All of Hawkeye, Echo, Moon Knight, Blade, and by association, She-Hulk serve as Marvel Studios’ first foray into the street universe. Just as Kevin Feige‘s think-tank built the cosmic, mystical, and multiversal mythology, the mythos of the MCU’s street universe needs to be built. Here are ten essential villains that would help grow it nicely.
Wilson Fisk made his official debut in the MCU at the tail end of 2021 when he appeared in Hawkeye as the defacto big bad of the series, a performance that Vincent D’Onofrio drew from his own in the Daredevil Netflix series. It’s not entirely clear from that single appearance how this version of Fisk got to where he was but it certainly leaves a lot of space for new stories to build around the character.
What better way to build a different story for Fisk by introducing his son Richard, the bitter son who would eventually turn into the villainous Rose? Richard Fisk’s relationship with his father in the comics is nothing short of Shakespearean; a familial power struggle that culminates in a lot of betrayals. It’s the kind of drama we haven’t seen Wilson Fisk deal with in live-action and would make for one of the more interesting villain dynamics in the MCU.
You can’t get any more street-level with a villain like Hammerhead, who was created as a callback to the mobsters of the Great Depression era. But despite his over-the-top appearance and persona, Hammerhead is a very modest character; he’s never been at the center of major street-level crossovers unlike some of his cohorts on this list. Yet that hasn’t stopped the character from being a key component of that side of the Marvel Universe. Hammerhead’s appearance in the Spider-Man DLC proved how menacing the character could be if done contemporarily. He’s a major player in the street game and has been known to rival the likes of Kingpin and The Hood.
Typhoid Mary is an important character within the Daredevil mythology. An on-off lover of Matt Murdock, she regularly falls under the employ of Wilson Fisk and eventually makes her way onto the 50 State Initiative as Mutant Zero. Mary Walker bridges some of the quirkiness of the larger universe with the grounded ethos of the streets. She’s a mutant with dissociative identity disorder, whose multiple personalities often manifest with different abilities. She’s a telekinetic, telepath, as well as a pyrokinetic, making her one of the most lethal street characters in Marvel, not to mention, one of the more sinister-looking villains. A version barely resembling the comic counterpart appeared in the second season of Iron Fist but the quicker we can forget about that, the better.
Like Hammerhead before him, Tombstone is an A-list member of Spider-Man’s rogues gallery, having busted the skull of the wallcrawler numerous times over the years. The character has a strong rivalry with Robbie Robertson, a character known to orbit around Peter Parker’s life as his Daily Bugle superior. A lot of Spider-Man’s key encounters with Tombstone involve Robertson in some way. So as the MCU launches Peter’s next phase in life, which hopefully involves the Bugle and Robertson in some way, the room for a character like Tombstone just keeps getting wider.
A version of Whitney Frost may have served as Agent Carter Season 2’s big bad but that shouldn’t preclude the actual Madame Masque from appearing in the MCU down the road. Born Giulietta Nefaria, heir to the fabled Maggia criminal empire, Madame Masque is as much of a street character as she is a heavy-hitting Avengers villain. The character has crossed paths with the likes of Moon Knight and Hawkeye, the latter’s solo show she was rumored to appear in last year.
Turk Barrett represents one of comic’s most marginalized groups of characters: lowly henchmen. Yet he’s the henchman to end all henchmen, garnering notoriety for being a pestering reoccurrence in Daredevil’s radar and a one-time wielder of an Infinity Stone. The character was brilliantly brought to life by acclaimed actor Rob Morgan in the Netflix shows and he would certainly be welcomed with open arms should that opportunity return. He’s Turk Barrett, baby!
One of the best parts of the PS4 Spider-Man game was how it put Mister Negative at the forefront of Spidey’s rogues gallery. It not only proved that there was more to Spidey’s rogues gallery beyond the Sinister Six but that the character of Martin Li was perfect for a live-action take. From a visual and power-set standpoint, Mister Negative already stands out among Spidey’s antagonists, boasting dimensional abilities that rival both Cloak and Dagger’s. On top of those qualities, he’s also a compelling villain with a layered backstory.
Given the prominence of mysticism and the occult, it’s almost impossible to imagine the MCU’s future without Parker Robbins aka The Hood in it. The Hood is best described as a Marvel Gus Fring if Gus Fring stumbled onto a demonic ritual, stole occult paraphernalia, and become a sorcerer in the process.
The Hood entered Marvel prominence during Norman Osborn’s Dark Reign, where he ascended to the top spot of the criminal empire. Parker Robbins was also, at one point, in contention for the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme. His Crime Syndicate was home to a lot of villainous heavy-hitters and would go on to prove highly formidable. The idea that a gun-toting, demon-summoning mobster could be in the MCU is a no-brainer.
You can’t have Daredevil in the MCU without Bullseye. If the Kingpin was to Daredevil the same way Norman Osborn is to Spider-Man, Bullseye is definitely Daredevil’s Venom; the secondary arch-nemesis whose skillset and penchant for disorder rivals that of the protagonist.
Bullseye is evil-incarnate which, in many ways, gives him such a powerful presence on the page. That a blind Catholic from Hell’s Kitchen is one of the few who can hold a candle up to Bullseye’s evil makes that rivalry so twistedly poetic. While I’m not entirely a fan of Daredevil Season 3’s troubled incel take on the character, Wilson Bethel‘s twitchy performance alone makes for a convincing argument for him that he get a second shot at the character.
Frank Castle may not be a villain in the modern sense but he’s certainly butted heads with enough Marvel heroes to be considered an antagonist. In fact, Frank Castle would also be the first person to tell you not to revere him as a hero. Unfortunately, an aspect of the character’s legacy continues to endure this day for a lot of wrong real-world reasons.
Perhaps one way for Marvel Studios to bypass the ugly aspect of that legacy is to bring Frank Castle into a world far removed from our real one. Have the Punisher fight over-the-top monsters, superheroes, and supervillains. Use what the playground that is the MCU has to offer to give us a different kind of Punisher. Bring Jon Bernthal back while you’re at it.