Over the last 15 years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has flourished on both the big and small screens. Not to mention the X-Men movie universe at Fox, and the Spider-Man universe at Sony. From all indications, it seems as if almost no Marvel Comics hero is too small or obscure for the live-action treatment. Between the MCU, the former Fox X-Men films, and the Sony Spider-verse, just about everyone of importance has had their big screen debut.
In just the last couple of years alone, they have introduced Marvel Comics fans in quick succession to the likes of She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, Namor, Ironheart, and in cameo form, Hercules and Starfox, to name but a few. Wonder Man is even getting a series soon. And yet, there still are a handful of important Marvel Comics characters long overdue for the live-action treatment. So without further ado, here are our picks for the top 10 Marvel superheroes that still need to make it to MCU live-action film and television.
10. Beta Ray Bill
In the MCU, we’ve only seen two other heroes worthy of lifting Thor’s hammer Mjölnir, — the Vision, and Steve Rogers. However, in the comics there was another who was worthy, a horse-faced alien from the planet Korbin. Beta Ray Bill was the champion of the Korbinites, given powers by his near-extinct alien race. Thanks to some classic comic book misunderstanding, Beta Ray Bill met Thor in battle when approaching Earth, and he actually defeated the God of Thunder. Not only defeat him, but he was able to wield Mjölnir, one of the few who could.
Impressed with Beta Ray Bill’s fortitude, Thor’s dad, Odin All-Father gifted the Krobinite with his very own enchanted hammer, Stormbreaker, which he now used as a hero and ally to Thor. Beta Ray Bill has almost made it to the MCU before. We’ve seen his statue on the planet Sakaar in Thor: Ragnarok, and his hammer Stormbreaker has also appeared in Infinity War and Endgame. We think Bill is long overdue for an MCU appearance. It just might be time for Thor to hand over Stormbreaker to its rightful owner.
9. Tigra (Greer Nelson)
Greer Nelson, originally known as “The Cat,” was one of the first female heroes to receive her own Marvel comic. A runway model, Greer fought crime with cat-themed gadgets and a skin-tight cat costume. The Claws of the Cat only lasted four issues, and truthfully, seemed like a knockoff of DC Comics’ Catwoman—only with a neon yellow costume instead. Years later, the heroine Hellcat would use that costume with far more success.
But Marvel tried again with Greer a couple of years later. They gave her the powers of a magical lost race of Cat People, and suddenly Greer was a ferocious cat/human hybrid named Tigra. This version was far more popular, and served with the Avengers for years. A cat-person in a bikini might be hard to pull off in live-action, but we trust Marvel Studios to make the right changes. They mentioned someone named Greer in Hawkeye. Could it be? We hope to see her, tail and all, in the MCU one day.
8. Ka-Zar of the Savage Land (Kevin Plunder)
On the surface, Ka-Zar just seems like a Tarzan rip-off. He’s the son of a British Lord who finds himself stranded in an exotic jungle location as a child. After his father dies, locals take him in. He no longer goes by the name Lord Kevin Plunder, but becomes Ka-Zar. Sound familiar? So how is this more than a dime-store Tarzan? Well, instead of a real-world location like Africa, Ka-Zar lives in the Savage Land, a secret primordial world in the Antarctic.
The Savage Land is filled with dinosaurs, humanoid mutates, and Ka-Zar’s trusty sabretooth tiger Zabu. In the comics, it became the prime location for many Uncanny X-Men stories. It even became the home base of Magneto for a time. Anyone who grew up with X-Men: The Animated Series will remember several episodes set in this location. To be fair, the location of the Savage Land world is much cooler than Ka-Zar himself, but he could be used to anchor a very cool Savage Land series or movie.
7. Captain Britain (Brian Braddock)
Captain Britain has been a part of the Marvel Universe since the mid-’70s. But he first appeared only in the Marvel UK line of comics. Captain Britain Weekly #1 featured his canonical first appearance. In the comics, Brian Braddock was the nerdy heir of an old aristocratic British family. He received a bad injury in a lab accident and nearly died. Soon after, the wizard Merlyn appeared to him, and offered Brian the chance to become the United Kingdom’s mystically strong champion. And thus, Captain Britain is born.
In the UK, Captain Britain had his own comic for years, and teamed up with Spidey and Captain America in North American Comics. He eventually led the British X-Men spinoff team, Excalibur. His sister is Betsy Braddock, who fans know best as the prominent ’90s X-Man named Psylocke. All of these aspects of his character could prove interesting story material, as Marvel Studios seeds mutants into the MCU. Fans have been clamoring for Superman Henry Cavill to play Captain Britain. And we can’t say that we don’t approve of that choice.
6. Darkhawk (Christopher Powell/Connor Young)
Darkhawk is one of the lesser-known Marvel heroes on this list, but in the ’90s, he was fairly popular. He even carried his own series for some 50 issues. Christopher Powell was a teenager from Queens, New York, just like Peter Parker. He came upon an amulet that allowed him to switch places with a powerful alien android body possessing huge metal wings, one that his mind could control. (And he had a Wolverine-like claw. As we said, quite popular in the ’90s.
Darkhawk joined the New Warriors, and briefly, the Avengers. Recently, Marvel Comics launched a new Darkhawk series, with a new teenage hero at its center. Connor Young was a star athlete, recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. As he struggles with his new medical reality, he also has to become a superhero when he discovers the amulet. The original comic series wasn’t all that memorable, but the ingredients for this new Darkhawk — the origin, the costume, the powers — are perfect for a live-action adaptation.
5. Moondragon (Heather Douglas)
Moondragon is one of those oddball Marvel heroes. But this martial artist with psychic powers has ties to several prominent MCU characters. Namely, Drax the Destroyer and Thanos. In the comics, young Heather Douglas was driving through the desert with her family when they caught Thanos landing on Earth, totally by chance. The Mad Titan promptly killed her entire family, but Heather escaped.
Her father’s soul bonded to Drax, essentially making Drax her dad. And Mentor, Thanos’ own father, instructed her in the use of her powers. She joined the Avengers, and later, teams like the Defenders and the Guardians of the Galaxy. For the MCU, Moondragon’s origins could be simplified. She could be the literal daughter of Drax now. Perhaps the daughter he thought he lost to Thanos? And if Thanos’ father trained her, that would create a lot of conflict for this family. She’s also a bisexual character, and we know the MCU could use some more canonically LGBTQ heroes.
4. Quasar (Wendell Vaughn)
They have introduced many of the most prominent Avengers into the MCU at this point. But one fairly major Avenger from the ‘90s has yet to show up, and that’s Wendell Vaughn, also known as Quasar. An Avenger during the early ‘90s, at which time he carried his own solo title for sixty issues, Vaughn was a SHIELD scientist who came across the cosmic weapons called the Quantum Bands. They bestowed on him incredible power, as the owner of the bands was the chosen Protector of the Universe, a title given by the cosmic entity Eon.
With the Quantum Bands now introduced into the MCU thanks to The Marvels, it would be interesting to see them wind up in the hands of a new hero like Quasar. After all, neither Kamala Khan nor Carol Danvers need the bands to activate their powers. They should go to someone else who can use them to do good. In Thor: Love and Thunder, we saw a representation of the cosmic entity Eon, so maybe he’ll appear to give the Quasar the Protector of the Universe title. Everything lately feels like it’s setting it up. With the MCU needing more spacefaring heroes, Quasar seems like a perfect choice.
3. Nova (Richard Rider/Sam Alexander)
Although the Nova Corps, Marvel’s interstellar police force (and answer to DC’s Green Lantern Corps) has already been introduced in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, the Nova I’m talking about is Richard Rider. He had his own series in the late ’70s, The Man Called Nova, and then regularly appeared as a cast member of New Warriors. Rider was a working-class teen in the Peter Parker mold; he inherited the title and cosmic powers from a dying member of the Nova Corps. (We told you he was Marvel’s answer to Green Lantern).
The character has had a comeback in the last few years. Mainly because of Marvel Comics doubling down on their cosmic heroes with events like Annihilation. A new teenager named Sam Alexander recently took on the mantle of Nova, but either he or Richard Rider would make for ideal candidates for a TV series or a movie. Perhaps tying his origin to the offscreen destruction of the Nova homeworld of Xandar (referenced in Avengers: Infinity War) might be a good way to make this tie into the MCU.
2. Doctor Voodoo (Jericho Drumm)
Jericho Drumm was created way back in 1973, and for five issues was the lead character in Strange Tales, the anthology that introduced Doctor Strange. Created by a group of Marvel legends, which included Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, John Romita, and Len Wein, the character originally went by the name Brother Voodoo. A psychologist originally from Haiti, Drumm returned home to discover his voodoo practitioner brother was dying. He sought out his brother’s mentor, Papa Jambo, who taught him mastery over voodoo practices and powerful sorcery, and Drumm assumed the title of Brother Voodoo.
Although his lead series was short-lived, Brother Voodoo continued to appear in various Marvel comics over the succeeding decades as a guest star, and hero and ally to many. He eventually became the Sorcerer Supreme, replacing Stephen Strange in the role. It was during this time he officially took the name Doctor Voodoo. He’s since served on over three different iterations of the Avengers. Although he was heavily rumored for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, he never appeared. But the MCU needs some more magically powered heroes besides Strange, and we can’t think of a better one than Jericho Drumm.
1. Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew)
Despite what her name might suggest, Jessica Drew is anything but a female carbon copy of Spider-Man. Created in the ‘70s, Spider-Woman headlined her own ongoing series for over 50 issues, and even had a short-lived cartoon series on Saturday morning TV. In the comics, Jessica Drew’s parents were scientists who accidentally gave her arachnid-based powers as a child. The powers were a side effect of their trying to cure a lethal childhood disease. They have tweaked her origin story a few times over the past few decades, but the character always has ties to both SHIELD and HYDRA in any version.
Marvel put her on the shelf for nearly two decades years for inexplicable reasons. It was Brian Michael Bendis who brought Jessica as Spider-Woman back in 2004 in the pages of New Avengers. She’s remained a Marvel mainstay ever since. With her ties to both SHIELD and the Avengers, she’s an obvious choice for the MCU either on film or TV. She has appeared recently in animation, in Across the Spider-Verse. But we still await her live-action debut. Sony announced a Spider-Woman movie years ago with Olivia Wilde at the helm. But nothing ever came of it. The Madame Web movie will feature various Spider-Women, but not Jessica. We hope that Sony and Marvel Studios can find a way to work together and bring Jessica into the MCU where she belongs.
Originally published on April 23, 2017.