No-one in Hollywood has ever attempted anything as ambitious as the Marvel Cinematic Universe before, and it’s nothing short of a miracle that it worked out as well as it did. However, along the way, with a franchise this massive, there were invariably going to be some players who got dealt the short straw.
As a result, some characters who arguably deserved larger roles were marginalized by the wider universe. With several major characters now out of the picture, those characters could finally have their day. Here are some characters from the MCU who haven't gotten to spotlight they deserve just yet, but may do going forward. Watch out for spoilers if you aren't up to speed with the Infinity Saga!
10 Scarlet Witch
Despite the fact that she has the mutant abilities to manipulate reality and control people’s minds, Scarlet Witch has barely been given a role in the MCU. When she acted fast and stopped a bomb from killing quite so many people in Captain America: Civil War, she was locked in her room. She got a brief couple of moments in the battle scenes of Infinity War and Endgame where she got a chance to shine, but it wasn’t enough.
9 Jane Foster
Jane Foster will definitely be taking the spotlight in the MCU’s future; at least in Thor: Love and Thunder, in which she’ll be given the mantle of Thor. Brief time-travel appearance in Endgame aside, we haven’t seen Jane in years. After two movies as Thor’s banal love interest, both the audience and Natalie Portman had grown tired enough of Jane that she broke up with Thor off-screen.
However, with Taika Waititi at the helm, Jane should finally get an interesting role in the MCU – just like Thor did in Waititi’s Ragnarok – that Portman will enjoy playing and the fans will enjoy watching.
8 War Machine
In the comics, War Machine is Iron Man’s sidekick, and to an extent, that’s how he was characterized in the MCU. That was fine when Iron Man was enjoying solo movies every couple of years, but since Tony Stark got a head-start on his trilogy, it ended years before everyone else’s solo series. Cap, Thor, and their supporting characters had plenty of time to grow personally between the major events.
However, when Iron Man was out of solo movies, he was relegated to supporting roles, which meant that War Machine got bumped even further down. Now that Iron Man is dead and War Machine is alive and well, maybe we can finally get that solo movie we were promised.
Thor’s all-seeing best friend Heimdall was never featured prominently in his solo movies, but when he was, he was a heroic badass that fans loved. He took down one of the Dark Elves’ ships with his bare hands, led the surviving Asgardians to safety during Hela’s takeover and resurrected the Hulk and sent him to Earth to warn Doctor Strange about Thanos.
It’s a shame that the Mad Titan killed him in the opening scene of Infinity War, because he was a fantastic character. Still, with a younger Loki returning in another post-2012 timeline, perhaps Idris Elba’s Heimdall can return.
Many MCU fans have criticized Hawkeye for being useless, but that's not the case. The MCU has just underused him. Clint Barton is a great character in the comics, and he’s really interesting when he’s fighting his own small-scale battles. He only appears pointless when he’s up against alien invaders and flying robots.
In his own career as a spy, he’s faced ground-level threats that he efficiently dealt with. Joss Whedon gave Clint a family in an attempt to make him more interesting, but he didn’t need a family – he just needs his own movie, framed as a spy thriller, where he can face an enemy he can handle.
5 Maria Hill
Ever since Natasha Romanoff left her S.H.I.E.L.D. career behind to become a full-time Avenger, Maria Hill has become Nick Fury’s sidekick. Cobie Smulders is incredibly likeable and Hill has been involved in some awesome action scenes, but she’s been woefully underused so far.
She was tipped for a large role in Spider-Man: Far From Home, which was exciting, but it turned out to not really be her the whole time, as she was a disguised Skrull. Fury’s whereabouts were explained in a post-credits scene, but the real Hill’s whereabouts remain a mystery. Hopefully, she can get a significant role alongside Fury and S.W.O.R.D. in the future.
When Spidey was busting one of the Vulture’s arms smuggling operations in Spider-Man: Homecoming, he ended up stuck in a Damage Control warehouse in Maryland. He went digging around and found an Ultron head with glowing eyes.
With Tony Stark dead, someone like Justin Hammer or Thaddeus Ross could come in to revive the Ultron program and create “a suit of armor around the world” (an idea Tony brought up again in Endgame) – except Hammer and Ross would fail even harder than Tony did and wouldn’t have as easy a solution to it. Ultron was disappointingly easy to defeat in Age of Ultron; this could fix that.
3 Lady Sif
Lady Sif is one of Thor’s most trusted Asgardian warriors. They went into battle a bunch of times and had a lot of fun banter – she was the Black Widow to Thor’s Cap. In Thor: The Dark World, she was set up as a more suitable love interest for Thor than Jane Foster, since she lived on the same planet as him and didn’t have a fraction of his lifespan, and yet, after that, she was swept under the rug and forgotten about.
Jaimie Alexander is eager to continue playing the character, so maybe Taika Waititi could bring her back in Thor: Love and Thunder and give her the larger role she’s always deserved.
2 Aaron Davis
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Donald Glover appeared in two scenes as Aaron Davis. When he was being interrogated by Spidey, he mentioned his “nephew” who lived in the area. That nephew, of course, was Miles Morales, one of the other characters to take on the Spider-Man mantle.
Aaron himself becomes the villain the Prowler in the comics. Since Spider-Man seems to definitely be out of the MCU, Aaron probably won’t take the spotlight in that franchise. With Sony giving Spider-Man his own cinematic universe, however, perhaps he and Miles can take on an even bigger role than they would have in the MCU.
1 Black Widow
It took the MCU over a decade to finally give a solo movie to a female character, and they gave it to Carol Danvers. Captain Marvel was a great movie, but if there’s any female Marvel character who earned that movie, surely it was Natasha Romanoff.
In supporting roles, she was a sidekick or a love interest or a hostage, and she deserved so much better. She’ll finally be getting her own solo movie next year, but after her controversial death in Avengers: Endgame, it feels like an afterthought. Hopefully, it can lead into something great and fitting for the character.