With Avengers 4 rumored to involve time travel and alternate realities, the MCU has the perfect opportunity to introduce new versions of familiar heroes. Avengers: Infinity War is rooted in the idea of Thanos unleashing the power of each Infinity Stone, but that plot doesn't end with this year's film. In fact, Thanos may have broken time itself when he snapped his fingers and obliterated half of all life in the universe.
There's no telling exactly what the fallout will be of that event, but we know heroes like Spider-Man and Black Panther aren't gone for good. That means either Thanos' actions will be undone, a Marvel hero will wield the Infinity Gauntlet and bring everyone back, or the MCU will dive deep into messing with time, space, and reality. Numerous set photos have teased Avengers 4 reliving moments from The Avengers, specifically the Battle of New York and Loki's capture. And while these events could take place within a B.A.R.F. simulation akin to Tony's memory of his parents in Captain America: Civil War, we could also be glimpsing time travel in the MCU.
We'll naturally see some new heroes step up in Avengers 4 to fill the gaps left by the vanquished, but Avengers: Infinity War also teased the idea of new takes on established heroes. Steve Rogers is operating more or less as Nomad, while Bruce Banner became the first Avenger to realize anyone can pilot one of Tony's suits. But with Black Panther, the Sorcerer Supreme, and others no longer protecting Earth, some heroes may decide to take new mantles for Avengers 4 and honor the comic book source material in the process.
- This Page: New Black Panther & Hawkeye
- Page 2: Tony Stark: Sorcerer Supreme & New Avengers Team
Shuri May Become the New Black Panther
Shuri is actually a relatively new character in the comics, debuting in 2005's Black Panther #2 as part of Reginald Hudlin and John Romita Jr.'s run. Before long, however, she was forced to step up as not only the new ruler of Wakanda, but the Black Panther as well when T'Challa went off to New York (to take over for Daredevil, naturally). Her time as queen and protector of Wakanda saw her deal with regular Black Panther antagonist Namor and even serve alongside her brother when Thanos' army invaded the nation. Elements of that story somewhat inspired Avengers: Infinity War, so the idea of Shuri taking her brother's mantle in the next film makes sense.
We know Letitia Wright wants to be Black Panther, and Shuri as the ruler of Wakanda in T'Challa's stead makes sense. After all, she's the next in line for the throne and as far as she or anyone else inside the MCU knows T'Challa is gone for good. Knowing that, it would only be fitting for Shuri to don her own version of the Black Panther suit - especially considering she designs them. Though Black Panther 2 hasn't officially been announced, it's assured to arrive in Phase 4. So while T'Challa will be back in the role soon enough, there's comic book precedent for the siblings to rule and protect Wakanda together.
Hawkeye as Ronin
It'd be an understatement to say fans were a little disappointed with the absence of Hawkeye in Avengers: Infinity War, but the original Avenger seems ready for a meaty storyline in the movie's follow-up. We've had set photos of Jeremy Renner in a new look and rumors Hawkeye and Black Widow are hunting Skrulls in Avengers 4. Regardless of their target, a team-up between the comrades seems a safe bet for the movie, especially if it seeks to balance some ground-level action with all the cosmic chaos. And fighting Skrulls is something Hawkeye spent a lot of time doing while operating as Ronin.
In the comics, Clint Barton returns from the dead and dons the Ronin mantle, adding twin swords to his repertoire and working more in the shadows than ever. With Thanos wiping out half of the universe, there's a chance Clint's family was amongst the fallen. That could lead to his new suit - and haircut - and a more cutthroat approach to fighting villains. Whether he's actually called Ronin or not is up in the air (after all, he's barely called Hawkeye in the films). But out of all the alternate versions of heroes that could be in Avengers 4, Hawkeye's arc is sure to see him honor his comic book history in some key ways.
PAGE 2: Tony Stark, Sorcerer Supreme?
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019