MCU: Micky Rourke’s Whiplash Was a Great Villain Put in the Wrong Movie

A number of MCU villains have died over the last 12 years of movies, with some leaving a potential door open to returning. Fans continue to argue over which ones should return after remarks of a few being wasted potential. On places like Reddit, one can see wishes for Ultron returning, if not names like Klaue, or Killmonger. None of those are likely to come back. One villain, though, seems like he could have had his own standalone movie.

Anyone who remembers Whiplash will remember Mickey Rourke attempting to create a memorably revengeful character. The man behind Whiplash was Ivan Antonovich Vanko, the son of Anton Vanko who was fired and disgraced by Tony Stark’s father, Howard Stark. Whiplash’s only appearance in a movie was in Iron Man 2.

Mickey Rourke smiling wearing sunglasses with a thumbs up
Mickey Rourke | Alessandra Benedetti/Corbis via Getty Images

Whiplash gave Tony Stark a challenging villain

The Starks were not a perfect family having as much technological power that they did. They made some enemies along the way, especially from those disgraced by them due to wrongdoing.

Anton Vanko was vanquished from Stark Industries because the former wanted to profit off the Arc Reactor, something he and Howard Stark created together. When Howard Stark found out about this, he had Vanko deported back to Russia. In turn, Russia sent Vanko to Siberia where he spent the rest of his life penniless with his son.

Ivan Vanko vowed revenge on the Starks for what they did to his father. Hence, Whiplash was born, somewhat of an ironic name since he was similar to Iron Man. In fact, Whiplash used the same technologies to construct his suit by recreating the Arc Reactor.

Considering Ivan Vanko was also a scientist, he could have had his own solo movie to show how someone opposed to the Stark values can turn so villainous.

One fan thinks Whiplash should return

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One fan on Reddit recently said this in reply to a thread about bringing back MCU villains: “Oddly enough Whiplash. He had so much potential. With such a great actor playing him, he could have been great. Just Iron Man 2 did not really work for him.”

A good argument can be made there that Whiplash’s appearance in Iron Man 2 seemed a little too contrived. It was already amazing enough Marvel managed to land Mickey Rourke, an actor known for being extra picky in the roles he takes.

How he felt about the character is another thing. Rourke went on the record back in 2011 as saying he hated what Marvel did with Whiplash. Said Rourke to MTV then: “If they let you play the bad guy with other dimensions other than one dimensional. You have to fight for that though, to bring layers to the character. Otherwise, if you’re working for the wrong studio, or let’s say a director that doesn’t have any balls, then they’re just gonna want it to be the evil bad guy.”

He claimed the real meat of Whiplash was cut out of the film, leaving a truly wasted effort in his mind. Based on all evidence, director Jon Favreau let Rourke have creative freedom, yet it was Marvel itself wanting a more one-dimensional portrayal.

Chances are small Whiplash would ever be revived

Because of Rourke’s dislike for the MCU since his experience there, Whiplash would likely never come back. His death by self-destruction seemed inevitable anyway after Iron Man and War Machine beat him at his own game. Then again, with Vanko having the same technical knowledge as Stark, who is to say he might not have an AI version of himself out there somewhere?

Rumors keep percolating about Iron Man coming back in that AI version of himself utilized in the comics, according to Inverse. Having an AI Stark and an AI Whiplash going at it would be one surreal moment. Then again, when Agents of SHIELD briefly brought in the comic book edition of Whiplash (named Marcus Scarlotti), it opened the door to an alternative version of the villain. Since the final season of that show has no appearance of the character, it leaves the door open to the Marvel multiverse perhaps taking care of a future revival.