Universal Pictures once attempted to copy the Marvel Cinematic Universe with their horror franchise Dark Universe, that was expected to give the studio a PG-13 cinematic universe centered around their legacy horror characters, The Universal Monsters. When Tom Cruise’s Mummy reboot flopped they pivoted away from a connective group of films and seem to be instead focusing on movie by movie after The Invisible Man.
Marvel Studios is actually in a perfect position to do what Universal struggled to do, making their own horror universe within the MCU with both films and Disney+ series. We’re apparently going to see a huge push on the live-action side with Doctor Strange In The Multiverse, Mahershala Ali’s Blade reboot, Oscar Isaac’s Moon Knight series, and plenty more things that have yet to officially announced.
There are plenty of characters that are assumed to be part of Marvel’s horror universe such as Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange), Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff), Blade (Eric Brooks), Moon Knight (Marc Spector), Brother Voodoo (Jericho Drumm), Werewolf By Night (Jack Russell), Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), Elsa Bloodstone, Abraham Whistler, Hannibal King, Frank Drake, Quincy Harker, Rachel van Helsing, Vlad Dracula, Baron Blood (John Falsworth), Deacon Frost, Lilith Drake, Lenore DeCade, Mephisto, Son of Satan (Daimon Hellstrom), The Devil’s Daughter (Satana Hellstrom), Mother of Demons (Lilith), Glyph (Nadeen Hassan), Vampire By Night (Nina Prince), Warwolf (Martin Renya), The Living Mummy (N’Kantu), Frankenstien’s Monster, Manphibian, and Man-Thing (Theodore Sallis).
But there could be even more characters mined for Marvel’s horror corner of the MCU.
The animated series What If…? is bringing Marvel Zombies to the MCU and there is a character that could easily make the jump to live-action to represent the zombie faction.
That is Simon William Garth aka Zombie, who had his own run of comic books with Tales of The Zombie. The character that was brought back from the dead using voodoo magic has a direct connection to Doctor Strange pal Brother Voodoo and could easily partner up with the occult hero.
Zombie is also a member of the Legion of Monsters alongside folks such as The Living Zombie, Frankenstein’s Monster, and others. Given the popularity of the zombie sub-genre with The Walking Dead (alongside spinoffs) and Zack Snyder recently returning to the genre with Army of The Dead (will also direct a sequel), it’s a no-brainier for Marvel to give audiences/fans a zombie character.
There seem to be strong indications that we’ll see Marvel move forward with a new Ghost Rider project, however, we don’t know if they’ll simply focus on a single character like Johnny Blaze or cover the multiple incarnations of the character.
There is a new Native American version, Kushala, an Apache woman from the 1800s that is possessed by the Spirit of Vengeance and became the Sorcerer Supreme of her era in attempt to cure herself. She goes by the name Demon Rider.
Adding Kushala could allow Marvel Studios to bring in a more diverse Ghost Rider to the live-action side of things and give us a solid Native American character that could get her own solo projects alongside someone like western hero William Talltrees aka Red Wolf. We’ve also seen Marvel use plenty of new characters lately as they slowly assemble the Young Avengers roster.
Speaking of Native American characters, there is someone that has a connection to Canadian indigenous lore that could make for a threat in the future and that is Wendigo.
The Wendigo is a stark white beast that is the manifestation of a curse for anyone who commits an act of cannibalism in the Canadian North Woods. A darker origin than normal for Marvel and anyone can be given the curse.
First appearing as a Hulk villain, the character has also clashed with Wolverine, X-Men, and Alpha Flight in the comics. Wendigo is sort of a mirror image of Walter Langkowski aka Sasquatch, a mutant member of Canadian superhero team Alpha Flight.
Taj Nital was an Indian (Muslim but designed as Sikh) vampire hunter part of Quincy Harker’s team Dracula Hunters from The Tomb of Dracula comics, who dedicated his life to hunting vampires after his son Adri was turned and he had to kill him.
A friend of Blade, Taj is turned into a vampire by the monstrous Varnae aka Lord of Vampires that tragically had to be slain by Blade.
The Blade reboot will hopefully bring back The Vampire Nation and having vampires/hunters from Asian countries would help establish that their tentacles are international, something teased with the original Blade movie from 1998 showcasing diverse members of The House of Erebus.