The Infinity Saga has come full circle with this year’s Avengers: Endgame. It’s time for a new age in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). A time for new heroes, new stories and new worlds to explore. One thing’s for sure, Phase 4 is going to be distinctly different from anything we’ve seen so far in the MCU. We’re definitely going to see more of the magical and cosmic sides of the MCU with films like Blade, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and The Eternals set to hit theatres in 2020 and 2021. That being said, we also believe that some of the members of the old guard will be sticking around. Heroes like Falcon, Spider-Man, Wanda, Hawkeye and Bucky, and perhaps we may see some villains of yore return? Come to think of it, there are a good number of villains still lurking about in the shadows. Villains whose stories, we speculate, are far from over.
They say a hero is only ever as good as the villain, and sometimes the villains are what we love most about the films. The way we figure, these guys are due for a comeback! With that in mind, let’s run down some of the very best (or worst) of them we hope to see in future films.
1. Red Skull
You can only imagine the look on our faces when we saw the MCU’s favourite fascist; the Red Skull appear on screen in Infinity War. Though it seems that he is no longer after the power of the Space Stone and has instead become the guardian of the Soul Stone. An immortal, near-omniscient being carrying an air of indifference to the world around him. A prisoner of the powers he sought to wield, forced to guard them but never being able to claim them as his possessions. That is unless he found a way to release himself of the Soul Stone’s service and return to Earth once more. The Red Skull is one of Captain America’s most iconic villains. A master tactician, a vicious combatant and a megalomaniac through an through. Somehow, I doubt he’s going to stay trapped on Vormir forever.
The Red Skull was banished by the Space Stone to the planet of Vormir for misusing its power before being forced to be the Soul Stone’s guardian. Apparently, after Thanos had taken the Soul Stone, Red Skull’s curse was broken and he was finally free. So we know he’s the Stonekeeper for the Soul Stone but if someone was to claim it for themselves (someone like Adam Warlock maybe?), he’d technically be free. Seeing that he doesn’t have a stone to keep. After spending decades stuck on that planet, his newfound freedom could inspire him to go on a quest to destroy Captain America, along with his loved ones. The captain had stolen a lifetime away from him, and now it’s his turn to return the favour.
At the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, we see Ultron seemingly possess one last Ultron sentry before being totally eradicated by Vision’s Mind Stone. Thus destroying Ultron and saving the world. Truth be told, we’re not convinced. Ultron is a hyper-intelligent A.I. with mastery over computer technology and can easily access the net at will. You mean to tell me that this super-smart living sentient computer decided that the best course of action was to place the last vestige of his consciousness into a damaged sentry unit? Somehow I doubt that. The truth of the matter is that it is near impossible to destroy Ultron. He doesn’t have a single corporeal form in which you can simply eradicate. His presence is more akin to a computer virus, spreading far and wide where ever he goes.
It’s not impossible that Ultron was not totally vanquished by Vision that day. He could have simply been biding his time, waiting for the Avengers to be out of the picture. Seeing that his father, Tony Stark, is no alive to stop him, he could begin to reemerge but this time with more nefarious plans in mind. We’ve seen the introduction of time travel in the MCU using Banner’s machine. Ultron can pretty much hack into any device into the world, seeing that he is a highly advanced, self-learning A.I. right? So technically, he could pretty much take control of Banner’s device and use it to alter the past to create a Terminator-like future for the MCU. Which is both plausible and totally rad!
Next to Thanos, Dormammu is arguably the deadliest villain in the MCU. An immortal entity, unrivalled in power and older than time itself according to the Ancient One. The ruler and master of the Dark Dimension, with the entirety of the realm subjected to his will. Among the many titles bestowed unto him, you can add Doctor Strange’s Dunce to the list. In 2016’s Doctor Strange, we see the Sorcerer Supreme trap Dormammu in an endless loop, forcing him to relive the same “bargain” over and over again. No matter how many times he kills Steven, the pesky wizard still returns to rub this cosmic conqueror the wrong way. Eventually, Dormammu concedes and Strange has his victory. He vows to leave the Earth alone if Strange frees him from his clutches. I’m sure we can trust an inter-dimensional demon’s words, right?
I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. Kaecilius is merely a pawn in which Dormammu used to summon his darkness to the world of man. He could simply find another one to do so. Somebody who is a disillusioned student of the Ancient One and a longtime rival of Doctor Strange might do the trick. Somebody like Karl Mordo. Desiring to cleanse the world of the “perversion” of magic, Mordo could see Dormammu as a source of order to the chaos of magic. If not Mordo, then some other power-hungry sorcerer looking for immortality or greater power. It’s not so much a question of if but one of when. We suspect Dormammu’s time will come when the Time Stone falls into the wrong hands, or in the clutches of his minions.
4. Helmut Zemo
The last time we saw the Scorpion of Sokovia aka Helmut Zemo was near the end of Captain America: Civil War. After completing his mission of tearing the Avengers apart, he was ready to pull the trigger on himself. Unfortunately, T’Challa had other plans for the man and stopped him just in the knick of time. As of now, we know nothing of Zemo’s fate in the MCU. We assume he was sent off to some maximum-security prison where he will live out the rest of his days, revelling in his victory over Avengers. He has had his vengeance, or has he? After the events of Endgame, the world has never held the Avengers in higher regard, especially for the hero-martyr Tony Stark. The man responsible for the death of Zemo’s family. I imagine if he knew of this, he would be absolutely seething with hate. He has failed his mission.
Zemo is just too good of a character to throw away. A terroristic lone-wolf out for blood and a walking allegory for the sins of reckless foreign intervention. Though Stark might be dead, Zemo could still be after his family. Motivated out of nothing but sheer spite and hate. Stark took his family away from him, and now it’s his turn. That would make for a really, really dark film involving civilian casualties and a whole lot of crossed moral lines. I certainly hope he makes other cinematic appearances, intent on taking down other superhero organizations.
5. Vulture, Scorpion and Mysterio (Sinister Six)
Come on guys, we’re already halfway there to completing our Sinister Six ensemble! For those you aren’t caught up, the Sinister Six are a team of Spider-Man’s worst villains joining forces to take down the wallcrawler. In the past, memberships have included baddies like the Vulture, Scorpion and Mysterio. What a crazy coincidence! It just so happens that we have one Adrian Toomes aka the Vulture, one Mac Gargan who is the alter ego to the Scorpion in the comics and of course, Quentin Beck as Mysterio in the MCU. This is no accident friends. Recently, Spider-Man: Far From Home producer Amy Pascal hinted at the possibility of a Sinister Six team-up seeing that Sony and Disney are back in business together. We’re so close.
Wait a minute though, there are some possible hiccups to this theory. One, Adrian Toomes’ redemption at the end of Homecoming seems to contradict with his involvement in the team. When Mac Gargan (the future Scorpion) questions Toomes on the identity of Spider-Man, he denies knowing his identity. Secondly, the end of Far From Home also sees Mysterio seemingly die from a misfired drone attack. So we have one good guy Vulture, one Mac Gargan without his Scorpion suit and one dead Mysterio. So, does that mean we’re back to one member of the Sinister Six? I don’t think so and I’ll explain why.
There’s a chance Toomes could be roped into the Sinister Six, either through the promise of freedom or through familial blackmail. Mac Gargan is already eyeing to take Spidey down, so he’s pretty much on board. Beck is a master illusionist. It’s not impossible that his onscreen death could be yet another elaborate ruse. Pascal has also stated that with Sony and Disney sharing properties, we could see other members of the Sinister Six like Venom, Electro, Kraven the Hunter and Doctor Octopus joining the team. Until we get a full confirmation, some assembly will be required.