Marvel Just Canonized 15 Netflix Villains Into the MCU

By Sam Hargrave Updated:
Cottonmouth, Kilgrave, Trish Walker, Billy Russo

Following recent confirmation of Netflix's six Marvel series being canonized into the MCU, 15 major villains just became part of the superhero franchise.

The debate surrounding whether Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punisher are canon to the MCU has spanned many years, with Marvel Studios dodging questions of their canonicity. 

15 Marvel Villains Join the MCU's Official Canon

Disney+ recently placed all six of Netflix's Marvel series into the official MCU "Timeline Order," thereby declaring them to be part of the 16-year-long saga's canon after years of debate over their status.

This came after producer Brad Winderbaum, amid Daredevil's return in Echo, declared the Netflix series to be "part of the Sacred Timeline."

With three seasons of Daredevil and Jessica Jones, two of Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and The Punisher, and The Defenders limited series declared canon, Marvel Studios just brought 15 major villains into the official MCU timeline:

Wilson Fisk/Kingpin

Daredevil Vincent D'Onofrio - Kingpin

Kingpin has been in the MCU for several years now, going back to Hawkeye and now continuing into Echo. But with Daredevil officially now canon, the character has several more years of history and development behind him.

With the current MCU set in 2025, Daredevil and Kingpin have a more-than-a-decade-long rivalry behind them going into Disney+'s Daredevil: Born Again. This will only make their clash more intense as Vincent D'Onofrio's villain becomes New York mayor in the show.

The Hand

Daredevil The Hand

Originating in the Iron Fist's home of K'un-Lun, the ancient and powerful ninja clan had the ultimate goal of gaining immortality. It was founded by five people who were banished from K'un-Lun, with the leader being Sigourney Weaver's now-deceased Alexandra Reid, who was killed by Elektra.

By all accounts, the Hand was defeated in The Defenders as all "five fingers" of the group were killed or buried under a building. But the MCU could certainly work around that to bring the Hand back down the line if they wanted to.

Benjamin Poindexter/Bullseye

Daredevil Wilson Bethel - Bullseye

Wilson Bethel joined Daredevil in Season 3 as Benjamin Poindexter, a U.S. Army veteran, former FBI agent, and Wilson Fisk's assassin who he tasked with impersonating Daredevil to turn the public against him.

Poindexter was eventually left defeated and paralyzed after a fight with both Kingpin and Daredevil. After surgery, fans were left with a tease of him becoming the iconic villain Bullseye, which could finally happen in a future MCU appearance.

Kevin Thompson/Kilgrave

Jessica Jones David Tennant - Kilgrave

Doctor Who star David Tennant played the MCU's version of Purple Man in Jessica Jones, instead going by Kilgrave. His powers allowed him to control minds after he was experimented on by his parents as a child.

Jessica Jones fell victim to this power, as he essentially turned her into his sex slave, leading to him developing a love and obsession for her. This spawned years of trauma for Jones, marshaling her to kill him by the end of his tale.

Kilgrave is considered by many to be among Marvel's best on-screen villains, but his death and the intense themes surrounding him make his return unlikely.

Trish Walker/Hellcat

Jessica Jones Rachael Taylor - Hellcat

Model, child TV star, and radio host Trish Walker was the adoptive sister of Jessica Jones. But due to some envy over her sister's powers, Walker ended up getting her powers from the same surgery, leading her to become the vigilante Hellcat before losing her way and becoming a killer herself.

Once Hellcat was stopped by Jones, she ended up in the Raft, so perhaps she could become entangled with the Thunderbolts someday. Or maybe she could be redeemed to bring her back to her more comic-accurate heroic direction.

Cornell Bertram Stokes/Cottonmouth

Luke Cage Mahershala Ali - Cottonmouth

Two-time Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali played Harlem's crime boss villain Cottonmouth in Luke Cage Season 1. The leader of the Stokes Crime Family was taken down not by Cage, but by his own cousin Mariah Dillard.

It is certainly fortunate Cottonmouth met his demise in Luke Cage, as Ali will soon be stepping into a new MCU role as Blade. The vampire hunter already had a cameo in Eternals and will make his proper debut in 2025's Blade

Mariah Dillard/Black Mariah

Luke Cage Alfre Woodard - Black Mariah

Alfre Woodard, who had a minor role in Captain America: Civil War as another character, played Mariah Dillard, aka Black Mariah. She was both the cousin of Cottonmouth and an important female political figure in Harlem.

Black Mariah was responsible for Cottonmouth's murder, leading to her crime lord career that culminated in her imprisonment, death, and attempt to pass along her villainous mantle to Luke Cage.

Hernán Enrique Salazar Álvarez/Shades

Luke Cage Theo Rossi - Shades

Theo Rossi's Shades was a recurring antagonist of Luke Cage, starting as an associate of Diamondback sent to watch over Cottonmouth's operations before he eventually found himself allied to Black Mariah.

Shades, an expert in hand-to-hand combat, currently resides in Seagate Penitentiary for his crimes after betraying Black Mariah. But as more of a simple henchman figure, Shades' odds of returning in the future seem rather low.

Willis Harold Stryker/Diamondback

Luke Cage Erik LaRay Harvey - Diamondback

Willis Harold Stryker, aka Diamondback, has a close connection to Luke Cage and his father, beginning his criminal career after becoming angered by his father's poor treatment and going on to take control of Cottonmouth's empire.

Diamondback, donning a battle suit that granted him superhuman strength, took on Cage in a public Harlem showdown that led to his arrest and imprisonment.

John McIver/Bushmaster

Luke Cage Mustafa Shakir - Bushmaster

Mustafa Shakir's Bushmaster arrived in Luke Cage with an attempt to kill Black Mariah as part of his vendetta against the Stokes family. The enhanced villain, who has a similar powerset to Cage, saw his family killed by Mariah's grandmother.

This attempt was thwarted by Luke Cage, kickstarting their conflict that ultimately resulted in a team-up to take down the Stokes. Ultimately, Bushmaster left the show alive, heading home to Jamaica to recover from near-fatal injuries.

Harold Meachum

Iron Fist David Wenham - Harold Meachum

David Wenham's Harold Meachum built Rand Enterprises with Iron Fist's father Wendell Rand. But ultimately, his greed led him to partner with the Hand to have the Rands murdered and later revive him after he passed from cancer.

Meachum continued to run Rand Enterprises in secret through his son Ward, until eventually he came into conflict with Danny Rand, aka Iron Fist, and was finally killed by his son Ward during the battle.

Davos/Steel Serpent

Iron Fist

Sacha Dhawan played Davos in Iron Fist, a friend of Danny Rand and a contender for the Iron Fist mantle. His jealousy of Danny eventually placed the pair in conflict, leading to his alliance with Joy Meachum, daughter of Harold, to kill him.

In the comics, Davos was known as the Steel Serpent, which was vaguely referenced in the MCU as steel needles were used to tattoo a serpent on his back.

Ultimately, having attempted to take the power of the Iron Fist from Danny, Davos was defeated by a super-powered Colleen Wing, leading to his arrest.

Mary Walker/Typhoid Mary

Iron Fist Alice Eve - Typhoid Mary

Alice Eve's Mary Walker appeared in Iron Fist as a mercenary who was hired by Joy Meachum and Davos to kill Danny Rand. 

Having been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, she manifested two personalities, the naive Mary, who befriended Danny, and the killer Walker. She would eventually discover a third persona and attempt to assassinate Davos.

The MCU's Mary Walker is a major departure from her Marvel Comics counterpart, Typhoid Mary, who was a mutant with telekinetic powers who most commonly serves as an adversary to Daredevil.

John Pilgrim

The Punisher Josh Stewart - John Pilgrim

Josh Stewart's John Pilgrim was a former assassin for the white supremacist group, the Aryan Brotherhood, who found religion only to be eventually manipulated into committing a series of murders.

After going on a mission to save his sons, who were taken hostage by the same people who manipulated him into such killings, Pilgrim was assisted by the Punisher in saving his sons, leaving him to go free and live a life of peace.

Pilgrim was inspired by the Marvel Comics violent assassin Mennonite who, desperate for money to save his wife, was hired to kill Punisher.

William Russo/Jigsaw

The Punisher Ben Barnes - Jigsaw

Willam Russo, aka Jigsaw, was an ally to Frank Castle in Afghanistan during his time as a U.S. Marine. He would later go on to partake in illegal operations under his former chief and betray Castle, leading to the killings of the Punisher's family.

A showdown with Castle eventually led to his horrific facial scarring and further crimes under the alias of Jigsaw and his killing by the Punisher. 

Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punisher are streaming now on Disney+.

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.