Everything is at a standstill for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Black Widow, The Eternals, and Marvel’s Disney+ series have all been delayed for months due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Considering the current industry climate, it’s unlikely we’ll be watching another Avengers movie anytime soon. Even so, Marvel boss Kevin Feige and his team are always planning ahead. Given the staggering success of both Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame fans should expect the MCU to introduce another big bad worthy enough to bring the superheroes together for another battle in an eventual Avengers 5.
There are plenty of villains the Avengers could battle, but perhaps no one is more terrifying, tyrannical, and calculated than Annihilus. First introduced in 1968’s Fantastic Four #6, Annihilus has appeared in several big Marvel comics stories, including the Kree-Skrull war and was the primary villain during 2006’s Annihilation miniseries crossover.
Armed with superhuman strength, the ability to manipulate molecules, and an exoskeleton that protects him from harm, Annihilus is a formidable and vindictive foe. More importantly, the cosmic supervillain is one of the rulers of the Negative Zone, an antimatter dimension that is largely uninhabited but parallel to Earth.
In the comics, Thanos didn’t work alone and at one point allied himself with Annihilus. In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos revealed his plans to save the Earth by erasing half of its people from existence. The idea was that if there were less people, there would be enough resources. The plan was obviously flawed for reasons too long to list, but the gist of it is that Annihilus’ plans for Earth were much worse than anything Thanos had ever done. Rather than snapping half of Earth’s population, Annihilus wanted to eradicate it and other planets entirely with the aid of the power cosmic, an energy source that can be used to blow entire solar systems to smithereens.
Annihilus convinced Thanos to assist him in turning Galactus, the devourer of worlds, into a weapon to accomplish his goals. However, when the Mad Titan realized that Annihilus wants to kill the universe, he betrays him and tries to release Galactus. Long story short, Galactus, the Silver Surfer, Ronan the Accuser (who appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy) and more work together to stop the Annihilation Wave, Annihilus' destructive armada, from obliterating the cosmos.
Now, before Marvel confirmed Avengers: Endgame as the official title, fans actually speculated that the film would be called Avengers: Annihilation after the 2006 comic book storyline. It’s possible that fans connected Thanos’ involvement with that of Annihilus’ arrival. While the nefarious antagonist didn’t show up in Endgame, it’s possible that Thanos’ actions might set up Annihilus’ introduction in Avengers 5.
With the MCU characters time traveling and dimension-hopping in future films and TV shows, it’s possible that one of them (maybe Loki) will come into contact with the Negative Zone. After all, its existence can’t be a secret forever. If Loki or someone else opens up a portal to the parallel universe, it could unleash Annihilus and kickstart his plans for galactic destruction. Only the combined efforts of Earth’s mightiest heroes will be able to stop him, making him worthy of becoming the MCU’s next major villain.
The rights to Annihilus were previously owned by 20th Century Fox, but now that Disney has acquired the studio, perhaps Annihilus will finally be able to join the MCU. Since Marvel hasn’t officially announced Avengers 5 yet, there’s still plenty of time to figure out the best way to establish Annihilus as the next big threat.