Who Is Marvel’s Grim Reaper? New MCU Villain Explained

A new villain for the MCU, the Grim Reaper, is set to debut in Marvel Studios' upcoming Wonder Man series. Marvel Studios' development of a Wonder Man series was announced in June 2022, with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton and Hawkeye's Andrew Guest attached as co-creators. In October, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was revealed to be portraying the titular role of Simon Williams, a.k.a. Wonder Man, and the series will also mark the return of Ben Kingsley as Trevor Slattery from Iron Man 3 and Shang-Chi, as well as debuting MCU newcomer Lauren Glazier in an undisclosed role.
In Marvel Comics, Simon Williams is the son of industrialist Sanford Williams, owner of Williams Innovations, a rival company to Stark Industries. Simon gains his ionic abilities thanks to Baron Heinrich Zemo after being incarcerated for embezzling funds from the family business. These gifts are initially used to infiltrate the Avengers, but Simon ends up becoming a staunch ally to the team who dreams of starring in Hollywood movies, despite operating as a superhero. In March 2023, it was confirmed that Demetrius Grosse has been cast as Wonder Man's villain, Eric Williams, a.k.a. the Grim Reaper, Simon Williams' brother.
Grim Reaper's Origins & Powers In Marvel Comics While Simon Williams was raised in a loving household, Eric was the "black sheep" of the family, dismissed by his mother and abused by his father. After Eric burned down the family home, Simon felt a sense of responsibility for his brother, which continued into their adult lives as Simon became more studious and Eric worked to become a gifted athlete. Eric eventually turned to petty crimes and became affiliated with the Maggia crime syndicate. Simon embezzled from his company on Eric's advice, landing the former in prison and leading to his transformation into Wonder Man and his debut adventure, which leaves him in a catatonic state, assumed dead.
Enraged at his brother's apparent death, Eric contacted the Tinkerer, who provided him with his scythe, a weapon that, thanks to Ultron's enhancements, allowed Eric to send his victims into comas. Eric assumes the moniker Grim Reaper and sets out to battle the Avengers. The Grim Reaper was originally a technology-based villain, with his scythe being able to spin at rapid speeds and fire plasma blasts and electric stun shocks, but in later appearances, Eric gained some mystical abilities, allowing him to resurrect the dead, summon demons, and create illusions. His right hand was also amputated and replaced with his scythe, giving him the proper look of a Marvel supervillain.
Over the years, Eric Williams worked with villain groups including the Lethal Legion, the Legion of the Unliving, HYDRA, and the Apocalypse Twins' Horsemen of Death. The Grim Reaper's long-running rivalry with Vision, thanks to learning that Simon's brainwaves helped to create the synthezoid, will be an interesting dynamic to explore, especially with an MCU Vision Quest series also in rumored development. The Grim Reaper has been involved in some of Marvel Comics' biggest storylines, so his introduction in the not-too-distant future of the MCU creates the opportunity for some exciting stories to be adapted.
How The MCU Already Teased Grim Reaper Although the Grim Reaper was revealed to be coming to the MCU only very recently, the character's debut has been teased in previous MCU projects. The most prominent tease came during the animated opening sequence of WandaVision episode 2, "Don't Touch That Dial." During the opening credits, Vision is shown to be phasing through walls and ceilings, gifting audiences a look between the floorboards of Vision and the Scarlet Witch's Westview home. In one of the gaps between floors can be seen the unmistakable shape of the Grim Reaper's helmet, surrounded by cobwebs and bones.


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