Thanos was unquestionably the single most powerful and dangerous threat the Marvel Cinematic Universe had ever seen once he acquired all six of the Infinity Stones. But he didn't rise to power all on his own; he did it on the backs of a massive army of drones, soldiers, and henchmen. And Thanos is only one of the many corrupt businessmen, genocidal robots, religious zealots, and ancient kings to be propped up by throngs of nameless, faceless minions. The MCU seems to be overflowing with morally impaired, mindless, or straight-up evil minions for the bad guys to rally to their causes, pay off, or force into servitude.
Who are these swarming monsters, faceless goons, and evil organizations, and what do they want? And why are they willing to serve as cannon fodder against the likes of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Avengers, or the Guardians of the Galaxy? You'll find the answers below in our list of the MCU minions most in in need of a good beatdown.
Black Order ('Avengers: Infinity War'/'Avengers: Endgame')
Who Leads Them: The most powerful and dangerous threat the MCU has ever faced, Thanos of Titan.
What Do They Want: Also known as the "Children of Thanos," the Black Order is comprised of Corvus Glaive, Cull Obsidian, Ebony Maw, Gamora, Nebula, and Proxima Midnight. Each was adopted as a child by Thanos from planets he conquered and trained to be brutal slayers. They live only to serve.
Why Do They Deserve A Beatdown: They have wiped out billions of sentient beings fighting alongside Thanos as he goes planet by planet halving populations in his quest to bring balance to the universe. Their efforts aid Thanos in acquiring the six Infinity Stones, which he uses to snuff out half of all life in the universe with a snap of his fingers.
How Soundly Are They Defeated: When the Children of Thanos (minus Gamora and Nebula) begin their final push to gather the Infinity Stones during Avengers: Infinity War, they are pretty evenly matched against the heroes initially, but end up falling one by one: Corvus Glaive is skewered by his own glaive by Vision; Cull Obsidian is smashed by Bruce Banner wearing Hulkbuster armor; Ebony Maw is blasted into the vacuum of space by Iron Man; and Proxima Midnight is shredded by Scarlet Witch.
During their second attack on Earth in Avengers: Endgame, the Black Order fares even worse, especially once the Infinity Stones fall into Tony Stark's hands. Cull Obsidian is stomped into paste by a gigantic Ant-Man before his three brothers and sisters are snapped out of existence, along with Thanos and the rest of his army, when Iron Man snaps his fingers.Earned a beatdown?
HYDRA ('Captain America: The First Avenger'/'Captain America: The Winter Soldier')
Who Leads Them: Johann Schmidt, AKA the Red Skull, led HYDRA as a scientific research branch of the Nazi SS, but Arnim Zola and others lead the organization in the decades after WWII. Baron Wolfgang von Strucker leads HYDRA during its overthrow of S.H.I.E.L.D. and conflict with the Avengers.
What Do They Want: No less than world domination. An ancient alien cult that evolved into a subversive paramilitary organization, HYDRA's goal is to infiltrate and overthrow governments around the world.
Why Do They Deserve A Beatdown: Innumerable lives have been crushed beneath the boot heels of HYDRA agents in their centuries-long quest to rule the world. During WWII, HYDRA planned to blow up New York City with a Tesseract-powered bomb and nearly succeeded. In modern times, the organization took the lives of hundreds when sleeper agents within S.H.I.E.L.D. were activated. HYDRA planned to use SHIELD Helicarriers to terrorize the world into submission by wiping out 20 million people around the world.
How Soundly Are They Defeated: HYDRA was defeated during WWII by allied forces and the Howling Commandos, but not without cost: Captain America was lost in the Atlantic Ocean. The organization continued on after Red Skull's disintegration, and worked to consolidate its power in secret for decades before overthrowing S.H.I.E.L.D. When their hijacked Helicarriers were destroyed, many of HYDRA's soldiers, scientists, and leaders were lost, but remaining members consolidated under Strucker. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Baron plans to use the Scepter containing the Mind Stone to create an army of super soldiers, but the Avengers shut down his HYDRA base. Strucker is later taken out by Ultron (but other HYDRA agents continue to cause problems for Phil Coulson on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.).Earned a beatdown?
Chitauri ('The Avengers'/'Avengers: Endgame')
Who Leads Them: The genocidal maniac from Titan, Thanos.
What Do They Want: Genetically related to the mindless Outriders, the Chitauri are technologically advanced hybrid reptilian-cybernetic creatures. They communicate through a "hive mind" and use their technologically advanced weaponry and Leviathans as Thanos's infantry. His wish is their command.
Why Do They Deserve A Beatdown: The Chitauri help massacre millions of beings, including half of Gamora's home species, for Thanos before arriving on Earth. During The Avengers, they are loaned out by Thanos to Loki to aid in his conquest of the planet. Their invasion devastates New York City and wipes out untold numbers. They invade Earth again during Avengers: Endgame with the same goal of world conquest.
How Soundly Are They Defeated: After nearly overrunning the Avengers in New York City, Iron Man diverts a nuclear device into the Chitauri Command Center, destroying it. Without its signal to command and control them, the Chitauri collapse and their invasion ends. They return to Earth as part of Thanos's invasion armada in Avengers: Endgame and are snapped to dust when Iron Man gains control of the Infinity Stones.Earned a beatdown?
Zealots ('Doctor Strange')
Who Leads Them: The sorcerer and former member of the Masters of the Mystic Arts, Kaecilius.
What Do They Want: To open a portal to the Dark Dimension to allow the primordial cosmic entity Dormammu to enter our dimension. Kaecilius and the Zealots believe their service to Dormammu will be rewarded with fantastic new powers and immortal life.
Why Do They Deserve A Beatdown: The Zealots mercilessly use their magical abilities to slay anyone that stands in the way of their goal of summoning Dormammu. They end other Masters of the Mystic Arts when they destroy the London Sanctum and the guardian of the New York Sanctum before being stopped by Doctor Strange. Had they succeeded in bringing Dormammu into our dimension, the devastation to the Earth, and possibly even the entire universe, would have been beyond measure.
How Soundly Are They Defeated: The Zealots very nearly defeat Doctor Strange and Mordo in the Mirror Dimension before the Ancient One arrives to help them. They continue their plan after the Ancient One's passing and are temporarily stopped by Doctor Strange's use of the Eye of Agamotto to reverse time. After Strange traps Dormammu in a time loop, Dormammu retreats from our dimension, taking Kaecilius and the Zealots with him, where they suffer in anguish for all of eternity.Earned a beatdown?