With the MCU opening to the multiverse, there are many lesser-known Marvel characters who should return.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been hinting at a multiverse for a while, and with the latest Loki and What If…? shows, audiences have gotten a taste of what it can offer. However, the Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer is the first time characters from outside the MCU have been seen, which opens up a huge amount of possibilities for what and who can come into the universe.
When thinking about other Marvel characters making their way into the MCU, there are some obvious first choices, such as Venom, Toby Maguire’s Spider-Man and all of the X-Men. But it’s often forgotten just how many Marvel shows and movies came before the MCU, and many of them could make a return, despite how weird and niche they may seem.
Ghost Rider – Nicolas Cage
This 2007 Marvel movie saw Nicolas Cage play the skeletal motorcyclist Ghost Rider, with a mixed reception. Despite the quality of the movie and its sequel, there’s no doubt that Nicolas Cage in the MCU would shake things up. There’s a charm to his over-the-top acting that can steal a scene, and it would no doubt be entertaining to see his interactions with other MCU characters. On top of that, it would be interesting to see Nicolas Cage’s take on Ghost Rider when written to the same quality as current MCU films, as the character has a lot more to offer, and it’s very possible he’d earn a better reception.
The Punisher – Thomas Jane
With Jon Bernthal’s most recent portrayal of The Punisher, it’s easy to forget who came before. The 2004 movie The Punisher was not received well on release, although more recently has been looked back on with fondness by some fans. Thomas Jane, who plays the anti-hero The Punisher, does a good enough job of portraying the criminal-hunter hellbent on revenge, whereas most of the movie’s criticism stems from the tone and strange villain casting with John Travolta. With a still-active acting career, Thomas Jane would likely be open to returning to the role, especially since he jokingly voiced The Punisher in a recent 2019 episode of Robot Chicken.
Elektra – Jennifer Garner
Assassin-for-hire Elektra had her own movie in 2005, and like many Marvel movies in the early 2000s, experienced a poor reception. Portrayed by Jennifer Garner, Elektra struggles to protect a father and daughter from supernatural assassins, and unfortunately, there wasn’t much character depth past that in the movie. The character of Elektra has a lot more to offer in the comics and has appeared as a love interest in both the Daredevil movie and Daredevil TV show. With a current Elektra still around, played by Elodie Yung, it would be entertaining to see their interactions with Jennifer Garner, as they both portray very different versions of the character.
Man-Thing – Conan Stevens
Though coming in as the lowest-rated movie on this list, Man-Thing has a lot more to offer to the screen. Voiced by Conan Stevens, the Man-Thing movie barely resembles the comics, as the beast is turned into nothing more than a swamp monster terrorizing locals. However, the design of Man-Thing is one positive of the movie. So carrying that over to the MCU would be interesting, as we’re yet to have a more horror-movie-style film. And actor Conan Steven would finally get to add more to the character than just menacing grunts, as the story of professor Theodore Sallis, who becomes Man-Thing, is a tragic tale as he seeks to become a hero.
Howard the Duck – Ed Gale
Arguably the weirdest movie on this list, Howard the Duck went to the big screen in his own bizarrely sexual 1986 movie. Performed by Ed Gale, Howard the Duck has been remembered for how outlandish his portrayal is and would undoubtedly be entertaining to watch in the MCU. The character has even cameoed multiple times in the MCU, voiced by Seth Green and even fought in the final Avengers: Endgame battle. But the original filthy Howard, with an actor in a real duck costume, would take the cameos to another level and truly embrace the weirdness that the multiverse can offer.
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