The MCU Multiverse Saga allows for the introduction of new characters and potential villains, making the franchise’s obsession with one villain trope more interesting. The exploration of the multiverse in the MCU provides an opportunity to showcase dark versions or evil counterparts of the heroes, adding depth and complexity to their characters. Dark mirror villains are common in the MCU because they allow Marvel to explore the consequences of not choosing heroism, highlight the difficulties faced by heroes, and create compelling fight scenes.

The MCU Multiverse Saga has created much potential for the introduction of new character, potentially allowing the franchise to make its obsession with one villain trope even more interesting. The biggest villain of the Multiverse Saga to date is Kang the Conqueror, the timeline-obliterating Thanos-level threat that Loki and Ant-Man have already had to face. There is not as much information about individual heroes’ villains, however, and the more new characters the MCU incorporates into its franchise, the more opportunities it has to introduce some dangerous, never before seen threats into the upcoming MCU release slate.

The MCU’s recent exploration into the multiverse grants it a unique opportunity to make its heroes and villains one and the same. Marvel comics routinely explore dark versions of their heroes and explore the horrors these characters could unleash if they ever used their powers for evil instead of good. The MCU timeline has tapped into this idea already, most notably in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, wherein Doctor Strange must fight a variant of himself that has been corrupted by the Darkhold. The future of the franchise, however, has the possibility to introduce a villainous variant with a much larger role.

Related: 10 Lessons The MCU Can Learn About Multiverse Stories From Sony’s Spider-Verse Movies

The MCU could introduce incredibly dangerous multiversal villain the Maker – who is an evil version of Reed Richards – in Marvel’s Fantastic Four. In the comics, this variant of Reed Richards from the Ultimate Fantastic Four escapes and hides in a new universe after his universe is destroyed, gradually becoming a villain. The Maker becomes so dangerous that another version of Richards is forced to call a meeting of superhero group the Illuminati to figure out to stop him. The current backdrop for both the MCU’s multiverse and for Reed Richards himself suggests the franchise would benefit from bringing a version of this story onto the big screen.

Reed’s first quick MCU appearance was in Multiverse of Madness, already hinting at the character’s important connection to the multiverse based on his understanding of the nature of reality. When the main universe Reed officially arrives in MCU for the newest Fantastic Four reboot, Marvel would have a great opportunity to portray this major hero fighting a powerful, evil version of himself, especially as it would set up an unexpected and potent multiversal antagonist for the universe. This would allow the MCU to capitalize further on one potent trend when it comes to villains – namely, having a hero face a villain who serves as a dark mirror of themselves.

Related: Everything We Know About Marvel’s Fantastic Four Reboot

Why The MCU Has So Many Dark Mirror Villains

Dark mirror villains are MCU staples. Most MCU climaxes involve the heroes battling villains who are similar in power levels, experience, and or background – for example, Thor famously fought his brother Loki is his first film, and Iron Man fought Iron Monger in the first of his movie series. There are several reasons for these pairings. The first is that a consistent theme throughout Marvel as a whole is a hero is not something a person is born as, but rather something they become. As such, this kind of villain allows Marvel to explore how their heroes may have turned out if they did not choose a path of heroism.

These villains also highlight just how difficult choosing heroism can be, as they often suffer adversity before choosing villainy. The heroes are then reminded to remain grateful for what they have and to not let suffering influence them into making terrible decisions. A final, less thematic, reason for the frequency of dark mirrors in the MCU is they make for more compelling fight scenes. Because their skill sets are so evenly matched with the hero, they are able to put up valiant fights, and even occasionally win, keeping both the hero and audiences on their toes.

Key Release Dates

The Marvels

Deadpool 3

Captain America: Brave New World

Marvel’s Thunderbolts

Blade (2025)

Marvel’s Fantastic Four

Avengers: The Kang Dynasty

Avengers: Secret Wars

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