Captain America 3, set to be released in 2016 will be the second film in Marvel's phase 3 line-up. Cap's third solo outing has a lot of fans excited, especially after the wonderful Captain America: Winter Soldier. The question remains though, who will Cap fight in this film? This article will go through some of the contenders to fight Marvel's most patriotic hero.
Baron Wolfgang von Strucker
Assuming that Captain America 3 will see Cap taking on HYDRA once again, Baron Strucker looms as an obvious candidate. Baron Strucker, besides being the coolest person called Wolfgang since Mozart, is an interesting villain. Skilled in both Strategy and espionage, he has proved an elusive villain in the comics through the use of his acting skills. He has already appeared in Winter Soldier, played by Thomas Kretschmann and will appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron. If Strucker manages to live through this film, and keep control of HYDRA, he will almost certainly be the villain for Captain America 3.
However, Marvel isn't afraid to kill off a villain or two, and so Strucker's safety may not be assured, especially when he is dealing with the likes of Quicksilver and the Scarlett Witch. Kretschmann has reportedly signed a multi-picture deal though, so he remains the most likely candidate to fulfil the villain role.
The Red Skull
The Red Skull is undoubtedly Captain America's greatest foe. Whatever ordeals he goes through, no matter how many battles he wins, the Red Skull is always there. The Nazi agent and HYDRA leader, has been around in the comics since 1941 and was rightly selected as the villain in Captain America: The First Avenger. In this film, franchise king Hugo Weaving brought fans a great version of the vicious leader. However, the defeat of the Red Skull is somewhat ambiguous, with Cap's archenemy seemingly sucked into a portal. Now that we know the Tesseract is the Space Stone, an infinity gem, this teleportation seems all the more likely.
However, it could be a logistical problem to bring the Red Skull back from wherever it is he's been, and why he hasn't aged. Also, Weaving is a busy man and securing him may prove difficult. Fans would love to see Cap's biggest rival return but whether it will actually happen is another story.
Crossbones, the HYDRA assassin, appeared in Winter Soldier, played by Frank Grillo, and is tipped to return for the sequel. It is a near-certainty that the man who once assassinated Cap in the comics will return, given the time spent with him in Winter Soldier. However, despite his coolness, Crossbones is probably not big enough as a villain to warrant a main villain role. Crossbones is best when he is working for somebody. However, his role in Winter Soldier still sees him on this list as a possibility.
Baron Heinrich/Helmut Zemo
When it comes to great HYDRA leaders, Zemo is right up there with Strucker and the Red Skull. Zemo, another Baron is a villain with an interesting past and a great look. There have actually been several Baron Zemos in the comics, this means that Helmut could appear in Captain America 3, with Heinrich appearing in the Agent Carter TV series, a great way to link the two. Zemo is the one of the best HYDRA leaders yet to have been brought to the big screen and would certainly be a fitting villain.
Whenever new Marvel villains are discussed, M.O.D.O.K. is always mentioned. This villain has appeared in numerous cartoons but has yet to make his way onto the big screen. Often show as the leader of Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.), which was seen in Iron Man 3. The name MODOK is an acronym for: Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing, a terrifying title in itself.
However, logistically, M.O.D.O.K. would be very hard to pull-off in live action. Making him appear somewhat realistic would prove a huge challenge, potentially too huge. Also, M.O.D.O.K. is not generally associated with HYDRA, the likely villain organisation for Captain America 3.
Taskmaster: This mercenary is known for copying the battle styles of opponents. Ruthless and violent, he could be a great movie villain or even an Anti-hero. However, he may not be known well enough to be a main villain.
Ulysses Klaw: It would not be too far-fetched to speculate that Captain America's shield may break in Avengers: Age of Ultron, if this does happen, Cap may need to travel to Wakanda, home of the Black Panther to repair it. If Cap goes to Wakanda, physicist Klaw, known for murdering the father of Black Panther, could well be the villain.
Wonderman: A villain turned hero, Wonderman is an interesting character, whilst he probably couldn't be a main villain, he could well be seen working under a leader like Zemo or Strucker. Wonderman's brother, Grim Reaper, could also be a candidate.
Winter Soldier: Cap's eventual replacement will definitely be in Captain America 3, but whose side will he be on? A fresh bout of brainwashing could well see Bucky return as an antagonist again.
Whilst each potential villain has their own pros and cons, some are more likely than others. Strucker looms as the most likely villain given current circumstances. The return of Red Skull could be too hard to explain and the arrival of M.O.D.O.K. would be even harder. I am personally hoping for Baron Zemo as he brings a new perspective to HYDRA and has a strong personal vendetta against Steve Rogers. Crossbones and Bucky will appear, although they will almost certainly not be the main villain, with Bucky in particular more likely to be heroic.
Whatever happens, Captain America 3 will be a blockbuster that delves deeper into the character and sets up his future, with a demise at the hands of Thanos in Avengers 3, looking likely. The Russo brothers, who will direct, have promised fans a title to be excited about so that reveal is probably when we will know the Captain's opponent.