Will a Dark Avengers Movie Still Happen Without Norman Osborn?
As has been reported, Sony and Marvel have not reached an agreement to bring Norman Osborn to the MCU. This could always change if they sit down and work things out, but as of now, it doesn't look too promising.
So, does this doom the Dark Avengers in the MCU? No, not at all. Marvel always has a backup plan, and it seems that is to replace Norman Osborn with Justin Hammer as leader of the Dark Avengers. We haven't seen Hammer, played by Sam Rockwell, since Iron Man 2. We know he's currently alive and in prison.
The theory is that Hammer, being the country's resident tech genius after the death of Tony Stark, still holds a grudge and forms the Dark Avengers to secretly hunt down superheroes. And while no character can replace the likes of Norman Osborn, Rockwell shined as Hammer and was one of the best parts of Iron Man 2.
Considering it's already been a decade since Hammer went to prison, his time for parole may be upon us. And there are certainly some potential recruits he could have met while behind bars. Helmut Zemo was locked up after Captain America: Civil War and we know he is no fan of superheroes. Abomination is another that's been in jail since The Incredible Hulk and would provide some much needed muscle. And if Mysterio faked his death in Far From Home, he'd be another prime candidate to join the squad.
If this sounds like it could also be the basis for a Thunderbolts franchise, that's true. The two teams are similar enough where it would feel redundant to include them both. With Osborn out and Thunderbolt Ross still around, maybe we'll get the Thunderbolts. But the Avengers brand is as bankable as any, so Marvel Studios could choose to continue capitalizing on that.
- Brian Flinchbaugh