ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Now, if there's one criticism you could level at the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far - and there aren't a whole lot of others - it's that it has a problem with villains.

Loki aside, the MCU has struggled to create villains that can match the charisma and fan-interest of its heroes - with Iron Man and Thor particularly struggling to elevate their opponents to the status of 'people we care about enough to want to see again.'

Now, that all seems set to change with the relatively imminent arrival of Ultron and Thanos on the scene, but in the meantime, there're a whole lot of other movies needing villains, and not all of them can expect such big-name antagonists to appear.

Never fear, though, True Believers...

Marvel Seems to Have a Plan...

No Tony, not you...Well, actually...
No Tony, not you...Well, actually...

This villain problem is, after all, nothing new. Marvel comics has struggled to get fans to invest in their minor villains for decades - with the success of the big names like Doctor Doom, Galactus, Magneto and Apocalypse rarely trickling down to their less famous subordinates.

And yet, in the comics, Marvel has long-since come up with a solution. Their realization?

Minor Villains Work Way Better in a Team

WAY better, in Toad's case.
WAY better, in Toad's case.

After all, no-one really cares if the X-Men face off against Toad, or Mastermind - but together, in The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, they became a huge part of X-History.

Similarly, when the creators of The Avengers, way back in their sixth issue, needed to give the minor villains Black Knight, Melter and Radioactive Man a sense of importance, they formed them into a team - The Masters of Evil.

A team led by a certain Baron Zemo - who, it appears, is on his way to the Marvel Universe, played by Daniel Brühl

Seen here getting into character.
Seen here getting into character.

And here's the key part - and the potential solution to Marvel's villain problem...

Marvel Has Already Introduced The Masters of Evil

Or, at least, they've introduced a surprisingly large number of them.

Y'see, The Masters never really settled into any kind of stable line-up - their roster changing even more frequently than The Avengers' - meaning they're ranks became a sort of proving ground for minor Marvel villains who couldn't make it against the major heroes on their own.

And the funny thing about the Marvel villains introduced to the MCU so far?

They're pretty much all ex-Masters of Evil...

We've already met - or are about to meet...

Baron Zemo

Who, after founding the Masters, led them through several incarnations (and is apparently on his way in Captain America: Civil War)...


Whose age is very much almost here - and who took over from Zemo as the second leader of the Masters...

Enchantress and The Executioner

Firm favorites to appear in the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok (and part of Zemo's second incarnation of the Masters...)


Otherwise known as 'that guy Andy Serkis is almost certainly playing in Age of Ultron' - who, in his later, supervillain guise, was one of the longest-serving members of the Masters of Evil.

Absorbing Man

Another long-time Master, who has totally already appeared in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D...


Part of a much-later incarnation of the Masters of Evil - and, of course, Iron Man 2...

And, in alternate Marvel-Universe versions of the team...


Who, in the House of M comic-book storyline, totally joined the Masters - and, in the MCU, is set to arise from the charred body of Captain America: The Winter Soldier's Brock Rumlow...


Otherwise known as Corey Stoll's character in Ant-Man (though in fairness, it was technically a female version of the villain who joined the Masters in the comics).


Who was part of the Masters in the animated The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes version of the team - and a villain that the Marvel One-Shot The Consultant revealed to be very much a part of the government's shady long-term planning.

And, because it really is pretty much every single Marvel on-screen villain we're talking about here...

Justin Hammer's Daughter

Imaginatively named Justine Hammer, who at one point formed her own Masters team - and whose dad is totally already in the MCU.

The Key Thing Those Villains All Have in Common?

Absolutely nothing - except for their one-time membership in the Masters of Evil.

So, seeing as they're all already present and accounted for in the MCU (if, admittedly, in different stages of 'actually being alive'), it sure seems as though Marvel is getting themselves ready for the appearance of an all-new, all-cinematic, all-villain-problem-solving, all-already-established-in-the-MCU, Masters of Evil.

Captain America: Civil War's post-credits tease, anyone?

What do you guys think, though? Will we see the Masters of Evil in the MCU sometime soon? If so, which villains will we see? Alternatively, are we going to see a whole other set of villains?


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