Doctor Doom wields the Infinity Gauntlet in this piece from Marvel concept artist Charlie Wen. The first eleven years of the MCU were defined by the Infinity Stones, six powerful items that, when brought together, could wipe out half of all life in the universe. Several movies were spent building up the Stones before the epic two-parter of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, which finally connected the Stones for a massive finale. The overarching villain of the Infinity Saga, Thanos (Josh Brolin), was driven by his quest to unite all six Stones, and now that he has been defeated, the question on many fans’ minds is this: Who will replace him as the next big MCU villain?
Victor von Doom, or Doctor Doom, is certainly a popular contender. The famous comics villain has been brought to the big screen three times before in various Fantastic Four films, but to say his appearances were underwhelming would be putting it lightly. Now that the rights to Doctor Doom (as well as the Fantastic Four) have returned to Marvel Studios, fans are expecting the masked villain to join the MCU at some point over the next few years. Marvel has yet to confirm whether Doctor Doom will be the next big bad, but it would certainly make sense if he is.
Charlie Wen, the Head of Visual Development over at Marvel Studios, shared a piece of art depicting Doctor Doom with the Infinity Gauntlet tucked firmly onto his hand. It’s important to recognize that this isn’t an official piece of concept art (Wen made sure to mention he “Didn’t spend time redesigning him for the big screen.”), but that it’s just a fun “what if” scenario. It’s hard to deny Doctor Doom with the Infinity Gauntlet is a terrifying possibility.
Sadly, though, this will likely remain just a “what if,” since the MCU’s future looks to move away from the Infinity Stones altogether. Aside from the Disney+ series Loki, which will include the Space Stone, the Infinity Stones’ time in the spotlight has likely come to an end. It’s expected that another massive event will bring all of the MCU’s heroes together, as Infinity War did, but it remains to be seen what that event will be. Some fans are hoping for a Secret Wars film, or even a Secret Invasion storyline. The former would present an opportunity to introduce Doctor Doom into the MCU, so perhaps that is the route Marvel will take.
An MCU-set Fantastic Four film is in the works, but some fans wonder if Doctor Doom could arrive in the franchise sooner. A popular pick for Doctor Doom’s first movie is Black Panther 2, which is currently in development and will arrive in theaters in 2022. It’s not actually clear who the main villain of that film will be, but there are many viable candidates in addition to Doctor Doom. Only time will tell when he will make his big entrance into the universe.