Knull, aka The King in Black, has been wreaking havoc in the current Marvel Comics, setting him a significant Phase 5 villain. When Knull makes his debut appearance in Venom #3, he clarifies that he is the ruler of all symbiotes. With his ability to manifest these parasites, he emerges from a dragon.
To rule the Abyss, Knull uses an “All-Black” sword forged from the beheading of his own shadow, as well as Living Abyss armor. Knull, besides being superhumanly solid and invulnerable, can shape-shift, fly, regenerate, and is immortal.
Even though Knull is a newcomer to Marvel Comics, he has already established a fearsome reputation. King in Black has already defeated many heroes, killed Celestials, destroyed many planets, and massacred billions in an epic crossover event due to his reign. While Marvel currently focuses on more classic comic storylines to be turned into films, using such a promising villain could be ideal given the difficulty of finding more prominent villains for the MCU.
When it comes to villains in the MCU, the King in Black is one of the most intriguing possibilities for the MCU to explore in the cinematic realm. There are rumors that Galactus will be the villain of Phase 5, and there are signs that he will appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe soon. But while the Devourer of Worlds isn’t a wrong choice for a future MCU villain, he may not be the best choice for Phase 5. Thanos, after all, was able to wipe out half of the universe in one fell swoop, making the threat of individual planets being devoured less terrifying.
Compared to Galactus, the King of Black has proven to be a far more formidable villain for the Marvel Comics character, perhaps due to his younger age, but this could still provide an additional intimidation factor that could prove valuable.
Knull, on the other hand, has an entirely unexpected benefit: he’s human-sized. Knull vs. Marvel’s greatest heroes on the big screen would be thrilling, whereas Galactus vs. the MCU might be problematic due to his limitless size. It would make sense if the audience could only see parts of Galactus during the fight. Compared to past major villains’ more complex and pivotal battles, this may be lacking when they face off against Marvel heroes.
That said, Knull isn’t likely to have lofty goals like Thanos did, as it’s likely that he’d be more concerned with inflicting maximum destruction on the world around him. Because of this, it could create an exciting dynamic in Phase 5, as most previous MCU villains have had more complex themes. When technology and AI are left unchecked, Ultron serves as a stark reminder of what can happen when allowed to run wild. Malekith wanted to impose his race’s supremacy on the Asgardians, while Hela symbolized vengeance.
At the end of the Infinity War, Thanos wanted to sacrifice the lives of some to save the lives of many. Even though villain motivation is always interesting, the likes of the Joker show that a less motivated antagonist can still be fascinating. It may be time for someone like Knull to step up to the plate with motivations resulting from his selfish satisfaction with evil. However, if Knull does indeed take center stage in Phase 5 of the MCU and emerges as the primary antagonist, who will eventually supplant him as a villain to be dreaded?