Gone are the days when fans would only get to see one new superhero hit the big screen in a year - or even a year without any new heroes at all.
These days, each year sees several new movies launching in the superhero genre; and it’s not all Marvel and DC either… (although we’d be lying if we tried to pretend that they aren’t the majority).
Sometimes, these movies continue the story of an established hero (or villain) and their team, but a lot of the time, they introduce totally new faces to their respective cinematic universe. (New to casual fans, that is - the comic nerds know every face already.)
The year 2018 starts its superhero slate with the highly anticipated Black Panther, which will introduce an entirely new world to the Marvel Cinematic Universe; that of Wakanda, and the people who live there.
DC will be introducing a new world this year as well, in Aquaman, when fans will get a proper look at Atlantis (which we got a glimpse of in Justice League).
In addition to these brand new offerings, Avengers: Infinity War will add a new character or two (as well as bringing dozens together from the existing MCU), and several other 2018 offerings will add a new hero or villain to a roster of familiar faces. How many of these characters did you know were on the way this year?
With that said, here are the 16 Superheroes (And Villains) You Didn't Know Were Coming To The Big Screen In 2018.
16 Black Panther (Black Panther)
We’ll start with one of the most obvious additions of 2018, Black Panther himself! T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) has already had a brief introduction to the MCU in Captain America: Civil War, as well as a mention in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but 2018 is the year when fans are really going to get to see him shine.
The new ruler of the hidden African nation of Wakanda, T’Challa has some challenges ahead as he takes over his father’s throne.
Although he has friends to lean on, he’s also facing enemies from within and without his new kingdom.
His journey is just beginning, too - he’s already confirmed as appearing in Avengers: Infinity War and will presumably also return for the untitled fourth Avengers film.
15 The Underminer and Voyd (The Incredibles 2)
It’s been over a decade since the animated Incredibles first hit the big screen, and fans have been clamoring for a sequel ever since… which is finally happening this summer.
The Incredibles themselves are obviously returning, as well as friend and fellow superhero Frozone (Samuel L Jackson), but there are a couple new(ish) faces as well.
The Underminer (John Ratzenberger) got a brief moment at the end of the original movie, where he burst out of the ground to challenge the heroes.
He’ll be back for the sequel, as the opening antagonist.
New character Voyd (Sophia Bush) is also on the way, with the ability to divert objects around her by creating voids in space to move them through. This blue-haired super wannabe will be a little over enthusiastic with her powers, though…
14 Mera (Aquaman)
Like Atlantis itself, Mera (Amber Heard) got a brief moment in Justice League, but she’ll be front and center for the entirety of Aquaman.
Thus far, fans don’t know a whole lot about how much of Mera’s comic book backstory will be coming to the DCEU from the pages of DC comics, although we do know that’s she’s not the biggest fan of Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa).
That’s sure to be an interesting dynamic this year, as comic fans know that these two are destined to be together, and to rule Atlantis as King and Queen. Whether or not these two get together in 2018 remains to be seen, but no matter what, we’ll be looking forward to seeing more of this Atlantean warrior woman.
13 Shuri (Black Panther)
Speaking of warrior women, Shuri (Letitia Wright) makes her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut this year in Black Panther.
The sister of T’Challa and Princess of Wakanda, Shuri is a genius-- responsible for much of the tech that Wakanda uses.
In the trailer for Black Panther, fans can see her (with her distinctive white face markings) using weaponized "gloves" as well, proving that she is not just an inventor and innovator, but a fighter as well.
Shuri isn’t the only Wakandan woman making her debut in Black Panther, either.
Several new characters are set to debut in the film, such as Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) a Wakandan spy and warrior, and Okoye (Danai Gurira), the leader of the elite bodyguards the Dora Milaje.
12 So Many Symbiotes (Venom)
The big screen Spider-verse starts again, in the first of several standalone films that are sort-of connected to the MCU Peter Parker (Tom Holland).
Holland will be appearing in a cameo in the film, but Venom isn’t centered on Spider-Man, but on Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy). Brock’s Venom isn’t the only symbiote who will be making his debut in the movie, however.
While the rest of the characters have not been officially confirmed, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that the Five Symbiotes from the comics will be appearing (Scream, Lasher, Riot, Phage, and Agony), with two cast members even listed as "Scream" on IMDB.
Michelle Williams is also appearing in the movie as Anne Weying, who has become She-Venom in the comics.
There are also rumors that Carnage might pop up.
11 The Wasp (Ant-Man And The Wasp)
In all the excitement around Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, fans would be forgiven for forgetting about the third Marvel Cinematic Universe offering this year: Ant-Man And The Wasp.
The follow-up to Ant-Man, this movie will see Hope Van Dyne (Evangaline Lilly) (a major character from the original) finally suited up and given a chance to shine as the Wasp.
The daughter of the original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne, Hope gets a new suit, some nifty gadgets that even Ant-Man doesn’t have (blasters, anyone?), and promises to be the star of the show, as Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is having to fly under the radar after the events of Captain America: Civil War.
Ant-Man And The Wasp isn’t quite a female-fronted Marvel movie, but it feels like it could be!
10 Ocean Master (Aquaman)
DC certainly aren’t holding back when it comes to villains ready to face off against Aquaman in this year’s DCEU offering - he has multiple major bad guys to battle.
One of the biggest is Ocean Master (Patrick Wilson), aka Orm, the half-brother of Arthur Curry, and a contender to the throne turned villain.
It’s not yet clear how villainous he is likely to be in the film, or whether Orm will be appearing more as a family member in this first Atlantean outing, but there is certainly room for the character to grow as the franchise continues (assuming he survives the film, of course).
Their relationship is bound to be interesting, and may even become a Thor/Loki-style dynamic for the DCEU.
9 Luna (X-Men Dark: Phoenix)
The future of Fox’s X-Men universe isn’t currently known, after Disney bought Fox last year (which could mean the X-Men will join the MCU), but for now-- this corner of the on-screen superhero world continues to grow with X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
Continuing in the timeline of X-Men: Apocalypse, X-Men: Dark Phoenix will obviously center on Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) for the most part, but will also introduce some new faces to this world.
Jessica Chastain is appearing as an as-yet unrevealed "alien shapeshifter" (that fans are thinking may well be a Skrull Empress), while Kota Eberhardt is joining the X-Men universe as "Luna" a beautiful, intense, and slightly unhinged new character.
Luna appears to be a codename, however, so she could be pretty much anyone.
8 Erik Killmonger (Black Panther)
Another major Marvel name coming to the MCU thanks to Black Panther is Erik Killmonger (Michael B Jordan). One of T’Challa’s greatest adversaries, Erik Killmonger is a former Wakandan native, whose family was exiled many years ago.
Killmonger ended up working for the US government as a Black Ops soldier, and now that there is a new king on the throne of Wakanda, he is back to cause trouble.
Fans are sure to be treated to some epic fight scenes between Killmonger and T’Challa thanks to his years of training (and of course, T’Challa’s role as Black Panther), although it is not confirmed whether or not Killmonger will be back in the MCU again in future, or if he is a one-shot character.
7 The Black Order (Avengers: Infinity War)
Some fans might think that Avengers: Infinity War, with its massive ensemble cast from across the Marvel Cinematic Universe, shouldn’t be adding any new faces to the mix… but Marvel clearly disagrees.
While there aren’t going to be too many brand-new characters in Avengers: Infinity War, there are going to be a few-- including the Black Order.
These ruthless killers are the adoptive children of Thanos, and are used to help him in his mission to take over the worlds that he wishes to control.
Made up of Corvus Glaive, Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), Proxima Midnight, and Cull Obsidian (Terry Notary), these villains and heralds of Thanos will be making their debut in 2018, although it’s not yet clear how much of a part they will play in the film.
6 Alita (Alita: Battle Angel)
Based on the manga of the same name, Alita: Battle Angel has been turning heads because of the incredible CGI being used to bring the manga style to live action.
From "photo realistic" anime eyes to the fight scenes themselves, there is no doubt that whatever else it may be, Alita: Battle Angel is going to be stunningly beautiful.
Alita (Rosa Salazar) herself is a cyborg who has lost her memory, finding herself in a world that is completely new to her.
With the help of some friends, she must set out to discover who she is-- and why it is that she is an incredible warrior and yet has no memory of her life so far.
Although this movie is based on manga/anime rather than western comics, there’s no doubt that this is going to be a hugely popular new ‘superhero’.
5 Cable (Deadpool 2)
After the massive success of Deadpool in 2016, fans cannot wait to see what the Merc With A Mouth does next-- and thankfully, they haven’t had to wait very long.
Deadpool 2 hits theaters in May, bringing back Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool (of course) and Morena Baccarin as his true love Vanessa… as well as a few new faces.
The biggest name joining Deadpool this year is that of Cable (Josh Brolin), aka Nathan Summers, a time travelling mutant who is a comic book fan favorite. As well as Cable, Domino (Zazie Beetz) will be making her big-screen debut. Another mutant (unsurprisingly) Domino has "probability altering" skills-- that is, she’s superhumanly lucky.
As if that wasn’t enough, fans are also wondering whether we could see Vanessa turn into her comic book counterpart, Copycat.
4 Pip The Troll (Avengers: Infinity War)
Peter Dinklage’s role in Avengers: Infinity War has yet to be officially revealed, but it is confirmed that the Game of Thrones star will be playing someone from the comics in the biggest MCU movie yet.
While his exact role is being kept under wraps, fan theories abound, with the most common assumption being that Dinklange would appear as Pip The Troll.
Pip is a major antagonist to Adam Warlock in the comics (which fits in with the galactic themes of Avengers: Infinity War), and the character makes sense as a new antagonist for the franchise and in terms of the actor’s physical appearance.
In addition, another character has yet to be revealed, but will be portrayed by mo-cap actor Terry Notary, and will be a ‘sidekick’ to Thanos.
3 Black Manta (Aquaman)
The biggest villain in the Aquaman movie will be, without a doubt, Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). This classic comic foe of the King of Atlantis is an ex-treasure hunter, now a pirate and assassin bent on revenge (which can only come through the destruction of Aquaman himself).
It has not yet been revealed how much of his comic story is going to make it into the movie, of course, and so far, nothing more than the name of the actor playing him has been released by DC.
Fans can’t wait to get their first glimpse of his iconic football-shaped helmet.
A shot of Black Manta in action (maybe even fighting Aquaman!), but for now everything is being kept firmly under wraps.
2 Ghost (Ant-Man And The Wasp)
The primary villain for Ant-Man and the Wasp is going to be a bit of a surprise for anyone expecting an exact adaptation from the comics; as this Ghost is a woman! Ghost, aka Dawn (Hannah John-Kamen) is a corporate saboteur, who will be facing off against the Wasp later this year.
Ghost is usually found battling Iron Man in the comics, so it’s not just her gender that is being switched up for the small screen, and with the ability to phase through solid matter, Ant-Man And The Wasp is sure to have some interesting fight scenes, as the shrinking Wasp deals with the phasing Ghost.
At this point, not much more is known about the MCU version of Ghost, although fans did get their first look at the villain thanks to some recently released images from the movie.
1 Captain Marvel (Avengers: Infinity War)
Our last first appearance is still very much in the rumor phase, so this superheroine may not be making her big screen debut until her solo movie next year. Marvel has officially denied that Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) will be appearing in Avengers: Infinity War, but fans are still hopeful.
Not only would her inclusion be logical from an MCU strategy perspective, but it would make sense in terms of storyline.
Captain Marvel certainly has connections to the Infinity War arc in the comics, and fits with the other galactic characters in the movie.
It wouldn’t be the first time that a superhero actor or studio has been a little dishonest about surprise cameos, so we’re still hoping that Marvel makes her appearance this year.
Can you think of any other superheroes or villains who most fans didn't realize were making their way to the big screen this year? Sound off in the comments!