Top 10 Supporting Characters in the MCU
I thought this would be an easy one, that I’d easily pick out 10. But when you go back through the films and TV shows there’s been an amazing line up of actors and characters filling out the lives of the big heroes. For this list we have skipped over major heroes, villains and sidekicks, going with the roles that help give life to the fantastic world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Did I miss a favourite? Sound off in the comments and we’ll do a part 2.
#10. Dr. Erik Selvig
Played by Stellan Skarsgård
(Thor, The Avengers, The Dark World, Age of Ultron)
Very much the deliverer of exposition regarding Norse mythology in Thor, it didn’t seem as though the character was especially needed in the larger franchise. He just had to explain who everyone was to Jane and Quirky Darcy. His character took a more interesting turn in The Avengers when he was possessed by Loki and assisted him in opening a dimensional portal for his alien armies to invade New York, an experience that broke his mind. He’s been left well and truely nutso and will occasionally run naked through Stonehenge.
#9. Deathlok (Mike Peterson)
Played by J. August Richards
(Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
A long running villain in the comic world, Deathlok was not likely to be given the star baddie treatment afforded the likes of Red Skull or Winter Soldier. He has been used to great effect on the small screen, however, by showing the impact the influx of heroes, aliens and dimensional rifts have had on the wider world. Having been given special abilities through drugs and technology he became the unwitting pawn of Hydra, later switching to Team Coulson. He’s recurring presence, especially when played by Richards, has been a welcome addition to AoS.
#8. The Collector
Played by Benicio del Toro
(The Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy)
Throughout the 60s and 70s Marvel comics would spend a surprising amount of time sending their heroes into the great black void and things would undoubtably get weird. For decades the space adventure side of the Marvel universe was the place the writers and the artists could really let their imaginations off the chain, giving rise to psychedelic oddities. The best representation of this era on the screens in undoubtably del Toro’s kooky Collector. His freakish appearance and odd mannerisms stand out as one of the strangest parts of a movie with a talking tree and angry raccoon.
#7. Howard Stark
Played by John Slattery and Dominic Cooper
(Iron Man 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, Ant-Man, Agent Cooper, Civil War)
A large part of the Tony Stark character is his relationship with his father, an innovator like him but certainly more…together. Tony feels like he never got his father’s approval and missed his chance to square things with him before losing him in an accident. Nonetheless Howard Stark has recurred time and time again in flashback and the movies and shows set in the past. He hasn’t been fleshed out much, but we’ve gotten two distinct sides of the character. The young, brash playboy who Tony possibly emulates, and the mature family man who raised Tony. Personally I’ve favoured Cooper’s take on the character, but they’re both essential to understand where Tony Stark comes from.
#6. ‘Happy’ Hogan
Played by Jon Favreau
(Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3)
Fravreau is arguably the man who started it all. Stepping into the directors chair for Iron Man he guided the MCU into being. He also took a role on screen (as he often does on his films) by playing Tony Starks faithful chauffeur. Unlike Pepper, Happy takes his employers eccentricities in good humour, participating in both racing and boxing together. When Stark is in trouble, Happy has no problem putting his own neck on the line to drive into oncoming F1 drivers and fist fight Hammer security guards. It’s a small but cool role.
#5. Sharon Carter (Agent 13)
Played by Emily VanCamp
(The Winter Soldier, Civil War)
Initially introduced to audiences as a potential love interest for Steve Rogers, she didn’t seem to have a function beyond some cute, flirty scenes. Then she burst into his apartment with a firearm, revealing herself to be an undercover SHIELD agent. Surprisingly they have kept both sides of this character intact rather than shedding her original persona for a cool, tough agent type. And whilst we do question the ethics of A) flirting with the person you’re there to secretly monitor and B) hitting on your girlfriends niece at your girlfriend’s funeral she seems like a great potential member of the Secret Avengers.
Played by Jaimie Alexander
(Thor, The Dark World, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
We love of the Asgardian heroes who hang out with Thor in his homeworld, and Sif is undoubtably the most awesome. Volstagg is tough and Fandral is dapper but Sif is the only one who is undeniably badass. She’s often seen at the centre of battles and although she has expressed romantic interest in Thor, her character has never been defined by this unresolved attraction. Sif got to have her own adventure in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and hopefully she plays a larger role in future Thor adventures.
#3. Foggy Nelson
Played by Elden Henson
This easily could have been a one note character, simply playing the comic relief or bumbling sidekick to Matt Murdoch. It’s one of the great strengths of the Netflix shows that supporting characters such as Foggy are given so much room to move and develop. Foggy is a deep, layered character who is an astute lawyer and loyal partner to Murdoch. Undoubtably one of the best episodes in the excellent series follows Foggy’s discovery of Matt’s duel identity, where Henson scored some of the best dialogue in the franchise.
#2. Agent Maria Hill
Played by Cobie Smulders
(The Avengers, The Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
It just occured to me that four out the top five characters are female. Funny, considering how little representation they get in the main team. Introduced in The Avengers as the right hand to Nick Fury, Maria has become the face and the voice of SHIELD in the MCU. A career member of the United States military, we have learned very little about Hill. It’s possible that there isn’t much to know, as she appears to be completely committed to her role as an Agent of SHIELD. She’s the keeper of Fury’s deepest secrets and plays an integral role in managing the Avengers.
#1. Claire Temple
Played by Rosario Dawson
(Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage)
Claire Temple is a nurse in New York, working the night shift in the emergency department. It’s in this role that Temple has crossed paths with the blind vigilante Daredevil, the super powered PI Jessica Jones, the unbreakable Luke Cage and soon the powerful Iron Fist. Portrayed as the civilian figure caught up in the mayhem of the streets, Temple has come to accept her role in the lives of the heroes and could well be the one to bring the four together for The Defenders. With her increased role in Luke Cage the character has just become more impressive, with Dawson putting in a fantastic performance.