Since the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked off in 2008, comic book fans and moviegoers have watched as this shared world has given us an impressive number of unique superheroes to see in action on the big screen. From Iron Man and Captain America to Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel has proven that they can take A-list or a D-list characters and create an exciting adventures for them to partake in (seriously - four years ago, who would have thought the Guardians would get a movie?!?!) However, Marvel Comics has been around for decades, and with the MCU showing no signs of stopping right now, there are many great heroes that have yet to be introduced, and with comic book movies sitting pretty as the latest big cinematic craze, it means that at some point Marvel is going to have to give us new players.
Since 20th Century Fox still has the film rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters, Marvel doesn’t have full access to their own library of characters, but fortunately the roster is still incredibly huge, and there are still several individuals worthy of being translated to the big screen. That in mind, here are the 10 superheroes that the MCU needs to introduce at some point, whether it’s in Phase 3, Phase 4 or beyond.
10. Wonder Man
In Marvel Comics, Simon Williams was initially given superpowers by Baron Zemo and his Masters of Evil when he sought revenge against Tony Stark - the man who he believed responsible for his company failing. While originally sent in to infiltrate the Avengers and take them down, Williams, now Wonder Man, had a change of heart and stopped Zemo’s plan before he was seriously injured. While he seemingly died in his first issue, the Avengers kept him in suspended animation for years until he was awakened and restored to full health. Since then, he has been an on-and-off members of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and while he may not always agree with their methods, his abilities like super strength, flight and later being able to manipulate ionic energy have made him a valuable ally. There may not be any room to include him in any Phase 3 projects, but Wonder Man would make a great character to introduce in Phase 4 as one of the new heroes who has been recruited into another Avengers team. Seeing his unique powers at work is reason enough to include him.
9. Beta Ray Bill
We’ve seen a lot of weirdness in the MCU since 2008, but nothing quite as bizarre as a bipedal horse-like alien fighting with a hammer. Despite not hailing from Asgard, Bill is one of the few individuals in the Marvel Universe who is worthy of wielding Thor’s power. After Bill and the God of Thunder fought each other for control of Mjolnir (Bill needed the weapon to defend his people), Odin created a copy of the hammer for Bill called Stormbreaker, which has the same attributes as Mjolnir. Since then Bill has been both an ally to Thor and Earth’s heroes, and roams around the universe helping other alien species. We don’t know what will happen with the Thor franchise after Thor: Ragnarok, but it would be an interesting twist if a non-Norse alien were to inherit Thor’s power in Phase 4 or somehow receive Stormbreaker from Thor himself - who may end up being the only Asgardian who survives the events of the apocalyptic Ragnarok.
8. Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan)
Despite only existing for less than two years, Kamala Khan has become one of Marvel’s popular characters recently. Kamala was just a normal Pakistani teenager living in New Jersey until, like many around the world, she was exposed to a Terrigen Mist bomb. This awakened her Inhuman cells and gave her shapeshifting powers. Taking the identity her idol Carol Danvers once used, she decided to become a superhero, and while she’s still learning the ropes, she’s already had several team-ups with heroes like Wolverine and Spider-Man. While the name Ms. Marvel can’t come to her the same way in the MCU as it did in the comics (since Carol Danvers is starting out with the moniker Captain Marvel), this shouldn’t stop the creative forces from trying to incorporate her somehow. True, we have a teenage Spider-Man debuting soon, but with Kamala’s popularity and the growing importance of the Inhumans in this world, a younger superhero with visually-enticing powers that is trying to navigate this new world would be an excellent addition.
7. Moon Knight
While the MCU doesn’t necessarily need a Batman-like figure, it would be cool if they gave a non-powered vigilante a big screen adventure. Enter Moon Knight, one of the more intriguing crimefighters from the Marvel Universe. Although he originally had powers in the comics that gave him superhuman strength and resistance to psychic attacks, Moon Knight has since lost these powers and relies on his fighting skills and variety of weapons to take down criminals. Moon Knight is also unique for suffering from dissociative identity disorder. His different personalities include Marc Spector (who he was born as), Jake Lockley and Steven Grant. If the MCU is looking to introduce a superhero who powers through his mental issues to fight for good, Moon Knight is their guy, and it would be great just to see his badass costume come to life.
6. Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell)
If it wasn’t for the Kree named Mar-Vell, Carol Danvers wouldn’t be the superhero we know today. Sent to Earth to spy on the humans, Mar-Vell used his powers to protect those he was observing, and when he was later found guilty of treason by the Kree Empire, he escaped their death sentence and became a permanent superhero on Earth (at least until he was killed off in the ’80). Perhaps most important, though, is the fact that he rescues Carol (who knew his human identity Dr. Walter Lawson) from being killed by an explosion emitted from an Kree device. This same device eventually gave her superpowers and led to her becoming Ms. Marvel. While there may not be room for him in the MCU to lead his own movie, he should at least be a major supporting character in 2018’s Captain Marvel. Have him be the one responsible for Carol gaining powers and possibility even mentoring her throughout her solo adventure. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to possibly introduce him before the Captain Marvel movie and only have his Kree identity revealed in that film.
5. Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew)
Aside from the arachnid-centric moniker, Spider-Woman shares almost nothing in common with Spider-Man. Jessica Drew gained her powers in utero when she was struck by a beam of radiation that contained the DNA of several types of spiders. After serving as a HYDRA-turned-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent as an adult, Jessica became Spider-Woman to make up for her past sins, and since then has served as an Avenger and agent of S.W.O.R.D. (a counterintelligence agency focused on extraterrestrial threats). In addition to her superhuman strength, flight, adherence to walls and bio-electric energy blasts, Jessica also produces a pheromone that can make men around her feel pleasure. While the general audience might be confused why she doesn’t have any relation to Spider-Man, she still needs to be included in the MCU as one of the Phase 4 superheroes, whether in her own movie or as one of the new Avengers recruits. She has connections with both the superhero world and the spy world, so if we do eventually see her, we can expect a thrilling, action-packed adventure.
4. Adam Warlock
Despite popular belief, the cocoon seen in Guardians of the Galaxy did not have Adam Warlock encased within, so the MCU still has yet to even reference the character. Fortunately, the Avengers: Infinity War movies are coming up, meaning that the next few years are the perfect time to introduce him. In the original Infinity War story, Adam gathered up many of Marvel’s heroes (and even a few villains) to help him combat Thanos, who had collected all six Infinity Stones and achieved near-unlimited power. Adam can serve the same purpose in the MCU, both from the big screen and small screen, to put up resistance against the Mad Titan. Being one of Marvel’s most famous cosmic characters, it might be a good idea to have Adam first show up in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, but either way, he’s a must-have for Phase 3. It’s also important to point out that the guy classically has one of the famed Infinity Stones – specifically the Soul Stone – lodged in his forehead, so the character may be key just in that respect.
We’ve seen a lot of Bruce Banner raged out as The Hulk, so why not introduce his cousin, Jennifer Walters, to the Marvel Cinematic Universe? In the comics, Bruce gave Jennifer a blood transfusion when she was nearly killed by a crime boss. His blood, combined with her own personal anger, transformed her into the She-Hulk, and after defeating the criminals that tried to finish her off, she became a superhero. When she is transformed as She-Hulk, Jennifer retains her intellect and also has incredible strength - though is not quite as powerful as her cousin. She has made a name for herself as a strong (figuratively and literally), positive and humorous female character, and has served on teams like the Avengers and Fantastic Four. The blood transfusion angle of her origin might need to be altered to make it more science-y, but She-Hulk is a super heroine that needs to be adapted for live-action. The cinematic Hulk has a lot of fans out there, so just imagine how they would react until seeing her taking down bad guys and living cars and other heavy assorted objects. It would be an amazing sight!
2. Nova (Richard Rider)
Guardians of the Galaxy introduced the Nova Corps, so it stands to reason that eventually Earth’s representative should be introduced. Although teenager Sam Alexander is wearing the helmet these days in the comics, it should be Richard Rider who is named as the MCU’s first Nova. Chosen by a dying Corpsman, Richard was given the helmet without any instructions on how to use it. Eventually he discovered that it allowed him to connect to the Nova Force, which lets gives him super strength, flight and energy manipulation. He then made a name for himself not only as an Earth superhero, but as an intergalactic defender. Director James Gun has said he won’t include Richard in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, but if the MCU is looking to expand the cosmic side of this universe even more, giving Nova a solo film is one of the best ways to do this. We’ve already met several of the Nova Corps members, so why not let them recruit someone from Earth?
1. Namor The Sub-Mariner
If it helps, just think of Namor the Sub-Mariner as Marvel’s Aquaman. Debuting in 1939, Namor is essentially Marvel’s first superpowered character. The son of a human sea captain and an Atllantean princess, Namor was born with abilities like super-strength, the ability to breathe underwater and wings on his ankles that allow him to fly. As an adult he eventually became the ruler of Atlantis, and while he fought alongside Captain America and other heroes against the Axis powers during World War II, his duty is towards the underwater nation. Although Namor has a sense of honor and usually fights for justice, his short-fuse and anger towards the surface has often put him at odds with Marvel heroes, so it’s probably better to classify him as an anti-hero.
There are many complications with Namor’s film rights due to contracts and paperwork left over from when Universal Pictures had the character. That being said, when all that eventually gets sorted out, give the aquatic monarch his own movie. Whether it’s because he’s a character, who must deal with the weight of being a ruler while also using his powers for good (mostly) or simply because Marvel simply to give some competition to DC in the underwater hero department, Namor needs to make his live-action debut at some point.
Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.