One of the commendable aspects in this part of the development of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the increasing number of female villains we’re getting. We’ve seen a handful of them – mostly on TV – in the past but never as abundant as we’re getting in the next year or so. To kick things off in 2017, we have Elizabeth Debicki’s villainous role of Ayesha as the big bad of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. As a bookend for 2017, we’re going to see Cate Blanchett tear Asgard a new hole as Hela, Queen of Hel when she brings for the twilight of the gods. And in the middle of all that, we have Sigourney Weaver playing the who-the-hell-knows villain that will unite the four hallway fighters in The Defenders. And one of the biggest questions surrounding that show is who the hell is Sigourney Weaver playing.
There are a few facts about the show that inform us who Sigourney could end up playing. We know that the Hand is the big bad thanks to the teaser, Elektra’s being resurrected and Stick is a key character in the series. Right now, the most common speculation out there is now is that she’s playing Mephisto, an idea I find preposterous for the reason that Mephisto is too much of a major league Avengers-tier villain and a potential Marvel Studios get rather than a Marvel TV one. If Marvel had to secure the title of the Night Nurse for Rachel McAdams‘ non-existent role in Doctor Strange (a role that is the entire embodiment of Rosario Dawson’s character), what chance does Marvel TV have of securing the dibs on Mephisto, the devil of the Marvel Universe? However, with that being said, I do think she’s playing a demonic entity called The Beast, the demon worshiped by the Hand.
Retroactively introduced to the Hand mythos by Frank Miller in 1986, the Beast has often been portrayed an endgame of sorts for the Hand; an end to all the violent means. Worshipped by the deep cuts Hand sect called the Snakeroot, the Beast is a bit more ambitious in scope compared to the crime bosses we’ve come to familiarize ourselves with but given the recent introduction of mystical ideas from the likes of Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider, and the 2017’s Iron Fist, a grander precedent is clearly being set in the MCU, the likes of which are already evident in the two seasons of Daredevil with undead ninjas and all. This, of course, is set to get even bigger once Iron Fist premieres, as it introduces dragon-slaying monks, molten fists and living Immortal Weapons to general audiences; all of which could potentially tie into this Beast I’m rambling about.
Immortal Weapons, like The Beast, are a retroactive addition to Iron Fist mythology. Added late to the story in Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker’s character-defining Iron Fist storyline, Immortal Weapons are basically protectors chosen by their respective mystical kingdoms to defend and represent them. The Iron Fist is an example of these weapons, a mantle passed onto generations. There are seven known kingdoms (or cities as they are referred to in the comics) collectively referred to as the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven, with Iron Fist’s K’un L’un being one of them. The tie-in to the Beast I’m referring to comes later in the Iron Fist story, when an eighth city, rumored to be a kingdom ruled by demons, is revealed to secretly exist away from the prying eyes of the Seven Cities.
In this year’s New York Comic-Con, it was confirmed in a clip from Iron Fist that the Hand was/is the sworn enemy of the Iron Fist. This isn’t entirely the case in the comic books – even though it is Danny Rand who extinguishes the Beast from Matt Murdock in Shadowland – as the mythologies of the Iron Fist and The Hand are rooted in differing cultures respectively. But given the practicality of these two separate concepts getting distilled into something more cohesive for the show (we’ve seen the Chinese Crane Mother in the Japanese-dominated Daredevil already), it’s not too crazy to theorize that the eighth city I’m babbling about could very well be the point of origin for the Hand; and that its ruled by the Beast aka Sigourney Weaver; and has the Black Sky as its own Immortal Weapon
Despite these concepts getting crazier as Iron Fist is introduced, there is a logical way of further grounding the Beast into something that’s familiar to Netflix MCU fans. In the first appearance of the Beast in 1986’s Elektra: Assassin, our titular lady in red discovers the existence of The Beast and its plan for world destruction thru the possession of a presidential candidate named Ken Wind. This Ken Wind – or at least an amalgamated version – is a character Sigurouney could be playing as the Beast’s human form. Ken Wind this time could be a more influential villain than Fisk and the Stokes’ combined in the role of a governor or Mayor as opposed to a presidential candidate. Not only does a powerful demonic villain like this raise the stakes for the Defenders but it also grounds the role in a way audiences have accustomed themselves with Netflix villains ie white collar bad guys. So while she may not brandish horns and hooves in a traditional sense, this reinterpreted version of the Beast just as well if not better in the Netflix MCU landscape.
The Defenders is the MCU property of 2017 I’m looking forward more than any of the films and other TV shows and it’s primarily because it signifies the next chapter in how our Defenders stories are told. I’m a huge sucker for the Frank Miller ninja aspects of Daredevil and for them to include them in a big way in this story only brings me hope that mystical characters like Blade and Moon Knight make it to the streets of the MCU via their own show. After The Defenders, can we get The Hood as the next big bad?