Summary

  • Marvel Studios has introduced many supervillain groups into the MCU over the last 16 years, though some are more dangerous than others.
  • Groups such as the Intelligencia, AIM and Hammer Industries have, so far, posed small threats to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
  • Other groups, such as the Hand, the Ten Rings, the Department of Damage Control and HYDRA have posed more significant threats, and could continue to be a danger in the MCU’s future.

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Many of the villainous groups in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are incredibly dangerous, and pose a huge threat to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Over the last 16 years, Marvel Studios has adapted dozens of superheroes from Marvel Comics into the live-action MCU, but every good superhero story needs a formidable villain, too. Many of the MCU’s most powerful villains, such as Baron Zemo, Loki, and the High Evolutionary, have worked alone, but others have been part of much bigger groups. While superheroes may count on safety in numbers, supervillains can increase their power and threat level considerably by working in groups.

Some of the villainous groups in the MCU originated thousands of years ago, meaning their power and influence in the current timeline of the MCU is almost incomprehensible. Even those that may not seem like an ever-present threat could always be working in the shadows, so any number of these deadly groups could return to wreak havoc in the MCU’s future. Indeed, some of Marvel Studios’ villain teams have posed only small threats to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but others have changed the landscape of the MCU significantly, setting themselves up as some of the most dangerous presences in the franchise.

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10 Intelligencia Was An Annoyance In She-Hulk: Attorney At Law

Intelligencia First Appeared In She-Hulk: Attorney At Law (2022)

In Marvel Comics, Intelligencia was a group comprising some of the most sinister minds in the Marvel Universe, but the group was altered drastically for its debut in 2022’s She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. Led by Todd Phelps, the Intelligencia was a group of misogynistic individuals who resented Jennifer Walters’ She-Hulk for attaining abilities, simply because she is a woman. The Intelligencia’s plot to steal Walters’ blood and enhance Phelps into HulkKing was rewritten in She-Hulk’s finale, effectively making the group nothing more than an annoyance, though they could be pivotal in the Leader’s return in Captain America: Brave New World.

9 Hammer Industries Could Return In The MCU’s Phase 6

Hammer Industries First Appeared In Iron Man 2 (2010)

Justin Hammer with a gun in Iron Man 2

2010’s Iron Man 2 made a joke of Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer and his weapons manufacturing company, Hammer Industries. As the business rival to Tony Stark and Stark Industries, Hammer lived in Stark’s shadow, but he displayed an ability to manipulate Ivan Vanko’s Whiplash to do his bidding. While Hammer Industries has been absent from the MCU for several years, Rockwell is rumored to be reprising his role in the MCU’s upcoming Armor Wars, so Hammer Industries could pose a more significant threat to Don Cheadle’s Rhodey, a.k.a. War Machine, though this is yet to be confirmed by Marvel Studios.

8 AIM Has Barely Been Explored Since Iron Man 3

AIM First Appeared In Iron Man 3 (2013)

Aldrich Killian using Extremis in Iron Man 3

AIM – Advanced Idea Mechanics – is another formidable threat in Marvel Comics that has been underused in the live-action MCU. Introduced in 2013’s Iron Man 3, Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian led AIM’s research into Extremis, but following his demise at the hands of Tony Stark and Pepper Potts, AIM has been put on the MCU’s backburner. AIM has a huge history in Marvel Comics that connects the organization to a number of heroes, so AIM could return in the MCU’s future, particularly in projects such as Ironheart or Armor Wars, which will deal with the impact of advanced technology.

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7 Kree Starforce Couldn’t Contain Captain Marvel

Kree Starforce First Appeared In Captain Marvel (2019)

Carol Danvers and the Kree Starforce in Captain Marvel

First seen in 2019’s Captain Marvel, Starforce is an elite group of formidable Kree warriors who carry out special, covert missions for the Kree military. Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers became a member of Starforce during her time on Hala, the Kree homeworld, but soon realized that Starforce’s actions were heinous and unjustified. Starforce’s power was demonstrated once again in 2023’s The Marvels, as Zawe Ashton’s Dar-Benn was revealed to have been a member of the team before becoming Hala’s new de facto leader. Starforce members are often brutal, so they pose a major threat to any enemy in their way.

6 The Hand May Have Been Made MCU Canon

The Hand First Appeared In Daredevil (2015)

In conjunction with the January release of Echo, Marvel Studios integrated Netflix’s Defenders Saga into the MCU’s timeline, suggesting that the events of the six Marvel Television shows may now be canon. This may mean that the Hand, an ancient organization, could also be canon to the MCU, which could seriously impact the franchise’s more mystical heroes. The Hand began in K’un-Lun centuries or millennia ago, as five students of K’un-Lun left to search for immortality. The Hand was seemingly destroyed by the Defenders in the eponymous 2017 miniseries, but an organization as old as the Hand never really dies.

5 The Black Order Almost Killed Several Avengers

The Black Order First Appeared In Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Thanos and the Black Order escaping in Avengers Infinity War

The Black Order, otherwise known as the Children of Thanos, was a group comprising the adopted children of the Mad Titan Thanos, who helped their father on his quest to collect the six Infinity Stones in Infinity War and Endgame. Ebony Maw, Cull Obsidian, Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive came close to eliminating several powerful Avengers, including Vision, Doctor Strange, Black Widow and the Hulk, though were all ultimately killed during Infinity War’s various battles. The Black Order’s abilities and dedication to Thanos’ cause made them incredibly dangerous, but luckily, it’s unlikely they’ll return outside of Marvel Studios’ What If…?​​​​​​​.

4 The Department Of Damage Control Was Originally A Force For Good

The Department Of Damage Control First Appeared In Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Damage Control hunting Kamala Khan in Ms. Marvel

What was initially founded by Tony Stark to be a force for good, cleaning up after the Avengers’ destructive missions, the Department of Damage Control has recently transformed into one of the most dangerous groups in the MCU. Though it may be well-intentioned, its indiscriminate hunting of superpowered individuals has made Damage Control adversaries to the likes of Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk and Spider-Man. Speculation suggests that the Department of Damage Control will play an important role in the MCU’s upcoming X-Men and mutant storylines, so it seems the organization will continue to pose a considerable threat to the MCU’s heroes.

3 Fisk Industries Hasn’t Yet Been Established In The MCU

Fisk Industries Could Appear In The MCU’s Phase 5

Wilson Fisk speaking to Maya Lopez in Hawkeye

Fisk Industries is a criminal enterprise that hasn’t yet been established in the MCU, though Wilson Fisk’s company has been teased to be appearing soon. Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin returned to the MCU in Hawkeye and Echo, and his influence has already been shown, as he has distribution centers and operatives across the United States. Some theories suggest that Kingpin may have established Fisk Industries in Avengers Tower, as the building’s current owner has been a mystery since 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. D’Onofrio’s next appearance in Daredevil: Born Again could answer this question, and introduce this terrifying villainous organization to the MCU.

In Marvel Comics, Fisk Industries is a legitimate business established by Wilson Fisk’s Kingpin, though acts as the perfect front for his criminal empire in New York City.

2 The Ten Rings Has Recently Come Under New Leadership

The Ten Rings First Appeared In Iron Man (2008)

Xu Xialing taking control of the Ten Rings in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Founded by Xu Wenwu after acquiring the Ten Rings in the Middle Ages, the Ten Rings organization grew over a thousand years, becoming one of the largest clandestine and terrorist organizations on the planet. The terrorist organization played a huge role in many MCU stories, particularly those featuring Iron Man, as it was Ten Rings members who originally abducted him in Afghanistan. 2021’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings may have featured Wenwu’s death, but the Ten Rings has now been taken over by his daughter, Xu Xialing, teasing a more modern and sinister future for the organization.

1 HYDRA Has Been An Ever-Present Threat In The MCU

HYDRA First Appeared In Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

The most infamous villain group in Marvel Comics and the MCU is HYDRA. Captain America: The First Avenger introduced HYDRA as Hitler’s scientific branch, led by Johann Schmidt, a.k.a. the Red Skull. However, subsequent MCU projects suggest that HYDRA may be centuries older, perhaps dating back as far as five-thousand years. The authoritarian paramilitary group was apparently destroyed during World War II, but grew within SHIELD for decades, and saw the rise of villains including the Red Skull, Baron Strucker, the Winter Soldier, and the Scarlet Witch, solidifying HYDRA as the most dangerous supervillain group in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Wanda Maximoff saw her innate abilities enhanced through HYDRA experimentation with the Mind Stone, which eventually led to her full transformation into the Scarlet Witch in the MCU’s Phase 4.

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