Summary

  • Marvel Studios’
    Avengers 5
    could introduce the Cabal to replace Kang the Conqueror.
  • Marvel Comics’ Cabal have a huge role in the lead-up to the
    Secret Wars
    event, so could be important in the MCU’s Phase 6.
  • Potential Cabal members in the MCU include Namor, Kingpin, Thanos and Loki variants.



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Some of Marvel Studios’ best villains could return to the MCU if Phase 6’s Avengers 5 introduces a dangerous supervillain team from Marvel Comics. Every good superhero story needs a powerful adversary for the protagonist to take down, and Marvel Studios has debuted some of the most formidable and terrifying villains in comic book movie history in the 16-year history of the MCU. However, Marvel Studios has also come under scrutiny for not managing to do some of Marvel Comics’ most iconic and long-lasting foes justice in live-action, but Avengers 5 could have the perfect solution to this ever-present problem.


Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige confirmed the development of Avengers 5, then-titled The Kang Dynasty, in 2022, but since then, the project has undergone several major changes. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania writer Jeff Loveness were originally attached to the project, but left after Jonathan Majors’ 2023 arrest and conviction. Loki’s Michael Waldron is now penning Avengers 5’s script, and though there is speculation the project will still feature Kang the Conqueror, a number of other MCU villains could also be included in the Phase 6 event.


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Marvel Studios Hasn’t Introduced The Cabal To The MCU Yet

Cabal meeting in Marvel Comics

The prospect of Avengers 5’s focus shifting away from Kang the Conqueror and onto other Marvel characters creates the opportunity for different villains to take the spotlight. This could lead to the live-action debut of Marvel Comics’ Cabal, a secret society of supervillains and antiheroes that first appeared in 2009’s Secret Invasion #8. The Cabal was introduced as a villainous counterpart to the Illuminati, brought together by Norman Osborn after he assumed control of SHIELD and the Fifty State Initiative in the wake of the massive Secret Invasion crossover event, with members mirroring the more heroic line-up of the Illuminati.


Norman Osborn mirrored Tony Stark’s Iron Man, Doctor Doom was a reflection of his archenemy, Reed Richards, Emma Frost mirrored Professor X, Loki’s magic rivaled Doctor Strange’s, the hero-king Hood reflected the Inhuman Black Bolt, and Namor served in both groups. Marvel Comics’ Cabal had a key role throughout the Dark Reign storyline, which put Norman Osborn front-and-center, allowing the group to achieve a huge amount of power and influence over Marvel’s other villains. Osborn’s arrogance eventually marks the end of the team, however, but a new version of the Cabal arose during another of Marvel Comics’ most game-changing events.

The Cabal Could Have An Important Role In Avengers: Secret Wars

The Cabal in Marvel Comics' Secret Wars


In the lead-up to Marvel Comics’ Secret Wars event in 2015, the Illuminati reforms to embark on a quest to stop incursions from destroying the multiverse by obliterating other worlds. This weighs heavily on the Illuminati, who soon give up, but Namor decides to form a new Cabal in order to continue this violent work. This new version of the Cabal comprised Namor, Thanos, the Inhuman Maximus, Black Order members Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive, Herald of Galactus Terrax and Black Swan, and this new team established their base in the ruins of Wakanda, while working to destroy alternate worlds.

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The fact that Namor’s new Cabal plays such a pivotal role in the Secret Wars storyline, and the stories immediately preceding it, means that the Cabal could form in Avengers 5 to set the stage for the MCU’s Avengers: Secret Wars in 2027. While several of the members of Marvel Comics’ Cabal teams haven’t been introduced to the MCU yet, Marvel Studios could pick and choose from the huge roster of previous MCU villains, dead or alive, to forge into a live-action Cabal, which could become the perfect replacement for Kang the Conqueror in Phase 6’s Avengers 5 and beyond.

Who Could Be In The MCU’s Cabal?


Since 2008’s Iron Man, Marvel Studios has introduced a huge variety of villains into the MCU that would be perfect for a live-action Cabal. Tenoch Huerta debuted as Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and his hatred for the surface world has made him into an antihero, which means he’d be a fine leader for the MCU’s Cabal team. Recent speculation has also hinted at Thanos returning to the MCU, and he would be a formidable addition, along with comic-accurate members including the Hood, who will debut in Ironheart, and Doctor Doom, who has been rumored for The Fantastic Four.

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A more evil variant of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki could also appear as a member of the MCU’s Cabal, following the former villain’s redemption. Some of Marvel Studios’ past and present villains could also join the team, with the multiverse even allowing dead foes to be revived, so the likes of Killmonger, Kingpin, the Scarlet Witch, Ultron, Iron Monger, Baron Zemo, Kaecilius, Mysterio, the Mandarin and the Super Skrull Gravik, could potentially return. The possibilities are endless when it comes to introducing a Cabal team in Avengers 5, so some of the MCU’s best villains could soon get a second chance.


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