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MCU Villains You Forgot Were Still Alive

Every superhero needs a supervillain, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is absolutely crawling with bad guys and gals who want to take over the world. Granted, the MCU has had quite a few unimpressive villains — we're looking at you Whiplash, with your weird bird obsession — but for all the Dark Elves out there, we've got amazing characters like Killmonger and Thanos.

Of course, being a villain in the MCU means chances are good that you're going to wind up dead. Ultron, Hela, and Ego all bit the proverbial dust when facing off against the Avengers or the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the same goes for the likes of Alexander Pierce, Ronan the Accuser, and Darren Cross. In fact, it seems like most of the memorable villains have shuffled off this mortal coil after throwing down against Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor.

However, not every villain who goes head-to-head with Earth's Mightiest Heroes winds up in the morgue. In fact, there are quite a few who've survived their encounters with the Avengers, albeit with a little wear and tear for their efforts. So who are these rogues, where are they, and will they ever come back? Well, here are some MCU villains you forgot were still alive ... and how they might get their revenge one day. 

Abomination disappeared from the MCU

Looking back at the entire MCU, 2008's The Incredible Hulk really stands out as the black sheep of the family. Only the second entry in the franchise, it feels much less connected to the Marvel Universe than other MCU flicks, featuring a title character who was ultimately recast, a female lead that's never mentioned again, and a super powerful villain who's yet to reappear on the big (or small) screen.

Tim Roth's Emil Blonsky wasn't perfect by any means, but after he forced Dr. Sterns to inject him with Banner's blood and then mutated into Abomination, he at least became an impressive threat. Heck, he even came extremely close to defeating Hulk, one of the strongest characters in the entire MCU. After his and Hulk's ultimate showdown in Harlem, Abomination was captured by General Ross and locked up in the Vault, one of the strongest prisons in Marvel lore, located in Barrow, Alaska. He's presumably been kept there in a cyro-cell ever since, with Phil Coulson referencing as much in an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in 2014.

However, that wasn't the only time Blonsky was referenced since 2008. In the 2011 Marvel One-Shot The Consultant, it was revealed that the shadowy World Security Council wanted Abomination released from prison and assigned to the Avengers Initiative. Although the plan never came to fruition, it does at least plant seeds that Blonsky could potentially join a super team of some form in the near future. Thunderbolts, anyone?

Most fans have forgotten about the Leader

The abominable Emil Blonsky wasn't the only Hulk foe introduced in The Incredible Hulk. You might recall that throughout the movie, Bruce Banner communicates online with a mystery companion code-named "Mr. Blue." Together, the two hope to discover a cure for Banner's condition. When they finally meet in person in the film's third act, Mr. Blue is revealed to be none other than Samuel Sterns (Tim Blake Nelson), who in the comics becomes the nefarious Leader after gamma radiation gives him super intelligence, as well as a Hulk-sized forehead to go with it.

Although the film planted seeds of Sterns' potential evil mutation, he's since seemingly fallen through the cracks. His only reappearance since The Incredible Hulk actually came on the page as opposed to the screen. In the Fury's Big Week comic run, which was printed as a prelude to The Avengers, Sterns is discovered by none other than Black Widow, who shoots him in the leg and takes him into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. He's presumably still locked away in one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s secure holding facilities, but with a confirmed She-Hulk series coming to Disney+ at some point, perhaps the Leader would provide a suitable gamma-powered match for the jolly green family.

Justin Hammer is in Seagate Prison

Iron Man 2 was far from a perfect movie, but you really can't put too much of the blame on the shoulders of Sam Rockwell. As Tony Stark's smarmy rival Justin Hammer, Rockwell at times stole the show. Some fans even consider him to be the MCU's most underrated character.

After his poorly chosen business partner, Ivan Vanko, hijacked his Hammer Drones and launched an attack on the Stark Expo, Hammer was arrested and taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. Later, in the Marvel One-Shot All Hail the King, fans were surprised with a glimpse of the ex-weapons designer still doing time in Seagate Prison along with Iron Man 3 villain, Trevor Slattery. He's presumably still there.

Although his potential future in the MCU seems unlikely, Rockwell hasn't given up hope. While answering fan questions on Reddit (via CBR), the Oscar-winning actor confirmed that he'd love to jump back into one of Hammer's business suits. "I would be happy to do it! I'm just waiting on the avengers [sic] ... to give me a call."

This MCU villain is still leaping and kicking

If you forgot the fact that Georges Batroc, better known in the comics as Batroc the Leaper, actually made an appearance in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Solder, no one can really blame you. The film was chock-full of memorable villains, including Alexander Pierce, Crossbones, Dr. Arnim Zola, and Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier himself. However, out of all of them, Batroc is now the only one who's still a villain and still alive and kicking in the current timeline of the MCU.

Played by the Canadian UFC Hall of Famer Georges St-Pierre, Batroc went toe-to-toe with Captain America on a hijacked S.H.I.E.L.D. ship in the first act of Winter Soldier, but he was ultimately no match for the star-spangled Avenger. Although he evaded capture after their scuffle, he was later arrested in a "not-so-safe house" in Algiers. He's presumably been in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody ever since.

In early 2020, rumors started circulating about St-Pierre's potential return to the MCU in Disney+'s upcoming The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. In the comics, Batroc the Leaper actually joined the Thunderbolts for a brief period, so he'd be a sensible choice to add to that squad's roster should Marvel actually be planning on introducing them in future MCU projects.

Mordo is hunting sorcerers

While Stephen Strange was busy time-spamming the powerful inter-dimensional entity Dormammu in his 2016 origin movie, Doctor Strange, he might've missed an equally problematic foe turning evil right under his nose. Karl Mordo, played by the Oscar-nominated British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, was a loyal follower of Tilda Swinton's the Ancient One, as well as a close comrade of Strange's. However, once he learned that the Ancient One had lied to him for years, he turned his back on his mystical allies and left Kamar-Taj for good.

In the post-credits scene of Doctor Strange, Mordo tracks down Jonathan Pangborn, a former paralyzed disciple of the Ancient One who used the mystic arts to walk again, and attacks him, announcing that there were "too many sorcerers." He hasn't popped up in the MCU since, but chances are good that he won't remain in the shadows for long. The highly anticipated Doctor Strange sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, is tentatively slated for a 2022 release, and it would make for an appropriate opportunity for the skilled mystic to strike again. Given that Mordo is one of Strange's greatest enemies in the comics, it's hard to fathom a future where they don't face off at some point down the line.

Trevor Slattery and the real Mandarin are both still out there

In 2014, Marvel One-Shot: All Hail the King offered an inside look at what prison life was like for Iron Man 3 villain Trevor Slattery, lovably played by Sir Ben Kingsley. Shot as a documentary, the footage showed that life inside Seagate Prison was pretty sweet for the Mandarin impostor. He seemed genuinely adored by his fellow inmates and even had his own personal butler.

However, things went downhill quickly for Trevor when the documentary was revealed to be a farce put on by the actual Ten Rings terrorist group in order to bust Slattery out of prison and take him to meet the real Mandarin, who was less than pleased with Trevor's impersonation. Sounds like imitation isn't always the sincerest form of flattery when dealing with powerful terrorist syndicates.

Although it seems unlikely that Kinglsey ever returns to the MCU, the confirmation that an actual Mandarin exists in the universe was huge news. Then, in 2019, it was announced that the villain will finally make his official MCU debut in the upcoming Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, played by The Grandmaster's Tony Leung.

Don't forget about Ayesha because she's biding her time

In 2017's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Peter Quill and the gang encounter the Sovereign, a pretentious alien race who initially hire the Guardians before things go awry. Their leader, Ayesha, played by Widows' Elizabeth Debicki, is hell-bent on bringing in the Guardians after Rocket Raccoon steals some of their Anulax batteries, and she spends the majority of the film trying to kill them for their insolence.

During one of the movie's many post-credits scenes, a scorned Ayesha reveals that she's created a new breed powerful enough to destroy the Guardians, and that she shall call him Adam. This is obviously a reference to Adam Warlock, one of the most powerful cosmic beings in Marvel lore. And since Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is coming in the near future, fans might see Ayesha return to the MCU soon.

The villainous Zemo is under the CIA's watch

Although the Avengers spend a good portion of 2016's Captain America: Civil War punching each other, it's important to remember that Daniel Brühl's sly Helmut Zemo is actually the one behind all of the chaos. Motivated by the death of his family during the battle of Sokovia in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Zemo attempts (and succeeds) to turn the Avengers on each other, framing Bucky Barnes for bombing the United Nations and shedding light on his dirty past.

In the end of Civil War, Zemo, proud of his vengeance, attempts to kill himself but is stopped by Black Panther, who takes him in to the Joint Counter Terrorist Centre. He's last seen in a secure holding cell under the watch of the CIA's Everett Ross, confident that his plan have ruined the Avengers for good.

At the 2019 San Diego Comic Con, Marvel revealed that Brühl's Zemo will return to the MCU in Disney+'s The Falcon and the Winter Solider, and that he will even don his iconic purple mask, thus completing his comic book look. With such a smart villain at play, Sam and Bucky better bring their A-games!

The Grandmaster survived a revolution

As the charismatic ruler of Sakaar, Jeff Goldblum's Grandmaster was a real scene-stealer in 2017's Thor: Ragnarok. Although he wasn't necessarily the worst monarch in the galaxy, Thor and his "Revengers" somewhat accidentally led a revolution in order to escape the garbage planet, leaving the Grandmaster to pick up the pieces after they escaped. In one of Ragnarok's post-credits scenes, the eccentric leader tries to reason with his subjects that the revolution was "a tie."

Although he really didn't have a huge role in the grand scheme of things, Goldblum has gone on record to say he'd be very much willing to reprise his role in the MCU, even going as far as to humorously declare his character was still alive after Thanos' snap in Avengers: Infinity War. "Grandmaster is more superheroed than all of them put together," he told Digital Spy. "You can't kill me, I'm like a vampire. ... I could be, potentially, very much around. Anything they want me to do I'd be ready and able." 

In the comics, the Grandmaster is actually the biological brother of Taneleer Tivan, aka the Collector, played in the MCU by the Oscar-winning Benicio del Toro. As elders of the universe, the two are actually very powerful beings. Since del Toro admitted that he too believes his character is still alive, maybe the brothers will do something together in a future MCU installment.

Vulture is resting his wings

In 2017's Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter Parker goes toe-to-toe with Michael Keaton's villainous Adrian Toomes and his flying Vulture suit. Although Spidey ultimately defeats him, Toomes learns Spider-Man's true identity, making him a potentially very serious threat to Parker and his friends. Fortunately, Toomes seems to respect young Pete, and it seems as though he will remain tight-lipped, even while behind bars. After all, Spidey did save his daughter when they were in DC, right?

Although Keaton's future in the MCU seems up in the air, the fact that Toomes is both alive and aware of Spider-Man's secret makes him hard to write out. Maybe the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home change things, given that Mysterio shares Spidey's true identity with the world, but it's hard to imagine Marvel forgetting about such a memorable villain. Plus, Keaton seems to be crossing the franchise aisle, showing up as the Vulture in Sony's Morbius. On top of all that, when we last saw him in the mid-credits scene for Homecoming, we learned Vulture was locked up with the Scorpion, a fellow Spidey foe. So no matter what, it seems Toomes will have a part to play in Spider-Man's story moving forward.

This forgotten MCU villain is plotting revenge

In comic lore, Mac Gargan, aka the Scorpion, is one of Spider-Man's greatest enemies. Thus, his brief appearance in Spider-Man: Homecoming, where he's played by Better Call Saul's Michael Mando, is potentially more meaningful than it might've seemed. If you recall, Gargan is actually the criminal foiled by Spider-Man during the fight on the Staten Island Ferry, where he's then arrested by the FBI.

In Homecoming's mid-credits scene, Gargan confronts his new prison mate, Adrian Toomes, about Spider-Man, claiming he heard a rumor that Toomes knew his real identity. Although Vulture remains mum, Parker's secret eventually comes out anyways thanks to Mysterio's public recording in Spider-Man: Far From Home. Given that both Scorpion and Vulture have been members of the Sinister Six, an anti-Spidey team of super villains in the comics, there's a good chance that both will return to the MCU should Marvel want to explore that option.

Sonny Burch is behind bars

Walton Goggins' eccentric restaurateur, Sonny Burch, may not have posed the biggest threat in 2018's Ant-Man and the Wasp, but his origin is still largely unknown. Introduced as a black market dealer, Burch wanted to acquire Hank Pym's quantum technology for an anonymous buyer. That buyer's mysterious identity is still one of the largest unanswered questions remaining from Phase 3 of the MCU. Who exactly was Sonny Burch working for?

Some fans theorize that Burch was working for one of the various evil organizations already existing in the Marvel universe, such as HYDRA, AIM, or maybe even the Ten Rings. Others even argue that possibly Norman Osborn has something to do with it. Burch and his henchmen were arrested at the end of Ant-Man and the Wasp after being dosed with their own "truth serum" and inadvertently confessing to their crimes, but it's extremely likely that they'll return in a future MCU installment.

This surprise MCU bad guy totally escaped

Who could've predicted that the kid from A Christmas Story would play such an important role in the MCU? Peter Billingsley, who actually first played scientist William Ginter Riva back in 2008's Iron Man, had an unpredictable return to the big screen in 2019's Spider-Man: Far From Home, working with Mysterio's crew of bitter ex-Stark employees who were trying to exact revenge on their former boss. 

Although Peter Parker defeats Mysterio in London, Riva manages to escape with his tech. He's presumably the one who edited Beck's camera footage to portray Spider-Man as the actual bad guy before releasing it to The Daily Bugle, along with Spidey's secret identity. It remains to be seen what kind of role the scorned scientist will play going forward, but most didn't predict him coming back after Iron Man, so betting against another resurfacing seems unwise.