Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 premiere on ABC is less than one month away. We know that Ghost Rider will make his Marvel cinematic universe debut in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4. We know that there’s a new S.H.I.E.L.D. director in town. We know that Daisy Johnson has now been given the name “Quake” by the press and that she is on the run.
Now it’s time to bring on the bad guys.
For everything we know about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4, we know practically nothing about who the villain will be. We know that scientist Holden Radcliffe, a villain from Marvel’s Machine Teen comic, had a role inAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D.during Season 3 and that he will return in Season 4. We also know that he has created the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first Life Model Decoy. However, that alone isn’t enough to cement the Radcliffe as this season’s primary antagonist.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 is particularly wide open, compared to past seasons, in terms of potential villains. The first three season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. formed an arc with Hydra as the unifying antagonist. In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, S.H.I.E.L.D. rooted out Hydra from its own ranks in the form of traitorous Agent John Garrett after the revelation of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, S.H.I.E.L.D. battled Hydra in open warfare, finishing off Hydra head Daniel Whitehall (and, indirectly, leading to the capture of Hydra leader Baron Wolfgang von Strucker in Avengers: Age of Ultron). In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3, S.H.I.E.L.D. discovered the true, quasi-religious nature of Hydra, and finally ended its existence by eliminating its purpose, the godlike Inhuman called Hive.
With Hydra seemingly gone for good (We know, we’ve heard that one before…), who is there to step into the villainous void? What direction will the series take from here? We have some idea about which characters from the Marvel Comics universe would make great villains for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 premieres Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.
From one evil terrorist organization onto the next. Leviathan remains one of the great unrealized potentials of the Marvel cinematic universe. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 is a fine place to pick up this story thread.
Leviathan was introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Agent Carter. While the organization was a huge and looming threat, only two of its major agents ever actually appeared: Dottie Underwood and Doctor Johann Fennhoff.
In the Marvel Comics universe, Leviathan was introduced in the Secret Warriors series that inspired Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3. In Secret Warriors, Leviathan is a Soviet espionage agency that rivals and challenges both S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra. However, the entire organization is turned into monstrous humanoids after Hydra infiltrates Leviathan’s home base and sabotages an ongoing experiment. Leviathan is put to sleep for a generation, until triple agent Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine, who posed both as a longtime ally to Nick Fury and as Madame Hydra, frees them from their slumber to challenge their rivals once more.
We’d love to see Leviathan show up in full force in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4, which would keep the spirit of Secret Warriors alive in the show. While we’re at it, maybe Leviathan’s appearance would provide a suitable excuse to finally reveal who killed Jack Thompson.
A more detailed history of Leviathan can be found here.
Three years since the release of Iron Man 3 into theaters and the Mandarin is still a contentious sore spot for many Marvel cinematic universe fans. It isn’t that Ben Kingsley didn’t do an excellent job in the role – he’s Ben Kingsley, he’s excellent in every role – it’s that the whole amazing role turned out to be a giant fake-out in the end.
Fans felt cheated by this false depiction of what most consider to be Iron Man’s archenemy. Fan displeasure over the twist was so great that Marvel Studios produced what Iron Man 3 director Shane Black believes amounts to an apology in the form of the short film “All Hail the King,” which hinted that the “true’ Mandarin may still be out there.
Three years later, there’s been no further mention of the Mandarin in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the possibility of Marvel Studios ever putting an Iron Man 4 into production remains ambiguous at best. In our opinion, the possibility of ever seeing the Mandarin as he appears in the Marvel Comics universe translated into a Marvel Studios film seems unlikely, given that he is a somewhat stereotypical Chinese villain and that the Chinese box office is such a major factor in Hollywood decision making right now.
So why not sneak the Mandarin onto television in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4? S.H.I.E.L.D. could take on the Ten Rings terrorist organization – introduced in the first Iron Man and named as an homage to the Mandarin and his 10 alien rings – eventually revealing the Mandarin as the man in charge.
Another concept from Iron Man3 that just didn’t live up to the potential of its comic book source material was Advance Idea Mechanics, or A.I.M. Iron Man 3 presented A.I.M. as little more than Aldrich Killian’s think tank that helped develop Extremis.
In the Marvel Comics universe, A.I.M. is a very Silver Age comic book idea, an organization made up of mad scientists who, for whatever reason, dress in yellow suits that look like a cross between a Hazmat suit and beekeeper’s outfit.
One of the many mad experiments the A.I.M. conducted was attempting to turn a simple technician, George Tarleton, into something called M.O.D.O.C., or Mental Organism Designed Only for Computing, in order to study another super science device, the Cosmic Cube. The transformation left Tarleton’s head so large and his body so frail that he needed a special hoverchair to move about, which was christened the Doomsday Chair. A.I.M. didn’t realize that Tarleton’s ambitions would grow with his intellect, and so M.O.D.O.C. became M.O.D.O.K., or Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing, and took control of the entire A.I.M. organization.
So yes, M.O.D.O.K. is a giant head on a tiny body that floats around in something called a Doomsday Chair. No, he is not the most easily adaptable character in the Marvel catalog. He is one of the best villains, though, and a proper A.I.M. would make a great organization to challenge S.H.I.E.L.D. with for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. introduced the Inhumans into the Marvel cinematic universe, and the Inhumans have remained a major factor in the series through Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3. This will continue in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4, as S.H.I.E.L.D. comes out of the shadows to publicly monitor the many new Inhumans appearing across the globe.
So far, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has created new Inhumans or borrowed newer creations from the Marvel Comics universe to populate its Inhuman cast. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. hasn’t introduced the most recognizable Inhumans in the Marvel universe, the Inhuman royal family, presumably to keep those characters available for the Inhumans movie. Now that the Inhumans movie is off of the Marvel Studios schedule, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a little more leeway to borrow some of those classic Inhumans for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4.
With that in mind, Maximus would be a great villain for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4. If S.H.I.E.L.D. is going to be tasked with keeping the peace between humans and Inhumans, then the narrative demands there be a troublemaker trying to shatter that peace. Maximus, the brother to the Inhuman king Black Bolt, is just the kind of petulant, petty, brilliant, ambitious, power-hungry, and “mad” character that’s needed for a such a role. Think of Maximus as being to the Inhumans what Magneto is to mutants.
Ghost Rider isn’t a character known for his extensive rogue’s gallery, but if Agents of S.H.I.EL.D. Season 4 is going to bring Ghost Rider into the Marvel cinematic universe, why not bring the closest thing he has to an archenemy along for the ride?
Blackheart is a demon, which is something that sounds out of place in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. until you remember that Ghost Rider, the Spirit of Vengeance, is being introduced in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4. Blackheart is the “son” of Mephisto, one of the lords of Hell in the Marvel universe, born of pure evil.
Blackheart is a remorseless monster that would make even the formidable Inhuman Lash from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 seems unimpressive. He possesses superhuman strength and a connection to the Darkforce dimension that allows him to teleport and to fire Darkforce energy at enemies. His goal is nothing less than creating Hell on Earth.
If Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is looking for a scary, mystical villain to balance the scale with Ghost Rider, its new scary mystical hero, then Blackheart fits the role. Blackheart's inclusion would also open Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. up to future investigation into the mystical side of the Marvel cinematic universe, something that may allow the show to tie into the events of Doctor Strange.