It takes a lot of planning to build a comprehensive, stable cinematic universe. Marvel Studios’ ability to methodically introduce characters and future plot points has turned its movies into a reliable money-making machine. But recently, it seems like the MCU has been introducing more characters than it can handle, and what used to be a plan might have turned into pure chaos.
Here are 10 heroes we’re not sure Marvel knows what they’re doing with.
For the life of me, I cannot fathom why Marvel Studios brought Starfox (played by Harry Styles) into the MCU. He has only two distinguishing qualities: 1) he’s a himbo with a very creepy power to make people get horny, which is gross, and 2) he’s the half-brother of Thanos, as actor Harry Styles mentions to the remaining Eternals at the end of their movie. But Thanos is obviously gone, which gives Starfox the sole purpose of helping his fellow Eternals find the other Eternals kidnapped by Arishem. But will the Eternals even get a second film? Because Starfox is way, way too obscure to headline a Marvel movie, Harry Styles’ popularity be damned.
2) Sharon Carter
The MCU has always done Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) dirty, whether it’s by making her a tenuous, unsettling love interest in Captain America: The Winter Soldier or abandoning her after she helped Cap and his allies in Civil War. So while it makes a certain amount of sense that Sharon would become so bitter she turned into the nefarious Power Broker in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, what’s the MCU’s endgame for her? Will she be a villain in Thunderbolts or Captain America: New World Order? As a character whose power is basically just “being a criminal,” she would be an underwhelming foe for Captain America to battle, and the same is true of the Thunderbolts.
Like Starfox, this sorceress (Charlize Theron) appeared out of nowhere during a Marvel movie mid-credits scene, this time in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Clea was one of the evil Dormammu’s disciples but ended up as Strange’s wife for a time in the comics, so she has multiple ties to the ex-Sorcerer Supreme. In the MCU, she shows up for all of 20 seconds, tells Strange he created an incursion and takes him to help fix it. Marvel clearly has some plan for Clea, given they hired Theron to play her, but there’s not even a hint that a third Doctor Strange movie is on the way, and it would be very weird if she joined the Avengers to help fix the multiverse in Kang Dynasty or Civil War — there are many, many more popular characters floating around the MCU who should join their ranks first.
4) Moon Knight
Speaking of, despite only appearing in a Disney+ series, Moon Knight is one of Marvel’s most popular second-tier superheroes, which is surely one of the reasons Oscar Isaac was brought in to portray Marc Spector/Steven Grant on the show. Besides, not only has there been discussion that the TV series might eventually get a second season, but Moon Knight has also been a member of multiple Avengers teams in the comics. That would seem like the character’s future is locked up… but if there’s no season two, movie appearances seem even less likely to happen. Plus, the super-popular actor’s work schedule is packed with future projects, including the Metal Gear Solid movie. Would Marvel let Moon Knight languish? And what about Layla El-Faouly (May Calamawy), aka the Scarlet Scarab, while we’re at it?
5) Elsa Bloodstone
Elsa Bloodstone is a reasonably new Marvel Comics character — she made her debut as a badass vampire hunter in 2001, and popped up sporadically through the Marvel universe since, most notably as a member of Nextwave. She appears in the MCU courtesy of the Werewolf by Night Halloween special, played by Outlander’s Laura Donnelly, which is casting just noticeable enough to hint that maybe Elsa still has more to do in the MCU. I can’t see her ever joining an incarnation of the Avengers, however (although she would have been a decidedly fun/more interesting addition to the Thunderbolts). Maybe Marvel Studios has more Halloween specials in mind? Even if you leave the vampires to Blade, there are mummies, demons, ghosts, and more that surely need slaying.
6) The Celestials
If Eternals had been a hit movie, there’s be no question what these giant, mega-powerful cosmic beings would be up to in the MCU. Much like the (fairly) recent comics, Arishem the Judge would come to Earth to see if humanity was worthy of being allowed to live. It’s a team-up that required the Avengers, Eternals, and the X-Men to solve. As such, the Celestials would be a great, seemingly overwhelming foe for the third saga of the MCU after Kang inevitably gets defeated in Phase Six. But Eternals wasn’t a hit movie, and the Celestials may pay the narrative price and be relegated to obscurity.
7) America Chavez
A lot was made of America Chavez’s (Xochitl Gomez) MCU debut in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but she ended up being less of a character and more of the film’s MacGuffin as the Scarlet Witch hunted her down for her ability to punch her way into other realities. With the Multiverse Saga truly kicking off with Phase Five and the arrival of Kang the Conqueror, it seems likely that America — or, more precisely, her powers — will have some sort of role in the epic to come. But on the other hand, Doctor Strange, Kang, and even Loki and the TVA can hop around the multiverse just fine on their own. Is she really necessary?
8) Dane Whitman
Sersi the Eternal’s other Game of Thrones boyfriend made a brief, undistinguished appearance in Eternals until the film’s mid-credits scene. Comic fans knew Dane (Kit Harington), known as the hero the Black Knight in the Marvel comics, was reaching for his family’s cursed Ebony Blade. Another Blade (the Daywalker, specifically, played by Mahershala Ali) stops him before he touches the sword and becomes a superhero doomed to become a bloodthirsty warrior. The combination of characters implies that Dane will be in the upcoming Blade film, but Blade is all about daywalking and killing vampires, not medieval swords and King Arthur. What’s the connection?
9) Adam Warlock
We know this cosmic being, created by Ayesha to destroy the Guardians of the Galaxy, is one of director James Gunn’s favourite characters. What we don’t know what the future holds for Adam Warlock (Will Poulter) after GotG ends. He’s a strange character in the comics, both immensely powerful and somewhat obscure; his biggest claim to fame is always getting dragged into whatever new Infinity Gem shenanigans Thanos has going on. But since both Thanos and the are gems gone from the MCU, what’s this Adam Warlock going to do with his time once he inevitably makes peace with the Guardians to stop the High Evolutionary? One option would be to join the Guardians himself as he has in the comics, but that would require a James Gunn-less sequel, and that’s not happening — which means future Guardians movies might not be happening either.
Hulk suddenly getting a full-grown son in Marvel Comics was weird, but it was even weirder to see Skaar show up at the Walters family cookout at the end of She-Hulk. First of all, it was only five years since Thor: Ragnarok, where Hulk was enjoying the finer things in life as the champion of the Grandmaster’s gladiatorial games. Honestly, if Skaar was just a joke made for She-Hulk and never showed up again, that would be fine (and maybe for the best). On the other hand, Mark Ruffalo’s got to be tired of playing the Hulk by now, and the TV series did go out of its way to show Hulk leaving the Earth to presumably pick up his son, so…
While you’re here, why not check out Gizmodo Australia’s guide to what’s streaming this month on Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Stan, Binge and more. We’ve also got one for all the good movies coming out in 2023 if that’s more your thing.