The lack of good villains was a common criticism leveled against the Marvel Cinematic Universe in its early years. Loki and the Red Skull existed, to be sure, but who else? The less said about Whiplash, the better. Maliketh the Dark Elf completely squandered the magnetic Christopher Eccleston, while Iron Monger was essentially Jeff Bridges' head floating above a computer-generated robot. With the inclusion of Thanos and the universe-ending Black Panther villain Killmonger, this criticism has partly subsided over time.
The ruler of Latveria, Dr. Victor von Doom, is the unbeatable bad guy fans are eager to see even if the MCU is constantly expanding its pool of antagonists.
Doctor Doom, a creation of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, made his debut in 1962's Fantastic Four #5, imposing himself as a fearsome foe with his green tunic and metallic mask. The subsequent six decades added rich narrative and moral depth while maintaining Doom's histrionic third-person discourse and propensity for robotic clones, only serving to highlight his grandeur. Doom is, in essence, the biggest antagonist in comic books, if not all of popular culture.
This intricacy is demonstrated by the fact that despite his propensities toward totalitarianism, Doom is adored by his subjects and regarded as a capable leader in Latveria. The Fantastic Four vs. The X-Men from 1986 featured Doom working with the X-Men to help Kitty Pryde recover from a ghostly form, and he also helped deliver Reed and Sue's younger daughter Valeria during a challenging pregnancy. Doom has also demonstrated a willingness to assist others, even heroes, when it suits him. Yes, he merely performed those things to surpass Reed, but yet, progress was made.
Sadly, movie depictions have fallen short of the comics' brilliance. While Joseph Culp's corny performance as Doom in Roger Corman's low-budget The Fantastic Four from 1994 had a certain charm, Julian McMahon's portrayal of the character in Tim Story's films from the 2000s was more akin to a disgruntled investment banker. Toby Kebbell's 2015 performance in the Cronenberg-like remake is indeed spooky, except one thing. The MCU is prepared to finally pay Doom his dues given its superb casting thus far.
Doom has interacted with the other rulers of Marvel nations, notably Wakanda, over the years. Doom frequently approaches Black Panther with respect, appreciating T'Challa as a fellow good leader who effectively governs his people, motivated by his enormous ego and classist tendencies. Nevertheless, it is this respect that makes Doom such a ferocious foe of Black Panther.
The Doomwar narrative, a six-issue miniseries written by Jonathan Maberry, illustrated by John Romita Jr., Will Conrad, and Scot Eaton, and colored by Dean White, marked the start of these conflicts in the contemporary day. The Siege storyline, in which Norman Osborn assumed control of the Marvel Universe after defeating the Skrulls in Secret Invasion, was the setting for the 2010 miniseries and its subsequent crossover issues.
Doom forms his own group, the Cabal, as vengeance and invites T'Challa to join them. Doom is so offended when T'Challa declines that he sends Namor and the Atlanteans to assault in retaliation. In order to lead a band of Wakandans, the Fantastic Four, and different X-Men in a counterattack, T'Challa must hand up the Black Panther mantle to his sister Shuri after being severely outmatched by the onslaught.
Doom was a member of a group that just assaulted the Avengers at their stronghold on Avengers Mountain (the body of a Celestial, frozen in the Arctic, not unlike what we saw in Eternals). In the four-part narrative "The Death Hunters" by Jason Aaron, Juan Frigeri, and David Curiel, which appears in Avengers #51–54 (2021–2022), the team is split between fending off a Multiversal squad of Mephisto versions, the bloodthirsty Kid Thanos, and Doom. T'Challa creates a scarlet outfit using Wakandan technology and sorcery and adopts the moniker Red Panther in order to confront the adversary. Red Panther can defeat Doom thanks to a combination of will, magic, and technology, escalating their feud.
It seems improbable that Doom won't have a role in the Phase Six debut of the Fantastic Four in 2024. However, his history with Black Panther in comic books may indicate that Doom may appear much sooner. The Mr. Fantastic of Earth 838 joined the Illuminati through Doom's time vortex in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, giving us a glimpse of the character, while the official description for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever clearly provides opportunity for interaction with Doom's country Latveria.
The trailer reveals that Atlantis, led by the haughty Prince Namor (Tenoch Huerta), will be the main nation in opposition with Wakanda, and that plot point sounds a lot like the story from Doomwar. The leaders of Wakanda band together "to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death," according to the synopsis. Could Latveria, as in the comics, be a further major global power shown in this film and perhaps even the country that is actually orchestrating the battle between Wakanda and Atlantis?
A sophisticated figure like Doom might be introduced to the world in a wonderful way through Wakanda Forever. Doom at first appears to be a one-dimensional villain due to his moniker and scary appearance. He would, however, emerge from Wakanda Forever as a world leader who put the needs of his people first. Additionally, the fact that Doom is a competent leader and well-liked by his subjects would be highlighted because the movie depicts a country in turmoil without its monarch. The most complicated live-action antagonist to date will be shown to us even if the film ends with Doom betraying Wakanda and forcing the new Black Panther to team up with anti-hero Namor (a recurrent conflict in the comics).
When Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premieres in cinemas on November 11, 2022, we'll be certain.