Even fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will admit, for the most part, the villains have been lacking. Yes, Loki was awesome. So awesome he was used in not one, but three films. But Iron Monger, Malekith, Ronan, Zemo, Yellowjacket, and almost everyone else has been underwhelming in some way, a trend that will purposefully continue in some upcoming Marvel films before changing in a big, big way.
On the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 back in April, io9 was among a group of reporters who spoke to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige about this. He was very open concerning the criticism and not only agreed with it, suggesting Guardians 2 will continue it.
“It always starts with what serves the story the most and what serves the hero the most,” Feige said. “A big criticism of ours is that we focus on the heroes more than the villains, I think that’s probably true.”
He used Ronan from the first Guardians of the Galaxy as an example.
“Ronan’s great, Lee Pace did an awesome job, absolutely serves it, but certainly was there to go up against our heroes and to give our heroes a reason for coming together,” Feige said. “Loki, a great character, serves, in a lot of ways, Thor. Zemo served that conflict between Cap and Iron Man [in Civil War].”
Feige suggested the two villains in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Ayesha and Taserface, will also fit the role of serving the story rather than standing out on their own.
“Taserface and Ayesha are less grandiose in their ambitions than Ronan was, for instance,” Feige said. “Ayesha just wants to kill them for slighting her, and Taserface wants to lead the Ravagers and thinks that Yondu got soft.”
However, the role of “less grandiose” Marvel villain won’t last forever.
“In a movie that has a lot of characters, you could almost go so far as to say [the villain Thanos] is the main character,” Feige said about Avengers: Infinity War, which is now in production. “That’s a bit of a departure from what we’ve done before, but that was appropriate for a movie called Infinity War.”
While Thanos will be one of the few villains to carry over into an additional film, Feige teased that some of the villains in Phase 3 could do the same thing. But even if they don’t, focusing on the heroes was always what Marvel has been about.
“In 2008, two superhero movies that came out,” Feige said, referring to Marvel Studios’ first film, Iron Man, and The Dark Knight. “One focused on the villain, one focused on the hero, and we at Marvel looked at them, like ‘Yeah, we focus on the heroes. We don’t mind that. We like that.’”
Feige quickly realised that he’d just taken at shot at not just DC, but also at one of the great superhero movies ever.
“Please don’t start a flame war,” he added. “Nobody wants that. We don’t do that. But, again, it really always is what serves the story.”