Ever since Marvel started out as Timely Comics over 75 years ago, literally thousands of heroes, villains, sidekicks, and supporting characters have been dreamt up to play a part in the countless stories printed by the now world famous publisher. And now that Marvel’s movie studio is firing on all cylinders, it’s someone’s job to choose which characters are deserving of a live-action adaptation in a big budget production. But, given that feature films generally don’t run much longer than two hours in length, sometimes characters that are an essential part of the comics end up getting shoehorned into smaller roles, to the point where they might not even be recognized by the fans who adore them. On that note, you probably had no idea that these 11 Marvel characters have made appearances on the big screen.
*Note: We decided to bend the rules a bit and include Marvel films that aren’t part of the Cinematic Universe because they include hidden characters that are just too good to pass up.
Appearing in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes “T.A.H.I.T.I.” and “Yes Men”, Lorelei (Elena Satine) was a seductress who put Agents Ward and Fitz under her spell. It turns out that Lorelei is a more significant character in the comics than her villain-of-the-week status on AoS would suggest, as she ensnares much bigger game in the form of the God of Thunder himself.
First introduced in Thor #337, Lorelai is the younger sister of prominent Thor and Avengers villain the Enchantress and much like her older sister, Lorelai has a bit of an obsession with Thor. Using a mixture of sorcery and love potions, Lorelai is able to put the God of Thunder under her spell, leading to Thor’s allies having to step in to save him.
19. Angar The Screamer
This C-list Daredevil villain made an appearance in a Season 2 episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. In the episode, Skye’s father (more on him later) seeks revenge against Agent Coulson and the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D by recruiting a bunch of enhanced people to his cause. His most prized recruit is David Angar (Jeff Daniel Phillips), a psychiatric patient who had a to wear a mask to protect others from his supercharged vocal chords. That was probably a good idea, as the sonic scream he unleashes on the S.H.I.E.L.D. team is quite devastating.
Angar the Screamer was first introduced in Daredevil #100. A radical social activist who attains his sonic scream powers after volunteering for an experiment, Angar naturally uses his powers to become a criminal. At one point, he even uses his sonic powers to cause Daredevil and Black Widow to hallucinate and fight each other. Eventually, Angar teamed up with another villain called Screaming Mimi, but his criminal career came to an end after he was shot during a bank robbery.
18. Absorbing Man
Crusher Creel was introduced during the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as a villain under the control of Hydra, but he would eventually become an ally to S.H.I.E.L.D. in Season 3. In the comics, Creel is a criminal who attains super powers from a magical drink given to him by Loki, thus becoming “The Absorbing Man.” Creel’s primary ability is to mimic the physical attributes of any object, including wood, steel, or even adamantium. Depending on what substance he absorbs, Creel can become a formidable foe and has even held his own in fights against the likes of Thor and the Hulk.
The TV version of Creel presents a more intelligent character than the one found in the comics, where he is a bit of a dim-witted brawler. That being said, his abilities and physical appearance are quite faithful to the comics.
17. Dr. Faustus
If you’ll recall, the first season of Agent Carter saw Peggy and the Howling Commandos (boy do we ever miss those guys!) rescue a psychologist named Dr. Ivchenko from a prison in Eastern Europe. Unbeknownst to them, Ivchenko was actually a HYDRA agent with a much more sinister agenda and it was only later that his real name was revealed to be Dr. Johann Fennhoff, a name shared by the comic book character Dr. Faustus.
Primarily known as a Captain America villain, Dr. Faustus used a variety of tricks and pills to break Cap’s will, but the hero ultimately prevailed. Although Dr. Faustus doesn’t have the name recognition of a Red Skull or Winter Soldier, he’s actually a notable member of Cap’s rogues gallery and even played a prominent role in the death of Captain America, hypnotizing Sharon Carter into helping Crossbones assassinate Steve Rogers.
16. Madame Masque
Considering it was cancelled due to low viewership, many Marvel fans probably didn’t even realize that the main villain of Agent Carter’s second season was Madame Masque. In the show, she’s known as Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett), a Hollywood actress who gains the ability to absorb and control Darkforce energy. Frost uses her powers to take over her husband’s criminal ring, known as the Council of Nine, and is arguably the most formidable female villain we’ve yet seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The character in the comics is quite different from the one in the show, but there are quite a few references to Madame Masque strewn throughout Season 2 of Agent Carter. The most prominent nods come in the form of the films Frost stars in, as The Nefarious Daughter refers to Masque’s father Count Nefaria, an Avengers villain, while The Woman in the Golden Mask is a direct reference to the character’s comic book appearance.
As you might have guessed, Madame Masque is a character who wears a mask (and a golden one to boot) to cover up her scarred face. She has no actual superpowers but is rather a tenacious socialite who becomes the leader of a criminal organization known as the Maggia. She’s primarily been an enemy of Iron Man (and was even involved with Tony Stark romantically for a little while) but one of her best arcs has to be her encounters with Kate Bishop, a.k.a. Hawkeye in Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye run.
Speaking of villains introduced in Agent Carter, another one that you probably didn’t know was from the comics is Maggia boss Joseph Mandredi, played by Ken Marino. In the show, Mandredi is Whitney Frost’s main ally (they have a romantic past, you see) and is essentially the enforcer of the group. The reason Mandredi’s comic book origins aren’t so obvious is because the two resemble each other in name only.
In the comics, Joseph Manfredi is the son of Spider-Man villain Silvermane. He eventually joins the Ringmaster’s Circus of Crime after he develops the ability to control bats, where he adopts the criminal alter-ego “Blackwing.” Blackwing generally occupies a henchman role and has worked for outfits such as HYDRA, the Skeleton Crew, and even Justin Hammer, and has fought many superheroes including Daredevil, the Thunderbolts, and Captain America.
14. Mr. Hyde
One of the big mysteries in the early days of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was the identity of Skye’s parents. It wasn’t until Season 2 that this question was answered with the introduction of her father Cal (Kyle MacLachlan), who we later learn is a mentally unstable scientist and murderer. The major reveal comes when Cal tells Skye that her real name is Daisy Johnson, a clue that references both Skye’s true identity as the superhero Quake, but also to Cal’s identity as the supervillain Mr. Hyde.
Mr. Hyde, a scientist who creates a formula that gives him super strength as well as an unstable mental state, has been part of the Marvel Universe since 1963 and is based on the literary character of the same name created by Robert Louis Stevenson. His primary affiliation is with the Thunderbolts, but he’s also been associated with the Masters of Evil and the Lethal Legion.
Yes, we all know Whiplash was the main villain in Iron Man 2, but that’s not the incarnation of the character being referred to here. While Anton Vanko is indeed an incarnation of Whiplash from the comics, he’s not the original Whiplash. The first incarnation of the character is known as Mark Scarloti, whose first appearance was all the way back in Tales of Suspense #97 from 1968. An inventor and assassin for the Maggia, Scarlotti developed a high-powered whip capable of slicing through Iron Man’s armor.
Leave it to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to give Scarlotti his due, as the original Whiplash showed up in the Season 2 episode “A Fractured House.” Here, Scarlotti was introduced as a skilled mercenary known for nearly killing Hawkeye and his signature weapon is a chain-like whip with a knife at the end. Scarlotti eventually fought Agent May, leading to one of the best fight scenes in the series.
A powerful Avengers villain in the comics, Graviton was not quite the formidable threat Marvel fans expected when he was introduced in the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. In the comics, Graviton, a.k.a. Dr. Franklin Hall, developed the ability to control gravitational fields and used this power to tear a chunk out of the Earth and turned it into a floating island in the sky. The Avengers were eventually able to stop him but inadvertently, as Graviton ended up being the cause of the island’s destruction after he falsely believed that the woman he loved had committed suicide. Ever since then, Graviton has returned periodically as a nigh-unstoppable force.
In contrast, Graviton was essentially relegated to villain-of-the-week status on AoS and was eventually consumed by Gravitonium, the element he discovered. Fortunately, Dr. Hall is still alive in the Gravitonium but has yet to re-emerge. Hopefully the next time he does, it will be a little more dramatic than his initial appearance on the show.
11. Mastermind (X-Men 2)
There are a lot of Marvel characters running around in the mutant-filled X-Men movies, so we don’t blame you if you didn’t catch all of them. One prominent character who worked their way into the story of X-Men 2 that a lot of people didn’t notice was the malignant mentalist known in the comics as Mastermind.
In the movie, General Stryker heartlessly uses his lobotomized mutant son Jason to manipulate Professor X into wiping out all the mutants on the planet. Judging by his first name and telepathic abilities, it can be inferred that this is a loose adaptation of Jason Wyngarde, a.k.a. Mastermind. The comics typically show Wyngarde using his powers in the service of other evil organizations like the Brotherhood or the Hellfire Club, but the film version of Mastermind is so far removed from the source material that it’s easy to forget that he made an appearance on screen at all.
10. Henry Gyrich (X-Men)
Here’s another prominent X-Men character tucked away in the movies that many people didn’t notice. In X-Men, Senator Kelly is kidnapped when his assistant, Henry Gyrich, is impersonated by Mystique. We later learn through a news report that the real Gyrich was “mauled by a bear” (although we presume he was actually attacked by the mutant Sabretooth).
Considering how central Gyrich is to some of the comic book storylines, this is a surprisingly brief appearance that a lot of people thought was going to develop into something more. As a high-ranking government official, Gyrich has been an enduring thorn in the side of many superheroes on both the X-Men and Avengers. Had he not been killed off so abruptly in the first X-Men movie, he could have made for a very interesting character to play around with in later films.
9. Doc Samson (The Incredible Hulk)
The Incredible Hulk movie did a good job of correcting some of the problems that were associated with the 2003 Ang Lee Hulk movie, but it still makes the mistake of underutilizing some key characters. So much so that many people probably weren’t even aware that one of the comic book’s mainstay characters was in the film at all.
In the movie, Dr. Leonard Samson has a very minor role as the psychiatrist who’s dating Betty Ross, the object of Bruce Banner’s affection. But in the comics, Samson is also affected by gamma radiation which turns his hair green and grants him super strength. Hopefully the character will get fleshed out a little more in the MCU if Marvel ever decides to make another Hulk movie.
8. The Leader (The Incredible Hulk)
Though he doesn’t appear with the gargantuan, gamma-irradiated head that serves as his trademark, the origins of the longstanding Hulk villain the Leader can be found in The Incredible Hulk movie.
Samuel Sterns is still just a scientist in the film, working with Emil Blonsky to unlock the secrets of the Hulk’s power. In a scene near the end of the movie, an accident results in some of Bruce Banner’s blood finding a way into his body through an open wound on his forehead. When we last see him, his head is beginning to throb and swell as a smile curls on his face, suggesting that he could show up again at a later date in the MCU.
7. Amadeus Cho (The Incredible Hulk)
One more comic book character who’s not easily identifiable in the Incredible Hulk movie comes in the form of that computer nerd who Bruce bribes with pizza to gain access to a lab. Though his name is never mentioned on screen, the movie’s novelization confirms that this is actually Amadeus Cho, a key supporting character in Hulk comics.
6. Fin Fang Foom (Iron Man)
The MCU has done a pretty great job of taking outlandish comic book characters and converting them into forms that make sense for more realistic live-action movies. This is a task that you might think would’ve been impossible to do for the alien-dragon supervillain Fin Fang Foom, but, if you pay close attention to the scene in Iron Man when Tony is testing out his new Mark II armor by flying it around the city, you should be able to make out a spectacularly brief shot of Fin Fang Foom’s face pasted on a billboard. The image was specially created for the movie by artist Adi Granov, who based his work on Fin Fang Foom’s appearance in the Viva Las Vegas comic book story.
Considering FFF has typically been one of the most laughable Marvel villains, we’re guessing this is as close as we’ll ever get to seeing him in the MCU.
5. Raza Longknife (Iron Man)
In the first Iron Man movie, Tony Stark gets kidnapped by terrorists and is forced to make weapons of war for them — an event which leads to him creating his original weaponized suit of armor. But viewers with a keen eye might have noticed that the terrorists call themselves the Ten Rings, which is a reference to the ten magical rings worn by the Mandarin in the comics. Oddly enough, one of the Ten Rings’ members is actually based on a separate Marvel character who originated as a renegade space pirate.
The leader of the Ten Rings in the movie is named Raza and, as Tony makes his explosive escape from the terrorist’s camp, we see that the side of Raza’s face gets badly disfigured. This is the primary clue that this character is in fact Raza Longknife from the radical group of spacers known as the Starjammers.
The one big difference between Raza and his comic counterpart is that, in the movie, Raza sustains his facial injuries on the opposite side and doesn’t have them covered up by a cybernetic faceplate. This was probably done intentionally by director Jon Favreau to illustrate that it’s a different take on the character.
4. The Gentleman (The Amazing Spider-Man)
For a long time Spider-Man fans were racking their brains trying to figure out who it is that shows up and talks to the villains at the end of the The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel. Unfortunately, since that reboot got scrapped, we never got to find out on screen who that mysterious figure was despite the many competing theories that point to him being the man responsible for putting together the infamous Sinister Six. Some people thought the way he just appeared in Dr. Connors’ cell was reminiscent of a trick that Mysterio might use, while others have speculated that it might be the Chameleon, Doc Ock, Morbius, Kaine, or even Peter’s father, Richard Parker, who actually returns and has an encounter with Peter at Gwen Stacy’s grave in a deleted scene from The Amazing Spider-Man 2. But there’s another Spider-Man villain that almost everyone overlooked (perhaps because he was never considered a mainstream bad guy, with his only other appearances occurring in a series of Spider-Man novels). His name is Gustav Fiers, also known as the Gentleman.
Although the Gentleman doesn’t have any super powers, he’s one rich bastard and has a lot of connections to powerful criminal organizations. In the book he’s described as an elegant looking old man with grey hair who is still quite physically and mentally fit despite his age. This matches the description of the mysterious man in movies almost perfectly and we know from the novels that Fiers is the man responsible for putting together a revised version of the Sinister Six. We also know that he had a very close working relationship with Richard and Mary Parker but, after a string of events that led to his brother getting killed, he vowed to take revenge on the couple’s son once he came of age.
3. The Original Human Torch (Captain America: The First Avenger)
Over the years, Marvel has developed a massive cinematic universe and the studio has never shied away from bringing in lots of side elements as Easter eggs for perceptive fans to pick up on. And one such Easter egg that slipped in under a lot of people’s noses was the appearance of the Human Torch in Captain America: The First Avenger.
No, we’re not talking about the character played by Chris Evans in the Fantastic Four movies (that would have just been weird); this is the original Human Torch — a character who first appeared in Timely Publication’s Marvel Comics #1, released in 1939.
The first Human Torch remains one of the strangest Marvel characters to date and his presence is still felt to this day. Originally, he was an android,created by Dr. Phineas T. Horton. Dr. Horton kept his creation in a protective glass case — just like we see briefly in the Captain America movie — but, when he opened it at a press exhibition, exposure to oxygen caused the android to not only burst into flames but also gain sentience (can you tell it was a 1939 story?). Before becoming a hero, the Torch accidentally set fire to parts of New York and killed a mobster who sought to seize control of his powers. But eventually he learned to control of his scorching abilities and was able to fly around and throw fireballs without causing a city-wide panic.
2. Cosmo the Space Dog (Guardians of the Galaxy)
Everyone knows by now that you’re always supposed to keep watching Marvel movies until the very end of the credits, right? Well, if you always adhere to that rule, you’ll notice a a few surprise cameos from lesser known Marvel characters at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy. While any fan would have immediately made note of the bewildering appearance of oddball character Howard the Duck, most people probably didn’t notice that the same scene features another goofy Marvel character you’d never expect to see in the cinematic universe.
As the Collector (Benicio Del Toro) sadly sits among the ruins of his cherished intergalactic museum, a dog outfitted in a space suit walks up to him a licks his face consolingly. That same dog is briefly seen earlier in the movie as an exhibit at the museum and is actually Cosmo the Space Dog — the head of security in Knowhere and friend of the Guardians in the comics.
As the story goes, Cosmo was a former test animal of the Soviet Space Program. After being launched into Earth’s orbit as part of an experiment, something went wrong and he drifted off into a part of space called Knowhere where he became mutated and eventually came to serve as the region’s chief of security.
1. Adam Warlock (Thor: The Dark World & Guardians of the Galaxy)
Cosmo the Space Dog isn’t the only hidden character the Collector had stashed away in his vault of intergalactic treasures. If you paid close attention, you might have noticed something else in the museum that’s linked to one of the most powerful superheroes Marvel has to offer.
In both Thor: The Dark World and Guardians of the Galaxy, we get a glimpses of a bizarre glowing mass that looks as though it could be some sort of alien cocoon. Super fans will instantly recognize this as the cocoon of Adam Warlock — one of Marvel’s heavy hitters who typically only tackles problems on an interplanetary scale. Interestingly enough, in the aforementioned post-credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy, it appears as though the cocoon has been opened.