I’m going to come out and say it: Marvel does not have the best success rate when it comes to the portrayal of convincing bad guys in their Cinematic Universe.
For every Ultron, there’s your Whiplash and Justin Hammer. Every ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross, a Red Skull and Arnim Zola.
Hi. I’m Ronan The Accuser…
Naturally, the main focus of audience attention in the Marvel movies is on the good guys, as the character development and story arcs of the Avengers evolve throughout the course of multiple films.
Now this – of course, assists Tom Hiddleston’s Loki in becoming the most beloved bad guy the studio have ever cast, as he has room and time to work on his character But the main reason we love (to hate) Loki is Hiddleston’s Shakespearean performance, and the comfortable bro-mance he has with Chris Hemsworth’s Thor. The two go hand in hand. He was virtually unknown when he won the role, and this is something that I feel that Marvel need to replicate, and build on.
A Marvel movie is meant to be a Summer Blockbuster. Big names equate to bums on seats. Right? So we’re treated to the likes of Hugo Weaving, Mickey Rourke and Guy Pearce being paraded before us, with one eye on the paycheck, and the other looking slightly bewildered as they’re subsequently hurled around the scenery by the good guys, so this got me to thinking. Surely there are other actors out there who could bring to a bad-guy role what Hiddleston bought to Loki. The rise of foreign film distribution and the growth of television to compete with cinema have exposed audiences to a dearth of new acting talent.
There’s no shortage of Marvel villains yet to be cast in the MCU. So here’s my list of 10 actors who I think would be a perfect fit. Not your Tom Hardy or Jason Statham. Something a little bit different….
10. Richard Brake
A recognizable journeyman of film and television, I’d direct you to performances in ‘Doom’, ‘Outpost’ (a personal favorite) and ‘Kingsman’. He’s also no stranger to CGI work, playing the king of the White Walkers in the recent breathtaking GoT episode of ‘Hardhorne’.
MCU Role: SILVERMANE
A role that could so easily become another ‘bad guy puts on super suit to fight good guys’, I feel that Brake would excel as the conflicted leader of a fading mafia legacy, unsure of how to adapt to a world of capes and mutants.
9. Luis Tosar
This Spanish wild card, who commands creepily memorable performances in the films ‘Cell 211’, and ‘Sleep Tight’, provides physically imposing, yet deeply emotional characters. He works well in roles where a man’s humanity rests on the knife-edge of chance and circumstance.
MCU Role: SWORDSMAN
The portrayal of Andreas Strucker could easily be limited to a European bad guy waving around a sword. But I feel that Tosar would be able to convincingly channel the emotional upheaval and disarray of the Baron Strucker’s brother.
8. Kristofer Hivju
Best known for his portrayal of the hulking Torremund Giantsbane in GoT, Norweigan actor Hivju’s casting in the recent ‘Force Majeur’ and ‘In order of Disappearance’ prove he’s no one-trick pony. His overbearing appearance is evenly matched by his ability to convincingly portray a man struggling with conflict and turmoil.
MCU Role: Thunderbolts Team Member HEADSMAN
One of Norman Osborn’s licensed heavy hitters, this giant carries out his duties with ease, despite a growing sense of doubt about the cause he serves…
7. Joseph Mawle
Perfectly at ease playing unpleasant characters, this distinctively haunted-looking English actor is steadily building a name for himself. For reference see him in ‘The awakening’, ‘The cold light of day’ and ‘Heartless’.
MCU Role: MORBIUS, The Living Vampire
By no means a straightforward two dimensional villain, the role of the reluctant vampire struggling to fight/embrace his curse would be a suitable fit for Mawle.
6. Sean Harris
Following suitably dead-eyed bad guy turns in ‘Harry Brown” and ‘Deliver us from evil’, Harris provides deeply memorable performances in every role he is given.
MCU Role: CARNAGE
5. Ben Mendelsohn
The talented Aussie actor brings quality to any production he is in. Balancing big screen roles in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, with deep world weary character roles in ‘Animal Kingdom’, ‘Starred Up’ and ‘The place beyond the pines’.
MCU Role: GRIM REAPER
Leader of the Lethal Legion, and frustrated brother to Wonder Man, Mendelsohn would easily channel the deep anger and resentment needed to lift this character beyond a simple scythe-wielding characature.
4. Shea Whigham
A dependable performer, who’s already appeared in the MCU in ‘Agent Carter’, Whigham has played strong supporting characters in a number of television and film projects varying from ‘Machete’ and ‘Fast and Furious’, to recurring appearances on Boardwalk Empire and True Detective.
MCU Role: THE HOOD
One of the most complex and dangerous opponents of the Marvel universe, Whigham would be easily capable of providing the conflict required for a man slowly losing his soul to the dark path he has chosen.
3. Nick Chinlund
Possessing a gravelly voice straight out of the James Earl Jones/Micheal Wincott school of acting, Chinlund is prefect for a bad guy. He’s no stranger to the genre, having played bounty hunter Toombs in the Riddick series, and has an impressive back catalogue of work, including ‘Tears of the Sun’, ‘Con Air’ and ‘Training Day’
MCU Role: HOBGOBLIN
I see Chinlund excelling in a Norman Osborn role, some form of corporate type, driven mad by their quest for power, so it has to be HOBGOBLIN.
2. Scott Adkins
Its a mystery to me how one of the most electrifying performers of martial arts in modern film has yet to be cast in the Marvel universe. He’s no stranger to mainstream cinema, with recent roles in the Expendables 2 (involving a very memorable end to one particular fight scene), Zero Dark Thirty, and a suitably demented performance in The Legend of Hercules. My favourite fight scene, if you get the chance, is where he dismantles UFC alumni Andre Arlovski in a sports shop in Universal Soldier:Day of Reckoning.
MCU Role: TASKMASTER
Adkins would be perfect for a ‘good guy gone bad, role. Either as one of the alternative Captain Americas such as U.S. AGENT or NOMAD. Failing that, SHIELD agent gone bad, TASKMASTER would be a great opportunity to showcase his fighting skills.
1. Timothy Dalton
Now bear with me. I appreciate, that James Bond might be an odd choice for a villain, but Dalton does have form for playing bad guys, with a rip-roaringly funny turn as Simon Skinner in Hot Fuzz, and as Rassilon in Dr Who. The recent successful casting of Robert Redford in The Winter Soldier demonstrates how bringing in an old hand can benefit a film, and Dalton’s current work on Penny Dreadful shows the depth of character he can bring to the party.
MCU Role: The big bad guy himself, GALACTUS
Sure, Galactus is still technically owned by FOX, but with how badly the most recent Fantastic Four film performed at the box office, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that these characters will make their way back to Marvel Studios.
Dalton would be perfect for the role because if your home planet needs to be wiped out, it may as well be done by someone who’s voice would sound dramatic even reading from the phone book.
Agree or disagree with the list? Let us know below!