When the Marvel Cinematic Universe launched in 2008 with Iron Man, few predicted that it’d become a cultural phenomenon—and of those who did, even fewer foresaw just how huge the phenomenon would become.
Over the course of the MCU’s reign, we’ve seen the life and death of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, as he heroically sacrificed himself to protect the universe against Thanos. Now, almost three years since Tony snapped his fingers, the MCU has become more varied than ever.
The introduction of the multiverse has given rise to new villains and the return of old friends from past movies—like Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s iterations of Spider-Man. And there are still so many Marvel characters that haven’t yet appeared despite deserving it.
Here are our picks for the best Marvel comic characters who haven’t shown up in the MCU yet, along with who we think would be perfect casting options for each character.
Note: We won’t be mentioning several confirmed and casted characters that are coming up—like Will Poulter’s Adam Warlock—since they’re en route.
8. Reed Richards
As of this writing, we know that Jon Watts (director of Marvel and Sony’s Spider-Man trilogy) will be directing the upcoming Fantastic Four movie. Reed Richards will arrive when that film sees the light of day.
However, without a solid release date for that film, there’s still plenty of room to speculate about the who’s and what’s of Reed Richards’ appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The last movie featuring Reed Richards… didn’t go well, to say the least. Josh Trank’s Fantastic 4 (aka Fant4stic) collapsed upon release, with the director himself disowning the film. But with Marvel’s next iteration of the character, they’ll have a fresh stab at the task.
Who would we cast? John Krasinski stands out as the obvious choice for Reed Richards, and the actor has even indicated several times that he’d be more than willing to accept the role, too.
The casting of Erik Lehnsherr will have fans scrutinizing closely, as Ian McKellen’s portrayal of the iconic character is widely considered to be a note of perfect casting. But McKellen’s reprisal would farfetched.
Marvel is in need of fresh legs for Magneto, and with Michael Fassbender not desperate to make anything work, whoever takes the role of Magneto will have big shoes to fill.
Another sticking point is that Magneto is the father of Wanda and Pietro Maximoff in the comic books, so introducing him to a universe where they pre-date his entrance could create problems for Kevin Feige.
Who would we cast? Many actors could take the role of Magneto in great directions, but in honouring Erik’s heritage—and being one of the best actors alive—we’d love Christoph Waltz to take the mantle.
6. Charles Xavier
When the X-Men make their debut within the MCU, they’re pretty much expected to converge on Charles Xavier. He’s the eponymous leader of the team, the wise counsel they seek, and the person most willing to keep faith in humanity—despite their fear of mutants.
Patrick Stewart’s portrayal of the iconic comic book figure was beloved by fans in the first X-Men film, and James McAvoy only added heights to the character with his younger version of Xavier.
Who would we cast? With both actors no longer interested in returning to the role, any new performer has the challenge of carving out their own character within the lore. However, many have pointed to Mark Strong as the man for the job, and the obvious choice to give Xavier new life.
5. Sue Storm
The sister to Johnny “The Human Torch” Storm and wife of Reed Richards, Sue Storm—also known as The Invisible Woman—is one of Marvel’s most celebrated heroes.
As for her appearance in the MCU? Jessica Alba’s previous incarnation of the character left fans somewhat reticent to believe that she was the best representation of Sue Storm, so there’s a lot of room to work with.
Who would we cast? Emily Blunt has long been noted as top choice by fans, but it isn’t clear how willing she is to do a superhero film. But if her husband John Krasinski appeared as Reed Richards, it would only make perfect sense for her to join him.
Galactus is the destroyer of worlds, the consumer of planets, and the initial master of The Silver Surfer. Enough time has passed since Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer to bring Galactus back into the mix.
The cosmic being who’s imbued with almost limitless power has always appeared as an enemy of the Fantastic Four. With Marvel’s first family unit coming to the MCU, Kevin Feige and his team must also be thinking about the debut of Galactus in the MCU.
Who would we cast? It’s a role that requires gravitas and shuddering intimidation, so our pick goes to Michael Shannon (General Zod from Man of Steel) who’s been named by fans many times.
Of all the characters that Marvel has had to re-cast following appearances in previous films, Wolverine is certainly the toughest.
To cinema-goers, Hugh Jackman is Wolverine. His portrayal of the character is flawless, and Kevin Feige knows it’s unlikely that Jackman will reprise the role after bowing out beautifully in 2017’s Logan.
Marvel has reportedly offered all kinds of money for Jackman to return, but Jackman has turned down every single approach. So, where does Marvel go from here as far as a new Wolverine?
Who would we cast? Dafne Keen as Laura Kinney would be the ideal replacement for MCU’s Wolverine. It’d subvert expectations and show that Marvel is willing to empower women, not to mention that Keen excelled in the role and would smash it further in the MCU.
2. Dr. Doom
Nobody has yet managed to get the character of Victor Von Doom right on the big screen. His previous appearances in Marvel films haven’t seen critical praise, and there’s much that Marvel can still do with him.
Dr. Doom is one of Marvel’s greatest characters. He’s oft been voted as the best Marvel villain by publications, and if there’s a single villain whom fans wish to see in the MCU, it’s him. No one has as much draw as the twisted evil ruler of Latveria, the genius scientist, the powerful enemy.
Who would we cast? Depending on what Kevin Feige wants to do with the character, there are many suitable actors for the role. However, Cillian Murphy would be our top choice, and if Marvel could score him, it’d be a real coup for the MCU’s future.
1. The Silver Surfer
Norrin Radd, an astronomer of the planet Zenn-La, had his life changed by Galactus after he pled with the cosmic destroyer of worlds to spare his homeworld from destruction.
Transforming Radd into his herald, Galactus sent The Silver Surfer out to find other worlds he could devour. However, when he arrived on Earth, The Fantastic Four convinced The Surfer to turn against Galactus.
The character is a special one for Marvel fans, and many have longed for Marvel to bring him into the MCU. Now, that arrival looks closer than ever, and the overwhelming choice of fans as far as who should portray The Silver Surfer is… Keanu Reeves.
Who would we cast? Well, he’s our pick as well. His calm demeanor and stoic presence could provide the perfect canvas for the character, and it’d be great to see this Hollywood icon make his way into the MCU.