Is Silver Surfer a Hero or a Villain? Galactus’ Herald Explained

silver surfer hero villain

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has already introduced us to all kinds of Marvel characters. However, plenty of known characters still haven’t been introduced in this massive franchise yet. One of them is Silver Surfer. This iconic Marvel character appeared once in live-action before the MCU even existed. But with the imminent introduction of the Fantastic Four in the MCU, we are sensing that Norrin Radd is getting closer to his MCU introduction. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to happen in the first ‘Fantastic Four’ MCU movie, but as we’re waiting for it, let’s talk about Silver Surfer to determine whether he’s a hero or a villain.

Although he was forced to be Galactus’ herald, Silver Surfer is ultimately depicted as a hero, although he had a fair share of misadventures that put him against other Earth’s heroes. Norrin Radd was introduced as the resident of Zenn-La, a planet of advanced humanoid race that’s deprived of crime, disease, and hunger. Despite being a very noble individual, Norrin was forced to sacrifice his freedom for the greater good when Galactus decided to consume his planet to maintain his energy. Norrin made a deal with Galactus to become his herald in exchange for sparing Zenn-La. Although he served Galactus for a very long time, he ultimately turned against him when he arrived on Earth and met Fantastic Four. After that, Silver Surfer was exiled to Earth, where he became the planet’s protector, and he teamed up with many other superhero teams, including the Avengers.

Silver Surfer is one of the most iconic and recognizable superheroes in the Marvel Comics canon. Jack Kirby created the character as Galactus’ herald, and he decided to give him his symbolic surfboard because he was tired of drawing spaceships. The Marvel legend Stan Lee was initially skeptical about such a character, but Silver Surfer ultimately became a key part of the unfolding story.

How was Silver Surfer created?

The majority of most-iconic Marvel characters created during the 1960s were created by the writer Stan Lee and the artist Jack Kirby. However, in Silver Surfer’s case, Kirby is officially credited as the sole creator of the character. And there’s a good reason for that. It’s known that Lee and Kirby were close collaborators. They would discuss the story together, after which Kirby would write a synopsis and draw the scenes, while Lee would write dialogue and captions.


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And then, one day, after the two agreed to make Galactus an antagonist of a story they were working on, Kirby decided to draw a new character they hadn’t previously discussed. Kirby drew a silver character on a flying surfboard. Lee thought Kirby “has gone too far” with such character, and Kirby later explained that Galactus should have some sort of herald, and the surfboard was added because Kirby was “tired of drawing more spaceships.”

Ultimately, Lee overcame his skepticism, and Silver Surfer officially debuted in ‘The Fantastic Four’ #48 in March 1966.

Silver Surfer’s biography

Before becoming Silver Surfer, he was Norinn Radd, a resident of the planet Zenn-La, inhabited by an advanced humanoid race deprived of crime, disease, and hunger. Norinn is depicted as a noble individual who cherishes freedom above everything else. However, his life took a drastic turn when Galactus, a villain who consumes planets to maintain his energy, decided to have Zenn-La as his next target.

norrin radd silver surfer

To save his planet, Norrin offered himself to become Galactus’ herald to find more planets for him to consume if he agreed to spare Zenn-La. Galactus agreed, and he transformed Norrin into a powerful silver-skinned cosmic being and equipped him with a silver surfboard-like craft to travel across the universe. Now known as Silver Surfer, initially wanted to lead Galactus to uninhabited planets, but Galactus’ tampering with his soul prevented him from doing so.

Silver Surfer served Galactus for many years until his travels eventually brought him to Earth. When he first arrived, he initially fought the Fantastic Four until he met Alicia Masters, who is now known as Alicia Grimm, Ben Grimm’s wife. Alicia sensed his inner nobility and pleaded with him to spare the Earth. Norrin started feeling his old noble emotions again, and he eventually turned against Galactus.

Silver Surfer used his powers against Galactus to buy the Fantastic Four and the Watcher enough time to use the Ultimate Nullifier, a cosmic weapon that forced Galactus to back off. However, Galactus punished Silver Surfaer by creating a barrier around Earth that prevents the Earth’s savior from ever leaving the planet.


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Norrin started spending his days on Earth trying to meet and understand humanity. At one moment, he befriended Doctor Doom before Victor ultimately betrayed him and took his powers for himself. Later, Silver Surfer also tried to befriend the Hulk, but his violent nature drove Silver Surfer away. Although he once turned against the humans because he found them a savage race, he was eventually defeated using the “Sonic Shark,” a missile that Reed Richards developed for the US Army. The Fantastic Four later reasoned with him, and Norrin came back to his old self.

Aided by the Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer resisted Galactus’ attempts to return him to his service, and he also fought numerous other villains, including Doctor Doom, Mephisto, Loki, Abomination, and others.

When can we expect to see Silver Surfer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Silver Surfer debuted on the big screen in 2007’s ‘Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,’ a sequel to 2005’s ‘Fantastic Four’ movie developed by Fox. Doug Jones portrayed the character on screen, while Laurence Fishburne provided the voice for the character. Although Silver Surfer was arguably the best part of the movie, the movie didn’t manage to repeat the box-office success of its predecessor, and therefore the planned third movie was canceled, as well as the Silver Surfer spin-off movie.

In 2018, there were reports that Fox was developing a script for the Silver Surfer standalone movie, but Disney’s acquisition of Fox in 2019 canceled those plans. In September 2019, there were rumors that Marvel Studios might make a Silver Surfer movie. In December 2020, Marvel Studios officially announced the ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot movie, which will introduce the titular superhero team into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

silver surfer 2007

While there are no indications that Silver Surfer could be a part of that movie, the introduction of Marvel’s first family into the MCU gives us a hint that Silver Surfer could eventually join the franchise. The only question is, will it be through his standalone movie or some other MCU project?

After the Infinity Saga, in which Thanos was the ultimate villain, concluded, some MCU fans thought that Galactus might be the next big bad. It later turned out that Marvel Studios picked Kang the Conqueror, who also has a history with Fantastic Four in the source material, as the next ultimate villain.

If Marvel Studios plans to introduce Galactus, at least in the MCU’s third saga, if not before, it would actually make sense to introduce him through the Silver Surfer solo movie, the same way Thanos was introduced in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ or Kang in ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.’ But that may only be just a mere fan wish, and who knows what vision Kevin Feige has for the MCU future. But are expecting that Silver Surfer would sooner or later join the franchise? Absolutely!

Are you a fan of Silver Surfer? Would you like to eventually see him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Let us know in the comments.

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