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Upcoming Super-Villains That Will Blow You Away

It's been just over a decade since 2008's Iron Man started the modern superhero craze, and there's still no sign of it slowing down. Far from being fatigued by all this spandex, we feel invigorated. Believe it or not, superhero movies just keep getting better!

One of the hardest things to get right is how to make a great super-villain, and it seems like filmmakers are just starting to get the hang of it. If you thought the Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Killmonger in Black Panther, and of course Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War were exciting, then buckle up, because the best is yet to come. There's a mind-blowing roster of classic comic book baddies who are going to be hitting theaters over the next couple of years, and we're going to run them all down for you and tell you a little bit about them, so that you can be as hyped as we are about the future of bad.


We've known for a while that Ben Mendelsohn was going to be in Captain Marvel, and it's been suspected that he would be playing a Skrull. Skrulls are a generally nasty species of shapeshifting aliens that have existed since the early days of Marvel comics. It eventually came out that the name of Mendelsohn's character would be Talos.

This was not something that anyone had predicted because, in the comics, Talos is a relatively obscure character. The most notable thing about him is that he is one of very few Skrulls who is unable to shapeshift, and he compensates for this by being an unusually vicious warrior. He's certainly an unexpected choice for our first major Skrull character in the MCU.

Then it got weirder, when in an interview with Slashfilm, Mendelsohn implied that the Talos of the film is a skilled shapeshifter, saying, "Physiologically any Skrull can change shape. It takes practice, and, dare I say it, talent to do it well. [Talos is] a battle commander because he does it well." So it looks like the Talos of the film can shapeshift. That makes it even stranger that the filmmakers chose Talos as the villain, instead of another Skrull. What are you planning, Marvel?

How all of this going to jive in the final film remains to be seen, but a word of caution for viewers of Captain Marvel: whenever you're dealing with Skrulls, things are never what they seem.

Ronan the Accuser

He may have died in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, but photos from the official Captain Marvel website have shown that Ronan the Accuser, the fanatical Kree warlord, is definitely going to play a part in the upcoming film. Not only is it generally great to see Lee Pace being a big blue diva, it also makes a lot sense for him to be here. Captain Marvel is a prequel, and the Kree are heavily featured in Carol Danvers' origin story.

The most shocking thing about Ronan's inclusion in this movie is actually the fact that he might not end up being an antagonist at all. Throughout the comics, Ronan is consistently devoted to doing what he feels is in the best interest of the Kree, but the ways that this intersects with the interests of the heroes can vary considerably, depending on the story. Sometimes he's trying to eliminate the Earth and all its pesky superheroes, but sometimes he's teaming up with them to, for instance, fight their most hated enemy: the Skrulls. Once, he even attempted to overthrow the head of the Kree government, a big bad tub of brains known as the Supreme Intelligence.

Basically, he's a total wild card, and it's not at all out of the question that he and Captain Marvel could be on the same side, at least for a little while, and that's something we'd love to see.

Doctor Sivana

Ever since the trailer dropped for Shazam, fans have been tentatively optimistic about Mark Strong's casting as a beefier than usual Doctor Sivana. We don't know exactly how the film is going to handle Billy Batson's most enduring foe, but there's a fair amount that we can confidently infer.

To the uninitiated, Doctor Sivana might seem like a checklist of the most generic villain qualities throughout all of fiction were somehow given human form. He's an evil bald doctor with one eye, and his actual catchphrase is, no joke, "Curses, foiled again!" However, the reason for all this is that Sivana first premiered all the way back in 1939, when these tropes were still as new and exciting as Scotch tape and ballpoint pens. Heck, he even predated Lex Luthor by a few months.

How is the film going to deal with such an old-timey villain? Based on what we've seen so far, the filmmakers seem to be borrowing from the New 52 version of Shazam's origin to an unusually faithful degree, with many specific scenes being directly lifted from the panels of that story. This might be the most direct page-to-screen adaptation that we've seen in a comic book film since Watchmen

Sivana in the New 52 is more of a three-dimensional human being than a cackling madman. Although it would be really fun if Mark Strong went full Snidely Whiplash, odds are good that he is going to be playing Sivana pretty straight. Curses, foiled again.

Dark Phoenix

Without question, one of the scariest villains in superheroic history is Jean Grey's alter-ego, Dark Phoenix. Unfortunately, we haven't had a screen adaptation yet that has fully delivered on the potential of that character. In the X-Men films, Phoenix is a malicious alternate personality of Jean that Charles Xavier used his telepathic powers to repress when she was a child. If only he could repress our memories from the last two times we saw this character, in X-Men: The Last Stand and in X-Men: Apocalypse.

The comics version is way cooler and way weirder. There, Jean becomes Phoenix after bonding with an alien entity known as the Phoenix Force while on a mission in space. Initially, this force seems benevolent, but things turn bad quickly when the Phoenix Force starts committing horrible atrocities, such as destroying an entire inhabited alien planet without remorse. Eventually an entire army of aliens shows up to put Dark Phoenix down, and despite the X-Men's attempts to save her, she dies in a spectacular final battle on the moon. Now that's epic.

The movies are taking another shot at this iconic story with this summer's Dark Phoenix. The official synopsis from Fox's website makes it very clear that this telling of the story is not at all going to shy away from bringing in the extraterrestrial elements of the original Dark Phoenix Saga. Seems promising, but will the character be able to rise from the ashes of her previous incarnations? Depends on which version of the X-Men franchise shows up this summer — the good personality or the evil one.


Dark Phoenix herself isn't the only potentially epic X-Men baddie coming to the screen this summer. Perhaps even more intriguing is a supporting role that, at this stage, we know far less about. Jessica Chastain is going to appear in Dark Phoenix as... someone. According to director Simon Kinberg, she is playing a new character partially inspired by the Mastermind.

The Mastermind is an old C-List Marvel character with mind control powers who, in the comics, was partially responsible for Phoenix turning bad. This version of the character seems like it's going to be very different from the mustachioed creep of the comics, not only because this version is a woman, but also because she's apparently going to be an alien — the first alien character in an X-Men film.

The filmmakers have been cagey about revealing much else — even her name — but recently she has been officially given the unhelpful moniker of "Smith." This is giving us some strong Benedict Cumberbatch in Star Trek Into Darkness vibes, where initial promotional materials went out of their way to downplay the character, and then there ended up being a big reveal about what his deal actually was in the film itself.

Chastain recently quashed the most popular fan theory that she was going to be the Shi'Ar empress Lilandra, who also featured heavily in the comics version of the Dark Phoenix storyline, but there's still an entire universe of possibilities for what could be going on with this character.

Nimue, the Blood Queen

The 2019 Hellboy reboot began its life as the third film in the original Hellboy film series. It was later reworked into the first film of a new, R-rated franchise. There is one thing, however, that has remained consistent since the earliest versions of this script: Nimue the Blood Queen.

Nimue is the Hellboy-verse's incarnation of the Lady of the Lake. Once a human protege of Merlin, her lust for power led her to betray Merlin and imprison him deep beneath the Earth. Nimue later discovered the Ogdru Jahad, the biggest recurring baddies in the Hellboy mythology, interdimensional space gods that are someday destined to destroy the world. After making a deal with them, she became the strongest magic user in the world and a conduit through which they might someday be able to enter it. Also, she can turn into a dragon. That's not totally necessary information, it's just cool.

Eventually, a bunch of witches band together and kill her, and she is dead for a while. Then a different bunch of witches bring her back from the dead, hoping she'll be grateful, and instead, she just kills them. In the end, it's up to Hellboy to keep her from summoning the Ogdru Jahad and ending the world.

We'll see how much of this ends up on screen, but the trailer shows Hellboy wielding Excalibur, and the promise of our favorite demon boy using a magic sword to fight a witch that is also a space dragon is certainly enough to get us excited.

Mister Sinister

Poor Mister Sinister. The guy just can't seem to find his place in the X-Men films. He was a potential villain for Logan, until director James Mangold decided he didn't fit the tone. He was then teased after the credits of X-Men: Apocalypse, but didn't actually appear. He was finally set to appear in The New Mutants, played by Jon Hamm. His scenes were actually filmed, but then his role cut during some late stage rewrites.

We think we know why adapting Mister Sinister is proving to be difficult. Comic books movies are at their best when they focus on the emotional core of a particular character and downplay the peripheral elements of their mythology. Sinister, despite being a great villain, is nothing but peripheral elements. He has an enormous list of unrelated superpowers, his origin involves time travel, and his motivations are highly esoteric. He'd work well in a TV series, where you could slowly learn bits about him over time. In a film, though, you'd have to explain what his entire deal is all at once to a new audience, and no one wants that. The best way to handle him might be similarly to how Cable was handled in Deadpool 2, which is to not explain much at all.

A while back, we heard that Mister Sinister would be the villain of the theoretical 2020 Gambit film, but that project has also been pushed back many times. Here's hoping Sinister finds a home soon.

Black Mask

Here's one that took us by surprise. The typically cuddly Ewan McGregor has been cast as the Batman villain Roman Sionis, a.k.a. Black Mask, in the Birds of Prey film. From what we can see in the brief teaser trailer, however, he is suspiciously maskless.

In his first comics appearance, Sionis was a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne, who starts desperately committing crimes while wearing a black mask after a run of bad luck and poor decisions. Bruce tries in vain to get him to reform, but his fate is eventually sealed when a flaming building collapses on him, and his mask is permanently fused into his melting face. From then on, he is an irredeemable criminal. A film adaptation of this story might resemble Harvey Dent's plotline from The Dark Knight.

Although based on what we've seen from preliminary plot synopses, it's looking more likely that Sionis is going to be all bad from the beginning, and that's also exciting. Current day Black Mask is not only terrifyingly cruel, but he also has a magic mask that hypnotizes anyone who looks directly at it.

That might seem a bit fantastical for a Batman-adjacent film, but Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn is going to play a major part in this movie, and her last film, Suicide Squad, also featured a heavy dose of magic. It's totally plausible that this version of Black Mask might not just be a ruthless crime boss, but also a master of mentalism.


The trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home introduced us to Jake Gyllenhaal playing a character who is long overdue for a big screen debut: Mysterio. Mysterio's main gimmick is that he commits crimes with the help of illusions, often holographic projections.

At first glance, Gyllenhaal's portrayal looks like it might be a radical reinterpretation of the character. Not only does he seem to be wielding actual magic akin to the powers of Doctor Strange, but he might be also be a good guy. The trailer shows a giant monster made of water attacking innocent people, and Mysterio is fighting it, ostensibly protecting those civilians.

But as is often the case with ol' Fishbowl, there is probably some deception afoot. In his first comic appearance, he frames Spider-Man for a string of robberies, and then presents himself as a new superhero who will bring Spider-Man to justice. For a little while, the people love him, but Spidey eventually exposes Mysterio as a fraud and hands him over to the police.

It seems reasonable that this movie is going to handle the character in a similar way. Gyllenhaal showed us that he is scary good at playing a duplicitous sociopath in the 2014 film Nightcrawler (no relation to the X-Man, don't get too excited). Of course, maybe the filmmakers are messing with fan expectations on an even deeper level, and he actually does end up being a real hero with real mystic powers. Now that would be one heck of a magic trick.


2017's Wonder Woman was a mega-hit, so a sequel was inevitable. But the villain of the first movie was freaking Ares, the God of War. How can you top that?

The answer that DC has settled on for Wonder Woman 1984 is to go smaller. Cheetah may be one of Wonder Woman's longest-running foes (not to mention the fastest running), but she is by no means all that powerful. Instead, the thing that makes Cheetah a truly compelling villain in the current continuity is her personal connection to Wonder Woman.

Barbara Minerva was a knowledge-hungry archaeologist who met Diana Prince while studying her native language, and the two became friends. Later, Minerva's obsession with ancient secrets led her to tracking down an evil plant deity named Urzkartaga. Worried about her friend, Diana told Minerva she would come for her if she needed help. Eventually, Minerva found Urzkartaga, but much to her dismay, he cursed her by transforming her into a half-cheetah monster with a taste for human flesh. Minerva blamed Diana for not coming to save her, and the two have been enemies ever since.

If properly executed, this has the potential to be a truly heartbreaking story, but did we mention the best part of all? Cast in the role of Barbara Minerva is none other than Kristen Wiig. Not only can this SNL alum be funny, she has shown surprising dramatic chops in films like The Skeleton Twins. Our hopes are officially up.

No one?

The strangest villain of all might be waiting for us in the upcoming New Mutants film, and that's no villain at all. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, director Josh Boone stated that The New Mutants is going to be a straight-up horror movie that follows very few normal superhero movie conventions. "There are no costumes. There are no supervillains," Boone explained. "We're trying to do something very, very different."

The New Mutants comic started off as basically just X-Men Junior. The team was younger and more ethnically diverse, but it was tonally pretty similar. At least, it was until the Demon Bear Saga.

The Demon Bear Saga was a disturbing dive into surreal horror that changed the face of comics forever. In it, one of the heroes named Mirage was sent to a hospital after getting mauled by a mysterious demonic bear. Once the team was all gathered in the hospital to look after her, the Demon Bear appeared once again, and transported the team into a twisted alternate reality known as the Badlands.

Whether or not the horror in the film version of the hospital ends up being bear-themed is still up in the air. An animatic from 2016 showed that the Demon Bear and other elements of original comic (including the fact that one of the New Mutants has a pet dragon) were all being adapted quite directly. However, given how much about this movie has been rewritten in the past year, nothing is certain.