Originally Posted by metaphysician
The odds of the Masters of Evil being the villains of Avengers 2 just skyrocketed. There is no way Crossbones is appearing without his master, whoever that is. . . and if either Red Skull or Zemo is appearing, its almost certainly to lead a team of supervillains out for revenge.
I think it could be cool if we see a returning Mandarin as the organizer of a resurrected Hydra. One of the Zemos is pulling Crossbones strings imo if Blackwidow is being included. We know Mandarin may have his hands in AIM already, and AIM could end up being somehow a front for Hydra in the film-verse. I agree this could definitely mean they're setting up the MoE. Hell, they can even use Sterns & Abomination again if they choose. Sterns, Mandarin and Red Skull/Zemo could end up battling for control throughout Avengers 2 under Enchantress' persuasion and advice that each should be calling the shots... leading to Ultron being the biggest threat in the movie somehow. Each villain would think they had a right to lead because Enchantress is there whispering things in their ears, and Thor's.
Sterns is the only one who doesn't succumb in some way to Enchantress. And her and Ultron could be mixed in as the new villains. While Enchantress lets each of the villains who love to call the shots believe they have control. A few of the villains would probably have to die, but if they somehow do this and include Sterns/Leader it may be natural to make him try to fight for power and declare himself the leader, to get his name out in a less cheesy way for the film-verse. Forcing him to fight for power with the returning Red Skull or Zemo, while Mandarin falls to the wayside in his quest for revenge against Tony. Having Sterns trying to be the leader of the MoE, have him promise things to Crossbones for some betrayal against his former employers. I'm saying give Zemo/Red Skull/Mandarin control first but have Leader challenge them halfway through and lead to their downfall while Enchantress just laughs and messes with Thor and Jane Foster. The Avengers think this unexpected attack from all their personal, past & future foes is over. But then Ultron becomes an even bigger threat as they were using him to help stop the masters' plans, before it turns against all of humanity. In my view it's not Loki in a secret deal with newcomer Enchantress that assembles the masters, but instead Kang. Kang assembles the team from all across time and space, featuring a future version of Sterns (which is why he's so power hungry) but would only be revealed at the end where we find out him and Thanos have past and future issues they need to resolve. Kang knows things will not turn out good for the timeline if Thanos gets that scepter back and then later the Gauntlet. Nebula kills and replaces Maria Hill, acting as the Skrull queen with a technology she's seen using in GoTG, starting a secret invasion for Thanos.. Or she's already done it in between GoTG and Avengers 2. In my view Nebula is used to explore some of Thanos' backstory in GoTG but is neither villain nor ally, she's an intergalactic ex-con they come across, who secretly serves Thanos. I really think they'll save Thanos for Avengers 3, and have some of the movies build up to this confrontation. Meaning Thanos may be set up more in GoTG and Avengers 2, but I doubt he'll be the only villain in each. Unless GoTG does set up Thanos in a massive way for Avengers 2. I still think it's more likely we see the MoE and Ultron in Avengers 2.. this leads me to believe time-travel may be needed to collect Red Skull... He was transported into another realm/dimension in the 40's, we don't know yet if he has somehow made it to the present. This is only further complicated by the fact that the portal generated in Avengers seems to only travel one across space/dimensions... If Zemo is used in CA:winter soldier i don't see him returning so soon, strangely if Thanos is used in GoTG as the main villain, then I think that would exclude him from Avengers 2. IMO Red Skull will be returning and Kang or some time-traveller may be involved in assembling the masters.