Black Panther: Wakanda Forever introduces Riri Williams AKA Ironheart, the MCU’s next young hero. Played by Dominique Thorne, Riri Williams is one of the smartest characters in comics, rivaling Tony Stark, Mr. Fantastic and Shuri. She creates her own costume to become Iron Man’s new hero, even joining the Avengers alongside Kamala Khan and Miles Morales.
The turnaround is going to be quick for her as she’s already getting her own Disney+ series, Ironheart in 2023. Along with that show, Armor Wars – which just hit theaters – and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, there are many opportunities to introduce more tech-based and/or armored characters. Whether it’s heroes or villains, these particular characters are some of the best yet missing from the MCU for their particular skill set and intricate storylines.
Crimson Dynamo (Dmitry Bukharin)
One of Iron Man’s most prolific contemporaries in comics, Crimson Dynamo, has seen a remarkable number of variations. So far, thirteen people have adopted the nickname. Some of them have been true villains against Iron Man, while others have been more heroic, working as part of the Winter Guard, the Russians responding to the Avengers.
Of the many candidates, if Crimson Dynamo came to the MCU, they would most likely go with Dimitri Bukharin, who has spent the most time in the armor – although Yuri Petrovich and Alexander Nevsky are also likely prospects. All in all, given their importance in the comics and the MCU’s expansion outside of America, Crimson Dynamo seems like a likely new character in Armor Wars.
Iron Lad (Nathaniel Richards)
If the MCU officially establishes a Young Avengers team as many anticipate, Ironheart will likely join – even if she doesn’t in the comics – and fill the role of Iron Man. However, that shouldn’t limit the introduction of Iron Lad, who is another teenage hero with solidly established ties to the MCU. Crucially, Iron Lad is actually a younger version of Kang the Conqueror who traveled back in time to avoid his fall into villainy.
After being introduced to Loki as the One Who Remains, Jonathan Majors makes his long-awaited debut as Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. In anticipation of Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, some fans believe that soon other variants of Kang will appear, and Iron Lad should definitely be one of them. Including him would allow for a deeper examination of Kang’s complex personality and motivations, while allowing more young talent to shine.
Doctor Doom (Victor Von Doom)
Besides the impending arrival of Kang the Conqueror, there’s another big villain that fans are expecting to see soon – Doctor Doom. He is by far one of the most prolific and powerful villains in the Marvel Comics Universe and with Fantastic Four coming in Phase Six, he will be a defining character in the future of the MCU.
Along with his many weapons, Doombots, special armor, and technopathy abilities, Doctor Doom is such a dangerous villain, he’s also a wizard. His magical abilities can even rival Doctor Strange. The mix and collaboration of magic and technology is sure to make Doctor Doom one of the best antagonists in the MCU, especially if he comes into play for Avengers: Secret Wars as many expect.
Recently, word got out that a new Vision-centric Disney+ show was in the early stages of development – presumably titled Vision Quest. If this comes to fruition, Vision could return to his classic portrayal following his resurrection as White Vision at the end of WandaVision. Like Wanda in Westview, this could also see Vision creating her own family, including her daughter Viv.
She would eventually follow in her father’s footsteps, joining Ironheart, Ms. Marvel, and Miles Morales’ Spider-Man, among others, on Champions. On top of that, she and Riri Williams become romantically involved, so Viv would be a great new LGBTQ+ character in the MCU for audiences around the world to see more of. Hopefully the reports are correct and Vision Quest brings Viv into the fray.
Rom the space knight
Marvel Comics has no shortage of underrated or obscure characters that many would love to see in the MCU. Unfortunately, some are restricted by movie rights as in the case of Rom the Space Knight. The giant cyborg was originally a toy licensed to Marvel Comics, but IDW Publishing now owns the publishing rights to the character from Hasbro. This issue is also shared with characters like Bug, a member of the Micronauts and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Maybe Marvel could strike a deal with Hasbro like they did Spider-Man with Sony, but, most likely, Rom will never appear in the MCU. Still, no one really likes him – with his powerful armor, neutralizer, and rockets that allow him to travel through space – so Rom and his related characters should still get their own standalone movie or TV show.
Beetle (Abner Jenkins)
The Thunderbolts roster is quite different from what it is in the comics, being made up of various established anti-heroes including Winter Soldier, Ghost, and Taskmaster, instead of the dastardly Masters of Evil. While this could be the protagonist team, there could still be a chance to feature the classic Thunderbolts members, such as Abner Jenkins AKA Beetle. Like Riri Williams, he created his own armor but instead turned to a life of crime.
As the Beetle he became a recurring pest for Spider-Man, but when he joined the Thunderbolts he took on the nickname MACH-I. He would be an interesting contemporary of Tony Stark as he has also created many other costumes, currently being up to MACH-X. He also transitions from villain to anti-hero and develops a romance with fellow Thunderbolt, Songbird.
Man-machine (Aaron Stack)
There’s no better example of a robotic hero than Machine Man, the living robot. He was first created in 1977 by Jack Kirby for a 2001 adaptation: A Space Odyssey, but he would go on to become a prolific member of the Marvel Comics Universe, even going so far as to join the Avengers. Although he is a robot, he goes by the human name, Aaron Stack, in public.
Overall, Machine Man would be a very interesting character to add to the MCU, especially if he has to interact with Vision or other robotic characters to see how they would all act differently and how varied their abilities are. Machine Man can act as a super-powered Inspector Gadget, so he can be used in all sorts of ways in the MCU.
Detroit Steel (Doug Johnson II)
While Armor Wars will largely adapt the comic arc of the same name, simply incorporating Rhodey as the main protagonist instead of Tony Stark, it could also introduce a character like Detroit Steel from the “Stark Resilient” storyline. Doug Johnson III is the first person to wear the incredibly ornate armor like Iron Patriot in Iron Man 2. He and the other members of the Steelcorps were recruited by Hammer Industries to get revenge on Tony Stark.
This seems like a perfect fit for Armor Wars, as Rhodey is about to scour Earth for stolen Stark tech, and Justin Hammer is a character many fans are desperate to see back in the MCU. The armor is massive, like Iron Monger from Iron Man, and equipped with a rocket cannon and a giant chainsaw, which might make it perfect for a final climactic battle in Armor Wars.
Armor Wars could take a different route and re-enter AIM from Iron Man 3 – a fitting move since MODOK makes its debut in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. This could mean they get a more accurate comic book representation with the introduction of the Scientist Supreme and the Super-Adaptoid. The latter has a good chance and is perfect for a team-up flick given his ability to mimic any power.
Super-Adaptoid is a legendary adversary to the Avengers, and there’s no shortage of interesting ways to use him in the MCU. He could be introduced to oppose the Young Avengers or the Thunderbolts, giving the two a great opportunity to fight basically to build a stronger team. Alternatively, Kang the Conqueror could create his own army of Adaptoids that can mimic powers for when he goes to war in Avengers: Kang Dynasty.
Stingray (Walter Newell)
Along with Ironheart, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever finally introduces one of Marvel Comics’ most important and complex characters, Namor. While there’s no official word, it seems all but guaranteed that Namor will get his own set of movies in the MCU – which he rightfully deserves – which could introduce an important ally of him and Avenger, Walter Newell aka Stingray.
Newell was an oceanographer turned superhero with his special battle suit that allows him to swim fast, hover in the air, and fire electric projectiles. Given their decades of comic book camaraderie – as well as when Namor nearly murdered him in 2018 – Stingray would be a likely candidate for a new hero in Namor, but he could also be introduced to Armor Wars first since was part of that scenario. too. Either way, clueless fans will probably soon get to know this seafaring hero.