With Thanos’ impending retribution almost upon us, I feel that it's time we ask the age old question: Who's next?
With the ever-expanding narrative of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU), there is a need not only for a new villain but for the stakes to be risen. I am personally of the belief that given Disney’s recent acquisition of Fox there are a few such villains who would fit the bill.
The first villain I wish to speak about is probably the most likely to be seen. This villain has an eternal hunger that fuels his need to consume on a planetary scale. I am of course speaking of the Devourer of Worlds himself: Galactus.
First appearing in the pages of the comic Fantastic Four #48 (1966), Galactus has lorded over the Marvel universe almost since its inception. With a near endless hunger for worlds, he routinely sends “heralds” to scout out worlds ripe for feasting. One such herald has since become a fan favourite in his own right: The Silver Surfer.
Galactus represents a clear progression of villainy for the MCU. What began with a trickster, progressed into an ego-driven AI, and then a mad Titan. And while Thanos' universe-shattering quest was massive, Galactus, by contrast, is on a whole other level. He represents a threat that up to this point has yet to be encountered.
That leads into a larger point.
Until recently, Galactus has belonged to Fox. Now that they are safely under the roof of the Mouse House, an entirely new era of storytelling may begin.
One potential hurdle to all of this is that Galactus has already been seen on screen. Well kind of, in the film Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) we saw Galactus arguably not so well represented. In the picture, the film’s director Tim Story, chose to represent the big bad on screen as a cloud. This choice did not sit right with...well, anyone. Given that decision, along with the other myriad of issues that plagued the film, effectively killed the franchise in only its second outing.
But do not fret my friends! Like Yoda once said “No, there is another..." (and another after that).
The second villain is a bit of a deeper cut. She is the sister of Charles Xavier’s great love: Princess Lilandra. The sky is no limit to her terrible deeds. She rules over the Shi'ar Empire with an iron fist. Or in her case, talons. These traits belong to no one else but Deathbird.
We originally saw this winged terror of the cosmos in the issues of Ms. Marvel #9 (1977). The woman who was then known as Ms. Marvel currently goes by the more illustrious title of Captain Marvel. In this issue, Deathbird is under the employ of Modok. Sent to kill our heroine, she almost succeeds. Could we see Brie Larson suddenly go full badass on this new threat? Possibly. Either way, it’s definitely something I’d like to see.
Beyond being a threat to a singular hero, like Loki before her, Deathbird is a character that could be used over many, many films. Her possibilities range from being a punching bag for Captain Marvel to being involved in intergalactic court politics. At one point she usurped the throne of Empress of the Shi'ar Empire from her sister Lilandra. She is clearly capable of showing up in such a wide gamut of movies starring, but not limited to, X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, and of course Captain Marvel.
The last villain I wish to speak about is of a more earthbound variety, Dr. Doom. Many consider him to be one of the seminal villains in the world of comics. Ranking right up there with Magneto, The Joker, Green Goblin, and Lex Luthor. While represented poorly on screen, he has over half a century of stories just begging to be told on the silver screen.
Victor Von Doom's first appearance was in Fantastic Four #5 (1962). He quickly rose to become not only the marquee villain of Marvel’s First Family but also a key character in the ever-growing Marvel universe; even getting his first solo outing in the 1970s.
Being not only the leader of the fictional nation of Latveria, but also a powerful technopath and sorceror, Doom serves a sizeable threat not just to The Fantastic Four but also the MCU at large. This, not even mentioning his supreme intellect, an intelligence that rivals even that of the great Reed Richards.
Whether it is Galactus, Deathbird, Dr. Doom or some other foe, there must always be an antagonist for our heroes to face. With a canon as wide and diverse as Marvel Comics, it will be a long time before we run out of quality villains.
In the meantime, pass me that popcorn. I got a movie to catch…
Some suggested readings include…
Fantastic Four #48: First Appearance of Galactus.
Annihilation Vol 1 #1-6: Considered by many to be one of the best Galactus stories ever told.
Ms. Marvel #9: First Appearance of Deathbird.
The X-Men #101-108: Collectively known as “The Phoenix Saga.” It showcases not only the Shi’ar Empire but also Lilandra. Gives context to the future potential of Deathbird storylines.
Fantastic Four #5: First Appearance of Dr. Doom.
Fantastic Four Annual #2: The story that cemented Dr. Doom’s character.