As the credits rolled for Avengers: Age of Ultron, Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe officially ended. Phase 3 will kick off in May of 2016 with Captain America: Civil War, followed by Doctor Strange starring Benedict Cumberbatch. 2017 will see the return of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor, and the introduction of Black Panther. In 2018, the Avengers will return for Infinity War Part I and the much anticipated female superhero, Captain Marvel, will finally reach the silver screen.
With all these upcoming Marvel films, it can be a bit daunting to keep track of all the superheroes, let alone, supervillains. We’re here to help. Get a head start on Phase 3 with this handy primer on some of the Marvel villains that are likely to appear in the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Thor: Ragnarok (November 3, 2017)
While it’s titled Ragnarok, it is unlikely that the titular cyborg clone of Thor will appear in this third film in the Thor franchise. Instead, it is more likely that the big bad will be Surtur, the fire demon/giant that eventually brings about Ragnarok, an epic, war-to-end-all-wars that ushers in the destruction of the Norse Gods. In the comics, Surtur the fire demon stands 1,000 feet tall, but it’s likely he will be scaled down for the film. Then again, they may opt to make the character completely CGI and bring in a famous actor for the voice, as they did with Ultron. Surtur’s main powers and abilities are linked to his sword Twilight, aka the "Sword of Doom." It’s with this magical sword that Surtur is able to weaken Odin and create an Asgardian apocalypse.
2. Baron Helmut Zemo
Captain America: Civil War (May 6, 2016)
If the name didn’t give it away, Baron Helmut Zemo is German. If we know anything from these sorts of films, it's that Germans are rarely the good guys. And since this is the world of Captain America we are talking about, Zemo will undoubtedly have some Nazi-affiliated history. Confirmed for Civil War, Zemo will be played by Daniel Bruhl, but how much of his actual face will appear in the film is yet to be seen. In the comics, Zemo’s trademark is his menacing purple hood. It’s not a mask, but rather a skin-tight hood that covers all but his eyes. Zemo is known for being a brainiac supervillain, but that’s not to say he can’t hold his own in a fight. His weapon of choice is a large sword that looks like it's plucked straight out of Game of Thrones.
3. Adam Warlock
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5, 2017)
Adam Warlock is a fan-favorite that many were disappointed didn’t make a cameo in Age of Ultron. Being a very cosmic supervillain, though, it's more likely that he will make an appearance in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. His origin story tells of his creation by a group of scientists called the Enclave. This artificial, seemingly perfect human, does not originally have the first-man name “Adam,” but is simply called “Him.” Of course, this artificial birth does not end well, and Him rebels against his creators (don’t they always?) and flies away into space. It is in the cosmos that he receives his “Warlock” moniker and becomes increasingly powerful. Warlock has fought on both sides of the eternal battle of good and evil, so don’t be surprised if he starts out an antagonist to the Guardians, only to end up helping the fight against almighty Thanos and his minions.
4. Erik Killmonger
Black Panther (July 6, 2018)
The Black Panther film is going to be a watershed moment for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only is Black Panther one of the first and only films to focus on an African American superhero, it is expected to be directed by one as well. Talks with Selma director Ava DuVernay fell through, but look for Marvel to continue pursuing other prominent directors of color. The main antagonist to Black Panther, and likely the big bad we will see in the film, Erik Killmonger is similar to Black Panther in almost every way (physically and mentally), only he’s evil. Seeking revenge for his father’s death, Killmonger’s path puts him at odds with Iron Man, the Avengers, and Black Panther. As a moral opposite to Black Panther, Killmonger is a powerful reminder that superheroes and supervillains can often come from the same place, and suffer from the same tragic histories.
5. Baron Mordo
Doctor Strange (November 4, 2016)
It appears Phase 3 is going to be rife with Barons. With Benedict Cumberbatch signed to play Stephen Strange, the next big/burning question is who would play his archrival, Baron Mordo. They could have gone the well traveled route and chosen another well-spoken, white, Brit, but Marvel has done something more interesting and cast Chiwetel Ejiofor, best known for his breakthrough performance in 12 Years a Slave. Strange and Mordo are sorcerers both trained by The Ancient One, with Mordo later turning his back and attempting to kill his former master. Mordo is much like his fellow apprentice, but leans toward the side of black magic. What we are most excited to see is if the film version of Mordo retains his famous green and yellow sorcerer cape and evil-doer facial hair.
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Phase 3 is promising to be one of the most diverse and interesting phases of Marvel’s current cinematic universe. The villains are sure to be one of the biggest draws to the various upcoming films, with the big showdown with Thanos in part 1 and part 2 of Infinity Wars looking to be truly epic. Prepare your torso for all the awesomeness of Marvel Phase 3 with these cool men’s and women’s superhero shirts from our shop. The Barons, Warlocks, and Killmongers will have plenty to fear when you’re rocking one of these superhero t-shirts.