“We can’t beat Marvel at being Marvel”: Steve Carell’s ‘Despicable Me 4’ Almost Doomed Itself By Following into Marvel’s Footsteps With One Character

The story of how ‘Despicable Me 4’ almost took a page out of Marvel’s diary while creating Gru’s newest nemesis.

Steve Carell, Despicable Me 4


  • ‘Despicable Me 4’ director revealed that the film almost took the Marvel route while making its villain, Maxime Le Mal.
  • However, it didn’t take them long to realize that such an idea wouldn’t work for them.
  • There are obvious differences between the villains of the two worlds which is why a Marvel antagonist wouldn’t have fit in the ‘Despicable Me’ world.
Show More
Featured Video

Spoiler Alert !!!
This Article Contains Mild Spoilers for 'Despicable Me 4.'

Whether it is Loki or Thanos, Zemo or Killmonger, Marvel villains and anti-heroes have a separate fanbase for themselves. Needless to say, many filmmakers would want to follow the Marvel route when it comes to creating complex villains that would add depth to their stories and Steve Carell’s Despicable Me 4 almost did so.

despicable me 4
Gru (Steve Carell) in Despicable Me 4 (2024) | Universal Pictures

In a recent interview, the director of Despicable Me 4 revealed that he was almost tempted to take a book out of Marvel’s handbook while creating the villain for the film. However, it was quickly realized that that was not going to work for their film, thankfully.

Steve Carell’s Despicable Me 4 Almost Followed Marvel’s Footsteps

Despicable Me 4 - Gru with antagonist Maxime
Maxime (Will Ferrell) and Gru (Steve Carell) in Despicable Me 4 | Universal Pictures

Marvel has some of the best supervillains and anti-heroes at its disposal, many of them having made their way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While these villains may be the personification of the word ‘evil,’ we sometimes just cannot help following in love with them.


Two of the best examples of this is Tom Hiddleston’s Loki who started off as a self-absorbed and revengeful character but then went on to literally sacrifice his freedom to save the world from a gruesome end. On the other hand, is Jonathan Majors’ Kang who is first seen in Loki as the big-bad supervillain who has everything under his control. But when we get deep into season 2, we realize that he was not always evil and we even feel sorry for Victor Timely along the way.

Coming back to Despicable Me 4, the film’s main antagonist is Will Ferrell’s Maxime Le Mal, a human-cockroach hybrid. Before finalizing the character’s personality, filmmaker Chris Renaud almost gave into the temptation of making Maxime more Marvel-y.

In an interview with Variety, Renaud stated that he almost went “the Marvel way” before quickly realizing that “we can’t beat Marvel at being Marvel, and it’s not what our world is about anyway.”


It would have been pretty weird to see a Marvel-like villain in something that is basically aimed towards kids. Can you imagine Gru and his minions fighting Thanos and his infinity stones?

Marvel Villains and Despicable Me Villains Are Poles Apart

Tom Hiddleston's Loki
Tom Hiddleston’s Loki in The Avengers (2012) | Marvel Studios

Marvel villains’ horrific acts originate from thoughts of world domination, ideological conflicts, and more serious topics. For example, Thanos wanted to bring salvation to the world by wiping out 50% of the universe because of his own ideology, no matter how messed up it was. On the other hand, villains in the Despicable Me franchise have more personal reasons to be evil.

Remember Balthazar Bratt from the last film? He was a child actor who grew up with the desire to destroy Hollywood after his show was canceled. Even in Despicable Me 4, Maxime wants revenge from Steve Carell’s Gru after he stole his talent show act in the ninth grade.


Then there is the obvious difference that Marvel villains mostly possess superhuman abilities and exceptional skills that make them a force to reckon with. As for the Despicable Me universe, villains often rely on quirky gadgets and inventions to defeat their opponents. In the latest film, Maxime has invented a device that can turn people into human-roach hybrids, just like himself. In order to take revenge on Gru, he targets his son Gru Jr.

Needless to say, it probably wouldn’t have fared well for the film to have a villain similar to those back at Marvel. We love our weird and humorous villains in the film series and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Renaud sure dodged a bullet with this one!

Despicable Me 4 is currently in theatres.


Written by Mishkaat Khan

Articles Published: 1277

Mishkaat is a medical student who found solace in content writing. Having worked in the industry for about three years, she has written about everything from medicine to literature and is now happy to enlight you about the world of entertainment. She has written over a thousand articles for FandomWire. When not writing, she can be found obsessing over the world of the supernatural through books and TV.