The Marvel Cinematic Universe has done a solid job of delving into cosmic territory during its nine-year run so far thanks to Thor, Thor: The Dark World, The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. This November's Thor: Ragnarok, next year's Avengers: Infinity War and potentially 2019's Avengers 4 will continue to expand these corners, and according to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, there will be more focused on cosmic craziness in Phase Four. That said, there are limits to what this franchise can do with its space-set tales.
While the MCU has plenty of characters to populate its cosmic-centric movies, there are some notable heroes and villains who can't be included thanks to 20th Century Fox holding the film rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises. With that in mind, we've gathered up the best cosmic characters from the Marvel comics pages who would be incredible additions to the MCU's cosmic stories.
Few villains can pose a bigger threat to the universe than Thanos, but Galactus is one of those beings. Nicknamed "The Devourer of Worlds," Galactus is a survivor from the universe that died as ours began, and travels across the universe to drain planets of their energy so that he can survive, not caring how many lives he destroys in the process. He appeared in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver, but instead of being the classic tall man in the outlandish purple costume, he was turned into a sentient cloud. That didn't go over well with fans. Galactus is in need of major cinematic redemption, but because he resides at Fox, the MCU can't use him as its next overarching antagonist.
Annihilus hails from the Negative Zone, a parallel dimension where all energy is negatively charged and a destructive vortex rests in the center. Annihilus is frequently depicted as the Negative Zone's ruler, controlling this dimension's few inhabitants with his Cosmic Control Rod. However, because the Negative Zone is so inhospitable, Annihilus has tried to take over our universe, only to be defeated by the Fantastic Four. The MCU has established that there are other realities through Ant-Man and Doctor Strange, so it would be easy enough to set up Annihilus as an invader determine to conquer the Marvel universe so that he and his followers can survive. Alas, for now he's restricted only to the Fantastic Four movies.
According to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 director James Gunn, the Skrull race as a whole can be used by both Marvel and Fox. Specific Skrull characters, on the other hand, remain at Fox, so using Super-Skrull in the MCU is off the table. It's a shame, because in addition to his natural shapeshifting abilities, he was also given the Fantastic Four's abilities in the comics. Obviously if Super Skrull were to be used in the MCU, his powers would need to be changed to be copies of the Avengers' powers, but he would still make a worthy foe that could serve as the primary representative of the Skrulls.
When Galactus came to the planet Zenn-La, Norrin Radd offered to become Galactus' herald in exchange for his world being spared. Norrin was transformed into the Silver Surfer. After spending years finding worlds for his master to consume, Silver Surfer eventually defied Galactus, and after spending a short time exiled on Earth, he now freely travels across the universe and protects the innocent with the Power Cosmic. Silver Surfer was adapted decently in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver, but if he could truly thrive if he was surfing the MCU space ways, helping the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and others end Galactus' reign of terror.
The Phalanx are actually an entire species, but like the Borg from the Star Trek franchise, they operate as a hive mind. The techno-organic creatures primarily fight the X-Men in the comics, but other individuals have experimented with the virus that the Phalanx use to infect others and assimilate them into the group. What's interesting is that mutants have some immunity to this virus, and while MCU can't use mutants, the Inhumans could fill their role and fight back against the Phalanx, either on one of the TV shows or in a movie.
Like Annihilus, Blastaar comes from The Negative Zone. For a long time he ruled over his people, the Baluurians, but his ruthlessness eventually led to them rebelling and deposing him. Blastaar has a complicated relationship with Annihilus; at times they've worked together, but other times they've fought for control of the entire Negative Zone. Like Annihilus, Blastaar could be brought into the MCU as an extra dimensional invader, and only the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy or other MCU superheroes stand in the way of him conquering our reality.
Lilandra Neramani is the Empress of the Shi'ar Empire, an alien society that's primarily connected to the X-Men mythology. Lilandra especially has deep rooted ties to the mutant superhero team, as she was married to Charles Xavier for a time. The X-Men film series still hasn't made use of its cosmic material, so it would be wonderful if the MCU could bring in Lilandra to set up the Shi'ar Empire as one of the most dominant alien cultures in the galaxy, on par with The Kree. Sure we wouldn't see Lilandra's connection with the X-Men explored on the big screen, but her Shi'ar cohorts could appear alongside her, including her treacherous sister Deathbird.
Uatu The Watcher
Just like with the Skrulls, Marvel and Fox can both use The Watchers, hence why James Gunn had them cameo with Stan Lee in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. But also like the Skrulls, specific Watcher characters are off-limits to Marvel, so don't expect Uatu to show up in the MCU. That's ironic, because in the comics, Uatu is the Watcher assigned to observe Earth and its solar system, and unlike the other watchers, he's frequently broken the species' non-interference vow to aid humanity. Of all the specific Watchers out there, he's the one best suited to have a regular presence in the MCU.
No, we're not talking about the Daredevil villain. The alien Gladiator, a.k.a. Kallark, started out as a member of the Imperial Guard, the protectors of the Shi'ar Empire's rulers. He's been both an ally and an enemy to the X-Men in the comics; it's depended on the whims of his superiors and whether or not they're on good terms with the mutants. If Lilandra is brought into the MCU, then Gladiator also needs to appear, preferably as her bodyguard at first, but later (depending on the story) either aids in a coup against her or remains one of her loyalists during the rebellion.
When Cyclops and Havok were young, their parents, Christopher and Katherine Summers, were abducted by aliens. Katherine was later killed when Christopher briefly escaped captivity, and Christopher was then sentenced to hard labor in the Slave Pits of Alsibar. It was there that he made friends with some other alien outlaws, and after they escaped, they formed the Starjammers, a gang of pirates that rebelled against the empire that imprisoned them. The MCU wouldn't be able to use Christopher, a.k.a. Corsair, as Cyclops' father, but it would still be cool to see him as a swashbuckling figure who, like Star-Lord, was taken from Earth and opted not to return to his home planet in favor of adventuring across the galaxy.
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