Despite the fact that Avengers: Infinity War is coming out in May of next year, we have yet to really see any sort of trailer for the third Avengers film. It’s been dubbed “the beginning of the end” and a complete shift from the past ten years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
One of the more intriguing names to join the project is Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones fame. The names that have been attached to his participation in the film could mean big things for the future of the MCU. Let’s take a look at the options he could be playing and what they mean!
One of the bigger questions surrounding Avengers: Infinity War (and it’s still unnamed sequel) is who the “Big Bad” will be after the (remaining) Avengers defeat Thanos. Considering the MCU has been building towards the third and fourth Avengers films since the outset, those will be gigantic shoes to fill.
Who better to fill those shoes than the villain with the smallest feet in the entire Marvel universe, MODOK! MODOK stands for Mental/Mobile/Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing and what he lacks in subtlety (and body size) he more than makes up for in terms of intelligence and the ability to create issues for the good guys.
The eventual leader of Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM), which debuted in the MCU in 2013’s Iron Man 3 as the business that Aldrich Killian founded right before the events of the first Iron Man. While it was thought that AIM went down with Killian after he was all blown up by Pepper Potts, there’s no reason to think that either the company continued in his absence or could be resurrected for Avengers 5.
In the comics, he was an employee of AIM responsible for creating the Cosmic Cube. Initially people thought that the Tesseract in the MCU was a Cosmic Cube (as opposed to it housing the Space Stone, one of six Infinity Stones.
Considering the fact that Marvel seems to be going more and more cosmic with their films/television shows (Agents of SHIELD is set in space for season five, for example) it could make sense for them to utilize Cosmic Cube’s as their next big McGuffin.
He also has a rich history of battling multiple members of the Avengers, starting with Captain America and going through the Hulk, Iron Man and even Ant-Man. Many people think that MODOK could also be the baddie in Ant-Man & The Wasp, as well.
In the famous comic book arc that the MCU has made even more famous with their films, titled Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos has a number two at his side named Mephisto. A major player in the cosmic side of things, Mephisto looks a lot like the devil and is someone that people have been waiting to appear for years.
In the books, he attempts to manipulate Thanos into somehow giving him the Gauntlet. He takes advantage of the fact that Thanos is completely insecure and obsessed with Death her/itself. Death will be represented in the film by Hela, the Goddess of Death. So, it’s not a stretch to think that Mephisto will be in the film as well.
He’s got a rich backstory in the comics and is probably most well known for his role in creating Ghost Rider. Considering that Marvel introduced Ghost Rider to the MCU during the 2016 season of Agents of SHIELD, they could very well be building towards Mephito’s debut in next year’s Avengers 4.
While his role could very well be assumed by Loki as well, one has to think that Loki has been involved in so many stories thus far that for him to turn back evil after the events of Ragnarok would be a — rainbow — bridge too far. Of all of the options on this list this is actually my favorite, as it opens up so many opportunities in the films.
If Avengers: Infinity War reintroduces Johnny Blaze, Marvel fandom will implode.
8. Pip the Troll
When Dinklage’s casting was announced, the first thought that popped into many people’s heads was that he would be playing Pip the Troll, who was a major part of the Infinity Gauntlet story line in the comic books. A sidekick of sorts of Adam Warlock, the master of Universe inside the Soul Gem, Pip was part of the gang that Warlock would pal around with.
Considering that Warlock was teased at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 and that the other member of his gang is a member of the Guardians herself (Gamora, in the comics), it makes sense for Pip to appear in Avengers: Infinity War.
This is probably the safest bet on this list. After the events of Infinity War, Pip was one of the members of the Infinity Watch started by Warlock. This team shared the Infinity Gauntlet to battle evil across the universe.
Each member handled a different Infinity Gem (or Stone, like the films). Pip rocked the Space Stone and used it to battle the Magus, which is the embodiment of evil that Adam Warlock removed from himself after obtaining the Infinity Gauntlet (as a way to be an impartial god).
Considering the fact that the MCU will be in need of another big bad for Phases 4 and beyond, Magus is really the only one that has any sort of physical hints in the movies that have been made so far and he very well could be the future. Involving Pip the Troll would show that Marvel is planning on exploring that route after Infinity War and it’s sequel.
Uatu is the Watcher that has been assigned to Earth-616 in Marvel comics, the universe where the comics take place. From his station on the moon, Uatu watches what transpires. He’s part of an ancient race of aliens who record history without taking part in anything one way or the other.
In Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, Stan Lee is shown talking to a group of Watchers about his experiences in previous films and while they tower over him in size they actually do have the proportions of a toddler. A giant space toddler.
The problem is that Dinklage would pretty much have to utilize motion capture. The Watchers all looked almost exactly the same and it’d break continuity if they hired someone like Dinklage and used his face for Uatu. It wouldn’t be the first time Marvel did something like that but it’d be odd to do it so closely to the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2.
Either way, one has to think that since they were shown in Volume 2 that they’ll appear in some way shape or form in Infinity War along with other ancient Cosmic entities.
Speaking of ancient Cosmic entities, Eternity is one of the most ancient and powerful. It’s essentially the universe itself, or the embodiment of all that is, was or ever will be.
At one point in the Infinity Gauntlet book, Eternity goes to the only entity more powerful than itself in The One Above All in the hopes that The Living Tribunal would stop Thanos’ reign of terror and the threat that he posed to reality/Eternity itself.
The Living Tribunal operates a lot like Uatu does and because of that decides that it can’t stop Thanos simply because he represents change or a threat to Eternity and that the universe is and always has been about the strong surviving and that Eternity was just salty because it was no longer the strongest.
The MCU has progressed and gotten more and more successful. Marvel has begun showing things that aren’t necessarily as dumbed down for audiences. Meaning, Marvel is no longer afraid to go “full nerd” in their movies.
Despite that, though, the idea of a physical embodiment of all of reality showing up on film seems like it’s too much even for the MCU — at least at this point. The thing about the Infinity Gauntlet in the books was that they had the benefit of context and while the films have about 10 years to work with.
Introducing a concept as deep and important as Eternity may be too much.
5. Eitri, Brok and/or Buri
It’s no secret that in Thor: Ragnarok Hela the Goddess of Death (played by Cate Blanchett) will destroy Thor’s Hammer, Mjolnir early in the film. Mjolnir, one of the more powerful weapons — if not the most powerful — in the MCU, was forged in the heart of a dying star per a comment made by Thor’s father Odin in the first Thor film.
In the comics, Odin had three dwarven blacksmiths — the best in the Universe at creating weapons — build an extremely powerful weapon to protect Asgard. To do so, the smiths summoned a magical forge located near a star and used the remaining power of that star to create Mjolnir.
The hammer’s creation killed the star, which was the source of the extinction event on earth that wiped out the Dinosaurs. They painstakingly created Mjolnir out of a magical Asgardian metal, called Uru, that is so indestructible that it’s up there with adamantium when it comes to durability.
It’s thought that Dinklage is going to play either one or all three of these blacksmiths as Thor will be looking for a replacement weapon after the events of Ragnarok. The descriptions of the teaser trailer that Disney released at D23 state that Thor will be unconscious and floating through space without his hammer.
He’ll run into the Guardians of the Galaxy who will take him to a planet for help, only to find that the planet no longer exists because Thanos destroyed it. Perhaps seeing that Thanos has the Infinity Gauntlet, Thor may seek out the same blacksmiths that forged Mjolnir.
4. Adam Warlock
Adam Warlock has been mentioned multiple times in this article and his arrival in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been a long time coming since his cocoon was spotted in the Collector’s menagerie in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film.
While his race of people was a major part of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, he himself didn’t show up in the movie at all, only being shown inside of his actual cocoon while Ayesha names him “Adam” (which means that that wasn’t his cocoon in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film).
In the books, he’s a messiah-like character that was the god of the universe that exists inside of the Soul Gem. The movies are obviously going a different route as the Soul Gem is the last Infinity Stone. While there are countless theories as to where it resides or who it resides with, it’s clear that it’s not going to be ruled over by Warlock before next year’s Infinity War.
While the cocoon they showed at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 wasn’t necessarily Dinklage-sized, he’d still be an amazing get for the role. He’s a great actor with experience in acting in nerdy universes (Game of Thrones and Fox’s X-Men universe), so it’s help solidify him as one of the favorite actors in geekdom.
Thanos, the big bad of the first three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, comes from one of the moons of Saturn, specifically Titan. Titan has an extremely shallow and superficial society, so when he was born ugly, his family shunned him and helped shape his misanthropic attitude.
Despite that, he hasn’t murdered his entire family — he actually had a good reason to murder his mother. His parents were both Eternals of Titan, and when his mother saw that her son was a freak, born with what has been called “deviant syndrome,” she attempted to murder her newborn child by stabbing him to death.
Thanos spared his father — nicknamed the Mentor — and his brother Starfox (his real name is Eros). Like the catchy name implies, he can fly through the sky, and he’s just really, really good at Nintendo 64. Starfox’s powers are actually more telepathic than anything.
All Titan’s have similar powers to Eternals, namely with superhuman strength, speed and stamina. He has the ability to manipulate one’s emotions and thus is a master manipulator. While Thanos’ “Black Order” is definitely going to be in Infinity War, it doesn’t appear that Starfox is one of them.
It really boils down to whether or not the Russo Brothers are going to have that number two role that Mephisto filled in the books. In the Infinity Gauntlet storyline, Starfox does make an appearance but mostly as one of Thanos’ victims.
He removes his mouth so he can’t manipulate him and then breaks the laws of reality to torture him further (stretching him out like silly putty, etc.). While that’d be neat to see on screen, you’d have to think that Dinklage is too big of an actor to show up, get his mouth removed and then turned into CGI putty.
2. The Living Tribunal
The Living Tribunal may be the most powerful person in all of Marvel Comics (with The One Above All being it’s competition) and considering he makes an appearance in the Infinity Gauntlet comic book arc, people have thought that he might make an appearance in the films as well.
There’s only one problem with bringing the arbiter of cosmic business into the MCU — it’s too soon. The comic book had the luxury of having introduced most of the cosmic characters it used over the course of a couple decades so it made sense when heroes fell that the cosmic bad asses would step in to “handle” Thanos.
That’s where The Living Tribunal came in. He had the power to stop Thanos but didn’t because his rule is that the universe is a survival of the fittest situation; he didn’t believe in stopping Thanos just to maintain the status quo. That’d be an interesting twist and cool way to end the first film (as Avengers 4 is also about Infinity War).
But it seems like a bridge too far for a cosmic universe that’s really only about two and a half movies in.
1. The Shaper of Worlds
As I’m sure you’ve learned by getting this far in this list, the Cosmic side of Marvel gets a little weird. There may be no stranger character in the pantheons of Marvel Cosmic than the Shaper of Worlds, whose backstory would easily put this list over 10,000 words.
The long and short of it is that the Skrulls, an alien race that often battled with the Fantastic Four, created a cosmic cube by utilizing a “grey hole”, which was actually a hole to another universe filled with Beyonders (beings with immense power to reshape molecules/reality).
The cube became sentient and turned into the Shaper of Worlds, a half Skrull half/tank that had the power to… You guessed it, shape worlds. Considering the backstory that this’d require, it’s highly doubtful that The Shaper of Worlds would end up in Infinity War.
However, considering that the cosmic cube may become the post-Infinity Gauntlet McGuffin, he very well could end up becoming the big bad in a future film. It really depends on how strange Marvel intends on getting.