Endgame has come and gone and the Infinity Saga has come to a satisfying close but Thanos will forever live on in the halls of cinematic villainy. Never has there been a comic book film antagonist as devastating and devious as that of Thanos, the Mad Titan. I mean the Joker has everyone beaten hands down in terms of moral evil but so great was the extent of Thanos’ actions that his very existence could be seen as natural evil.
Like a cosmic plague that desolates whole populations, Thanos could not be stopped from fulfilling his goal of bringing balance through galactic genocide. And now, he’s gone. Do not fret however because the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) still has plenty of excellent baddies to draw from their comic source material. Especially since Marvel Studios now have the rights to use characters from the X-Men and Fantastic Four universe. Honestly, we are spoiled for choices here.
I’m talking about folks who are on par with Thanos, both in ambition and power. The king is dead, it’s time for a new one to rise and claim the throne. We’re running down some of the greatest villains in Marvel comics who could be the next Thanos in the MCU.
1. Doctor Doom
Tell me, what do you get when you throw in a dash of Tony Stark’s genius, a sprinkle of Doctor Strange’s mastery over magic, a cup load of Professor X’s telepathic abilities and a shit ton of T’Challa’s political power? You have Victor von Doom, better known as Doctor Doom. We’ve seen many attempts at bringing Doom to the big screen over the years and every single one of them have failed to live up to this legend.
The only thing they seemed to have understood about Doom was that he was some sort of brilliant mad scientist. He’s also a master sorcerer, learning at a young age from his Latvarian mother before having his true potential unlocked by his lover, Morgan le Fay. Yes, the same sorceress from the Arthurian myths. When Strange had resigned as Sorcerer Supreme, Doom was considered to replace him. The man is capable of telekinesis, hypnotism and even technopathy. He controls machines…with his mind. On top of that, he’s the dictator of the small eastern European country of Latveria.
Safe to say, the man’s list of accomplishments is extensive. We haven’t even gotten to the part where he takes over the world and declares himself God Emperor Doom with an army of Thors from different universes. Though he isn’t quite the cosmic threat like Thanos, Doom would certainly give the heroes of Earth a run for their money. Hopefully, with the Fantastic Four making their way into future MCU films, we’ll get to see Doom done right this time. I don’t want to see another Tony Stark knockoff turned megalomaniacal. I want to see Doom in all his glory with an army of Doombots and summoned demons at his side. If Black Panther’s Wakanda ever went up against Doom’s Latveria, that would be an amazing war to witness.
Speaking of powerful despots and rulers, we’d be remiss if we failed to mention one of the deadliest beings in the Marvel universe (and maybe even the multiverse), Annihilus. In case you’re not caught up with the bug, Annihilus is the ruler of a spatial dimension situated outside the timeline known as the Negative Zone. There he controls the Annihilation Wave. A horde of endless insectoid parasites, warriors, ships and monsters that Annihilus unleashes upon unsuspecting worlds and universes.
They’ll strip whole galaxies and planetary systems clean off life before moving onto the next. If you weren’t scared of bugs before, you most certainly will be when these guys come knocking on your native universe’s door. That’s not just an expression, by the way, Annihilus is actually capable of psychically projecting feelings of dread and fear upon his victims. It functions as a form of psychological warfare to break his opponents before the battle begins.
Annihilus nearly wiped out the main Marvel universe in the comic storyline Annihilation. It took the combined might of the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Kree and Skrull Empire to fend off them off. But do you want to know the scary part? No matter how many times you kill him, no matter how many times you repel the wave, Annihilus and his horde always return. His anti-matter nature ensures that the creature will always be resurrected. To battle Annihilus is to battle the sea, an act of pure futility. It would honestly take the Infinity Gauntlet to temporarily halt his advance but even then he’d just keep coming and coming. If the Avengers thought their situation with Thanos was hopeless, they will know true despair in the face of annihilation.
Much like our dear Doctor Doom, Galactus too have been wronged by the previous cinematic adaptations of the Fantastic Four, namely his lacklustre appearance in Rise of the Silver Surfer. There they made him into a giant, hungry fart cloud. I suspect that if the MCU plans on using him they’ll probably give him the depiction he deserves. Before the dawn of man, before the Earth was formed, before the Big Bang there was Galactus.
In a time before the formation of the Milky Way, he was an explorer named Galan who survived the destruction of his world and merged with the cosmic entity known as Eternity. Through this bond, he gained unspeakable amounts of cosmic power like creating life, resurrecting the dead and matter manipulation. There’s just one horrifying catch, he needs to constantly devour worlds to sustain his existence. The guy even tried to eat the Infinity Gems to finally quell his hunger. He wanted to eat omnipotence away…that’s insane!
It seems like the only thing that could perhaps prevent Galactus or at least mitigate his destructive effects are beings he imbues with the power cosmic. They serve as his heralds to announce the coming of Galactus to the worlds we will soon ingest. It’s nice to know that he’ll at least ring your doorbell before eating your house. Interestingly enough, Galactus is less of an evil giant and more of a galactic enforcer of balance. He is the inevitable agent of change and destruction, Thanos thinks himself to be. He maintains the order of death and life, entropy and acceleration in the universe. All in all, he’s just doing his job and I guess the Avengers will just have to do theirs, It may cost them their very lives though.
The next candidate on our list is what can be quite literally described as the Devil of the Marvel Universe, Mephisto. You may have seen incarnations of him in lesser Marvel films like Ghost Ride or its sequel Spirit of Vengeance. The creature is the demonic force behind Ghost Rider and the ruler of a pocket dimension he sometimes calls Hell or Hades. It isn’t quite the one straight out of the Bible or Greek Mythology but nonetheless it is still the abode of damned souls. Don’t feel bad though, seeing that most of Hell’s residents either agreed or trifled with the demon so they were kinda asking for it. People like Johnny Blaze tend to come to mind. Think of him as a more powerful version of Dormammu as seen in Doctor Strange.
Mephisto is no mere tempter though. He is responsible for some key events that have shaped the Marvel comic universe. Beyond his involvement with Johnny Blaze, Mephisto has been known to possess the souls of heavy hitters the likes of Black Panther, Frank Castle aka The Punisher, Jean Grey and even Thor, the freaking God of Thunder. He instigated Thanos into pursuing his vision of wiping out half of all life in the universe, fought against Hela for control over the dead, torments Doctor Doom’s mother in his realm and killed Wanda Maximoff’s children.
Evil is this guy’s middle name. Still, on a number of occasions, he found himself on the receiving end of a beatdown like when he faced off against the Sorcerer Supreme. Still, that didn’t keep the Lord of Hell down for too long. With the introduction of Robbie Reyes’ Ghost Rider and Doctor Strange in the MCU, it wouldn’t be too far fetched to see Mephisto make an appearance. I’m sure he’ll make one hell of an impression on the Avengers.
5. Chaos King
What’s more powerful than the Devil himself? The answer: Amatsu Mikaboshi, aka the Chaos King. A member of the Japanese Shinto pantheon of deities, Mikaboshi is the primordial darkness and chaos at the beginning of time. The formless void was his domain until he noticed the intrusion of neighbouring gods into his domain. He saw the many pantheons of Greek, Norse, Shinto and various alien origins as a threat to his being. So what did he do?
He launched a war to wipe out them out once and for all in the badass Chaos War comic miniseries in 2010. Within the epic, we see Mikaboshi massacre a legion of gods before turning them into his thrall army. Then he proceeds to march into the Underworld and Hell, murder Satan before destroying the place and absorbing the undead into himself. When people in Hell would rather stay in eternal torment than suffer your wrath, you know you’re one bonafide monster.
So great and terrible was this war, the Greek God of Heroism, Hercules had to form a “God Squad” that consisted of Thor, Silver Surfer and even Galactus. I know it can be hard at times to get a barometer on what counts a big deal in the world of comics but believe me when I say that Chaos King is a very, very big deal. Let me put this way.
Thanos could only use the Infinity Gauntlet to snap people away and transport them into the realm of death. Mikaboshi destroyed that realm, devoured their souls and sent folks like Hela and Mistress Death running for their lives. We’ve seen the MCU go from personal to political to mystical to cosmic. If they bring Mikaboshi into the fray, they’ll break into the realm of the divine. If there was ever a reason for Thor to be called out of retirement, Mikaboshi would be a damn good one.