The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the biggest movie franchise in the world right now. In fact, it has completely changed the way that movie franchises work by having various series running concurrently, each crossing over with one another, and the occasional event movie with an ensemble team-up element, all of them serving one long narrative arc.
The MCU can keep up with characters like Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, who each have their own solo movies and large roles in the team-up movies. But the supporting characters are a different story. Sometimes the actors playing them aren’t available to return or there simply isn’t room for them in the story anymore. If one of the Avengers is in love, there might not necessarily be enough time for them to give that loved one a call while the end of the world is coming, even though that’s what they would do in real life, because there’s simply too many Avengers to keep track of within one movie. As a result, some characters have fallen by the wayside over the years.
Of course, some of these characters do eventually return, either due to popular demand, like when Loki was made the main villain of The Avengers, or in a surprising capacity, like when Red Skull appeared on Vormir as the guardian of the Soul Stone in Avengers: Infinity War. So, ahead of Avengers: Endgame, here are 20 Characters The MCU Wants Us To Forget.
20 Jane Foster
Because Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster was slammed by MCU fans as one of the most banal and mundane characters in film history, her role was reduced to the occasional passing reference after Thor: The Dark World, with excuses offered for why she wasn’t anywhere to be seen.
Now, she doesn’t even get a passing reference. Thor was supposed to be in love with this woman – she was depicted as the only reason he cared about Earth to begin with – and yet she doesn’t cross his mind whenever he risks his life or Earth is threatened. Fans don’t seem to mind, since no one really liked her anyway.
The MCU pretty much wants us to forget about the entirety of The Incredible Hulk, including its primary villain, the Abomination, played by Tim Roth. He was shown to have survived at the end of the movie, and yet he hasn’t even been mentioned since.
This is probably because the Hulk as we now know him in the MCU is the Mark Ruffalo version. Ruffalo plays the character totally different from how Edward Norton played him in The Incredible Hulk, and due to Norton’s need for creative control grating on Marvel during the production of that movie, it seems as though they want to forget about it completely, villains with unresolved storylines and all.
Due to her commitments to the show Blindspot, Jaimie Alexander had her role as Sif in the MCU drastically cut down. It’s a shame, because she’s such a great character in the comics. Pretty much any Asgardian who isn’t Thor, Loki, or Odin has been forgotten about, since the Thor solo movies were among the weakest and most boring films in the MCU before Ragnarok took the story outside of Asgard and to the more interesting setting of Sakaar.
But if Thor and his allies, including Sif, had been given the proper treatment in the first place, we’d have a bunch of hardcore Asgardian warriors dominating the MCU.
17 Trevor Slattery
After the controversial plot twist in Iron Man 3 that revealed the fearsome Mandarin was actually an actor named Trevor Slattery (played by Sir Ben Kingsley in an uncharacteristically silly role,) Marvel made a short called All Hail the King that erased the twist and confirmed there was an actual Mandarin after all.
Slattery is still alive and in prison, but due to the fact that his only links to villainy were a big ruse and the villain he was pretending to be actually exists – and, of course, the fact that his whole character infuriated Marvel fans across the world – we’ll probably never see him again.
16 The Mandarin
The real Mandarin, that is, not the fake Trevor Slattery version – or the fake Aldrich Killian version. While the All Hail the King short revealed the Mandarin is actually out there, that also seems to have been forgotten about, since we haven’t seen or heard from him since the short was released.
In the short, a supposed documentary filmmaker visits Slattery in prison and tells him that the real Mandarin is furious that he and Aldrich Killian used his moniker, because he’s far more intimidating than them and they’ve made a mockery of his name. Now, he’s just waiting to strike (apparently). But we still haven’t seen him, so is her really out there or not?
15 The Leader
The arrival of the Leader, one of the Hulk’s most powerful villains, was teased at the end of The Incredible Hulk. Tim Blake Nelson’s Samuel Sterns got some of Bruce Banner’s gamma-radiated blood in his head wound and a mutation began. The filmmakers were clearly hoping for a sequel, and while the franchise did continue, there never actually was a sequel.
Edward Norton was replaced by Mark Ruffalo and his whole movie was pretty much swept under the rug, and due to various rights issues, Marvel Studios will probably never be able to produce another Hulk solo movie for the MCU. As a result, we’ll probably never see this setup get paid off.
After the big reveal in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that H.Y.D.R.A. had been secretly controlling S.H.I.E.L.D. for decades – since at least World War II when they infiltrated the organization – all further H.Y.D.R.A. story-lines were delegated to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but H.Y.D.R.A.’s way more powerful than that. H.Y.D.R.A. is essentially the comic book version of the Third Reich.
It’s been around since the Second World War, secretly manipulating all the evil politics controlling the world. So, where the heck have they been all this time? There are certainly more agents out there, and they should return to the MCU to wreak havoc or it’ll be a permanent plot hole.
While Age of Ultron hinted that the titular cyborg survived and there’s a theory that Vision trapped him inside the Mind Stone, the MCU has since moved on to bigger and badder villains that Ultron doesn’t hold a torch to, so that tease will just be swept under the rug.
Still, he’s not technically biological life and may have been spared from Thanos’ destructive finger-snap. He might even enjoy the fact that Thanos is “fixing” the universe and agree with him. Maybe he’ll join Thanos’ army in Endgame and he’ll be the next villain to make a surprise return (after Red Skull in Infinity War).
12 The Grandmaster
As much as Jeff Goldblum made an impact as the Grandmaster in Thor: Ragnarok and warmed the hearts of fans, there’s no way he could appear in future movies, because he’s completely nonsensical outside of the context of his dominion on Sakaar.
Plus, there’s no way he survived the revolution on Sakaar, no matter what hilarious scene came after the credits. He may have asked them to call it even and spare his life, but even if we didn’t actually see him get savagely torn apart by his former minions and the character did become a fan favorite, there’s no way they actually let him live.
11 Anne Marie Hoag
Even though Tyne Daly is a big star (or used to be) and Damage Control is an important part of the wider world of the MCU, we’ll probably never see her again. Her one scene in Spider-Man: Homecoming took place eight years ago (but not really – the timeline is nonsense), and a previously announced Damage Control TV series was cancelled, so we’ve likely seen the last of Anne Marie Hoag.
The problems with the timeline mean that there’s no way of knowing what movie she’d even fit into anyway. She seems to exist in an eight-year period that overlaps with various other events in the franchise.
10 Darcy Lewis
The unfortunate thing about Darcy Lewis, played by Kat Dennings, is that she was a funny character who came into the Thor movies before they were funny. She’d be right at home in Thor: Ragnarok, but unfortunately, she came in a little early in The Dark World and her character faded into the past as the MCU charged forward.
Given the fact that The Dark World is easily the most despised movie in the MCU (Iron Man 3 is a strong candidate, but there are some people who think that’s a great movie and only some think it sucks, whereas The Dark World is universally hated,) no one’s clamoring for her to come back, frankly.
9 Ghost Rider
In the fourth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Robbie Reyes made a deal to go after bad guys with the Ghost Rider at his side. It was a promising screen portrayal of Ghost Rider (for once) and things were looking bright for his future. But the last time we saw him, he took the Darkhold and disappeared into another dimension.
Maybe the problem was introducing this character as a supporting character on an ABC show. He would’ve been better off with his own dark Netflix series. Of course, if that had happened, it would’ve just been cancelled when tensions arose between Disney and Netflix on the streaming front, so maybe not.
Zachary Levi’s Fandral was reduced to a cameo role in Thor: Ragnarok, suggesting he’s been fazed out of the MCU. Levi revealed recently that he was always interested in doing a Thor and the Warriors Three trilogy of high fantasy action movies with Chris Hemsworth.
This would’ve been awesome – we could’ve had a comic book version of The Lord of the Rings on the side, with super-powered Norse gods battling demons, dark elves, and Frost Giants across various dimensions and planets. Unfortunately, with Levi joining the DCEU this year as he stars in Shazam!, this will probably never happen and we never even see Fandral again.
7 The Collector
When Benicio Del Toro appeared in Avengers: Infinity War, it turned out to be a trick created by Thanos. The illusion disappeared and the Collector’s study was burning and he was nowhere to be seen. So, where is he? It’s likely he was eliminated by Thanos, but where’s the fun in that?
Del Toro has since taken a mysterious role as a creepy individual in another big Disney franchise, playing a character known only as DJ in the Star Wars saga, so it’s possible he doesn’t have the time to appear in the MCU anymore and he’s just been forgotten about. He didn’t have any outstanding plot arcs, except for his unfounded association to Howard the Duck.
6 Sharon Carter
On paper, it might have seemed like a natural story move to have Steve Rogers, the guy who fell in love Peggy Carter and then was frozen in time and only thawed out when she was at the end of her life, start dating someone else from the Carter bloodline. However, Rogers’ weird quasi-incestuous relationship with his ex-girlfriend’s great niece has always been disturbing to fans, understandably.
Since he’s had bigger fish to fry in the last couple of movies, what with the end of the world as we know it and all, his relationship with Sharon hasn’t been resolved. But due to backlash from fans, it’s possible the producers are abandoning that storyline altogether, which would be a wise move.
5 Justin Hammer
Surely this rival arms dealer played by Sam Rockwell could have some involvement in the nightmarish global developments happening in the Avengers films. We’ve seen the military getting heavily involved in Thanos’ destruction – Hammer could be the one arming them!
His company was mentioned in Luke Cage, which was a nice little way of tying the movies and the TV shows of the MCU together, but we haven’t seen Rockwell himself since way back in Iron Man 2. He was locked in the same prison as Adrian Toomes, but since he’s rich, he probably got out quite early. With Rockwell now an Academy Award winner, he might be too big for the MCU.
4 Baron Zemo
Baron Zemo’s plan to get the Avengers to implode in Captain America: Civil War was so absurdly convoluted and he went out without a bang, so it’s safe to say the MCU doesn’t want you remembering this character ever even existed. If the last time we ever see Baron Zemo is at the end of Civil War as he watches the Sun set and reflects on his plan and explains it to Black Panther, then that wouldn’t be too bad.
It was a good scene, acted brilliantly by Daniel Bruhl. However, Baron Zemo is a great character in the comics and, despite Bruhl’s strong performance, the film failed to properly represent him, so it would be a shame if we never see him again.
3 Betty Ross
Liv Tyler is a great actress and Betty Ross is Bruce Banner’s most prominent love interest in the comics. However, since she hasn’t been mentioned at all by Mark Ruffalo’s Banner and he’s gotten involved in a romantic entanglement with Black Widow, Tyler’s Betty will likely remain a distant memory, and an unresolved storyline.
Ruffalo has suggested that the Hulk’s romance with Black Widow isn’t going away any time soon, as they’re star-crossed lovers who have the kind of relationship that continues to grow and evolve for a lifetime – they’re basically the Ross and Rachel of the MCU. Still, Betty could return to conflict Bruce even further – she could be the Emily or the Julie of the MCU.
After Crossbones was thought to have passed away in the aftermath of Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s climactic battle, he made a surprising return in Civil War as he led the charge against the Avengers with a skull mask covering his charred face. And then he quickly did pass away after detonating a bomb on himself.
So, he was gone after all. The question of who even hired him in the first place got fans more confused about his Civil War appearance than excited, so Marvel hopes he’ll be quickly forgotten about. The biggest shame about this is that Frank Grillo is an awesome actor, so he’ll be missed.
1 Erik Selvig
Erik Selvig was a large part of Thor’s introduction to Earth, as he was a scientific mind who was skeptical that he was even a Norse god at all. Jane Foster opened his mind to the mystical and he eventually realized Thor was a god when he saw him battle a giant, magical alien robot called the Destroyer.
After that, he was heavily involved in the MCU for a couple of years with his employment at S.H.I.E.L.D. and his scientific expertise coming in handy. He was an integral part of Loki’s master plan in The Avengers and must be riddled with guilt, but he’s since been hung out to dry. Fans don’t necessarily miss him, but still, what happened to the guy?