OK, Marvel doesn’t quite have the power to literally revive gods just yet… I don’t think. But just as Thor and his surrounding characters are pulled from very real mythology (and religion, for some), the Marvel comics have made use of dozens if not hundreds of additional deities over the years. Going too far with these characters would probably make the whole MCU seem a little bit out there. Then again, we’ve already seen Thor and Loki teleporting all over the freaking Universe battling frost giants and titans and whatnot, so perhaps “out there” isn’t a distinction Marvel cares too much about.
Forgetting about that for a moment, a lot of gods from human history just make for really cool character types that could add new dynamics to the MCU (which already has about 14,124 dynamics by my estimation). These five in particular would just be awesome.
I’m starting off with one of the more obscure gods to have appeared in the Marvel comics. According to Comic Vine’s character database, Iktomi has been in five issues—four in the Dances With Demons comic and one in Thor & Hercules: Encyclopaedia Mythologica. That’s not a lot of material for the MCU to build on, but it gives them a great deal of creative license and there are a few reasons why Iktomi would be an ideal fit moving forward.
Who and what is he, exactly? Well, he’s a shape-shifting spider-god who can control humans like puppets, of course. Historically speaking, he’s a trickster god of the Native American Lakota people. Iktomi might just be an ideal addition to the MCU because he could simultaneously function as a foil to both good and bad characters—a wicked spider to counter the new Peter Parker, and an Earth-bound trickster opposed to Loki. Not to mention, he’d add some much-needed cultural diversity to the MCU.
If any of the gods on this list actually wind make it into the MCU in one way or another, Horus is probably the best bet. This is the Egyptian god of the sky and sun, and he’s made a few appearances in Marvel history. He even traveled to Asgard to interact with Thor and Odin once or twice (which provides a natural entry point to the MCU).
But Horus may ultimately be the likeliest inclusion because his counterpart—Khnoshu, the god of the moon and vengeance—is already a good bet to be involved. Following a mysterious entry into a Marvel app game, the semi-obscure character of the Moon Knight is now headed for a Netflix series. The Moon Knight is basically a vigilante who’s left for dead before being preserved and imparted with special powers by Khonshu. So perhaps it’s only natural that Horus gets involved on the other side of things.
Then again, Marvel could just opt for another super-famous and iconic god similar Thor by bringing in Apollo, coolest of the Olympians and god of, like, twenty different things (including science and prophecy, which go well with a lot of Marvel nonsense). He could basically serve any purpose Marvel desired in the modern films.
This would also be an interesting choice because unlike Iktomi and Horus, Apollo is pretty familiar to modern audiences. Interestingly enough, he’s currently the focus of a game within the arcade section at Betfair, which at times has included characters from Marvel (as well as other mythologies like Beowulf). In the game, he’s used as a theme for a slot machine-style experience that incorporates icons like a Spartan war helmet, a pegasus, etc., and Apollo himself is depicted as a fierce and fiery symbol of power. Meanwhile, in the 2011 film Immortals, Apollo was portrayed (by Corey Sevier) as a sort of pure, godly warrior virtually indiscriminate from other Olympians. In short, fans have some varying ideas about who Apollo is, and Marvel could have a lot of fun playing off of those and designing a character.
4. Guan Yu
Depending on where you look, Guan Yu has been known as both the Chinese god of war and god of death. Either way he makes for a very strong and powerful character to inject into the MCU. He could also be relevant simply because of the scope we’re looking at in the coming films. There’s a lot of war and death going around, so some culture’s god of such things probably ought to step in and have a word. Guan Yu would be an ideal choice because he’d bring a Far East element that’s oddly lacking in the MCU thus far.
As for his appearances in Marvel, Guan Yu has actually appeared in 12 different issues over time. None of them have been particularly major, but that’s a decent presence for a relatively unknown character.
Frankly, this list could keep going on and on for a very long time. Marvel has made use of tons of gods over the years, to the point that if you can come up with one from any culture on Earth, he or she has probably appeared in at least one Marvel comic. It’s actually an impressive branch of Marvel’s creativity. But the four above, for the reasons listed, would all make logical and interesting additions to the growing cinematic side of the comic book giant.