The MCU has been home to a plethora of villains, each one seemingly out to trump the other with their dastardly schemes and evil plots. Thanos is widely regarded as the best of the bad guys that Disney has given to us so far, while the likes of Killmonger, Hela and the Winter Soldier are also rated highly among fans of the franchise.
But what if the heroes, who have so far been successful (just about) in thwarting the villains, were to change sides? What if they set out to destroy the world, rather than protect it? We now take a look at 10 heroes who would make spectacular bad guys if they were to have a sudden change of heart.
10 Iron Man
For a long time, Tony Stark was the figurehead of the MCU. That was always the case up until his recent death in Avengers: Endgame, where he sacrificed himself in order to stop Thanos once and for all. Now, he’s remembered as a hero, as somebody willing to pay the ultimate price if it meant keeping the world’s population safe.
And the success he enjoyed during his time as a superhero means he’d have likely been an unstoppable bad guy. He’s got the brainpower and also has the amazing Iron Man suits to boot. If they were set out for destructive purposes, they’d be extremely difficult to beat. And that means their creator would be too.
9 Captain America
Of all the characters in the MCU, Captain America is arguably the most angelic of the lot. Steve Rogers was once somebody who the bullies would relish pushing around. But when he took the super-soldier serum he became the ultimate good guy, always acting with morality and putting the welfare of the planet at the forefront of his thinking.
He attacks missions with such dedication and skill - and was even prepared to fight Thanos’ entire army by himself during Avengers: Endgame. That sort of resilience and bravery would make him a great asset for evil, however, and his prowess with a shield and as a fighter would make him equally as vital. It’s a good job, therefore, that he was never tempted into fighting for the dark side.
Hulk is a character who could easily be a villain in an alternate reality. He’s extremely violent, savage and often acts without thinking. Even as a good guy he’s caused plenty of damage in the MCU, needing to be kept in check by the likes of Tony Stark and Black Widow during the moments where he’s come close to crossing the line.
His savagery would make him a vital and valuable tool for the bad guys of the franchise. Especially the 2023 version of Bruce Banner, who is able to use his astonishing brain and his fighting skills at the same time. Bruce has all the traits required to be a bad guy - so it’s a good thing he hasn’t strayed down that path so far.
7 Captain Marvel
While we love all the heroes within the MCU, there’s no denying that Captain Marvel’s powers are up there with the very best. Having consumed the power of the cosmos, she’s the closest thing to being a walking and talking Infinity Stone. Thanos even finds this out for himself when he attempts to headbutt her in Avengers: Endgame - only to find himself unable to.
Captain Marvel has the lot and her intervention in the battle against the Mad Titan during that movie is proof of her importance. Without her, the good guys may very well have lost. And that means if she was on the other side, the bad guys would have inevitably reigned supreme.
He’s always labeled himself the strongest Avenger - and Thor may very well be right. He was able to hold his own against evil sister Hela in Thor: Ragnarok, came closest to stopping Thanos from dusting half of the population in Avengers: Infinity War and was also able to overcome his demons to stop the Mad Titan during Avengers: Endgame.
Yet if the God of Thunder were to ever become a villain, it would take a monumental effort to stop him. Very few would be able to get anywhere near Chris Hemsworth’s character, especially when he has Stormbreaker or Mjolnir on his possession.
Rocket isn’t big and scary like some of the other heroes on this list. He isn’t able to call upon the powers of the Gods and while he’s savvy, he hasn’t got the same high levels of intelligence as Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. But, despite that, the Raccoon is somebody we feel could easily forge a reputation for himself as a foe, rather than a friend.
Bradley Cooper’s character is streetwise, extremely competent when it comes to fighting, using guns and gadgets to better enemies who are seemingly at more of an advantage to himself. Tony may have called him ‘Build a Bear’ in Endgame - but this is a creature you wouldn’t necessarily want to take home.
4 Black Panther
Black Panther isn’t your normal King. He isn’t somebody to sit inside, leaving the fighting to others inferior to himself. Instead, he’s a leader of huge nobility and courage, one who always puts his own life on the line for the greater good, using his superhuman abilities to stop the likes of Killmonger and Thanos from being successful so far.
Yet if that bravery and morality were to be served for evil, rather than good, he’d take some beating. His wealth means he’s capable of turning an entire army into a weapon and the technological wonders of Wakanda are unparalleled, immediately putting his enemies at a disadvantage. How the likes of Tony Stark and Steve Rogers must be thankful they made friends with T’Challa after their rocky introduction in Captain America: Civil War.
Of all the heroes, Ant-Man is probably the most comedic. Paul Rudd’s character is no pushover, however, with Scott Lang so far besting Yellow Jacket and Ghost - as well as playing a key role in the triumph over Thanos during Avengers: Endgame - during his time in the MCU so far.
His ability to shrink and grow means he would be capable of destruction if he were to ever switch allegiances. He could literally go so small he could walk into the White House and trigger Nuclear War if he wanted to, or grow so big he’s able to knock down every building on the planet. Thankfully Scott doesn’t seem to have a bad bone in his body - even if he did serve Jail time for burglary prior to his introduction.
2 Scarlet Witch
When we first properly meet Scarlet Witch in Avengers: Age of Ultron, she’s a villain. Hellbent on fighting against the Avengers due to the role Tony Stark played in the death of her parents, she sides with Ultron in his mission to eliminate the heroes. However, she ultimately chooses to fight alongside Tony and the gang, ripping the evil robot’s heart from his chest following the death of her brother, Quicksilver.
The victory over Ultron would have been tricky to achieve had she not performed u-turn, though. Her mind tricks had Tony, Captain America and Thor all hallucinating their worst fears, while she also makes Bruce Banner channel his destructive worst. She was one of the few characters able to compete against Thanos and with her mental state set to deteriorate following the death of Vision, we’re intrigued to see what lies ahead.
Speaking of Vision, he’s another person who played a pivotal role in the victory over Ultron. Created to counteract the robot, he chooses to use his vast knowledge and power of the mind stone for good purposes, rather than evil. But if he’d chosen to fight alongside Ultron then it would have spelled trouble for the heroes of the franchise.
Vision, like Captain Marvel, is able to harness the power of an Infinity Stone. He’s currently dead, having been murdered by Thanos to obtain the object within his head during Avengers: Infinity War. But he’s set to return on Disney+ and he could be different, perhaps more vengeful and impulsive, than we’ve seen before.