In the MCU’s Phase 5 and beyond, there are several performances audiences can get excited about. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania has officially started the new phase after Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special closed out Phase 4. Of course, Phase 4 was plagued with critiques calling into question its overall quality compared to previous phases due to the high expectations Avengers: Endgame left audiences with and the fact that the MCU had to take 2020 off. However, despite some negativity, Phase 4 massively expanded the franchise, not only narratively but tonally and thematically.
Phase 4 saw some beloved performances such as Elizabeth Olson in WandaVision, Oscar Isaac in Moon Knight, and both Tenoch Huerta and Angela Bassett in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Phase 5 will need to continue the trend as will Phase 6 when it finally features the Avengers again. Intriguingly, while a lot has been revealed about what’s to come in the MCU, there are still some big mysteries. Audiences are eager to learn who will be playing the Fantastic Four, in particular, with new rumors spreading like wildfire daily. While fans wait for that announcement, however, they can rest assured that there’s plenty to look forward to.
8 Jonathan Majors As Kang The Conqueror Will Be The MCU’s Next Big Villain
One of the most anticipated performances is basically here, but what really makes Jonathan Major’s Kang the Conqueror so exciting is how his performance can significantly evolve. He first debuted in Loki’s season 1 finale as He Who Remains and utterly stole the show, and reviews for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania says he’s done it yet again. Playing Kang means Majors can play his many variants as well, and each can unlock a different style performance for him. It’s a treasure trove of possibilities, and it’ll be exciting to see how they all come into play.
Majors has celebrated a meteoric rise in recent years with starring roles in Lovecraft Country, which earned him an Emmy nomination, The Harder They Fall, Devotion, Magazine Dreams, and soon Creed III. Majors is relentless and commits fully to every character, enriching each with tension and strength and ensuring they are all distinct. His tenure in the MCU has so much potential to skyrocket him to new heights and Kang could become a more iconic villain than even Thanos.
7 Will Poulter As Adam Warlock Will Unveil One Of Marvel’s Most Powerful Characters
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ended by teasing Adam Warlock’s introduction. Yet, Phase 3 concluded without Adam Warlock despite his integral connection to the Infinity Gems in the comics. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is finally bringing him into the mix, it’ll be interesting to see how he’ll function as part of the Multiverse Saga. What really came as a surprise, however, was who Marvel picked to play Warlock. Will Poulter’s breakout role was in 2013’s We’re The Millers, in which he earned the BAFTA Rising Star Award and cemented his comedy chops early on.
His roles in The Maze Runner trilogy, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, and recently Dopesick, which earned him an Emmy nomination, are clear indicators of his impressive dramatic talents. Adam Warlock is someone quite unlike any of Poulter’s previous credits, and definitely unlike anyone else currently in the MCU. Knowledgeable audiences are interested in seeing how powerful Adam Warlock will be, how Poulter will bring the weird character to life as more than just a cosmic god, and what his future could entail beyond Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and the Multiverse Saga.
6 Chukwudi Iwuji As High Evolutionary Could Reveal More About Rocket Raccoon’s Origin
While Adam Warlock will presumably fight the Guardians, he isn’t the film’s antagonist. That honor falls to Chukwudi Iwuji’s High Evolutionary, who many might remember boldly entered the halls of San Diego Comic-Con in character and costume. Given his history on the stage, Iwuji is perfect to bring the highly intelligent and sadistic scientist to the big screen, giving a sort of Shakespearean performance as a Marvel villain. It’s been confirmed that the High Evolutionary is Rocket Raccoon’s creator, so he’ll be critical to the culmination of Rocket’s arc that could end in his death.
Many will remember Iwuji from his previous collaboration with James Gunn in the DCU as Clemson Murn in Peacemaker. In fact, as they were filming that, Gunn approached Iwuji about playing the MCU villain too, inspired by what he could bring to the role. Significantly, compared to other villains from previous Guardians of the Galaxy and Gunn movies, High Evolutionary stands out. Strangely enough, despite his incredible abilities, he is perhaps the most real and retable yet, and that’s what makes him so scary and menacing. Iwuji’s performance is integral to closing out the Guardian’s tenure in the MCU, and it could rival some of the franchise’s best.
5 Emilia Clarke As Abigail Brand In Secret Invasion Can Help Her Leave Game of Thrones Behind
Secret Invasion is 2023’s most important MCU show and is sporting a very talented cast from the likes of Samuel L. Jackson’ much-deserved turn as headliner to Academy Award winner Olivia Colman’s debut. However, the most highly anticipated of them all must be Emilia Clarke’s. Her incredible tenure as Queen Daenerys on Game of Thrones was actually a double-edged sword. It established her as a true star with vast potential for various types of roles, but it also boxed her in. As such, her introduction in Secret Invasion as Abigail Brand can help break her out of that situation, and many are interested in what she’ll bring to the character.
The show is reportedly playing into a psychological spy-thriller genre, and will thus showcase Clarke in an entirely different light. Excitingly, Secret Invasion sets up much for the MCU from the role of SWORD to the expansion of Skrull lore, and Abigail Brand’s future is particularly rich with potential. Importantly, she is a mutant, and so she is connected to the X-Men. Clarke can become somewhat more of a mainstay in the MCU like her Game of Thrones counterpart, Kit Harrington should as Black Knight. Such allows for Clarke’s performance to develop and showcase various tones and colors to Brand’s characterization.
4 Mahershala Ali As Blade Can Establish Him As A Horror Movie Icon
In 2019 when the MCU revealed what to expect from the franchise after Avengers: Endgame, they announced one project that fans are still waiting for. Blade, starring Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali. The film got pushed back when it briefly lost its director, but now fans know that Blade will close out Phase 5 on September 6th, 2024. Ali has actually already debuted as the day-walking vampire hunter in the MCU, though it was only his voice in one of Eternals’ post-credit stingers. Of course, many will also remember Ali as Cottonmouth in Netflix’s Luke Cage, so he’s part of the special crew of actors who’ve played multiple Marvel characters.
The MCU is quite an exciting endeavor for Ali, but Blade is the perfect character for him. Crucially, his Blade will differ intrinsically from Wesley Snipes’ and will play a big role in MCU’s developing supernatural stories. Filming is expected to begin soon and as that unfolds it will become clearer what to expect from Ali’s Blade. However, simply on name and credibility alone, his debut is easily something many people are looking forward to.
3 Hugh Jackman As Wolverine In Deadpool 3 Can Provide A Great Follow-Up To Logan
Logan was put forth as the swan song of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, and it delivered. However, he’s not done. Jackman is returning as Wolverine in Deadpool 3, presumably crossing over from Fox’s X-Men universe to the MCU alongside Ryan Reynold’s Deadpool. Of course, avid fans are more than familiar with Jackman’s Wolverine, having over 20 years in the role under his belt. However, the new contexts can unlock something enticing and exciting for the character. Whether he’s here just for Deadpool 3 or he continues on to Avengers: Secret Wars and beyond, Jackman’s Wolverine will have to behave differently in the MCU, and that will be riveting to watch.
Intriguingly, there’s actually no confirmation yet that this Wolverine is the same one from Jackman’s previous tenure. He still could be somewhat given Deadpool 2’s hilarious ending when Deadpool traveled back in time and killed his original version from X-Men Origins: Wolverine. That act could’ve rewritten the timeline, and thus any conflict with Wolverine’s death in Logan is disregarded. Alternatively, like when Patrick Stewart returned as Professor X in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the MCU could just define this Wolverine as being from a different universe – perhaps Earth-838, and he’s traveling to Earth-616 to get revenge for Professor X’s return.
2 Tim Blake Nelson As The Leader Can Finally Give Him A Big MCU Role
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law did a lot to change the landscape of the MCU. Not only did the show’s great fourth-wall breaks set the stage for Deadpool and his antics, but it also set up big things for Hulk by introducing his son, Skaar, and teasing the return of Samuel Sterns, this time as The Leader. Tim Blake Nelson debuted as pre-Leader Stern in The Incredible Hulk, and now 16 years later, he’s returning in Captain America: New World Order of all projects. It’s very intriguing to see how he’ll play the character after so long and especially as a premier antagonist as opposed to a supporting character.
Nelson is a fantastic character actor, well known for things like Holes, Watchmen, and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, so he can do a lot to make The Leader stand out. Hopefully, he’s not returning for a one-and-done performance because both the Hulk and The Leader deserve to go up against one another in an actual Hulk film. Interestingly, Captain America: New World Order will also introduce a new Thunderbolt Ross, played by franchise legend Harrison Ford, so it’s exciting to consider how he, Nelson, and the other members of the film’s eclectic cast will play off one another.
1 The Cast Of Agatha: Coven Of Chaos Is Full of Promising Newcomers To The MCU
Excitingly, Agatha: Coven of Chaos sports the epitome of an eclectic cast. It will act like a second season of WandaVision with Agatha Harkness, played by the effortlessly entertaining Kathryn Hahn, being released from her prison in Westview upon Scarlet Witch’s presumed death in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The show was a big surprise to many fans, but it can play an unexpectedly pivotal role in the larger MCU. Hahn’s Agatha has been a villain, but now Agatha: Coven of Chaos can see her transform into a hero or at the very least, an anti-hero. That will be fun to watch.
Much of WandaVision’s cast is returning for Agatha: Coven of Chaos, but they’re also being joined by some exciting newcomers. Particularly, Aubrey Plaza is appearing, fresh off her dynamic run on The White Lotus, along with Broadway legend and 3-time Tony Award winner, Patti Lupone, and the hilarious Sasheer Zamata from SNL and Woke. While their roles are currently undisclosed, the mere fact that all these hilarious and distinctly talented performers are working together is extraordinary, especially since it’s for an MCU series that many weren’t anticipating. Such proves there’s plenty to look forward to in the MCU’s future.
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