Thanos’ days as the big bad villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are numbered. With the Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers teaming up for Avengers: Infinity War and the as-of-yet untitled Avengers 4, he doesn’t stand a chance, even with the all-powerful infinity gauntlet on his hand. He’s been the imminent threat to our heroes ever since the end of Phase One with The Avengers mid-credits stinger.
The plan even then was to build up the universe with Thanos’ quest for the infinity stone so he could face off with the heroes of Earth in Infinity War, but what lies ahead for the MCU after he’s inevitably defeated? What villains could possibly rival the cruel and mighty Thanos armed with control over time and reality itself? It’s possible that we’ve already seen them subtly introduced on-screen for the future, as Marvel Studios likes to do with its foreshadowing, or they could bring a completely fresh face in to shatter the Avengers’ world. Here are 15 Marvel villains we think should take Thanos’s place as the big bad conqueror of the universe until The Avengers eventually put a stop to them over the course of the next few phases of the MCU.
Didn’t The Avengers already beat Ultron once? Technically, yes, but Ultron isn’t exactly known for just laying down and dying after one beat-down. As an artificial intelligence, it would be catastrophically stupid not to save a backup of his programming somewhere in the world to take over if The Avengers stopped his plan in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
He was really just a few days old by the end of his first outing, so even with his rapid evolution, he could have grown to be so much more. With the additional time to evolve and grow, while he lays in wait to destroy the Avengers, he could become a truly menacing entity. Rather than cracking jokes, we could see an entirely different, humorless Ultron. One who’s developed plans within plans, anticipating every eventuality, just like he does in the comics.