
But when Claremont came back, his storylines had become muddled, to say the least. Inspired in part by The Matrix, Claremont introduced instantly forgettable villains such as The Neo and The Shockwave Riders. Far from the enduring villain Mister Sinister, or the sometimes good, sometimes bad, Magneto, The Shockwave Riders were a team of bad guys who rode giant hover boards and had some degree of telepathic power -- apparently. The Neo were a subset of Mutantkind that had hidden away from the world, but were much more powerful than regular mutants. Both were swiftly forgotten about, and will likely remain that way.
Depending on who you ask, the Grant Morrison run either saved the X-Men or killed the franchise altogether. Fans praised the edgy nature and fresh take on old characters, while critics hated seeing tasteless scenes of Scott Summers making out with a former villain while literally standing over his recently-deceased wife’s grave.
It was during this controversial run that the character of Xorn was born -- except Xorn wasn’t quite the new character he first appeared to be. Initially, he appeared to be a newly discovered mutant with a tiny star where his brain should be, granting him gravimetric powers. After settling into Xavier’s school, he quickly became part of the faculty and gained the trust of the staff and students alike. He was later revealed to be a fraud, as he was actually Magneto in disguise, and had been playing the X-Men for chumps.
In the climax of his scheme, he not only killed a million New Yorkers in a grotesque act of genocide, but also murdered Jean Grey with a massive electromagnetic blast to her brain, causing her to have a massive stroke.
Subsequent writers have since untangled the messy web left behind by Morrison and have retconned many aspects of the Xorn storyline, in particular, undoing Magneto’s acts and making it an imposter all along. Given the controversy, and the sheer horror of the mass killings, there’s no way Fox will make Xorn part of their plans for the sequel to X-Men: Apocalypse.
Elihas Starr is a criminal genius and former atomic scientist who was dismissed from his position with the government due to his alleged acts of espionage. He became obsessed with proving himself smarter than fellow scientist Hank Pym A.K.A Ant-Man. After failing to best his adversary on several occasions, he turned his attention to The Avengers as a whole, but was soundly defeated by them a few more times.
Egghead has all the prerequisites of a fairly decent bad guy: the genius level intellect, the adversity with a hero, and he even had a group of henchmen known as The Emissaries of Evil at one point. There’s just one thing that would prevent Marvel from putting him on the big screen -- he’s a genius villain called Egghead and his head looks like an egg. If Marvel was shooting for 1960s Batman level of camp, he’d be their man. In the 21st century, with an increased focus on realism, he’s just too ridiculous in his current guise.
9 Mole Man
Mole Man is actually a surprisingly effective bad guy. He’s challenged the Fantastic Four and plenty of other heroes and has always managed to return, time and time again. He even leads an army of Mole-People that live beneath New York, which is cooler than it sounds.
It’s not actually anything wrong with the character that stands in the way of a big-screen adaptation -- it’s the franchise he finds himself attached to. 2015’s Fantastic Four not only failed to live up to Fox’s box office expectations, it was reviled by fans and critics alike, and plans for a sequel dissipated shortly after it arrived in theaters. As a Fantastic Four villain, Marvel themselves cannot use him, even if they wanted to.
Should Fox bring the Fantastic Four back in another reboot one day, it would be cool to see Mole Man make a cameo as a minor villain. Especially if they got him right and only made small tweaks to the character, as opposed to totally changing him like they did with both incarnations of Doctor Doom.
8 Sugar Man
As a refugee from the Age of Apocalypse storyline, Sugar Man’s origins require too much timeline shenanigans for him to be an effective bad-guy. He hails from a timeline created by a time-travelling Legion, who accidentally kills Xavier, causing a paradox and an alternate history where the X-Men were formed by Magneto and evil mutants rule the world. When that timeline was erased, and the regular Marvel universe was restored, Sugar Man survived along with an evil version of the Beast and a copy of Cable, known as X-Man.
Also, he’s just too ugly! Even the bad guys of Marvel movies are generally as good looking as the heroes, and in the case of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, many would say even more so. Sugar Man would not only be a source of ridicule, as his power isn’t to dispense sugar, his appearance would probably give kids nightmares.
Another problem facing Sugar Man is that he only really works when used in conjunction with other characters that share ties with the Age of Apocalypse storyline. Just as other AoA refugees like as X-Man and Dark Beast are unlikely to feature in an upcoming X-Men movie, it’s just as unlikely that we'll see a version of Sugar Man.
The always-spinning rumor mill has mentioned the possibility that we may see Hobgoblin in the upcoming Spiderman: Homecoming. But since we’ve had rumors that every Spider-Man villain from Stilt Man to Kraven is set to make an appearance, we won’t get too excited until we get confirmation. The film seems pretty set on baddies at this point, anyway.
The reason that Hobgoblin seems unlikely is that he bears an uncanny resemblance to the Green Goblin, who we have already seen on-screen. While the two characters share a great deal of history in the comic books, it would be confusing to the cinematic audience to include him without first establishing Green Goblin again first.
This one is kind of a shame, because the Roderick Kingsley version of Hobgoblin has seen a resurgence of popularity in recent years, and remains a cool character when done right. If introduced carefully, he could become Marvel’s answer to Deathstroke. In reality, Marvel are more likely to play it safe and only keep one goblin in their movie universe, leaving poor Hobgoblin out in the cold.
Franklin Hall was a genius scientist who, in a freak accident, found his cells had merged with graviton particles, causing him to have control over gravity itself. Although he attempted to hide his powers, he later became corrupted by the temptation to use them and adopted the villainous moniker of Graviton. An incredibly powerful baddie, Graviton fought The Avengers and defeated them with little effort, despite being woefully inexperienced in the use of his abilities.
Although he's been defeated (and seemingly killed) several times, he's always found a way to return and take on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes singlehandedly.
Attentive readers will recall that in season 1 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., there was a scientist by the name of Franklin Hall, who also experimented with a substance known as Gravitonium. While the end of the episode allowed for the possibility for his return, after three seasons, we still haven’t seen him come back as the ultra-powerful Avengers foe we have been waiting for. With each passing year, it's becoming increasingly unlikely that we will ever see him fully realized.
5 Madam Masque
We technically have seen Whitney Frost A.K.A Madame Masque in Agent Carter, but unlike the golden-masked professional criminal and daughter of Count Nefaria, we saw a vastly re-imagined version that resembled an evil version of Heady Lamarr.
Re-introducing a modern day Madame Masque wouldn’t be impossible, as she could merely be explained away as a descendant of the original. However, it’s not just the previous version that would prove problematic.
Madame Masque is typically an Iron Man villain, and there are currently no plans for a further stand-alone Iron Man movie. While she could be used as a henchman in an Avengers movie, it would be a terrible waste of her potential as a crafty villain to match wits with Tony Stark.
Her more recent exploits have seen her edge closer to dark magic since becoming enamoured with the demonically-possessed villain known as The Hood. While this may suggest an appearance in a Doctor Strange movie, his huge collection of other-worldly bad guys makes Madame Masque an unlikely choice for him to face.
4 Stilt Man
Stilt Man is another bad guy that is often used by writers when they need to either give a hero some light villainous relief or to show that he has become weakened somehow. After all, getting a beat down from a guy whose only claim to fame is a giant pair of stilts is pretty humiliating, especially if you spend your Saturday nights beating down on The Kingpin or Green Goblin.
Truthfully, Stilt Man’s armoured battle suit is pretty impressive. While not at the level of Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit, it is close to impenetrable and has a wide variety of gadgets and gizmos up its armored sleeve.
The main reasons for Stilt Man being unlikely to ever be adapted for live-action are fairly straightforward. He’s first and foremost a Daredevil villain, and Marvel's first Netflix series is squarely aimed at a very serious audience, with the Man Without Fear primarily facing off with crime-bosses and Ninjas. A man in an armored suit would simply look out of place, and could take away from the credibility of the show. Plus, c'mon, the guy's on stilts for crying out loud.
Essentially a throwaway joke of a character, Overdrive can upgrade any vehicle into a high speed getaway car using nanites that have infected his body. If he is away from the car for a while, it reverts to its original form.
While Overdrive has always been beaten pretty easily by Spider-Man, his powers are actually pretty cool. It’s his fanboy attitude to Spider-Man that generally costs him, as he has even asked for Spider-Man’s autograph while being apprehended by the wall-crawler. After his first arrest, he begged the cops to let him keep the note Spider-Man left on his webbed-up suit as a souvenir.
His lack of depth as a character, and the slightly silly nature of his power set, make him highly unlikely to ever grace the big screen unless Marvel choose to adapt the light-hearted comedy series Superior Foes of Spider-Man, in which he appeared as a primary cast member. But that’s about as likely as a Great Lakes Avengers movie at this point.
2 Speed Demon
Speed Demon, formerly known as The Whizzer, is superhumanly fast in the style of Quicksilver or The Flash, though not at the same level as either.
As James Saunders, Speed Demon was a talented chemist who became empowered during a plot by the Grandmaster to create a team capable of taking down The Avengers. Granted super speed and reflexes, he battles The Avengers as a member of the Squadron Sinister but is soundly defeated. He later becomes a criminal for hire and tangles with street-level heroes such as Spider-Man.
While initially a serious bad-guy with an impressive power set, Speed Demon has been played for laughs in recent years as a member of the comical team of villains known as The Superior Foes of Spiderman. Given that many modern comic book readers will recognize him from that series over his early appearances as a major foe of The Avengers, it’s unlikely Marvel will use him.
A professional baseball pitcher with uncanny aim, the man who would come known as Boomerang washed out of pro sports and became a criminal for hire instead. Despite having a similar gimmick to Bullseye, in that he rarely misses his target, he is not as successful a criminal as Bullseye, and therefore finds getting paid gigs pretty hard more often than not. He’s also a terrible person, and even other villains often refuse to work with him due to his uncanny knack for being arrested by B-list heroes.
Despite the comical nature of some of his more recent outings, Boomerang has at times been a more serious villain. Unfortunately, Marvel already has Bullseye to fulfill the role of master assassin who never misses, leaving Boomerang to sit patiently awaiting his turn.
But the main reason he’s unlikely to never be seen in a movie has a lot to do with DC’s Suicide Squad, which featured a similar character, Captain Boomerang. If Marvel were to adapt him for the big screen, it would look like they’d been beaten to the punch.
Also, his mask is a boomerang. Making him ridiculous.
Would you want to see any of these baddies in a film? Which ones need to stay as far away from the big screen as possible? Let us know in the comments.