The MCU is known to be notoriously tight-lipped about its projects, aiming to avoid spoilers at all costs. Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe love coming up with their own theories and predictions, but we ultimately only ever know what the producers want us to. Regardless, one of the most exciting parts of a new phase of the MCU is seeing all the new heroes and villains take center stage and shine alongside the characters we have already come to know and love — or hate.
The upcoming fifth phase of the MCU is set to feature a lot of old and beloved characters as well as some interesting new ones. While the antagonists of movies like The Marvels and shows like Agatha: Coven of Chaos have yet to be revealed as of December, 2022, there are a few new heroes and villains that have been confirmed. Here are all the new MCU heroes and villains making their debuts in 2023.
Adam Warlock (Will Poulter) – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Adam Warlock is a character that is well known by Marvel Comics fans for his role in the Infinity Saga comic arcs. When the MCU Infinity Saga went by and there was no sign of Adam, many believed that he would never be joining the MCU. However, with the recent release of the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 trailer, it’s been revealed that he, in fact, will be making his MCU debut as an antagonist in the upcoming, highly anticipated blockbuster. Created by the Sovereign and sent to destroy the Guardians, Adam Warlock is a genetically superior being with all his abilities and traits being heightened far more than that of a regular person.
The High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji) – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
One of a few characters who will have appeared as a character in both DC and Marvel live-action adaptations, Chukwudi Iwuji is a stellar actor that will also be making his MCU debut in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 as the High Evolutionary. The teasers and trailers for the movie revealed that we will be learning more about Rocket’s past and creation. This is where the High Evolutionary comes in. The High Evolutionary is a mad scientist obsessed with evolution and creating his idea of “perfect beings,” leading us to learn that he is, in fact, Rocket’s maker. The character has been described to be narcissistic but charming, so we can’t wait to see what role he plays in the movie, especially since he will be portrayed by such a captivating talent like Iwuji.
Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) – Secret Invasion
In a unique turn of events, the MCU will be introducing a character outside of the comic books, and he’s to be played by British star, Kingsley Ben-Adir. Gravik is an original character that will star in 2023’s anticipated miniseries, Secret Invasion, led by Samuel L. Jackson as the iconic Nick Fury. Based on the comic run of the same name, Secret Invasion follows the ex-head of SH.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury, as he discovers a conspiracy of shape-shifting Skrulls who have been slowly invading Earth by impersonating powerful humans. The MCU explained that Gravik would be the leader of the Skrull rebels but little else is known about him. Some fans have speculated that he may be an MCU take on The Super Skrull, a cosmic and powerful comic villain seen in the comics, but fans might have to wait for the show’s release to learn more about Gravik.
Sonya Falsworth (Olivia Colman) – Secret Invasion
Nick Fury is going to need all the allies he can assemble, and the trailer for Secret Invasion has shown a lot of new faces that will be rallying beside him. One of these is Special Agent Sonya Falsworth, an old friend of Fury’s, played by Oscar-winner Olivia Colman. Sonya Falsworth seems to be another original character created for the show, but the Falsworth name is quite popular in Marvel Comics, and we’ll have to wait to see if she has any relationship with the comic book hero, James Montgomery Falsworth, who donned the mantle of Union Jack and fought for the UK in World War II, while Captain America fought for the US. The MCU hasn’t revealed any connection between Sonya and James, but fans are counting on the possibility.
Abigail Brand (Emilia Clarke) – Secret Invasion
Rounding up the new allies Nick Fury will be working alongside in Secret Invasion is Abigail Brand, one of the most badass female heroes that’s been long overdue for her live-action moment. Brand is the commander of S.W.O.R.D., the extraterrestrial sister agency to S.H.I.E.L.D., which we were introduced to in WandaVision. Abigail Brand is known for her brash and no-nonsense personality, very similar to Nicky Fury’s, which is particularly interesting since they both occupy similar positions as powerful heads of intelligence agencies. Watching Brand and Fury banter and bicker is sure to add some levity to the intense show, but fans are most excited to see if the MCU is going to follow through with Brand’s half-alien genealogy from the comics, or do something different. Regardless, with the brilliant Emilia Clarke starring as the character, there’s a lot to anticipate.
Parker Robbins/The Hood (Anthony Ramos) – Ironheart
Riri Williams was a character whose introduction into the MCU sent fans into a frenzy after the release Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer. Riri is a genius MIT student who has filled the role of the iron-suited hero in the MCU since the death of the beloved Tony Stark. For the Ironheart TV show slated for release in 2023, Marvel has revealed that Riri will be going up against popular comic villain, The Hood. Parker Robbins is a young boy raised on the streets of New York who becomes a thief to make ends meet. He becomes extremely dangerous when he begins to dabble in dark magic, making him an interesting villain for the scientific and logical hero. After stealing multiple scenes in Wakanda Forever, there’s a lot of buzz surrounding Riri’s character, and with the suave Ramos taking center stage, an interesting duo is surely about to dominate.