The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had one of the largest varieties of villains over the years. There were some villains who appeared for a single project and proved the incompetence of the heroes. Others changed their views over time and became something different later in the narrative. Somehow these villains actually ended up playing an essential part in developing the arc of the heroes. An essential part of creating a villain for these movies requires them to have a proper story that led to their motives. Often these background narratives are not developed properly and the movie fails to do justice to these characters. The MCU might be filled with some of the most notorious villains but some of them have a really tragic backstory. Let’s take a look at some of the saddest MCU villain origins we have witnessed in the MCU. They really allowed us to relate to the characters.
Taskmaster is a very recent addition to the MCU in Black Widow which was supposed to give an insight into Natasha Romanoff’s character. Natasha Romanoff has a tragic past and it is also linked with Taskmaster. The villain had poor reception because of the terrible way the character was brought to the screen. But her history was linked to the time when Natasha Romanoff got out of the Black Widow programs. This allowed her to become an Avenger even though she was unaware of the true consequences of her actions. In order to get out of the program, she had to kill Draykov but she failed to do that and instead scarred his daughter. Draykov further ruined her life by making her Taskmaster.
Eternals might not be the best project that we got from the MCU but it did bring a variety of new faces to the franchise. A rather interesting villain amongst these has to be Kro who was one of the smarted Deviants. This Deviant managed to evolve by absorbing the powers from some of the Eternals. This Deviant managed to realize the true plans that the Celestials had for them. He was able to find out that they were actually failures and the Eternals were sent to finish his race. Upon realizing this he went ahead and actually further realized why he had to kill the Eternals. But it’s tragic to think that there was nothing truly wrong with his race except for the fact that the Celestials failed at giving them proper purpose.
Another one of the single movie villains, Ghost AKA Ava Starr was the primary antagonist in Ant-Man and the Wasp. Though this was initially what was told to us, it wasn’t actually her true character. Her motives were simply in conflict with that of the heroes. She was motivated at accessing the Quantum Tunnel by stealing Hank Pym’s lab because of her powers. Her powers are a continuous source of pain for her and they are associated with a terrible accident that happened when she was just a child. When one gets to see her backstory, her motives become fairly obvious and give way to understanding her tragedy.
It is not easy to pit the Avengers against each other but Helmut Zemo was able to do that without any superpowers. He managed to break the Avengers team and at the same time was motivated to put an end to the idea of super-soldier. All this isn’t an easy thing to do and we can be assured that there has to be something motivating him. The character was motivated by a personal loss that he faced and how it had impacted him. Zemo lost his family and his home during the chaos that unfolded in Avengers: Age of Ultron. This made him want the Avengers to be accountable for the massive chaos that unfolds every time they come across a villain. This character actually stands for everyone who had faced losses due to the various Avengers battles.
Wenwu might actually be amongst the best of the villains that we have gotten to see in the MCU. The introduction of the character in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings actually helped correct the mistakes of Iron Man 3. He was a ruthless villain and he made sure nothing stood in his way as he walked towards his goals. The character had a massive history that clearly helped us to understand his true goals and his impact on the modern world. His return to his evil ways was rather obvious because of the major loss he faced. The only thing that had allowed him to try to be good was lost and that’s why he had to return to his ruthless ways.
Bucky Barnes has given a narrative quite a long time back in Captain America: The First Avenger. But we later got to see him as the prime antagonist in Captain America: Winter Soldier. Later he would redeem himself of his ills by working with the Avengers in their various battles. But the character’s past still brings a lot of trauma to him and it does affect him still as we saw in Falcon and the Winter Soldier. He was used as an assassin to kill Tony Stark’s parents and even though he wasn’t in control of what he did the memories of those events still reside with him. Winter Soldier might be one of the most broken characters in the MCU.
Loki is one of the only characters in MCU who cannot be clearly understood through the narrative. He is also one of the favorite villains from the franchise even though there is much confusion if he can be called a villain. There were various times we thought he was dead but it was just another one of the tricks he had up his sleeves. But the very first time we saw him, we understood the depth of the character because of the history he has had. He didn’t know that he was the son of the monsters that his present family was popular for having defeated. Most of his acts throughout MCU were intended to get some love from the people around him.
The present state of Nebula might not be a villain but she had a different narrative entirely in the past for her. She has somewhat parallel to the case of Loki as she also wanted to gain love from her father Thanos. But it seems that she is always lost at doing this because of her sister Gamora. She was stolen from her true family and had to spend the rest of her youth in order of Thanos. Thanos has had some experiments done on her in order to make her a bit better and this has been a harrowing experience for her. This suffering actually reduced her to lose some of her true emotions and get motivated by what she was right by her father.
Wanda Maximoff is one of the most tragic characters in MCU. She was the villain in the initial few moments of Avengers: Age of Ultron but switched sides along with her brother upon realizing what Ultron planned to do. The character only recently came to her true potential during the events of the Disney+ series of WandaVision. It was in this series only that we came to see why she was initially motivated against the Avengers. Not only that, but we might get to see her as the villain in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. This time her motivations might be towards finding her kids across the multiverse.
These were the saddest MCU villain origins according to us. Which others did you feel remorse for? Let us know in the comments.