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13 Marvel Characters That Deserve A Character Study Like Moon Knight

As the MCU heads deeper into Phase 4, new characters are being introduced from across the Marvel Universe. Some, like Tatiana Maslany's She-Hulk, are long overdue; others, like "Eternals," introduce casual fans to some of Marvel Comics' more obscure corners. The Marvel miniseries on Disney+ also allow Marvel to take deep dives on characters old and new, from Wanda Maximoff in "WandaVision" to Kamala Khan in "Ms. Marvel." 

The Disney+ series "Moon Knight" is something different, focused on a relatively little-known hero from the comics with no current ties to the rest of the previously established MCU. By introducing Marc Spector, the U.S. Marine-turned-servant of an Egyptian deity, as a standalone character, Marvel offered audiences its first genuine character study since 2008's "Iron Man." This was a major draw for two of the show's stars, Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke

Given the success of "Moon Knight," it's easy to predict that Marvel will release more projects like this. There are plenty of heroes and villains across the Marvel Universe who could use a little more room to be introduced. Some are veterans of Marvel movies who deserve their own spotlight, while others are important comics characters with more backstory than can fit in one film. With that in mind, here's a look at some Marvel heroes and villains who'd be great for future MCU character studies.

Dane Whitman

Shortly after Kit Harington hung up his cloak and sword following eight seasons as Jon Snow on "Game of Thrones," he was cast in Chloe Zhao's MCU directorial debut, "Eternals," landing a supporting role as Dane Whitman. Although the character mostly serves as the boyfriend of Gemma Chan's Sersi in the film, the post-credits scene alludes to Whitman's future wielding the Ebony Blade, making him the comic book character known as the Black Knight. 

Black Knight has a long history in Marvel Comics. Not only is he the descendant of a member of King Arthur's Round Table, but he's also a part-time Avenger. More recently, he anchored the comics miniseries "Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade," in which it's revealed that Whitman abandoned his fiancee when she was diagnosed with cancer. Now as the wielder of the Ebony Blade, Whitman is able to grow stronger thanks to the curse it bears. This fascinating struggle between Whitman's desire to be a hero and his succumbing to the sword's desires would make the perfect conflict for a Disney+ series. Given that the "Eternals" post-credits scene also alludes to Whitman meeting Mahershala Ali's Blade, the Black Knight may even find himself a mentor in the vampire slayer. 

America Chavez

Xochitl Gomez made her MCU debut in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" as the super-powered teenager America Chavez. Just like in the comics, Chavez grew up on the Utopian Parallel, and travels to Earth-616 (or Earth-199999, depending on who you ask) after discovering that she can teleport through the multiverse. In "Multiverse of Madness," this makes her the target of Wanda Maximoff, who wants to absorb her power and use it to live a happy life with her children. 

By the end of "Multiverse of Madness," America has proven to be a courageous and capable future Avenger. However, her lack of control over her powers means she has a lot to learn, and Strange leaves her to train to be a Master of the Mystic Arts in Kamar-Taj. It would be exciting to see America next in her own solo adventure, using what she's learned to forge her own superhero identity as Miss America

There's a lot that's yet to be uncovered about America's backstory. For instance, we learn in "Multiverse of Madness" that her parents disappeared through a multiverse portal. Hopefully, America will get to discover what happened to them, and if they're still alive. Additionally, America is one of Marvel's first LGBTQ+ characters, so a solo project could explore that aspect of her personality as well. 

Yelena Belova

With only a few MCU appearances, Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova has already become a fan favorite. The character made her debut in 2021's "Black Widow," which takes place after the events of "Captain America: Civil War." The film sees Scarlett Johansson returning to her role as Natasha Romanoff, on a mission that reunites her with her adoptive family of Russian spies, including her little sister Yelena.

Yelena re-appeared in the Disney+ series "Hawkeye," out for revenge against Jeremy Renner's Clint Barton, believing he killed her sister. Her plans are thwarted after Clint and his protege Kate Bishop (played by Hailee Steinfeld) talk her out of it. The series ends with Yelena's future in the MCU uncertain, though it's been rumored that a "Thunderbolts" movie is in the works, reportedly featuring Yelena, Bucky Barnes, Taskmaster, and more. 

It'd be smart for Marvel not to let the character remain stuck in supporting roles. A solo Yelena Belova movie or series would be the perfect chance for audiences to get to know her outside her family — although we wouldn't complain if a Yelena show or film reintroduced David Harbour and Rachel Weisz as her Russian spy parents. 

Valkyrie

Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie debuted in 2017's "Thor: Ragnarok," joining Thor's team of Revengers against his sister Hela. The character later appeared in "Avengers: Endgame," battling alongside the Avengers in their final confrontation against Thanos. At the end of that film, Thor crowns her the new King of Asgard, a title she maintains in 2022's "Thor: Love and Thunder." 

Valkyrie's played a supporting role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but in the comics, the character has a long backstory. She was formerly Brunnhilde, one of many Valkyrie sent by Odin to defend Asgard against Hela, only to be left the last Valkyrie standing. A solo project following Valkyrie's journey from exiled Asgardian to reigning king has tons of potential.

Since "Ragnarok," the comics version of Valkyrie has been influenced by the MCU, with a new Valkyrie known as Rūna who appears alongside Jane Foster in "King in Black: Return of the Valkyries." It'd be great to see more of Thompson's Valkyrie onscreen.

Magneto

Magneto is one of the most complex characters in all of Marvel Comics. Born Max Eisenhardt, the future metal-bender was a survivor of Auschwitz during World War II, later befriending Charles Xavier and adopting the alias Erik Lehnsherr. Erik and Charles' conflict over the future of the mutant race is at the heart of their long-running war in the X-Men comics, with Magneto believing that mutants will someday become the dominant race. This intricate backstory was highly influential to Magneto's portrayal in the "X-Men" films. 

In the original "X-Men" trilogy, Magneto was portrayed by Ian McKellen, while Michael Fassbender portrayed the younger version of the character starting in "X-Men: First Class." Given that Patrick Stewart returned as Professor X in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," perhaps McKellen will get an opportunity to reprise his role as the X-Men antagonist in a future MCU project, possibly one that focuses exclusively on his character's backstory.

A Magneto solo project could also lead to interesting ways of introducing mutants into the MCU. In the comics, Magneto is also the father of Wanda and Pietro Maximoff. Although the twins have a different backstory in the MCU, Magneto could be involved in reintroducing Wanda post-"Multiverse of Madness," becoming a mentor and father figure for her. Elizabeth Olsen and McKellen have both playfully expressed an interest in working together as these characters

Jean Grey

Jean Grey is one of the most powerful members of the X-Men and has made her share of screen appearances, first portrayed by Famke Janssen and later by Sophie Turner. Unfortunately, arguably her most pivotal story arc, "The Dark Phoenix Saga," has been met with disappointing responses both times it's been adapted for film. 

The Dark Phoenix storyline finds Jean Grey becoming consumed by her own power and ultimately responsible for genocide. In "X-Men: The Last Stand," her heel turn is a pivotal moment in the plot, leading to the deaths of Charles Xavier and Cyclops. The second attempt at portraying the story arc in 2019's "Dark Phoenix" was met with poor reviews, despite positive reception for Turner's performance. Thankfully, the response hasn't halted Turner's openness to returning to the role in the MCU following Disney's acquisition of Fox

Perhaps doing the Dark Phoenix Saga justice simply requires a deeper connection between the audience and Jean Grey. Through a series-long character study of the character within the world of X-Men, audiences might respond better to the story — although this project would have to avoid comparisons to "WandaVision," and the direction that Marvel took the Scarlet Witch's story in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." 

Silver Surfer

The Silver Surfer seems like a daunting character to introduce into the MCU. Originally an astronomer named Norrin Radd, he became the servant of Galactus, the destroyer of planets, in exchange for sparing his home world. With his powers, the Silver Surfer travels the cosmos searching for planets that Galactus can consume. Like Jean Grey, the Silver Surfer is another character who many Marvel fans believe was done dirty by their first live-action film appearance

The cosmic herald appeared in 2007's "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," voiced by Laurence Fishburne. Infamously, this film's interpretation of Galactus was depicted as an eldritch cloud engulfing the Earth. Since the MCU has managed to work in Celestials thanks to "Eternals," perhaps a more comics-accurate version of Galactus is now possible. With that in mind, a Silver Surfer solo project could be an attainable dream for fans, especially considering how Marvel has handled "Guardians of the Galaxy" or the Taika Waititi "Thor" movies. 

A Silver Surfer project, whether it be a film or series, has backing from director Adam McKay. Though McKay is known for his work on films like "Step Brothers" and "Vice," his interest in Silver Surfer could pull him into the MCU. This could perhaps also be a perfect role for Keanu Reeves — and Marvel chief Kevin Feige has expressed interest in bringing him into the MCU at some point in the near future. 

Doctor Doom

Rumors have circulated for years about how the Fantastic Four will be introduced into the MCU. Marvel's First Family have led two film franchises relatively recently, although they aren't exactly beloved — the one that was released in 2015 was called "the cinematic equivalent of malware" by Rolling Stone. A new Fantastic Four has a lot to prove, but the groundwork has already been laid by John Krasinski's brief appearance as Reed Richards in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." 

Perhaps the best way to reintroduce audiences to the Fantastic Four would be through its antagonist. By giving Doctor Doom his own solo project, the studio could not only subvert expectations for a story that's been told before (like Marvel did with Tom Holland's Spider-Man), but you'd leave room for the next Thanos-level threat in the MCU.

Cillian Murphy and Giancarlo Esposito are high on some fans' lists, but there's another possible choice in James Bond himself. Allegedly, Daniel Craig was meant to appear in "Multiverse of Madness," but scheduling conflicts resulted in Krasinski replacing him. Perhaps Marvel can offer him a new role as the Fantastic Four's long-running antagonist. 

Beta Ray Bill

Beta Ray Bill may not be one of Marvel's most widely known characters, but he certainly has the affection of diehard comic fans. A champion of the Korbinite race who came into possession of Mjolnir during a fight with Thor, Bill later became an ally to the God of Thunder, trading in Mjolnir for a hammer called Stormbreaker. The character has since traveled the galaxy in his spaceship the Skuttlebutt, protecting his people and fighting intergalactic threats like Galactus and Ronan the Accuser. 

Like Moon Knight, Beta Ray Bill is a character who represents a more obscure, less mainstream side of Marvel Comics, which would make him the perfect choice for his own solo series. The character was even supposed to cameo in "Thor: Ragnarok," but was eventually cut and relegated to a statue that eagle-eyed viewers can spot in the film. Perhaps one day Taika Waititi will get to fulfill fans' dreams of seeing Beta Ray Bill in live action.

Beta Ray Bill led his own comics miniseries in 2021, called "Argent Star." This run saw him battle Surtur, who appeared in "Ragnarok," as well as team up with Pip the Troll, who debuted in "Eternals" alongside Harry Styles as Eros. Perhaps Beta Ray Bill's film or series could set him up for a screen debut in the sequel to "Eternals." 

Squirrel Girl

Across the Marvel Universe, there are dozens of lesser-known characters worthy of their own movies and miniseries — and few have delighted fans as much as Doreen Green, aka Squirrel Girl. Doreen is a mutant who discovers at a young age that she can communicate with squirrels, using this ability as her basis for a superhero persona in her teens. She later becomes a member of the Great Lakes Avengers alongside Mr. Immortal and Deadpool. 

A more lighthearted addition to the Marvel Universe, Squirrel Girl has battled (and defeated) some of the greatest villains in the company's history, from Kraven the Hunter to Fin Fang Foom and even Thanos. Many consider her to canonically be one of the strongest Avengers. It's unlikely that the MCU would make her this powerful, but she could still have a role to play in a team of Young Avengers.

Squirrel Girl almost made her live-action debut in "New Warriors," a canceled television pilot that saw Milana Vayntrub, who you may know as the AT&T commercial girl, in the role. Marvel could bring back Milana to redeem herself in a proper MCU solo adventure — or if they'd prefer to explore a younger version of the character, they could cast "Stranger Things" standout Sadie Sink.

Hercules

"Thor: Love and Thunder" sets up a brand-new mythological hero to enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe with its mid-credits scene. After a speech from Zeus lamenting the lack of fear people have towards the Greek gods, fans are introduced to his demigod son, Hercules. What's even more surprising than that is that Hercules is played by Brett Goldstein, who gained notoriety as football legend Roy Kent in the comedy series "Ted Lasso." 

Director Taika Waititi told Uproxx that Marvel Studios producer Kevin Feige pushed for Goldstein's casting. This likely means that there are many plans for the character in the MCU's future, with the host of "Films To Be Buried With" returning as Marvel's strongest man alive. It's likely that Hercules will eventually cross paths with Chris Hemsworth's Thor, but before that happens, it would be worthwhile to see Hercules prove himself as a real threat to the God of Thunder. This would be the perfect opportunity for a solo Disney+ series starring Crowe and Goldstein as the father-and-son duo. 

There are many comic adventures that Marvel can draw from for a character study of the mighty Olympian. The character has encountered the Guardians of the Galaxy, and was a major player in the World War Hulk saga. Given that "Ted Lasso" might end after Season 3, Brett Goldstein's schedule will definitely be freed up to become the MCU's next big hero. 

Namor

It's quite unbelievable that after 14 years and over 25 films, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has yet to introduce Namor the Sub-Mariner. The character is one of the oldest creations of Marvel Comics, debuting in 1939 and becoming one of the biggest characters of the Golden Age of Comic Books. The king of Atlantis is often seen as one of Marvel's first anti-heroes. This has made him both an ally and adversary to groups like the Avengers, the Defenders, and the X-Men. 

Thankfully, diehard comic book fans don't have to wait for Namor's introduction much longer. The character is slated to debut in 2022's "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" played by "Narcos: Mexico" star Tenoch Huerta. There's also a lot for Marvel to do with his character after his introduction in "Wakanda Forever." Atlantis is certainly expansive enough for its own film or series. The character even almost appeared as a member of the Illuminati in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," according to a Variety interview with that film's writer, Michael Waldron. 

Elsa Bloodstone

Elsa Bloodstone is a hugely important character in Marvel Comics. The monster hunter is recognizable for her red hair, as well as her choker, which contains in it the Bloodgem that enhances her with superhuman abilities. Elsa has proven to be a real threat to many supernatural heroes in the MCU as a member of the Defenders, the Midnight Sons, and the A-Force. 

Fortunately for fans of the character, Elsa's MCU debut is not far away, according to The Cosmic Circus. The character will be played by "The Nevers" star Laura Donnelly in the upcoming MCU Halloween special, which will focus on Werewolf by Night, played by Gael García Bernal from Pixar's "Coco." It'll be exciting to see Elsa introduced here, but sooner or later, fans will want to see the character on her own solo adventure.

Thankfully, Elsa Bloodstone has a lot of comic book interactions to draw from. Her encounters with Blade and Dane Whitman could set her up for an appearance in the Mahershala Ali-led "Blade" film. Until then, it would be fun to see Elsa battle antagonists from throughout her comic history, such as the Dreaming Maiden. It'd also be interesting to explore the character's origins, particularly her relationship with her father, Ulysses Bloodstone, another notorious monster hunter.