With Avengers: Endgame in theaters, the Infinity Saga has come to a close. So who will be the MCU’s next Big Bad?
(There are NO spoilers for Avengers: Endgame in this article.)
Without going into any spoilers, Avengers: Endgame closes out this first major chapter of the MCU. But the world of Marvel Superheroes is far from over. The major through-line of the MCU thus far has been the impending battle with Thanos. Now that that conflict is resolved, The Avengers and the rest of the heroes of the MCU will need a new big villain to face.
The biggest question for now concerning the next big bad is how long Marvel Studios waits to introduce the properties previously owned by Fox. There are plenty of fantastic villains from the X-Men and Fantastic Four rogues galleries, but if Marvel wants to wait to introduce those heroes for a few years, then we likely won’t see their villains anytime soon. For now we’re going to look at what villains Marvel may use before diving into the X-Men and Fantastic Four catalogs, and we’ll take a quick glance at some of their villains that may be teased in the coming years.
This is a tough one, but it could work depending on how well Sony plays with Marvel. Norman Osborn (aka the Green Goblin) is Spider-Man’s biggest foe. But the rights to Spider-Man and his supporting characters are shared between Sony and Marvel. At any point Sony could decide to end the agreement and Spidey and his villains can then share the screen with Venom and Morbius. Because of that it’s risky for Marvel to make MAJOR plans with anyone connected to the Spider-Verse. That being said, Tony did sell Avengers Tower in NYC to someone in Spider-Man: Homecoming. And we have yet to see the iconic Osborn building in the MCU so far. Hopefully Spider-Man: Far From Home will help answer the Osborn question, but even if it does it’s unlikely he’ll venture outside of the Spider-Man films.
As we talked about after the release of Captain Marvel, the Skrulls are one of the biggest villains in the MCU. The storyline Secret invasion, which saw them take on the Avengers on a large scale, could end up being adapted to the big screen in a big way. The Skrulls turned out to be good guys in Captain Marvel, but they could easily be turned to villains with the right story. Marvel is also leaning more towards the cosmic side of things, and the Skrulls would be a perfect way of merging the cosmic and Earthly elements of the MCU.
If the MCU does march further into the cosmic side of things, and it likely will, then Adam Warlock could be a perfect villain for a wider Universe. The character hasn’t been fully introduced yet, but he was teased in a mid-credits scene for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. That tease could have been an indication that he will simply be the villain for Guardians Vol. 3, or he could be a larger threat to the MCU. Either way he will be entering the MCU at some point, the question now is when and in what scale.
Annihilus started as a Fantastic Four villain which may complicate things for now. But many fans have assumed that he would be one of the next major villains in the MCU. The characters is the master of the Negative Zone, an aspect of the Marvel Universe that has been used heavily in Fantastic Four storylines. It’s likely that the Fantastic Four or the Avengers, or both teams combined will face Annihilus at some point. But given Kevin Feige’s constant reiteration that the Fox properties (Fantastic Four and X-Men) wouldn’t be introduced anytime in the next five years, Annihilus may be on the back burner for now.
Kang the Conqueror
First introduced in the eighth issue of The Avengers, Kang is a time travelling villain who has come up against almost every hero in the Marvel Universe. There are some elements of Endgame and it’s plot that would make it much easier for Kang to show up. Some fans even believe that the entire plot of Endgame is a direct nod to the fact that Kang is coming. For now he’s one of the most likely entries on the list of potential big bads.
MODOK aka Mental/Mobil/Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing, was a former AIM (the Aldrich Killian led evil think-tank) employee who underwent a medical experiment that was supposed to simply increase his intelligence and gave him a giant head. He’s been featured in numerous video games, cartoons and major comic book storylines. At one point he was going to be featured in Captain America: Winter Soldier, but he was replaced by the Robert Redford character, Alexander Pierce. Marvel Studios has been willing to go to some of the weirder ends of the Marvel Universe lately, and MODOK could be a fantastic villain that plays into those weirder elements.
Last year it was reported that Noah Hawley (Legion) had begun work on a script for a solo Doctor Doom film for Fox, with plans to direct the feature. With Disney buying Fox, it’s unclear where the film now stands, but it’s unlikely that project will come to pass. Doom is another Fantastic Four villain, so his inclusion in the MCU may be stalled, but there’s still a good chance that he could be a major player in the MCU whenever he does arrive. Doom has always been a MAJOR threat to the entire Marvel Universe, and in some ways, the ultimate human villain for the Marvel heroes. Hopefully Kevin Feige and the team at Marvel use that aspect of the character upon his introduction, and he becomes a Thanos level threat.
Everyone under the sun wants to see the Avengers take on Galactus. But Galactus is and always will be a Fantastic Four villain, and as we’ve said multiple times, the Fantastic Four catalog won’t be included anytime soon in the MCU. The best assumption for now is that Galactus is maybe one or two Big Bads away from being introduced in the MCU. But when he does arrive it’s impossible to believe that he won’t be a MAJOR villain for the entire MCU. He literally eats planets, there’s no way they don’t go large scale with Galactus.
For now it’s unclear exactly where Marvel plans to head next. We should have more details in the coming months, but one way or another it’s going to take a lot for Marvel to surpass what they’ve done with The Infinity Saga, and the first 22 films in the MCU.
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