With all the Black Panther hype permeating the interwebz, it didn’t take long for people to set their attention on M’Baku and Shuri, two scene-stealing characters who make Wakanda just a little bit more colorful. Don’t even get us started on Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger.
Starring in a Marvel movie is a challenge, because how does one stand out amid stellar production design, eye-assaulting visual effects, and leads that often have a magmatic silver screen presence? The films are often larger than life, requiring cast members to put in an extra 110% in order to shine through and affect audiences. Well, the supporting players on this list have done exactly that—going above and beyond the call of duty to outshine the main protagonist.
11) Negasonic Teenage Warhead in Deadpool
Ryan Reynolds was a revelation as the Merc with a Mouth, resurrecting a career that looked like it was bound to be flushed down a toilet filled with cheap, annoying rom-coms. But it was the appearance of lesser-known X-Men member (and perennially morose) Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), accompanied by a hilarious Colossus, that gave the irreverent flick a sarcastically sardonic twist. You can always count on depressed teenagers to spice up a superhero outing.
10) Vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron
It was probably the “will they, or won’t they?” tension between him and Scarlet Witch that pushed his character to the forefront. Plus, Paul Bettany is always a reliable thespian. Anyway, no matter the reasons, we’re sure that, whatever happens, these two will have crazy, powerful mutant babies.
9) Aunt May in Spider-Man: Homecoming
Casting the always-sexy Marisa Tomei in a role that fans were used to seeing more dowdy actresses play was ingenious. Her beauty is bewitching still, and after Homecoming, repressed geeks the world over are probably shooting sticky webs out care of Aunt May. The inside joke: Tomei and Iron Man’s RDJ had a very successful, albeit complicated, romance in 1994’s Only You.
8) Shuri in Black Panther
Forget Chadwick Boseman, it was Leticia Wright as T’Challa’s little sister Shuri who was the superstar. Her Wakanda princess is intelligent, witty, and courageous to the bone—a role model for both male and female Marvel fans alike.
7) Luis in Ant-Man
Michael Pena’s portrayal of Luis, a criminal with a heart of gold, was both endearing and painfully funny. One special (and now iconic) storytelling sequence sealed the deal for his character—come on, you know the one we’re talking about.
6) Ned in Spider-Man: Homecoming
Playing the sidekick is usually synonymous with delivering quippy one-liners that are instantly forgotten. But as Peter Parker’s best bro in the latest Spidey film, newcomer Jacob Batalon showcases his comedic chops, holding his own against a fresh-faced Tom Holland and a menacing Michael Keaton.
5) M’Baku in Black Panther
With a gorilla-like build, a voice that could silence any white man, and an army that could massacre any invading threat, this ferocious leader is someone you wouldn’t want to mess with. Actor Winston Duke, who is now enjoying the spoils of this epic breakthrough performance, is a character actor in the making, someone we’ll surely see killing it more often in the near future.
4) X-23 in Logan
Hugh Jackman was no match for child star Dafne Keen, who slashed her way through this grim road trip movie, coming out of it unscathed and with an adoring fanbase.
3) Baby Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy
Who’s you favorite GotG member? Rocket? Too annoying. Star-Lord? Too obvious. Groot? Maybe. Baby Groot? Yes, and enough to purchase a vinyl toy to put on your office desk. Nice!
2) Darcy Lewis in Thor
Actress Kat Dennings has the quick wit that immediately slashes through any conversation she’s part of. Her timing is perfect, a trait which often allows her to elicit laughs no matter the genre. And as the scrappy intern/assistant of Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, the brunette bombshell is a certified firecracker.
1) Black Widow in Captain America: Winter Soldier
We all know that it was neither the Cap nor Bucky who was the star of this political thriller. It was Scar Jo in arguably her most recognizable role to date: Black Widow. She kicks ass. She’s smart and eloquent and doesn’t let the conservative Steve Rogers off easily (yes, there is deffo some brewing sexual energy there). Come on! Give this woman her own standalone movie already! She more than deserves it!