11 Years Ago, The MCU Warned Exactly How Dangerous The Dark Avengers Could Be

The Dark Avengers might have a future in the MCU, but Marvel's movie timeline has already offered a stark warning of how dangerous they could be to their heroic counterparts. That precedent was established way back in Phase 2, when Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark dealt with the fallout of Loki's attack on New York in Iron Man 3. With the MCU still in its post-Avengers period, and no active superhero team protecting Earth, the need for protection is already leading to something darker than Nick Fury's Avengers Initiative.
In 2025, the first real Avengers replacement team will debut in the MCU, in the upcoming Thunderbolts movie. That will go hand-in-hand with Captain America: Brave New World's introduction of a brand new Avengers team, potentially inciting another hero vs hero conflict of ideologies for the first time since 2016's Civil War event. Crucially, the MCU has already set up the idea of superheroes being used for nefarious deeds, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Valentina Allegra de Fontaine recruiting on behalf of a so-far-unrevealed benefactor. And the worry for the MCU's Avengers is that their legacy could all too easily be weaponized by other rogue agents.
Related Every Upcoming Marvel Movie: Full MCU Phase 5 & 6 List (& Beyond) Between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment, here is every upcoming Marvel movie release date and what we know about the projects so far. Iron Man 3 Showed An Avenger Being Hijacked A Warning Of Superhero Identities In The Wrong Hands Close Eric Savin (James Badge Dale) may not be among the most memorable MCU villains, but he left an impressive trail of destruction for an elevated henchman. Not only was he responsible for almost killing Happy Hogan, destroying Tony Stark's home, kidnapping the President, and destroying Air Force One, he also took down two Avengers. First, he arguably came the closest to killing Tony Stark of all MCU villains, and then he incapacitated Rhodey alongside Aldrich Killian to steal the Iron Patriot armor.
And it's the Iron Patriot armor that's most important, because of how Savin and Killian weaponized Rhodey's heroic alter-ego to board Air Force One and get close to President Ellis. Even beyond the misuse of technology developed to protect Earth - a recurring theme in Iron Man's MCU era - Savin's theft of the rebranded War Machine armor was dangerous because it gave Savin the access afforded by Rhodey's profile to almost kill the President.
Your browser does not support the video tag. Years later, Rhodey's identity would be hijacked again, in Secret Invasion's shocking reveal that he had been replaced by a Skrull at some point after the events of Civil War. In both cases, villainous forces were able to enact evil plans simply by appearing to be one of Earth's real defenders. The same thing effectively happened in Marvel Comics' Dark Avengers arc, as Norman Osborn had villains disguise themselves as real Avengers and present themselves as heroes before their true colors were revealed.
Norman Osborn's Original Dark Avengers Line-Up
Public Identity
Real Name
Villain Identity
Iron Patriot
Norman Osborn
Green Goblin
Mac Gargan
Ms. Marvel a.k.a. Captain Marvel
Karla Sofen
Captain Marvel
The Sentry
Robert Reynolds
The Void
The MCU Has Already Played With Replacement Heroes Gone Bad Phase 4's New Captain America Ruined Steve Rogers' Brand Close While it wasn't universally loved, Falcon & The Winter Soldier introduced the intriguing idea of superhero ownership to the MCU. In the wake of Steve Rogers' apparent death in Avengers: Endgame's ending, the government introduced a replacement, reclaiming their Captain America brand that had been an army creation in the 1940s. John Walker was the antithesis of Steve Rogers, despite his initially good intentions, losing himself to darkness and publicly compromising the image of Captain America.
The fragile brand of the Avengers, which has already suffered some significant set-backs, would be in real peril.
Walker is essentially another warning of the danger of the superhero brand and how important it is that the right person is behind the costume and the great responsibility of protection. His dynamic was somewhat different to when Rhodey was replaced, but he was presented to the public as a hero on par with Steve Rogers, and they accepted him. Ultimately, that led to the shocking betrayal of his role when he very publicly killed a Flag Smasher as the world watched.
If the MCU's Dark Avengers were unveiled - or even the Thunderbolts' real intentions were publicly shrouded behind the lie of their goodness, as has long been suspected - the fragile brand of the Avengers, which has already suffered some significant set-backs, would be in real peril. Public opinion on the MCU's primary superhero team has swung back and forth for years, despite how many times they've saved Earth, and villains disguising themselves as heroes - like the Dark Avengers - or a superhero team being for evil would absolutely cause further outrage.
Iron Man 3 PG-13 Where to Watch *Availability in US
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Iron Man 3 pits genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist Tony Stark (Iron Man) against the Mandarin, an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his world destroyed by his mysterious antagonist, he embarks on a dangerous quest to find those responsible. His journey will test his character at every turn. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him and determine whether or not the suit makes the man or if Tony himself is the hero.
Director Shane Black Release Date May 3, 2013 Cast Ben Kingsley , Guy Pearce , Paul Bettany , Don Cheadle , gwyneth paltrow , Jon Favreau , Robert Downey Jr. Runtime 130 Mins


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