Avengers: Infinity War is set to bring the superhero thunder in a big way, with so many of Marvel’s heroes expected to show up that they’ll actually have to cut people just to have room (not to mention that we still don’t really know what the roster is going to look like). While the superhero stable is far from set, it’s a safe bet that most of the big players (or at least a good chunk of them) will be present and accounted for in Infinity War. When it comes to the villain side of the equation though, things get a bit more muddled. We know that the Mad Titan Thanos will be the main threat, but is he going to recruit anyone else in his war on Earth and its mightiest heroes?
Since Infinity War will be split into two films, there’s a lot of room for Marvel to include plenty of additional villains to keep our heroes engaged, which will also offer a build up of sorts to the final confrontation with Thanos. Which villains will those be? We already know that Magus AKA Adam Warlock will make an appearance, but Marvel really can’t go wrong with including any (or all) of the following:
One of Doctor Strange’s greatest arch-nemeses, Dormammu is rumored to make an appearance in the Sorcerer Supreme’s solo movie this November. The lord of the realm of darkness, Dormammu is one of the most powerful villains in the Marvel universe and while we probably wouldn’t see him ally himself with Thanos, he could make an appearance as a challenger to the Mad Titan’s galaxy-conquering schemes. After all, Dormammu has his own plans for domination, so he’s not going to sit idly by and let Thanos do as he pleases. This could lead to an actual showdown between the two villains, with Thanos probably coming away victorious, but it seems more likely that Marvel would use Dormammu in a cameo capacity so as to not distract too heavily from Thanos being the main villain.
One of Thor’s primary adversaries, Hela will be the main villain of Thor: Ragnarok, where she will be played by Cate Blanchett. The Asgardian Goddess of Death, Hela would be a indespensible ally for Thanos due to her vast array of powers. In particular, her ability to command the dead of those who dwell in Hel and Niflheim would equate to a ready-made army for the Mad Titan. And while we have no idea what’s going to happen in Thor: Ragnarok, it’s a pretty safe bet that Hela will be on the losing end of her conflict with the God of Thunder, so she will definitely have a score to settle with Thor and the rest of Avengers in Infinity War. Much like with Dormammu though, Hela is a hugely powerful villain, so Marvel may be reluctant to make her a major part of Infinity War since they already have a nigh-unstoppable force in Thanos himself.
The last time we saw The Abomination, he was being choked out by his arch-nemesis The Hulk in 2008’s oft-overlooked The Incredible Hulk. Seeing as how Hulk won’t be getting his own movie anytime soon (not to mention that Abomination could really use a rematch), it would make a lot of sense to toss the behemoth villain into the mix for Infinity War. Rumors continue to circulate that Marvel will use the character again in a future film and Tim Roth, who played Abomination in The Incredible Hulk, has talked before about how Marvel almost used the character in Avengers: Age of Ultron. While the studio could very well end up passing on the Hulk villain for Infinity War as well, it’s only a matter of time before we see him turn up again in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
7. Doctor Doom
Categorize this one under “never going to happen pipe dreams,” given that Fox still retains the rights to the character, but if by some miraculous turn of events Marvel is able to reclaim the Fantastic Four banner in time, tossing Doctor Doom into Infinity War‘s rogue’s gallery would be a surprise for the ages. Victor Von Doom is traditionally a foe of the Fantastic Four (who are also more than welcome to turn up, but let’s not get greedy here), but he’s also worked well as an Avengers villain in the comics thanks to his enormous resources and propensity for hatching dastardly world domination schemes. Admittedly, things could get tricky when it comes to figuring out how Thanos and Doom play off each other, as both characters are traditionally very power-hungry and ego-driven, but considering that Doctor Doom is one of the Marvel Universe’s biggest villains, it would be more than fitting to have him involved in the biggest Marvel film to date.
6. Red Skull
The last time we saw the Red Skull, he was being sucked through a portal created by the Tessaract at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger. It’s never been confirmed one way or the other whether the Hydra leader perished or not, so he very well could figure into the events of Infinity War. The Red Skull is not only a major villain in the Marvel universe, meaning that his inclusion could be entirely justified just based on his significance alone, but he was also woefully underused in The First Avenger and deserves more screen time. Unfortunately, Hugo Weaving, who played the character in that film, is not keen on reprising the role (although he has said that he keeps an open mind about these sorts of things) which means that Red Skull might have to be recast if he were to be included in Avengers. We’d love to see Weaving return if he decides to, but no matter who’s playing him, Red Skull is too great of a villain to not cast as one of Thanos’ lackies.
Yes, Ultron was destroyed at the end of the last Avengers film and it seems unlikely that Marvel would bring him back so soon, but if you think about it, Ultron could very well still be in the game. While the rogue A.I. was ultimately destroyed by The Vision, it’s important to remember that Ultron was able to upload part of his mind into The Vision’s body before the Avengers stopped him. The Vision is currently predominately driven by the personality of J.A.R.V.I.S, Tony Stark’s former A.I. assistant, but there’s always the chance that the Ultron part of his mind could take over. The Vision also happens to possess one of the Infinity Stones and you can be sure that Thanos will do whatever it takes to make it his own; and if he can’t get it, maybe he’ll turn its bearer to his side (hence, Ultron). Plus, can you really say no to having James Spader getting a chance to lend his awesome voice to Ultron again?
We would actually be very surprised if Death doesn’t make an appearance at some point during Infinity War. Remember back to Thanos’s first introduction, when his underling says that to challenge the Earth is to court death? Well, he wasn’t just referencing a literal demise. Thanos wants to claim all of the Infinity Stones to conquer the Earth, yes, but it’s all in an effort to court death, who he views as his mistress. And in the Marvel universe, Death is a literal, physical being, one who is even more powerful than the Mad Titan himself. It’s unlikely that Death would have a major role in Infinity War, considering that any fight against the Avengers would be grossly unfair given her power level, but there’s a very good chance that she could show up in some table-setting scenes designed to characterize Thanos and his mission.
3. Kang The Conqueror
If Kang the Conquerer were to be used in the Infinity War films, he’d most likely be featured as a future threat for the Marvel universe even greater than Thanos. In the comics, Kang is a time traveler from the 30th century who uses his extensive knowledge of past events (and a host of highly advanced technology) to wage war against the Avengers and the rest of the Marvel universe. It’s important to remember that the Time Stone will come into play in some way over the course of Infinity War, so there is ample opportunity to incorporate Kang into the proceedings if Thanos’s actions are disruptive to the time stream. Either way, Marvel is going to need another universal threat in Phase Four of the Cinematic Universe once Thanos is out of the picture and Kang is the next logical step up.
If Nebula isn’t a key player in Infinity War, it would come as a major shock. The adopted daughter of Thanos managed to escape capture at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, so it’s pretty much guaranteed that she will turn up again at some point. Given her antagonistic relationship with her sister Gamora, we’ll probably see Nebula again first in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, but if she manages to survive the events of that film, she’s practically a shoo-in for Infinity War.
Another important detail to keep in mind is that Nebula plays a critical role in the original Infinity Gauntlet comic arc, but in that arc, Thanos ends up disfiguring her after she draws his ire, with Nebula eventually stealing the Infinity Gauntlet from him. Could we see Nebula betray Thanos in such a fashion in the cinematic version? The Marvel Cinematic Universe tends to draw inspiration from the comics rather than do close adaptations, so events will likely play out quite differently, but either way, Nebula will likely have a significant role to play.
1. Black Dwarf
More than any other villain, Black Dwarf is perhaps the most likely to have a significant role in Infinity War because of how important he is to Thanos in the comics. A member of Thanos’ Black Order (pretty much the elite soldiers of the Mad Titan’s army), Black Dwarf is a highly skilled warrior and military tactician who could function as a chief ally for Thanos in his war against the Earth. Black Dwarf would also pair well as an adversary with a number of characters, especially Black Panther, who he fights in the comics. There’s no way Thanos is going to wage his war without a number of trusted servants and allies, which makes Black Dwarf the obvious pick for a villain that will play an important role in Avengers: Infinity War.