The Marvel Cinematic Universe is something that we’ve all started to take for granted. We get several great films a year and hours upon hours of fun and interesting content on TV with an inter-connectedness that seemingly never gets old and actually aids storytelling. There have been a few missteps though; Iron Fist is profoundly dull and there is that frequently discussed villains problem. My biggest issue however concerns characters who have been pushed aside and forgotten about, which with the ‘everything’s connected’ mentality of the MCU is a problem. Some of these exclusions hinder the plot and others are just characters that I personally latched onto and want to see again. Let’s take a look at some of the forgotten characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Emil Blonsky (The Abomination)
The Incredible Hulk is by far the worst MCU movie to date and it’s no surprise that many of the plot lines and characters set up in that film have been left behind. However, I think Marvel overplayed their damage control in this respect and left an interesting character behind: The Abomination. Modern superhero films are full of large green or grey CGI monsters but Abomination was different because he had personality. Okay, so maybe he didn’t have all that much personality when he was the big grey punchy monster but Emil Blonsky certainly did. Sure, much of it came from the fact that Tim Roth overacted within an inch of his life but he was one of the best things about the movie: a fearless, aggressive government agent who would do whatever it takes to stop Banner. When the big underwater prison appeared in Captain America: Civil War I thought that maybe that’s where Abomination was being kept and he would finally appear but sadly that wasn’t the case. I hope that in Infinity War, The Avengers realise they need all the help they can get to face Thanos including enlisting the aid of Blonsky whose motivations could be further explored.
Johann Shmidt (Red Skull)
For Captain America’s arch nemesis, Red Skull hasn’t lived up to his comic book counterpart: at least not yet. Portrayed by Hugo Weaving, the Hydra boss made for a decent villain in the first Captain America and ended that film getting sucked into the Tesseract with unsaid but fairly obvious undertones of “yep, we’ll see him again.” And we haven’t. I’ll agree that he hasn’t been needed in the subsequent Captain America movies, although part of me – the foolish part I guess – did for a few seconds think that Robert Redford was going rip off his well-aged face skin in The Winter Soldier to reveal Red Skull. I would like to see him face Cap again but getting sucked into the Tesseract could mean that he could turn up anywhere in the MCU at any time. What if Thor or the Guardians of the Galaxy bumped into him? Or maybe he could be a foil for the Defenders or the Agents of Shield? Hugo Weaving reportedly had some beef with Marvel so he probably won’t return and while I liked his performance this is a literal Red Skull we are talking about. He could be recast no problem.
Franklin Hall (Graviton)
Now we go back to the early days of the MCU’s first foray into television: Agents of Shield. The show which is now in its fourth – and possibly final – season has come a long way since season 1 when the series was still finding its footing and proceeding primarily from a story-of-the-week format. One such independent episode featured scientist Franklin Hall researching a rare element known as Gravitonium which produces gravitational fields and at the end of the episode Dr Hall very dramatically falls into the Gravitonium. Now as any self-respecting comic book nerd knows (or a person who can use Google like myself can find out) that in the Marvel comics Dr Hall merges with this element and becomes the supervillain Graviton. This was perfectly set up in the show and the Gravitonium that Hall was consumed by appeared multiple times and changed hands, being stolen by Hydra from SHEILD facility ‘The Fridge’ and finally taken away by ex-Hydra agent Quinn who hasn’t been seen since the tail end of season 1. It’s clear that Graviton was going to make an appearance but obviously the plan for the series changed as the focus swerved towards the Inhumans and rightfully so but now I think it’s time to bring back Graviton. Now that the series has more superpowered characters it is the perfect time to make Graviton a primary antagonist of the show because there are now characters who can actually fight him. Agents of Shield seems determined to push away anything from the first season but I think the show should accept its past and begin to tie up loose ends before it concludes.
While overall Iron Man 2 is a sub-par MCU movie Sam Rockwell absolutely nails it as Justin Hammer and definitely outshines Mickey Rourke as the best baddie of the film. Smarmy and yet full of a contagious and borderline ridiculous amount of energy, Justin Hammer is the weapons manufacturer who has some evil plot or something. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the film and it’s not exactly the most memorable, okay? I do remember Hammer though whether he’s shouting at Whiplash, listing off weapons for War Machine or dancing on stage for some reason. Arrested at the end of Iron Man 2 he is sent to Sea Gate prison (the same one as Luke Cage) and his final appearance is a very funny cameo in the Marvel One Shot “All Hail the King” which is set after Iron Man 3. With all of the mentions and appearances of Hammertech weapons in Luke Cage, and the fact that Sea Gate prison appears, I was half expecting Hammer to make an appearance in the show and was disappointed when he didn’t. I hope one day he appears in a future movie, this time a better one, or even in one of the TV shows, he could make for a fun antagonist in a few episodes of Agents of Shield.
Who do you want to see return in a future MCU instalment? Let me know in the comments and geek out with me about all things Marvel and DC on Twitter @kylebrrtt. A second instalment of forgotten about MCU characters will be published soon…