Predicting Marvel Studios' Dark Avengers Team Lineup

They may not be the Avengers team we want, but they are the ones we need.
Dark Avengers Team Lineup

As DC Comics' The Suicide Squad prepares to release in theaters and HBO Max, Marvel Studios may be laying the groundwork for an odd group of morally grey "villains" of their own. With a new team of super-beings, comes a daring recruitment effort throughout the expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Mysterious emissary Valentina Allegra De Fontaine (played by Emmy Award-winning Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) is assembling an equally cryptic team of morally complex MCU characters.

Marvel Comics has seen several teams of villains coming together to aspire for something greater, from the Baron Zemo-led Thunderbolts initiative to the more recent Dark Avengers spearhead by former Spider-Man nemesis Norman Osborn. While the concept of The Thunderbolts may better fit tonally within the MCU, comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis' Dark Avengers seems like an instant shoo-in for brand purposes. 

Crimson Dynamo

6. Crimson Dynamo

Perhaps Iron Man's greatest armored rival, The Crimson Dynamo serves as the Soviet Union's answer to Stark Industries CEO Tony Stark's armored counterpart. The closest Crimson Dynamo had in receiving a cinematic offering was 2010's Iron Man 2, which briefly featured Dynamo's original comics counterpart, Russian Stark Industries rival Anton Vanko (Yevgeni Lazarev).

However, the villain has undergone many incarnations throughout the character's comic history. More recently, Crimson Dynamo received a blatant namedrop during a memorable scene in Black Widow, hinting at the character's presence within Russia.  A television series for 1987-88 Iron Man comic crossover Armor Wars which featured Crimson Dynamo as a central foe among other Iron Man villains, was announced for Disney + in late 2020.


5. Trickshot

Every Avengers team needs a skilled who may not have superpowers but is just as skilled and without them. A circus alumnus, Barney Barton a.k.a. Trickshot is the older brother of The Avengers resident archer Clint Barton / Hawkeye. Like his brother, Trickshot is an extremely skilled archer and acrobat capable of astonishing feats.

While officially unconfirmed for the upcoming Disney + series, Hawkeye is inspired by writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja's award-winning 2012-2015 comic run, in which Barney played a role. With villains The Tracksuit Mafia and Swordsman already making their live-action debut in the series, it would be ideal for Hawkeye's relative to make his MCU introduction as well. 

Namor The Submariner

4. Namor The Submariner

If Valentina is in need of a reserve member for Thor, the viable candidate may not be in the cosmos but under the sea. Conceived nearly two years before DC Comics' own undersea hero Aquaman, Namor Mckenzie is the arrogant ruler of the undersea continent Atlantis while acting as an occasional threat to the surface world and their vast array of superheroes.

The half-human/half Atlantean Namor has long been a character that has been in heavy discussion to join a live-action Marvel since the late 1990s. Though Marvel's original antihero may be unable to receive his own solo film, Namor is heavily rumored to be receiving his big-screen spotlight in 2022's Black Panther Wakanda Forever, played by Narcos Mexico's Tenoch Huerta. As Thor leaves Earth to start anew with the Guardians of the Galaxy, it's time for another superhuman royal to make his presence known. 

The Abomination
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3. The Abomination

British royal marine Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) received a heavy dose of gamma radiation, following his humiliation and defeat at the hands of Dr. Bruce Banner a.k.a. The Incredible Hulk. Mutating into a monstrous creature of enormous strength and brawn, Blonsky a.k.a. Abomination became the greatest physical match that the Hulk had ever seen.

However, Abomination himself has not been seen in the MCU since his fight with Banner's alter ego through New York City's Harlem district over a decade ago in 2008's The Incredible Hulk. Luckily, The Abomination seems to be making a rather imminent comeback in the MCU's next phase of films/shows.

As Banner's own successor She-Hulk would likely distance herself from the likes of less savory characters, it's unknown where The Abomination's loyalties now lie or whether he is chomping at the bit to associate with a villainous group. 

Black Widow Yelena Belova

2. Black Widow / Yelena Belova

The undisputed scene-stealer of Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff's adoptive sister Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh)'s tenure in the MCU is just beginning. Another unwilling participant of Russia's underground Red Room program, Yelena was trained and engineered to be the epitome of espionage and assassination, even more than her deceased older sister.

Currently holding the title of the MCU's primary Black Widow, Belova is one of the few surviving Widows from The Red Room. As showcased with the film's ending post-credits scene, Yelena proves to be the latest addition to Valentina's mysterious cadre of MCU antiheroes.

Confirmed for a role in the stacked cast of Marvel's Hawkeye, Black Widow seems to be on the hunt for Natasha's former partner and "presumed" killer... Clint Barton. 

U.S. Agent John Walker

1. U.S. Agent / John Walker

Following Sam Wilson's initial reluctance to take up the coveted mantle of Captain America, honored army soldier John F. Walker (Wyatt Russell) is chosen by the United States government for the role. As Walker finds himself deterred by his lack of heightened physical abilities, John's mental instability takes a turn for the worse.

In order to prove a match to a world of rising threats, John turns to an experimental form of super-soldier serum, but at the cost of losing both his sanity and public reputation. A disgraced John finds a lifeline in De Fontaine, who gifts the war hero with a new outfit and mission before rebranding the man as U.S. Agent. What Valentina's mission for the U.S. Agent is left to be revealed...

Following Avengers Endgame, the world remains in quite an unknown place with several established and forthcoming heroes left to fill in the power vacuum created in the wake of the war with cosmic despot Thanos.

Marvel Studios' fourth phase of films and television programming will be all about "new beginnings" and becoming familiar with new characters and teams. As a new generation of mounting threats looms over the horizon, Valentina's team and its members will soon begin to come into focus.

Current junior Writing Arts major attending Rowan University. I am an avid writer, comic book reader, and film enthusiast.

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