New Characters That Leveled Up Our Favorite Franchises In 2022

List Rules
Vote up the characters that made our favorite franchises even better in 2022.

Plot is engaging, and worldbuilding is wonderful, yet the main reason we as fans show up to new installments in our favorite TV shows or movie franchises is the characters. It's comforting to see familiar faces, yet thrilling to see them take on new challenges. However, any franchise would get stale if it kept the exact same ensemble year after year.

2022 was a big year for many franchises, including the Marvel Cinematic Universe (on both big and small screens), the DC Extended Universe, the Game of Thrones universe, the Star Wars universe, and more. In addition to bringing back our favorite heroes and villains, each of these fictional worlds introduced us to some new compelling characters. Throwing acclaimed actors or breakout performers in the mix adds a new energy to any series, whether they're a sidekick, a dastardly antagonist, or a rising hero. This light highlights the greatest additions of new characters, big or small, to our favorite franchises in 2022. 

  • 1
    135 VOTES

    Soldier Boy In 'The Boys'

    Soldier Boy was an explosive new antagonist who raised the stakes for everyone around him. For the Boys, he was either a strong weapon that might help them finally defeat Homelander for good, or an uncontrollable killer who had to be stopped immediately. For the Supes, he was an unprecedented threat who could take away their powers, making him the first person to genuinely scare Homelander. Though he didn't end up defeating Homelander, he did manage to take away Queen Maeve's powers as she tackled him to save everyone else.

    Plus, he's played by Supernatural alum Jensen Ackles, whose rough-and-tough all-American swearing and smoking soldier had everyone swooning, guys included. Since Soldier Boy wasn't killed, only subdued into government custody, there's a chance he could return in future seasons to wreak more havoc. 

  • 2
    134 VOTES

    Eddie In 'Stranger Things'

    Eddie In 'Stranger Things'
    Photo: Netflix

    It can be tough for new characters joining a TV show several seasons in to win the love of the fans, but not for Eddie Munson. Thanks to Joseph Quinn's irresistible charm, Eddie quickly became a favorite among the fanbase, equal to the characters who had been around since Stranger Things Volume One.

    Leading the Hellfire Club as their Dungeon Master, Eddie also served as a sort of mentor to the younger characters, including Mike, Lucas, and Dustin. Eddie never cared if his classmates called him a freak; he proudly bore his interest in D&D and heavy metal music alike, unafraid to be himself. He always was able to cheer up a friend, or save them from demobats by playing the world's highest-stakes guitar solo. Eddie was so beloved, that even though his time on the show was limited, he made a huge impact. He won't be forgotten by the other members of his club, nor by the fans of the show.

  • Moon Knight In 'Moon Knight'
    Photo: Disney+

    Playing a main character in one Disney-owned franchise (Poe Dameron in Star Wars) wasn't enough for Oscar Issac, and it's fortunate for the world that he decided to add the role of Marvel's Moon Knight on top of that. His superpowers are unique, varying with the phases of the moon, and his strength, fighting skills, and increased healing abilities make him a force to be reckoned with.

    Isaac manages to portray all the different personalities of his Dissociative Identity Disorder (Marc Spector, Jake Lockley, and Stephen Grant) with grace and nuance. The performance and writing of the series help the audience feel the lead character's unease as he's unsure of what's happening around him, which made this an entry in the Marvel TV world unlike any other.

  • 4
    110 VOTES

    Daemon In 'House of the Dragon'

    Daemon In 'House of the Dragon'
    Photo: HBO

    If you saw any discussion of House of the Dragon on the Internet, you definitely saw hype over Daemon. The Targaryens were always popular characters on the original Game of Thrones, but Daemon managed to grab a sizable fanbase just for himself. Though he was a second son, and thus unable to become a king, he still proved his qualifications as a ruthlessly effective leader in wartime.

    His attraction and loyalty toward Rhaenyra are both unsettling and compelling, wanting to marry her to keep the house of Targaryen strong. His fierce conviction combined with his uglier side as he choked Rhaenyra, reminding the audience that he's not a shining hero, but a complicated and very flawed man capable of both greatness and darkness. That combination is what keeps fans on edge for the next season of the show, along with Matt Smith's great performance.

  • 5
    102 VOTES

    Vecna In 'Stranger Things'

    Vecna In 'Stranger Things'
    Photo: Stranger Things / Netflix

    After the terrors from the Upside Down that the Stranger Things protagonists faced in the first three volumes, Vecna was the perfect villain to raise the stakes even further. Beginning as a boy named Henry Creel who didn't fit in with the world and had various telekinetic powers, he slowly grew into more and more of a monster, pushed into madness by the same lab that tortured Eleven and gave her her powers.

    After getting sent through the gate by Eleven, he was trapped in another world and turned into the monstrous barely-humanoid form, dubbed "Vecna" after the monster from the Hellfire Club's D&D campaign. He not only caused many of the other monsters from the previous seasons, but also attacked citizens of Hawkins throughout Volume Four, killing many, and tormenting others with horrifying visions. It took a ridiculous amount of coordination and many molotov cocktails to finally burn Vecna into submission, and even still, his body disappeared, leaving the terrifying prospect that he may yet return. Vecna is certainly one of the most frightening villains introduced to any TV show this year. 

  • 6
    75 VOTES

    Luthen In 'Andor'

    Luthen In 'Andor'
    Photo: Disney+

    While he outwardly presented the identity of a quirky antique seller living on Coruscant, Luthen was secretly a member of the Rebel Alliance. More than that, he was the first one to recruit Cassian Andor for a mission as a Rebel operative. Without him, we wouldn't have Andor nor Rogue One. Though he operated in secret as a necessity, he was firmly on the side of the Rebels and celebrated quietly when he heard news of their success.

    His position kept him "trapped" from exposure or more direct participation, even preventing him from trying to find and help Cassian when he went missing, making him complicated and sympathetic. Stellen Skarsgård's moving monologue in the finale lamenting his "damned" position guaranteed Luthen will be one of the most appreciated new characters in the Star Wars universe.