In case you weren’t aware, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is quite big. Since its modest inception in 2008, the franchise has grown to include a seemingly endless list of names and faces as part of it’s character roster. One might think this would make it easier for incoming writers to pick and choose who they want to play a role in their story, but a recent Digital Spy interview with WandaVision creator Jac Schaeffer has confirmed that isn’t exactly the case. Schaeffer, who also worked as a writer and producer on the series, revealed that Marvel Studios does not allow “free rein” on which characters a writer can use in their project, and instead supplied her with a larger list of “suggested” names to implement in her plot. This strategy definitely makes more sense than some might give it credit for, considering the MCU would probably fall apart pretty quickly if every film and series were allowed to have Iron Man or Captain America as part of the cast.
Luckily for the showrunner, she was able to use everyone she wanted, even managing to bring back Randall Park and Kat Dennings as Jimmy Woo and Darcy Lewis, respectively. The revelation that Marvel has a list of characters not currently planned for use sheds new light on comments made by Marvel boss Kevin Feige over a year ago, when he told viewers of a Reddit AMA that he enjoys bringing back characters some may have previously thought forgotten. The unexpected return of Darcy and Woo seemed to prove that concept, with the former not having been mentioned since 2014’s Thor: The Dark World and the latter feeling like a one-off reference in 2018’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, but Feige took it all a step further when he shocked fans with the Investor Day announcement of Tim Roth reprising his role as the Abomination for Marvel’s upcoming She-Hulk series. The actor hadn’t appeared since his debut in the role in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, a film often thought of as the MCU’s red-headed step-child. Now that it feels like any return may be possible, let’s take a look at a few other “forgotten” characters that could make their grand re-entry in WandaVision, or beyond:
Dr. Helen Cho
Wait, who?: Appearing only once before in Avengers: Age of Ultron (played by Claudia Kim), the good Dr. Cho is presented as one of the world’s leading geneticists, head of the U-GIN Research Group, and a friend of Dr. Bruce Banner. Normally based in her home country of South Korea, Dr. Cho traveled to Avengers Tower in New York City to help patch up an injured Clint Barton, and had multiple close-up encounters with the villainous Ultron. The robotic menace even used Loki’s scepter to manipulate her into helping him create a new body, until Wanda severed his hold and Dr. Cho heroically put a stop to the upgrade.
Why WandaVision?: From what we know so far, it seems the creation of S.W.O.R.D. involved recruiting some top names from other organizations. Jimmy Woo seems to have transferred from his position at the FBI, and Darcy Lewis has apparently graduated from her political science program at Culver University. Therefore, it stands to reason that the new government agency may reach out to the world’s leading brain in genetics, especially with all that potential to study alien life. If nothing else, with the current situation happening in Westview and the mysterious reappearence of the previously dead Vision, the organization might want to speak with the woman who was directly involved with Vision’s creation in the first place.
If not WandaVision, where?: If Marvel were to bring Helen Cho back anywhere other than WandaVision, it would make sense to do it in She-Hulk. Dr. Cho is a friend of Bruce Banner, after all, and he may need her help again when his cousin requires an experimental blood transfusion. It also doesn’t hurt that Cho’s son in the comics, Amadeus, is a genius sidekick with strong ties to the Hulk mythos.
Wait, who?: Introduced in Ant-Man as the former Head of Defense at S.H.I.E.L.D. and one of the many enemies made by Hank Pym over the years, he was later revealed to be a secret agent of HYDRA, ousted off camera during the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. When Scott Lang infiltrated Pym Technologies to steal the Yellowjacket suit, he found Carson attempting to strike a deal with Darren Cross to purchase it for HYDRA. While that deal didn’t end up happening, Carson did manage to escape Pym Technologies during an ensuing scuffle with a vial of Pym Particles. Many expected this plot thread to be continued in the film’s sequel, but the dastardly agent hasn’t been seen in the MCU since.
Why WandaVision?: We still don’t know who or what is behind whatever it is that’s happening to Wanda Maximoff, and while it seems unlikely, I wouldn’t completely rule out HYDRA from the mix. If the recurring group of baddies should make a return, it would make sense for them to use a familiar face for the big reveal. Perhaps Mitchell Carson and his stolen Pym Particles have played a role in the shenanigans in Westview?
If not WandaVision, where?: If actor Martin Donovan is ever to return to his role elsewhere, it would probably be the recently announced threequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, for obvious reasons.
Wait, who?: C’mon, there’s no way you forgot about this guy. A fan-favorite character portrayed by the brilliant Sam Rockwell and perhaps the best part of Iron Man 2 (that’s subjective but it’s also not), Justin Hammer was the smooth-talking, stage-dancing business rival of Tony Stark, and one of the film’s main villains. Determined to get the best of Stark, he used the resources of his company, Hammer Industries, to break Anton Vanko out of prison and create the Hammer Drone army that laid waste to the 2010 Stark Expo. He also innovated the MK. II Iron Man armor to create the original design for War Machine, faulty as it may have been. Hammer was eventually sent to prison after his criminal activities were exposed by Natasha Romanoff and Pepper Potts, and we got a brief glimpse of his life there in 2014’s short film, All Hail the King.
Why WandaVision?: If S.W.O.R.D. is anything like General Thunderbolt Ross, they may just attempt to blast their way through the mysterious wall surrounding Westview. This would not be a task that could be completed by ordinary weaponry, and with Tony Stark having recently passed away, they may have to turn to the prison consultations of one Mr. Hammer, weapon extraordinaire. However unlikely, one can dream, right?
If not WandaVision, where?: Although not confirmed, it seems incredibly likely that Rockwell will be back as Hammer for Armor Wars on DIsney+. The series will be based on the comic series of the same name, which features a far less agile Justin Hammer stealing Tony Stark’s technology and selling it to a wide array of iron-clad villains. While the adaptation may take a different approach, it would make more sense for them to use the character they already set up over a decade prior.
Wait, who?: Only appearing in The Incredible Hulk, Samuel Sterns was a cellular biologist at Grayburn College who contacted Edward Norton‘s Bruce Banner via online chat with a potential antidote for his unique green rage monster disease. This outreach, and a military raid, led Banner to come out of hiding in South America and return to New York to find Sterns, who was ultimately unable to rid Bruce of the Hulk. He was, however, revealed to have a very large blood collection and ended up being cornered into helping Emil Blonsky accelerate his transformation into the Abomination. The film’s ending included a cliffhanger in which some gamma-infected blood drips into a cut on Sterns’ head, which begins his journey towards becoming the big-brained comic book villain, The Leader. Unfortunately, the plot thread has never been addressed again.
Why WandaVision?: The Leader is no stranger to crafting large domes to accomplish his goals, and with no villain yet revealed, maybe he’s behind this one as well? It’s been theorized that AIM, the sketchy science group founded by Aldrich Killian in Iron Man 3, is responsible for the technology surrounding the town of Westview, and it wouldn’t be far fetched to say that a group so grounded in knowledge could use a Leader with a big head. With Abomination already confirmed to appear again in the MCU, it doesn’t seem like Incredible Hulk characters are off the table.
If not WandaVision, where?: The project that would make the most sense is clearly She-Hulk, which could be on track to reunite the classic comic book duo of Leader and the Abomination. However, one might not rule out an appearance in the tech-based Armor Wars, which again, still doesn’t have an announced villain. After all, why wouldn’t Marvel Studios want Tim Blake Nelson back as a fully-fledged villain?
Betty Ross and Leonard Samson
Wait, who?: More Incredible Hulk characters, the former love interest of Bruce Banner and her former love interest, both doctors at Culver University. Betty Ross is the daughter of Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross and a former employee of Harvard, who worked on gamma radiation with Banner. The two fell in love, and she was present when his transformation to the Hulk first occurred. She was once the only person who could calm the Hulk down, and she aided Bruce in hiding from her father when he came back to NYC. Bruce left her behind when he realized he was too much of a danger for her safety, and she hasn’t made another appearance since. As for Samson, he become romantically involved with Betty during her and Bruce’s time apart. He didn’t do much else in the film, but in the comics, Samson finds himself evolving due to gamma exposure, and becomes known as the hero Doc Samson.
Why WandaVision?: Much like my suggestion with Dr. Cho, it would make sense for S.W.O.R.D. to potentially recruit some of the American educational system’s top minds in their early days. After all, the organization hired former graduate Darcy Lewis. Besides, Ty Burrell would fit well into the episodes based on 2000’s era sitcoms.
If not WandaVision, where?: This is another She-Hulk situation, which Marvel may use to tie-up lose threads from the Incredible Hulk.
Wait, who?: You didn’t think I’d forgotten about Ian, did you? Ian Boothby was Darcy Lewis’ unofficial official assistant in Thor: The Dark World. Doing her dirty work as assistant to the assistant manager, he ended the film by passionately kissing Darcy.
Why WandaVision?: It could maybe be assumed that Darcy and Ian’s romance has ended by the time of WandaVision, but I’ve seen no proof of this. One can only hope they’re still happily together, and if that’s the case, there’s nothing stopping him from showing up to work to visit the love of his life (or even work for S.W.O.R.D. himself).
If not WandaVision, where?: I just shook a Magic 8 Ball, and it said “not likely”.