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Every New Villain We Expect To See In Marvel Phase 5

Marvel has some of the greatest villains in comic book history and some have already made their way to the MCU — for instance, there's interstellar despot Thanos, World War II nasty The Red Skull, and criminal mastermind Wilson Fisk. But as of Phase 4, there are still dozens more that have gone unseen. From what we know of Phase 5, beginning with "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" in 2023, it looks like we're about to see more bad guys make their long-awaited debuts.

Of course, we may still have a long wait until we see stalwarts like the "X-Men" villain Magneto. We also don't quite know when the next "Spider-Man" film will arrive, let alone what kind of adversaries the wallcrawler will face when it does. But we do know a few things about the villains for upcoming projects like "Captain America: New World Order," "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" and Disney+ series like "Ironheart" and "Secret Invasion." If you're wondering which evil masterminds we'll see next, read on Marvelites.

Kang the Conqueror

Among Marvel's pantheon of supervillains is Kang the Conqueror, who first debuted in 1963 in "The Avengers" #8. He was one of the first villains to be faced by the team, after Loki, Baron Zemo, and the Lava Men. A powerful tyrant from the future who has gone by many names, Kang the Conqueror has one of the most convoluted histories in the Marvel Universe, which has been rewritten and retconned so many times that it's hard to keep track. And it sounds like that confusing history could follow him into the MCU.

Kang is first teased at the conclusion of "Loki" Season 1 when we meet a multiverse version of Kang known as He Who Remains, played by Jonathan Majors. According to this version of the character, there was once a great war between untold variants of himself — a war that Loki and Sylvie threaten to reignite. Now, with the multiverse fully unleashed, it seems the most powerful variant of He Who Remains will finally appear as the primary villain in "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania." 


On the goofier side of Marvel's ever-expanding roster of psychopathic villains is MODOK. Originally an acronym for "Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing," his moniker has been changed over the years to be less murderous. (For example, sometimes he goes by MODOC, and the "C" stands for "conquest." It's a little less explicitly violent but just as menacing.) On the page he begins his story as George Tarleton, a technician working for AIM — an evil organization that often clashes with Iron Man and the Avengers. During the invention of the so-called Cosmic Cube, which is a man-made creation in the comics, poor George is chosen to be mutated in an effort to better examine and further develop the device. Before he knows it, he's a giant head who gets around on a floating chair.

MODOK is a frequent villain in animation, having made appearances (under the MODOK name or otherwise) in the 1994 "Iron Man" cartoon, the 2009 series "Iron Man: Armored Adventures" and "The Superhero Squad Show," and in 2010's "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" among many others. In 2021, MODOK received his own TV series — a stop-motion animated comedy where he's voiced by Patton Oswalt, though it was canceled after a single season in spite of stellar reviews.

For his MCU debut, it seems some significant changes could be made to his origin and his appearance in "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania." MODOK's presence among the line of "Quantumania" Funko Pops! seems to confirm his presence in the second "Ant-Man" sequel. Rumors suggest that Darren Cross — the nefarious Yellowjacket from the first "Ant-Man" — somehow returns and transforms into the awful ginormous head, but we'll see if that turns out to be true. It sounds plausible, but it wouldn't be the first time an MCU-related rumor turned out to be hogwash. 

Red Hulk

Before you ask — no, Red Hulk is not another version of Bruce Banner. He's not like Smart Hulk or Gray Hulk. In fact, when he's first introduced in the pages of 2008 "Hulk" comics, his alter ego is kept a secret and forms the basis for his first story arc. While at first there are several red herrings, including Banner himself, it's eventually revealed that Red Hulk is none other than Hulk's mortal enemy, Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross.

In the MCU, Ross first appears way back in 2008's "Incredible Hulk," which hit theaters right around the same time of his first published instances of smashing it up in the comics. Played by William Hurt, the character reemerges in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War" where it's revealed that Ross is now The United States Secretary of Defense. His reappearance in "Avengers: Endgame" and "Black Widow" might indicate that the MCU had bigger plans for him, but the tragic death of actor William Hurt in 2022 put the brakes on Ross for the foreseeable future.

More recently, it was announced that none other than Harrison Ford will step into the role in "Captain America: New World Order," and some signs point to his emergence as Red Hulk being a major plot point.

The Leader

Is it possible "Captain America: New World Order" could feature multiple Hulk villains? It is definitely possible. After Thaddeus Ross, the second is the Leader, one of Bruce Banner's oldest foes. Making his presence felt first in the pages of "Tales to Astonish" #62 in 1964, Samuel Sterns is exposed to a kind of gamma radiation similar to what turns Bruce Banner into the Hulk, but instead of turning him into a mountain of muscle, it enhances Samuel's intellect. He goes on to become the green-skinned, behemoth-brained villain the Leader and a prominent member of Hulk's rogues' gallery.

Samuel makes his first showing on the big screen in 2008's "The Incredible Hulk" played by Tim Blake Nelson. At the conclusion of that film, he's exposed to the Hulk's radioactive blood and his transformation into the villain known as the Leader is heavily implied. But with no "Hulk" sequels, the Leader effectively disappears from the MCU and we have yet to see what's become of him. In 2021 though, it was announced that Nelson will be reprising his role as Sterns in "Captain America: New World Order."

The High Evolutionary

Wider audiences may be unfamiliar with the High Evolutionary, but many comics fans know him well. He's a classic villain who torments various hero teams like the Avengers and the X-Men. In fact, in the 1970s, Wolverine co-creator Len Wein had plans to reveal that Logan was actually a creation of the High Evolutionary (via CBR). According to his origin story, a brilliant geneticist named Herbert Wyndham was fired from Oxford University for his experiments in turning animals into humanoid creations. The banishment set him on the path to perform procedures on himself that evolved his body and mind and turned him into the villainous High Evolutionary.

Based in the Wundagore Mountains, The High Evolutionary builds a small scientific empire, and eventually takes the cosmically inclined individual Adam Warlock under his wing. In the MCU, director James Gunn has penciled in The High Evolutionary as the villain in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," the final in his trilogy. As a series capper, Wyndham's inclusion could tie up multiple loose threads, including the origin of Rocket Raccoon and the appearance of Adam Warlock teased at the end of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2."

Playing the villain is Chukwudi Iwuji, who Gunn cast in his DC Comics TV series "Peacemaker." At San Diego Comic-Con in 2022, Iwuji appeared on stage in full costume as the High Evolutionary, giving fans a first glimpse of the MCU's newest threat.

Adam Warlock

For decades, the cosmic hero Adam Warlock was best remembered for his key role in the 1990s "Infinity" sagas — "The Infinity Gauntlet," "The Infinity War," and "The Infinity Crusade." But he started out as an Earthly creation, whipped up in a lab and designed to be the perfect human being, and he was initially known only as "Him."

Warlock, as he quickly became known, was more of an antagonist at first. He soon came into contact with the High Evolutionary, who gave him newfound life and purpose thanks to being bestowed the cosmic soul gem and redubbed Adam Warlock. He has a long and complicated history in the comics and became a cornerstone of Marvel's cosmic stories during the '80s and '90s.

While Adam Warlock sadly plays no part in the MCU's Infinity Saga, he's hinted at in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2." For the threequel, it seems Adam Warlock will debut as a genetically superior creation designed to destroy the Guardians of the Galaxy, with actor Will Poulter ("The Maze Runner") snagging the coveted role.


Company-wide crossover events have been a staple since the '80s, and one of the biggest of the 2000s was "Secret Invasion." The sprawling 2008 storyline that dominated the pages of the Marvel comics for nearly a year reveals that many of Earth's most famous heroes have been replaced by shape-shifting Skrulls. In 2020, Marvel Studios' head honcho Kevin Feige revealed that "Secret Invasion" would form the basis for a miniseries on Disney+, and it would feature a villain new to both comic readers and MCU viewers.

Unlike the comics, this TV adaptation would be more of a spy thriller, with actor Kingsley Ben-Adir cast as the mysterious rebel Skrull leader named Gravik. Though little is known about the character, who is an original creation and not pulled from any existing comic, it could be inferred that he has a history with Talos (Ben Mendehlson), the Skrull leader who has become an ally of Nick Fury. 

Speculation has also run rampant that he could have ties to other villains, with some fans venturing a guess that Gravik could be a new take on the well-known cosmic nemesis Kl'rt, also known as The Super Skrull. In the comics, the Super Skrull is a major morally ambiguous player who comes to possess all of the powers of the Fantastic Four.

The Hood

Following the death of Tony Stark in "Avengers: Endgame," the MCU has a new armored hero in the form of Riri Williams. A teenaged super genius who builds her own super-suit, Riri makes her debut in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" played by Dominique Thorne. In 2023, she is due to return in her own Disney+ series "Ironheart." For the series' villain, Marvel has tapped The Hood — a comics villain with an interesting history.

Originally introduced in a Marvel MAX title in 2002, Parker Robbins had a rough upbringing in New York City. His father has previously worked for none other than Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin. Later on, Parker becomes a crook himself, eventually adopting a supervillain persona in his rise to becoming a powerful crime boss. But what makes The Hood unique is his use of magic and his connection to the supernatural — not something you'd expect in a series about a more science-based hero like "Ironheart."

According to The Wrap, actor Anthony Ramos will be playing Robbins, a young thief who dabbles in the dark arts. "I think Parker, almost is a guy who was a misfit," Ramos told the audience at D23. "He wants to take in other misfits and show the world that you looked at us as outcasts but we're going to end up on top."

The Black Knife Cartel

Phase 5 of the MCU has a few under-the-radar releases that we haven't heard much about since they were announced. One of those is "Echo," a direct spin-off of the "Hawkeye" miniseries from 2020, which introduces Maya Lopez as a villain-turned-anti-hero who has a past with Clint Barton's Ronin persona. But in the comics, Echo has much closer ties to a different Marvel vigilante in Matt Murdock's Daredevil. In 2021 it was announced that "Echo" would be arriving as a series on Disney+ in 2023, and the rumored villains have ties to Murdock's other biggest rival.

While "Echo" is expected to follow on from "Hawkeye" and feature the return of both Vincent D'Onofrio's Kingpin and Charlie Cox as Daredevil (via Hollywood Reporter), Wilson Fisk might not be the only villain on the scene. If there's any credibility to a flurry of recent rumors, we could see a group of thugs called the Black Knife Cartel stepping in to give Echo trouble as well. This is an intriguing addition if true, because in the comics, the crime syndicate is led by the assassin known as Bullseye. Could this mean that "Echo" might also reintroduce that devious Daredevil villain into the MCU? Time will tell.


Though it was recently pushed back a year thanks to losing director Bassam Tariq, "Blade" is still on track to close out Phase 5 some time in 2024. "Lovecraft Country" director Yann Demange was recently announced as Tariq's replacement, and Mahershala Ali remains onboard to star as the titular vampire hunter with shooting expected to get underway early in 2023. Though little is currently known about the plot of the film, we're willing to bet that the Ebony Blade — the weapon wielded by Black Knight in the comics that was seen on-screen at the end of "Eternals" — will factor in somehow. 

As for the villain, even less is known. But nobody's given us a reason why it can't be the Lord of the Vampires himself, Count Dracula. More than just an adaptation of the Bram Stoker classic character, Dracula has been a mainstay in the Marvel Comics for decades, even encountering the Avengers, Spider-Man, and the X-Men over the years in addition to supernatural heroes like Doctor Strange and Man-Thing. With monsters playing an ever-bigger role in the MCU with "Werewolf by Night," the speculation mill has been spinning that Dracula could be the baddie of "Blade," even if he's just a shadowy presence in the background pulling the strings. 

Nicholas Scratch

In 2020, the MCU's first foray into the world of Disney+ was "WandaVision," a spin-off detailing what happened to Wanda Maximoff after the events of "Avengers: Endgame." The standout character of the series wound up being the villain Agatha Harkness played by Kathryn Hahn. In 2021, Marvel announced that the diabolical witch would be receiving her own series, "Agatha Harkness: Coven of Chaos."

Expected to be a big part of Phase 5 on the small screen, the discourse surrounding the series since its announcement has mostly focused on the casting, and understandably so. Joe Locke, Aubrey Plaza, Ali Ahn, Maria Dizzia, and Sasheer Zamata have all been confirmed as joining the series, while Emma Caulfield Ford will reprise her "WandaVision" role as Dottie. Though no character names beyond Dottie have been publicly noted yet, presumably one of these actors will wind up playing the series villain. While none among the roster of known "Coven of Chaos" cast members make obvious sense as a comics-accurate version of Harkness' son Nicholas Scratch — it wouldn't be the first time Marvel on Disney+ threw us a curveball. After all, that's how we got Agatha in "WandaVision."

A powerful sorcerer in the comics, Nicholas Scratch's name is a play on "Old Scratch" — an age-old nickname for the devil. Though in the comics he's a wise older man, the series could always show his emergence from her mother's coven as a wicked warlock. Locke might actually make a good fit for a young version of Nick Scratch.


When the first "Captain Marvel" film began production, there was no word on who the villain of the film would be. Guesses were all over the map, with some suggesting that Lee Pace's Ronan the Accuser would be the main villain, with others guessing everyone from MODOK to Moonstone. In the end, it was a lesser-known villain named Yon-Rogg. That revelation might've made fans approach their efforts to forecast the characters of the movie's sequel, due up in 2023, a little differently.

Titled "The Marvels," it will see Brie Larson's Carol Danvers unite with Teyonah Parris' Monica Rambeau (who was turned into a super-powered hero in "WandaVision") and Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan. Also appearing in the film will be Park Seo-joon and Zawe Ashton in undisclosed roles. Recent talk among fans offers a theory that Ashton's character might be Kree General Dar-Benn, who in Marvel Comics sparks a coup on their home world and becomes the Emperor of the Kree Empire. During their reign, Dar-Benn rules alongside fellow former Kree General Ael-Dan, and in theory, it's possible Seo-joon has been cast in that role.

They might still turn out to be wrong, but these guesses still sound much more reasonable than the ones fans threw out there for the first "Captain Marvel" villain.

Doctor Doom

With the Fantastic Four and their affiliated characters available to the MCU thanks to the acquisition of Fox by Disney in 2019, an appearance by Doctor Doom is inevitable. In fact, a feature film for the foursome was first announced in 2020, with a 2023 release date putting it squarely in Phase 5 before an unexpected dropout from director Jon Watts forced Marvel to reshuffle. Though the "Fantastic Four" film may now be beyond Phase 5, we still reckon that an appearance from the team's biggest villain could come sooner than later. 

Rumors suggest in fact that Latverian ruler Doom won't even be a major part of the first "FF" film, as the armored tyrant has already been a villain in every movie for the team to date. But Doctor Doom has played a much bigger role in the comic book universe beyond just a foil for Marvel's First Family, and there's every reason to believe he could wind up being an over-arching villain like Thanos or Kang. His emergence in the near future could lay the groundwork. 

A minor appearance from Doom could work in any number of Phase 5 projects, from "Captain America: New World Order" to "Thunderbolts." In theory, it would even make sense for him to show up in "Ironheart," since Victor Von Doom's tenure as Iron Man coincides with Ironheart's earliest adventures in the comics, and the series seems to put a focus on the cross between magic and science — a central theme for the Latverian villain.


In the comics, the super-team called the Thunderbolts is a kind of an "anti-Avengers." They're a collection of supposedly reformed villains, and their history is complicated. But in 2022, Marvel announced the Thunderbolts would be headed to the big screen with a roster that included Red Guardian, Ghost, the Winter Soldier, Yelena Belova, U.S. Agent, and Taskmaster. Few other details have been revealed, though we do know it will release towards the tail end of Phase 5. Who the team will face off against, however, remains a mystery.

In terms of wild card villains in Phase 5, there's been recent talk among fans of a long-awaited, oft-rumored baddie who could be making his debut in "Thunderbolts" – Hyperion. The leader of a team of alternate universe superheroes called the Squadron Supreme who were originally intended as a parody of DC Comics' Justice League, Hyperion is one of Marvel's answers to Superman. Since he's a favorite among some fans, Marvelites have been hoping for a Hyperion appearance in the MCU for years, with a popular casting choice being Henry Cavill, though that seems far less likely now that Cavill is back as Superman.