When the dust settles from next year's Avengers 4, will there actually be a formal team roster at all? For all Infinity War may carry the "Avengers" brand, the reality is the Avengers haven't existed as a team since 2016. Captain America: Civil War saw the team break apart into two factions. Steve Rogers, Falcon, and Black Widow wound up on the run, remaining active as unlicensed vigilantes. Tony Stark, for his part, initially attempted to reform the Avengers; but he gave up after Spider-Man turned him down, and in the face of Vision's apparent disinterest. The official Avengers: Infinity War Prelude comic ended with Stark alone, convinced the world was still in danger, but giving up on the idea of the Avengers once and for all.
There's a sense in which the Avengers have become far too controversial. The team was involved in a number of high-profile incidents, and the public began to fear they were out of control. Superheroes were no longer admired; now, they were feared, largely because superhero battles tend to cause a great deal of property damage - and mistakes lead to significant loss of life.
But will Avengers 4 change that? Will the film see the Avengers reassemble, and end with a new team, with a brand new roster? Obviously we're a year out from the movie, so it's hard to say for sure. Still, here are our thoughts.
- This Page: Is Avengers 4 The End of the Avengers?
- Next Page: Who Could Be In a Future Avengers Team?
Avengers 4 is a Last Hurrah
It's no coincidence all the original Avengers survived the cliffhanger ending of Avengers: Infinity War. Next year's Avengers 4 is being positioned as a thrilling "Last Hurrah" for the heroes who first assembled in 2012's The Avengers. The stakes have been raised higher than ever before, the "snap" has been used to cut down the mammoth cast of the MCU to a more manageable level, and it's time for the first Avengers team to save the entire universe.
There's a sense in which Phase 3's arc has imitated Joss Whedon's original Avengers movie. The Avengers divide, bickering, and even coming to blows; they scatter to the winds, failing to prevent the threat manifesting itself; but they finally assemble, taking the fight to the enemy, swearing if they can't the Earth - they'll avenge it. The structure of the overall narrative is exactly the same. And that's a smart move on Marvel's part, given Avengers 4 will bring an end to a decade's worth of storytelling. It's entirely appropriate that Marvel carefully structure their plot in honor to present a homage to what has gone before.
A number of key contracts are set to expire after Avengers 4, meaning this will be the last time the original Avengers stand side-by-side. Infinity War may have been teased as "the end," but in truth Avengers 4 is the film that's really the end of the Avengers.
The Logistical Problems of Avengers Movies
Meanwhile, it's important to understand the Avengers movies are becoming a logistical nightmare for Marvel. The Avengers films aren't simply "team movies." Rather, they're a celebration of everything Marvel has done to date. So The Avengers tied up plot threads from the first four years of the MCU; Avengers: Age of Ultron drew the heroes together once again, and set up Phase 3 with the battle of Sokovia; and Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 resolve an arc that's been running for the last decade. They also feature every single character Marvel's created on the big screen over the last decade.
The problem is these films are becoming unwieldy. They demand a cast that's staggering in size, with some major star power - from Robert Downey Jr. to Chris Pratt, from Benedict Cumberbatch to Brie Larson. That makes them both expensive, and difficult to film, because Marvel need to find a way of making countless schedules coincide. Even this year's Avengers 4 reshoots will be difficult to schedule. If any feature Tom Holland, for example, then getting him to Atlanta to film the reshoots will disrupt the filming schedule for Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Given these logistical problems, it's no wonder Marvel is toying with abandoning the "phased" approach. What's more, the studio is even considering trying to establish another brand for their movies, one to rival the Avengers franchise. We don't yet know much about those plans, but it suggests Phase 3 may actually lead to Marvel shelving the Avengers films for a while.
Of course, that doesn't mean the Avengers team will come to an end. Marvel could easily choose to end Avengers 4 with a formal team, but simply not release an Avengers movie for a while; give the concept a rest, have the heroes operating in the background of the usual solo hero films.
Page 2 of 2: Who Could Be in the Next Avengers Team?
- 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