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10 Marvel And DC Characters Who Will Steal The Show In 2022

Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams and Xochitl Gomez in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

The year is just about over, so we can now devote our full attention to what’s ahead on the cinematic front in 2022. This will be an especially big year when it comes to Marvel and DC’s live action movies; the MCU has Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever lined up, while DC is expanding its shared cinematic universe with Black Adam, The Flash and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, as well as delivering The Batman, which is set in another reality. 

With so much Marvel and DC content to enjoy, that means plenty of characters will also have time to shine. As such, here are the characters  I think will steal the show in 2022. Just so we’re all on the same page, although the MCU has expanded to include Disney+ shows, and the DCEU is getting into the TV game this year with Peacemaker, this list is only spotlighting people who are appearing on the big screen. With that bit of housekeeping done, let’s get started.

Paul Dano as The Riddler in The Batman

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The Riddler

While I am looking forward to seeing Colin Farrell’s performance as Oswald Cobbplepot/The Penguin in The Batman (I’m obsessed with his line “Take it easy, sweetheart!” from the second trailer), he won’t be causing the most trouble in the Dark Knight’s next movie. The main antagonist slot is instead being filled by Paul Dano’s Edward Nashton/The Riddler, who’s been reimagined as a serial killer targeting Gotham City’s elite citizens. From what little we’ve seen of this Riddler so far, he comes across intimidating and downright creepy, a far cry from Jim Carrey’s wacky version in Batman Forever. Much like Heath Ledger did with The Joker in The Dark Knight, Dano could end up redefining the Riddler role for the general public, and I’m all for it.

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Karl Mordo

When we met Chiwetel Ejifor’s Karl Mordo in Doctor Strange, he was one of Stephen Strange’s mentors at Kamar-Taj and a welcome ally in the fight against Kaecilius. However, upon learning how The Ancient One had used magic from the Dark Dimension to extend her lifespan and seeing Strange manipulate time to deal with Dormammu, he embarked on a new mission: to rid the world of sorcerers he considered unworthy of holding power. Seeing Mordo’s full turn to antagonism has been six years in the making, and although we haven’t learned yet exactly how he fits into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it’s a good bet he’ll settle nicely into the role of Doctor Strange’s arch-nemesis, just like his in the comics.

Michael Keaton in 1989's Batman

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Michael Keaton’s Batman

In addition to Ben Affleck’s Batman popping in, The Flash will also feature Michael Keaton’s version of the Caped Crusader, 30 years after we last saw him put on the cape and cowl. As a consequence of messing with his timeline, Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen will meet Keaton’s Bruce Wayne in another universe. As he helps the Scarlet Speedster with his mission, hopefully we’ll learn a little bit about what Keaton’s Bruce has been up to since the events of Batman Returns, including whether he’s been Batman for the entirety of those three decades or if he retired for a while. Count on him shining as Gotham City’s Dark Knight, just like he did in 1989 and 1992, and take comfort knowing this won’t be the last time we see him in the DCEU.

Natalie Portman as Jane Foster in Thor: The Dark World

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Jane Foster/The Mighty Thor

Following her appearances in Thor and Thor: The Dark World, Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster dropped off the MCU map, and it was said in Thor: Ragnarok that she and the God of Thunder broke up. But now she’s back, and like in the comics, she’s jumping into the superhero game. That’s right, the MCU’s Jane will transform into The Mighty Thor during Thor: Love and Thunder. Naturally Marvel is keeping tight-lipped about how her superhero transformation will go down (though a leaked set video holds some clues), but it’ll nonetheless be great to see Jane fighting alongside Chris Hemsworth’s Thor. Finger crossed her time wielding this incredible power isn’t a one-and-done affair.

Black Adam artwork

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Black Adam

Dwayne Johnson literally waited over a decade to play Black Adam, and now his time has finally come. Rather than pit Black Adam against Shazam in the latter’s first solo movie, it was decided the Kahndaqian character should instead appear in his own feature first, though a fight with the World’s Mightiest Mortal (and hopefully Superman) is surely forthcoming. For now though, after 5,000 years of imprisonment, Johnson’s Black Adam will awaken in the present day and waste no time dispensing his lethal form of justice, which will lead to him colliding with the Justice Society of America. Johnson has repeatedly promised that Black Adam will change the “hierarchy of power” in the DCEU, so bring it on!

America Chavez Marvel Comics artwork

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

America Chavez

As the title clearly leads out, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will see Stephen Strange visiting other universes following the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home. One of the people he’ll meet along the way is America Chavez, a.k.a. Miss America, played by The Baby-Sitters Club’s Xochitl Gomez. America’s power-set in the comics includes super strength, flight, invulnerability and creating mutliversal portals. How much Gomez’s America will share in common with her comic book counterpart remains to be seen, but I have a good feeling that version of the character has a bright future ahead of her as part of the new generation of superheroes forming in the MCU.

Black Manta new costume in Aquaman 2

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Black Manta

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s David Kane, a.k.a. Black Manta, didn’t lack for screen time in Aquaman, but he was nonetheless a supporting villain, while Orm/Ocean Master served as the main antagonist. Fortunately, the movie’s mid-credits scene set up Black Manta to be the big bad in the sequel we now know is called Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Other than wanting to exact revenge on Arthur Curry for the death of his father and allying himself with Randall Park’s Dr. Stephen Shin, we’re being kept in the dark on what Black Manta is cooking up for Lost Kingdom, though the sequel will see an “ancient power being unleashed.” Who wants to place bets on Black Manta being responsible for this and potentially causing more mayhem than Ocean Master did?

Letitia Wright as Shuri in Black Panther

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Shuri

Chadwick Boseman passed away in August 2020, and because Marvel Studios decided not to recast the role of T’Challa, someone else will have to take on the Black Panther mantle in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. While it hasn’t been officially announced who that will be yet, it’s been reported that Letitia Wright’s Shuri will have a bigger role in the sequel. The character did become Black Panther in the comics, so it’s reasonable that many fans assume she’ll take over in the MCU. But whether Wright’s Shuri puts on the costume or not, having already impressed in the first Black Panther movie as leader of the Wakandan Design Group, I can’t wait to see what other technological tricks she has up her sleeve in Wakanda Forever.

Supergirl DC Comics artwork

(Image credit: DC Comics)

Supergirl

The Supergirl TV series is over, but now it’s time for the character to shine on the big screen nearly 40 years after the first time she did so. That said, the Supergirl we’re getting in The Flash isn’t necessarily the Kara Zor-El version, as seen above. At this point, all we know is that The Young and the Restless’ Sasha Calle has been cast as the Girl of Steel, who presumably hails from another universe, although that hasn’t been confirmed yet. In any case, she’ll be a worthy ally for Barry Allen to have on his side, and it’ll be a blast to see another Kryptonian hero show off their might within the DCEU. But what’s her connection to General Zod and Faora, if there is one?

Gorr the God Butcher fighting Thor Marvel Comics artwork

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Gorr The God Butcher

After contributing to the DC Comics media landscape playing Batman in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Christian Bale has now hopped over to Marvel to play Gorr the God Butcher in Thor: Love and Thunder. In the comics, after losing his family, Gorr turned away from his people’s blind faith in gods and vowed to kill them all. Needless to say this brought him into conflict with Thor Odinson, and their clash over the course of Donny Cates’ Thor run was one for the ages, even by Marvel standards. That background from the source material combined with Bale’s acting talents has me thinking that Gorr stands a good chance at becoming one of the MCU’s most memorable villains.

You can find out when these characters will appear on in theaters in 2022 by looking through our upcoming Marvel movies guide and upcoming DC movies guide. Obviously there are plenty of other comic book movie characters who could impress audiences in the coming year, but I have a good feeling that these 10 will especially stand out.

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.