Ahead of Suicide Squad's release in 2016, Sony Pictures had been developing a Sinister Six movie, and the signs were all pointing to villain-led films being the new norm for the superhero genre. Since then, we have seen Venom, while Loki is coming to Disney+ next year.
However, it's still the good guys who are dominating theaters, but we remain hopeful bad guys will be given the chance to shine in the not too distant future, especially after the release of The Suicide Squad.
With that in mind, we're now taking a closer look at the Marvel and DC baddies we think could steal the show in movies of their own. From individual characters to entire teams, they all have plenty of potential, and might go some way in ensuring the genre remains as compelling as ever.
So, to check out our top picks, all you guys need to do is click on the "Next" button down below!
There's been talk of a Magneto movie for years, but that script was actually integrated into Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class, and his origin story was told there instead. However, that doesn’t mean that a solo adventure for this iconic supervillain can't now happen in the MCU.
We've seen far too much of Magneto battling the X-Men at this point, so following him as he assembles his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants will make that inevitable clash that much more satisfying.
There's still a lot of potential for this character on screen, and without some sort of anti-ageing power, Marvel Studios will have to retell his early years and potentially scrap his past as a Holocaust survivor. There are other tragedies he could be linked to which explain his hatred of humanity, though.
9. Secret Six
Like most DC Comics characters and teams, there have various versions of the Secret Six over the years, but we’ll obviously be focusing on the villainous one for the sake of this feature.
Run by a mysterious figure known as Mockingbird, this team targets heroes and villains alike on the promise of a huge payday from big bads like Lex Luthor and the Mad Hatter. Apart from Deadshot and perhaps one or two others, this a very different roster to Task Force X, though similarities to that team and the name (not dissimilar to Sinister Six) could pose a problem.
However, perhaps they could make an appearance in some sort of follow-up to The Suicide Squad as competition to that group? That could make for an exciting premise for a movie.
8. Doctor Doom
We've seen two versions of Doctor Doom on the big screen thus far, and both were major disappointments. The 2005, 2007, and 2015 Fantastic Four movies failed Victor Von Doom in a multitude of ways, and failed to explore both the true nature of his superpowers and his Latverian heritage.
With any luck, Marvel Studios' eventual Fantastic Four reboot will adhere to the source material, but it's also possible that a solo outing exploring his childhood and rise to power in Latveria will precede that.
Whether it's a movie to TV show on Disney+, a Doctor Doom project which offers up a dark and revealing examination of how an innocent boy grows up to be a tyrant has plenty of potential. It could also set the stage for Doom to become a threat to the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
7. The Rogues
If The Rogues were introduced in The Flash (which was once rumoured to be the case), giving them their own big screen outing could work as a nice follow-up providing the cast is strong enough.
Their main foe is, of course, the Scarlet Speedster, and while they’ve occasionally fought by his side for the greater good, Warner Bros. have the chance to do something fun here. For example, why not have the whole movie take place from their perspective and make the Flash the "villain"?
That would leave viewers potentially rooting for the bad guys, while seeing events from their perspective is something which hasn't actually been done in a superhero movie yet! This would be really interesting, and this are a group of characters it’s surprisingly easy to root for if handled the right way.
The Thunderbolts started off pretending to be heroes in order to more easily commit crimes. Somewhere along the way, they actually ended up fighting the good fight, and recent iterations of the team have been portrayed not all that differently to Task Force X with a crew of imprisoned bad guys begrudgingly working for the government (and Luke Cage calling the shots).
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has expressed interest in this unique team, so perhaps once he's done with The Suicide Squad and Vol. 3, this could be his next big project?
There have been rumblings the groundwork for this team assembling will be laid in Black Widow (with "Thunderbolt" Ross in charge), so our first sign of them could be coming our way this year.
5. Sinister Six
In an ideal world, Marvel Studios would release a Sinister Six movie, but chances are it will be Sony Pictures that eventually puts that in theaters. With any luck, that iteration will be better than what they had planned after The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and it's hard not to get excited about the prospect of Spider-Man teaming up with, or fighting, the likes of Venom and Morbius!
There are a lot of different directions a movie like this could head in, and it's crazy that we've now seen seven solo outings for the web-slinger without him battling this formidable group of baddies.
The question is, which villains should be part of the roster? Personally, we wouldn't say no to seeing the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Venom, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, and The Vultire assemble!
4. Dark Avengers
There are clearly big changes in store for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we head into Phase 4 and beyond, and expanding the Avengers franchise (especially as there will soon be too many heroes to contain within one team) could be in the works for Phase 5 based on recent rumours. With that in mind, having a "Dark" faction would be very interesting to see play out.
There are still one or two characters who wouldn’t be included here due to rights issues; their leader, Norman Osborn, for example. Other than that, it's probably only Venom we wouldn't see.
That's far from the end of the world, though, and the Dark Avengers are a twisted bunch who the world believe are heroes, but whose methods are violent beyond belief as they only live to serve themselves. Spending some time with these twisted versions of our favourite heroes – Hawkeye is really insane Daredevil baddie Bullseye for example – could be great fun to watch.
The mid-credits scene of 2011’s disastrous Green Lantern sloppily teased Sinestro’s transformation into the leader of the fearsome Sinestro Corps, but with a reboot of the franchise now in the works both for the big screen and HBO Max, that story could finally be told in all its glory.
The Sinestro Corps War was an epic event which could be told over a number of movies or across an entire TV series, and the fallout from that could lead perfectly into a solo outing for Sinestro.
A movie or TV could also explore the character’s time as a member of the Green Lantern Corps working with Hal Jordan (thereby fleshing out his background at the same time), and that actually seems like a pretty perfect premise for the series which is coming to that streaming service.
Before Arrow started going downhill, The CW series did a great job of making Slade Wilson/Deathstroke a compelling character. Titans didn't quite stick the landing, but the villain was still pretty badass.
A mercenary and one of the most feared assassins in the DC Universe, Slade Wilson (nicknamed "The Terminator") is not a good guy, but like Deadpool or even Wolverine to some extent, it wouldn’t be too difficult to root for this guy in a big budget action blockbuster if, well, he’s taking aim at someone even worse than he is!
Joe Manganiello was supposed to play Deathstroke in Ben Affleck's The Batman, and The Raid director Gareth Evans was enlisted to direct a solo outing which has never happened. Here's hoping that changes.
1. Agent Venom
You may wonder why Venom is on this list, especially as Sony Pictures has already released one movie starring the character with the next - Venom: Let There Be Carnage - coming next June.
The difference is that we're talking about Agent Venom here, and it would be great to see a spinoff like this make Flash Thompson an important part of the story and set up an Agent Venom movie. After losing his legs fighting overseas (inspired by the heroics of Spider-Man), Flash is offered the chance to be bonded with the alien symbiote and once again serve his country.
This version of the character is in some ways a lot more interesting that the "Lethal Protector" phase Eddie Brock went through, though we do think Tony Revolori will probably have to be recast!