How To Move On From The Avengers, Without Killing Them
The idea that killing the Avengers is Marvel's only choice is simply not true. Although this is the route everyone expects them to go, many felt the same about needing death and sacrifice in Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. Death is certainly the simplest way to move on from these characters, but it isn't a necessity. There's no in-world reason at this point that dictates they must die either. Unless reversing Thanos' snap requires sacrifice and death, the Avengers can absolutely save the day and still make it out alive. Writer Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely even previously said that expiring contracts doesn't guarantee death.
There are countless examples of heroes walking off into the sunset as the conclusion to their stories, so there's no reason why the Avengers can't have the same ending. Retirement is a believable path for many of these characters to take, allowing them all to exit the hero game as they've done repeatedly in the comics. Letting this group have a happy ending may also be more likely after Infinity War's shocking finale shocked. They don't have to die to be heroes, so a massive Avengers retirement party could be a great Phase 3 capper - and may even be the massive scene several cast members have teased.
If these stars don't want to completely leave and instead move to lesser roles, then they could also take new positions in the MCU. Tony's mind is always thinking bigger and with the intergalactic threats he's faced, forming and backseat running SWORD is a move he could make. Steve Rogers could make a similar transition to the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. potentially, while Thor could finally be king of a new Asgard. These moves would allow characters like Ironheart, Falcon, Patriot, Valkyrie, and others to be introduced or upgraded to take on these mantles. Whatever the original team's futures would be if they're kept around, it also gives the MCU one more card to play.
The MCU Is Guaranteed One Final Major Event
Marvel Studios is always thinking years, if not decades, in advance. For example, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has been described as setting up the next 10-20 years of cosmic MCU stories. Going beyond the cosmic side of the universe, Kevin Feige confirmed plans for an additional 20 movies after Avengers 4. These plans aren't set in stone, but Marvel is always thinking about the future while focusing on the present. In doing so, they've undoubtedly begun dreaming of what events could come in the future that possibly match the hype around Infinity War and Avengers 4.
Lucky for them, Disney is deep in the process of acquiring Fox, and with that, Marvel Studios will gain access to the X-Men and Fantastic Four. This deal will give Marvel years of content and characters to build around, further allowing for new faces to become the stars of the universe. Plus, with villains like Galactus or Doctor Doom on the horizon, the possibilities are endless. Even Avengers vs X-Men could be a movie one day. However, killing off Iron Man, Cap, Thor, and the rest of the team means fans will never get to see these characters interact with the X-Men or Fantastic Four on the big screen, barring some recasting. But, if Marvel doesn't kill the original team, then they'll have one more major event at their disposal.
In keeping the OG Avengers alive, Marvel gives themselves the chance to one day bridge decades of storytelling together. Older versions of the original Avengers can rejoin the fight for one final film, giving the MCU major returning characters - basically their own The Force Awakens. For what its worth, Evans' wavering MCU future flipped back to the positive during Infinity War's press tour, as he said "We'll see" about a return in the future, so he could be convinced to make a return years from now. Whether this event comes as the true conclusion to the MCU or just the ending of another chapter, there's no denying the insane levels of hype such a move would generate. Even beyond the fan reactions, seeing them return years later could be part of the evolution of the characters that Feige's talked about wanting to see. Not killing the Avengers could raise questions from time to time on why they aren't involved in the movies, but an eventual return would be a huge.
Moving on from the original Avengers won't be easy, but there's potentially massive longterm benefits to keeping them around. When it comes to possible character development, future stories, or the lucrative box office totals that could come, Marvel's future may just be better and brighter with the original Avengers still alive. We'll have to wait until next year to see what Avengers 4 does with the original six.
- 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 02, 2019