The Red Skull, Batroc the Leaper, Crossbones, Hydra, Zemo. Fans have seen film versions of some of Captain America’s greatest foes, but not all of them…not by a long shot. There are still plenty of villains left to plague Cap’s film world, villains from other dimensions and from the mists of past wars, as well as villains ripped from today’s headlines.
Here are some villains that need film time to prove to the world why Cap, the only man that can hope to stop these despots, killers, and monsters, is the greatest patriotic hero of all. Here’s hoping for Captain America 4…
Ok, what would be cooler than a twenty-foot tall version of Captain America (as played by Chris Evans) messing shit up in the next Cap film? A twenty-foot tall Chris Evans?
Ameridroid makes the sacred into the profane. He’s a giant robot version of America’s greatest hero controlled by the mind of a Nazi scientist. That’s right; this titanic symbol of patriotism is controlled by Nazi genius and all around d-bag Lyle Dekker. Listen, Ed Brubaker managed to make the Ameridroid work, so it isn’t as silly as it seems.
Twenty foot tall Cap! The shield is huge! Like a flying saucer! No? Okay, moving on…
Primus and Doughboy
Maybe not as a film’s main antagonists, but Primus and his shape shifting powers along with the prehensile Doughboy would make these insane androids killer soldier villains for any upcoming Captain America sequel. Primus has the ability to bend his putty-like form into anybody, which could give a film an edge of paranoia…a one man Skrull if you will.
Primus can be the primary weapon of Arnim Zola if Marvel ever decides to make Zola the A-list villain Jack Kirby created in the Bronze Age. Doughboy and Primus could combine into a powerful monstrosity, which would make life pretty miserable for Cap as he tried to bring down Zola in the modern day.
She went one on one with Carol Danvers, she’s a polymath and a criminal genius, she’s one of Captain America’s most motivated foes…she is Superia. Superia once tried to sterilize every woman on Earth so her and her crew of Femizons could be the only women left with reproductive capabilities. That’s really nasty, man.
Superia has a long career as one of the coldest blooded women in the Marvel Universe, and like the Red Skull’s daughter Sin (more on her soon), she would make a great first time cinematic lethal lady. Superia may not have enough history to make a main antagonist, but as a soldier of Sin or Baron Zemo (you know he’ll be back), she could really work.
Plus, the word Femizons is just too awesome not to use in a movie.
Marvel Studios would have to be very careful with this archaic villain, but by calling him by his real name, Plan Chu, they can explore one of their greatest pre-Silver Age villains. The modern day masterpiece, Agents of Atlas, made Plan Chu work in a modern context, and by following that lead, Marvel Studios can have a historically rich villain threaten Cap’s film world.
A battle between Cap and Claw would be man out of time versus man out of time as the greatest hero of World War II would face off against the greatest threat of the Cold War. The Claw has employed ex-Nazi agents in the past and was a constant threat in Marvel’s Silver Age. With some sensitive reimaginings; the Claw could be a menacing modern day threat to Cap and company.
More Batroc is always a good thing. Considering Ze Leaper survived the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, there is no doubt going to be a fan uprising for the triumphant return of Cap’s most French (actually, he’s Algerian) foe (well, at least at Den of Geek there will be).
There have been a number of iterations of Batroc’s Brigade. The first being Batroc, the Swordsman, and the Living Laser, which never made much sense since the Living Laser is more powerful than Batroc by a wide margin, but whatever the case, how cool would a film version of the Swordsman be?
The second version of Batroc’s Brigade consisted of the mustachioed savate master, Porcupine, and Whirlwind. Yeah, that’s unlikely, but Marvel putting the Porcupine on the big screen before DC got to Brainiac or Darkseid would certainly give the House of Ideas bragging rights.
Finally, the third version of the villainous team was Batroc, Zaran, and Machete, a team that made much more sense since Batroc’s losers, ahem; colleagues, were less capable than their leader. This would be awesome. Or maybe just in my own head, but it would still be awesome, je ne sais pas?
Machinesmith was once the Daredevil villain Starr Saxon until he transformed himself into a cybernetic organism. The robot-maker turned robot would be a perfect villain for the modern age. As Steve Rogers continues to learn modern technology, the one foe he would have trouble facing would be a master of machines that Steve’s anachronistic mind would have trouble wrapping his head around.
Themes of techno fear would be a perfect area for a new Cap film to explore, plus, in the comics, Machinesmith has worked for the Red Skull many times in the past so he can easily be integrated into the films. He’s the internet troll that can reach out of the computer and strangle you, and he would be a great modern challenge for Cap.
The Red Guardian
This was hinted at pretty strongly between the lines in Captain America: Civil War. The tale of Alexei Shostakov mirrors that of Steve Rogers. Hand picked by his government, Alexei became the living embodiment of his beloved country. A film that utilized the Red Guardian could ask the question what use is a patriotic hero if the country he symbolizes has fallen?
What greater challenge for Cap than a Nazi superman?
Master Man plagued the Invaders during the dark days of World War II. Along with Warrior Woman, U-Man, Brain Drain, and Sky Shark, Master Man was part of the Third Reich’s answer to the Invaders and could be a good multi-generational threat for Cap. John Byrne created a modern Master Man in the pages of Namor, the Sub-Mariner, so Marvel Studios has a few options to choose from if they go the route of Marvel’s most notorious ubermensch.
Master Man was supposed to be the first true member of Hitler’s master race until Cap and the Invaders defeated him. Could there be a Master Man in Marvel’s cinematic world, and if so, what if he somehow ended up in the contemporary world to pick up the Axis’s plan to conquer the world? Cap is at his best when combating Nazis, and Master Man is the ultimate goose stepper.
Like Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, Madame Hydra, aka, the Viper, can be another double dip character for Marvel and Fox. Of course, the Viper figured prominently in The Wolverine, but the serpentine fatale is also a leader of the modern day version of HYDRA, the evil organization founded by the Red Skull. Since pockets of HYDRA still exist in the modern world (see Avengers: Age of Ultron), it stands to reason that so does Madame Hydra.
Marvel doesn’t have to call her the Viper, but the green tressed vixen has been a major Cap foe for decades and as such deserves her time in the sun. Not many villains are evil enough for two separate franchises, but the Viper’s cunning will and deadly beauty make her adaptable enough to take on any hero, for any studio.
A remnant of the Nazi Empire, the Sleeper was the most powerful of four robots hidden by the Nazis and the Red Skull to awaken in the modern world to continue the reign of the Third Reich. Who doesn’t love giant robots? What’s more badass than giant Nazi robots? The inclusion of the Sleeper and his robotic brethren could be Marvel meets Pacific Rim with Cap and SHIELD desperately trying to stop the advance of seig-heiling mechs.
The Sleeper and the other Nazi robots were some of Jack Kirby’s coolest designs of the Silver Age, and seeing them come to life on the big screen would be old schools fans’ dream come true. Plus, the Sleeper has a deep connection to the legacy of the Red Skull which could keep the Cap versus Skull conflict going past the battlefields of World War II.
Scourge of the Underworld
Perhaps the villain featured in the fourth Captain America film could be something thematically different? In the previous films, Cap has protected the innocent from despots and would be world conquerors…what better way to put Cap’s morality to the test by having him protect the corrupt?
Scourge was a Punisher-like vigilante who killed costumed criminals. His signature catch phrase “Justice is Served,” was heard while Scourge dispatched many costumed baddies before Cap stopped his killing spree. The idea of justice versus vengeance could fuel a powerful movie as Cap tries to make sure that there is really “Justice for All” in his America by being forced to defend the villains Scourge wants dead.
Scourge stands as an antithesis to Cap, a man who does not believe in any system, just his own idea of right and wrong. This exploration in the contrasts between a killer and a protector would make for a fascinating movie.
The Secret Empire
Who doesn’t like evil subversive puppet masters? The Empire has evolved into Marvel’s go-to hooded organization of nefarious intent. The Secret Empire can play off modern conspiracy paranoia, a nightmarish version of government gone horribly wrong. In fact, it was the Secret Empire that made Steve Rogers quit being Captain America for a time (sound familiar?).
In the comics, as written by Steve Englehart, it was strongly suggested that the leader of the Empire, called Number One, was actually the President of the United States. Rogers was so disillusioned by this he shed his red-white-and blue identity and became Nomad, a man without a country. With the political divide greater than ever in the U.S., now would be a perfect time to bust out a film version of the Secret Empire to challenge modern ideas of patriotism.
The Watchdogs would be a pretty gutsy, politically charged choice for future Captain America villains, and the right wing terrorist group does play a major role in Cap history. It was the Watchdogs, fueled by racist extremism, who murdered the parents of John Walker when the hero now known as U.S. Agent was Captain America. This caused Walker to lose his already loose grip on sanity and kill the men responsible for his parents’ deaths.
Come to think of it, how great would a film adaptation of The Captain/U.S. Agent saga be? Seeing Steve Rogers shed his identity and become disillusioned with his country would have just as profound an impact on film as it did in comics, and boy, would we love to see a big screen version of Walker’s Cap. All of it fueled by the hateful, right wing Watchdogs, a group that any right thinking fan would pay to see get taken down by any version of Captain America.
The Serpent Society was a trade union of sorts for costumed villains with snake identities (which would actually be an awesome idea for DC to crib, but with gorillas). The Society, led by the teleporting Sidewinder, provided story fuel for Captain America throughout the late ’80s and well into the ’90s. Sidewinder is a kind of honorable villain who would be fascinating to see realized on screen.
Eventually, the Society was taken over by the Cobra, a classic Marvel villain that is also overdue for a media debut. Marvel Studios has not gone the route of a super-villain team yet, and the Society is filled to the brim with villains with interesting powers and looks that could easily fill a toy aisle. Diamondback, a beautiful and deadly member of the Squad, eventually turns on her serpentine brethren because she falls in love with Cap, a story cue that could come across great on screen.
Any Marvelite worth his salt would love to see Anaconda, Copperhead, Bushwacker, Asp, and the silent but deadly (calling Ray Park) Death Adder fully realized on screen. An all out war between Cap, SHIELD, Falcon, and perhaps the Winter Soldier versus a huge Serpent Society could really make hissssssstory. Sorry.
Flag Smasher was the anti-patriot, a perfect mirror image of Captain America’s pride in his country. Flag Smasher didn’t believe in borders or symbols of national pride, he only believed in self serving anarchy, and with his likeminded cult, ULTIMATUM, Flag Smasher was one of Cap’s most persistent foes of the ’80s.
ULTIMATUM was funded by the Red Skull so there’s your connection to previous films, and any bad guy that uses assault weapons and a mace is a villain we want to see prominently featured in a movie.
He might not strike the same tone as the other cinematic Cap villains, but who wouldn’t want to see Chris Evans go toe-to-ummm…forehead with MODOK? The perfect soldier versus a giant head in a floaty chair would certainly make for a compelling visual, but on a more serious note, with MODOK, Marvel would be able to continue the evolution of AIM after the death of founder Eldritch Killian in Iron Man 3.
AIM has always been second only to HYDRA as Marvel’s go-to evil organization, and by introducing their very memorable leader, Marvel could bring AIM to the forefront of evildom. The Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing would certainly be an attention getter but also offer a nice contrast to the genetically flawless Captain America, creating a man versus monster conflict for the ages.
And seriously, giant floating head, what’s not to love?
One of the few men in the Marvel Universe that is a physical match for Cap, a film appearance from the mercenary with the photographic reflexes is long overdue. How cool would a Taskmaster/Cap fight be on the silver screen with Taskmaster mimicking every one of Cap’s moves, fist versus fist, shield versus shield?
Taskmaster can come equipped with all of the Avengers signature gear like Iron Man’s repulsors, Black Widow’s stingers, and Hawkeye’s bow to become an all-in-one Avengers team to go one-on-one with Cap. Taskmaster could be played as an anti-hero or a straight out soldier villain. Either way, there would be a cleanup needed in the pants of many fans at the mere idea of seeing a film version of Taskmaster.
Communist Red Skull
A Soviet operative of the Cold War, Albert Malik took up the identity of the Red Skull to further spread the power of his Red masters. A film version of Malik would be able to replace the iconic Nazi scientist so brilliantly played by Hugo Weaving.
If Marvel doesn’t want to bring Nazi Red Skull back, or Weaving doesn’t want to return, the man that carried the Skull’s legacy of evil through the ’50s and ’60s would be a perfect film villain. A Red Skull dedicated to bringing back the glory days of Soviet Russia could be a stark reminder to Steve Rogers of how much international turmoil he missed when he was on ice.
The Communist Skull even had a role in the modern era, as, for a time he was secretly a U.S. Senator until Cap brought him down. Like Cap, the evil of the Skull is a legacy that can be carried into future films by the commie spy, saboteur, and mastermind, Albert Malik.
Ok, he’s freakin’ Hitler. Who wouldn’t want to see Captain America kick the bratwurst out of a clone of Adolf Hitler?
All joking aside, Hate Monger is a really intense villain and one of the scariest foes Cap ever went up against. The Hate Monger has the power to force others to be filled with hatred, this on-the-nose symbolism might not be subtle, but it makes for a darn effective villain. Captain America was built to take down Hitler, and what would be more gripping than Cap versus Hitler in the modern day?
Marvel would have to tread carefully with this one, but the prospects of a film version of the Hate Monger could be one of Marvel’s most daring moves. In Captain America’s very first comic, Cap is rendered punching Hitler right in his hateful mug. This classic moment of the Golden Age could be recreated in the next Captain America movie with Steve Rogers trying to silence the hate speak of history’s most repellant villain.
If Marvel doesn’t find some clever way to bring back Johann Schmidt, then the legacy of the Red Skull could live on in Sin, the daughter of Cap’s greatest foe. Sin played a major role in Ed Brubaker’s great run on Captain America, which inspired Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Sin also has a deep connection to Asgardian magic as she once captured a number of mystical hammers to fuel her neo-Nazi army. A film combining Norse mythology with the continuing conflict of Captain America and the Red Skull would be pretty cool to see. There is a great deal of evil in Sin that Marvel could farm for a future installment of Captain America, evil that could keep the name of the Red Skull alive.
The Grand Director/William Burnside
While the Grand Director sounds like something James Cameron would force his DP’s to call him, it is actually the title taken by a man who tainted the legacy of Captain America more than any of Steve Rogers’ enemies.
William Burnside was the Captain America of the 1950s, the man who took over the suit and shield when Rogers was a Capsicle. Burnside was set up with the Steve Rogers’ identity and fought the Red Menace of the ’50s. Eventually, Burnside, and his Bucky, Jack Monroe, were slowly driven insane by the experimental serum in their blood. They were put in suspended animation and awoken in the modern day.
Here’s where things get dicey. Dr. Faustus brainwashed the already angry and vulnerable Burnside, and the former hero becomes the white supremacist leader the Grand Director.
Now, what could be a more effective film villain than a Cap gone wrong, a Cap so corrupted by his own inner demons and machinations of others that he adopts Nazi ideology? Burnside’s tragic story is made for film, but we’ll have to wait and see to if Marvel picks this low hanging fruit of villainy.
What could be cooler than Cap versus a Nazi vampire? Really, not a whole heck of a lot.
The legacy of the vampiric Baron Blood stretches back to World War II, so once again, Marvel could tie this bloodsucking baddie to Cap’s earliest days. Blood, like any good vampire is, of course, immortal, and can be used in the modern day to reintroduce a nightmare from Steve Rogers’ past.
Blood is one of Cap’s most vile foes, a breeding of repugnant politics and supernatural evil. He is a classic monster in every sense of the word and could serve as the de facto Dracula of the modern Marvel Cinematic Universe (because let’s face it, we’re all going to be old and grey before Marvel Studios dares to attempt anything involving Dracula).
Blood could also lead to the introduction to Cap’s fellow Invader, Union Jack, the British super-hero who has the misfortunate to be the Baron’s brother. More Golden Age heroes are always welcome, and it’s only a matter of time before vampires are introduced to Marvel’s films. But fear not, this vile vamp doesn’t sparkle.