As Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe demonstrates, no character can be counted out of returning after an extended absence. Since the beginning of time, MCU’s heroes have been introduced, assembled, split up, and reunited. Moreover, fans saw origin narratives, adaptations of classic comic book plots, and deaths of legendary characters. New characters are stepping up to take on the legacy of their predecessors. Meanwhile, old characters from earlier films are making surprise returns.
On the other hand, a number of villains from prior Phases have been confirmed or have already appeared in various Phase 4 titles. General Thaddeus Ross returns in Black Widow, Shang-Chi and Legend of the Ten Rings, and She-Hulk features the Abomination. Spider-Man: No Way Home features several returning Marvel villains, including Doctor Octopus and Green Goblin, as well as Electro, Lizard, and Sandman from Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Even though Thanos, Killmonger, and Ego the Living Planet aren’t officially gone from the MCU, their deaths were so appropriate that bringing them back would be a disservice to their respective tales. As a result of the Multiverse, any former MCU character can reappear in any form, no matter if they died or their actor departed the role. Those villains who are still capable of reappearing in the main timeline can do it in more inventive ways. Here’s a complete list of all of them.
As far as MCU characters go, Tim Blake Nelson’s Samuel Sterns stands out. Despite having links to the long-running superhero series, the character has never been shown to fully complete his metamorphosis into the Hulk villain The Leader since initially appearing in The Incredible Hulk. The MCU hasn’t addressed Sterns since his head became abnormally large after accidentally coming into contact with Bruce Banner’s blood. For Sterns, the reintroduction of Abomination is a sign of optimism, as the MCU may finally do honor to one of the Hulk’s most iconic foes from Marvel Comics.
Phase 4 already includes General Ross and Abomination. Nevertheless, their appearances in Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and She-Hulk won’t be the last time fans see them. After Bruce Banner’s battle with Abomination in The Incredible Hulk, General Ross has still yet to meet him, and his metamorphosis into the Red Hulk is one that the MCU just cannot skip. If Abomination subsequently joins the Thunderbolts or the Dark Avengers, it’s probable that he’ll seek a rematch with his Gamma-powered archenemy Smart Hulk in She-Hulk. The possibility of an Abomination vs. Red Hulk battle must be considered for the time being.
After being transported by the Tesseract at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, Red Skull became Vormir’s Stonekeeper in Avengers: Infinity War. Despite the fact that the Infinity Stones aren’t the focus of Phase 4, and considering that Red Skull has turned into the perpetually stoic Stonekeeper, it’s likely that we won’t see him again for a while. Even yet, Red Skull will be waiting for someone to arrive at Vormir in search of the Soul Stone.
Despite his fame. Sam Rockwell only had a small part in Iron Man 2 as the dishonest businessman Justin Hammer. The character was detained for his involvement with Ivan Vanko, a.k.a. Whiplash. Since Iron Man 2 took place some years ago, Hammer may be out and about taking advantage of the Blip’s effects. His fascination with Iron Man armors makes him an ideal villain for Armor Wars, Ironheart, or even Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, in which Riri Williams is expected to meet Shuri and design her own Iron Man suit. The vacuum Tony Stark left will undoubtedly be occupied by people like Justin Hammer.
Arnim Zola had a brief cameo appearance in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as a primitive AI system that aided Hydra following Arnim Zola’s death. He self-destructed after notifying Captain America and Black Widow about Hydra’s infiltration of SHIELD in an effort to murder them. Despite the fact that he appeared to have died, there’s a chance that a copy of his mind was saved someplace. Arnim Zola’s appearance in the MCU is most likely to occur in Captain America 4, where he’ll get to meet Sam Wilson, the next Captain America.
Even though Ultron is the main enemy in Avengers: Age of Ultron as well as one of the most formidable adversaries in the whole Marvel universe, he was killed by Vision in the very film he was introduced in. Ultron, like Arnim Zola, is likely to have a copy of his consciousness someplace in the ever-changing digital universe. Ultron, on the other hand, had unrestricted access to the whole internet at his disposal. It’s very possible that Ultron could download his thoughts anytime he felt like it and then inhabit the newly awakened White Vision to take over.
After his dramatic defeat in Doctor Strange, Dormammu, the personification of the Dark Dimension, is one of the most probable villains to make a comeback. Dark Dimension ruler didn’t die because of Doctor Strange’s actions. Instead, he used the Time Stone to push him all the way to the brink of madness. While Kaecilius was transformed into a Mindless One by the conclusion of the film, Dormammu remained in his own reality and agreed not to consume the universe. Dormammu’s thirst may not be filled so simply. He could come back in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Doctor Strange 3, or any future MCU title featuring magic wielders like Scarlet Witch and Loki in major roles.
It seems as though Darren Cross’s humiliating loss against Ant-Man was final. However, in Loki episode 5, his helmet was found in the Void as an easter egg, perhaps hinting at his reappearance. Since the Void is where all multiversal variants go to die, this helmet may not belong to the original Yellowjacket. However, it’s possible that his helmet dropped across timelines when he was forced to be shrunk and thrown into the Quantum Realm, where he may still be alive and well. There is a possibility that Darren Cross will appear in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania or in the next Thunderbolts, Young Avengers and Dark Avengers films.
Ayesha teased her return as a villain in the last scene of her previous film. Adam Warlock was created by the Sovereign in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 after he was vanquished by Ayesha. Ayesha and Warlock in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 make sense since Ayesha is hell-bent on killing the Guardians. she might make a brief appearance in Thor: Love and Thunder.
At the end of Doctor Strange, Mordo makes a dire threat to all sorcerers: this must not be taken lightly. This is a character that must be faithfully shown as Doctor Strange’s archenemy in future MCU films, as his appearance in the first film is only a prelude. Mordo will presumably confront Scarlet Witch about the Darkhold in Doctor Strange: The Multiverse of Madness, paving the way for him to become a full-fledged supervillain in Doctor Strange 3 and maybe in Avengers 5. Mordo, on the other hand, would be an excellent villain in a Midnight Sons film or television series, in which he could go up against Ghost Rider and Brother Voodoo
With the introduction of Vulture, Shocker, Scorpion, and Mysterio in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home, the MCU looked to be putting together its own version of the Sinister Six. The Sinister Six in Spider-Man: No Way Home, on the other hand, maybe different this time around, with members drawn from prior Spider-Man films. Alternatively, Sony’s Spider-Man universe might see Tom Holland’s Peter Parker and the No Way Home bad guys depart, allowing Vulture and Mysterio to create their own squad in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The future of Spider-Man is still up in the air, but it’s safe to assume that the Spidey villains introduced thus far will make a comeback, including a revived Mysterio as well as Dimitri Smerdyakov, who could become the Chameleon; Aaron Davis, who might become the Prowler and the Tinkerer, who could continue supplying supervillains with primitive weapons.
In Thor: Ragnarok, it was revealed that the super-strong villains Hela and Surtur are each unstoppable in their own right. Thor could only vanquish them if he retreated and let them finish off Asgard on their own. Surtur, in fact, trod on Hela and destroyed Asgard as Thor and the last of the Asgardian survivors made their way to Earth. Hela, who calls herself the “God of Death,” might easily revive and resurface in the future — if not in Thor: Love and Thunder, then possibly in a future Thor sequel/spinoff in which she encounters Jane Foster’s, Mighty Thor.
Carol Danvers dispatched Yon-Rogg to the Supreme Intelligence some three decades ago with the message that she would put an end to the Kree-Skrull conflict by herself. Carol, Monica Rambeau, Kamala Khan, and Park Seo-Joon’s mystery hero in The Marvels may have already encountered Yon-Rogg by 2023, and he may return as a friend or an opponent to them. Since the arrival of the Skrulls on Earth concerns the most prominent Kree, his greatest chance of appearing is in Secret Invasion.
Ava Starr aka Ghost, another MCU villain whose return was built up during their first appearance, changed her nasty ways when Janet van Dyne helped stabilize her skills. Even though Ant-Man and the Wasp concluded with the erstwhile villain Ava Starr escaping from Ant-Man’s crew and the authorities, it’s virtually clear that she won’t last much longer without repairing her link to the Quantum Realm. There are two possibilities if Hannah John-Ghost Kamen reappears in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: she may become an ally of Ant-Man in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania or side with the villains of Thunderbolts or the Dark Avengers.
As the Scarlet Witch in WandaVision, Agatha Harkness had an important part. Ultimately, she aided Wanda in accepting herself for who she was, in spite of her worst traumas. Scarlet Witch did not murder Agatha, who would return to the MCU in the Disney+ series’ conclusion, but transformed her into her Westview alter ego “Agnes” instead. In the comics, Agatha becomes Wanda’s teacher and Franklin Richards’ babysitter. As a result, Kathryn Hahn’s charming antagonist might make an appearance as early as Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, or as late as Fantastic Four. Alternatively, she might transform into Scarlet Witch’s dark mirror in a Dark Avengers film or series.
Taskmaster turned out to be none other than Antonia Dreykov, General Dreykov’s indoctrinated daughter. Trying to reprogram Taskmaster’s brain to ultimately release her from her father’s control was difficult for Natasha Romanoff, but she managed to escape the demolition of the Red Room. However, even if Taskmaster isn’t a villain, she may return as an enemy in the next Thunderbolts film.
Only a sliver of Jonathan Majors’ He Who Remains and Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Ravonna Renslayer’s future in the MCU can be seen in Loki. He Who Remains’ death has resulted in the emergence of his variation Kang The Conqueror, who will serve as the major antagonist in future MCU installments. Jonathan Majors will reprise his role as Kang in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Kang and several of his Multiversal variations can appear in a broad range of movies and shows such as Avengers 5, Fantastic Four, and Young Avengers where he can appear as the young Nathaniel Richards aka Iron Lad, after the Ant-Man sequel. The Loki season finale also hinted at Ravonna’s past as a pruned human, laying the groundwork for her role as Kang’s love interest and ally in future MCU films.
After Baron Zemo’s attempt to split the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War and his time as an anti-hero in Falcon and the Winter Soldier was successful, he is now another villain whose MCU future is guaranteed. In spite of his imprisonment in the Raft, Zemo still wields considerable power in the outside world, as evidenced by his ability to dispatch the last of the Flag-Smashers with a single phone call. Another possibility for Zemo is that Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson could cross paths again in Captain America 4 or that the Dora Milaje will rescue Zemo from the Raft in the forthcoming Wakanda-themed Disney+ series However, Zemo is the most probable contender to appear in a Thunderbolts film or television series.
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