Avengers 5 will be playing with a very different set of heroes - which new Marvel characters could it introduce? Avengers 4 is due in May 2019, and although it's the shortest wait yet between Avengers movies, it's perhaps the most excruciating, as fans are desperate to see how Cap, Iron Man and the remaining heroes can bring back billions of people from the dead and defeat Thanos once and for all. While it's a question of "how" rather than "if", fan debate is inevitably going to gently shift towards the inevitable Avengers 5, due at some point in the next five years.
Even though Avengers: Infinity War had one of the biggest ensemble casts in movie history, there remains an untapped wealth of characters for Marvel to choose from to populate its future Avengers roster, especially with the increasing likelihood of franchise mainstays Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, et al soon stepping away from their iconic places in the pantheon. Some already exist as supporting characters in previous Marvel movies, with the capacity to go further and expand their roles; think Shuri stepping into the role of Black Panther, or Ant-Man's daughter Cassie Lang growing up to step into her father's gargantuan shoes as Stature.
But there are other fan-favorites which are still waiting for their debut in the MCU. Here are heroes that deserve to enter the front-lines in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and form the backbone of Avengers 5.
The Nova Corps, the intergalactic police force of the Marvel universe, have already appeared on-screen in Guardians of the Galaxy, but they've yet to showcase their most recognizable hero from the source material: Richard Rider.
In the comics, Rider was selected by last dying Nova Corps member Rhomann Dey (played in Guardians of the Galaxy as John C. Reilly) to replace him and given the costumes and powers of a Nova Centurion. These powers included flight, strength, speed, and the ability to redistribute absorbed energy as powerful beams of light in the comics.
Of course, given that the Nova Corps seen on-screen seem more like uniformed cops and pilots than flying superheroes, Kevin Feige and co. will have to come up with some deus ex machina to bestow said powers to a future MCU incarnation of Richard Rider. It's also not known if Rhomann Dey is still alive, considering Thanos laid waste to Xandar - home of the Nova Corps - off-screen, prior to Avengers: Infinity War in his search for the Power Stone. This is an opportune storytelling moment, though; a dying Rhomann Dey could very possibly have fled off-world to recruit Rider, and his appearance is being saved for the next phase of Marvel movies.
If Avengers 5 once again finds Earth's Mightiest Heroes fighting villainy on a cosmic scale, it wouldn't hurt to pull out yet another space-set big gun from Marvel's publication history, and a character to rival Captain Marvel (who'll be getting her dues in her own solo movie and Avengers 4 next year) in terms of power.
The newest character in the Iron Man mythos, 15-year-old Riri Williams (aka Ironheart) is a genius early entrant to MIT, where she cobbles together stolen junk to make her own Iron Man costume. Eventually aided by an AI Tony Stark and Pepper Potts, encouraged to take on an Iron-mantle, Riri quickly becomes a hero in her own right.
We've already seen Tony Stark visit MIT on-screen in Captain America: Civil War, funding every project the rapt audience of students had on the go at the end of his speech. The idea that Riri could have already been in the crowd of students, ready to be inspired, is a tantalizing one.
The Tony Stark-as-mentor plot thread has already been explored through his relationship with Peter Parker, and considering he failed miserably in keeping that particular young hero alive it's unlikely that he'd be so eager for a young girl to don armor like his own. If Tony were to die in Avengers 4, however, then there'd be few people around to stop Riri from donning the mantle. Perhaps she'd even have her own AI Tony Stark around to help her (allowing Robert Downey, Jr. to pick up the easiest paychecks of his career, and still be a part of the MCU).
Importantly, this allows the Avengers to retain an Iron-clad hero, and should the character resonate with audiences, she would then perhaps gets the chance to be further fleshed out in her own solo movie.
Marvel's Superman-gone-psycho analog, Robert Reynolds, would be a difficult character for the movies to pull off. Reynolds is all at once drug addict Bob Reynolds, the Golden Guardian of Good known as the Sentry, and the malicious, apparently ancient biblical malevolent force known as the Void. This triple threat of conflicting personalities exists thanks to an experimental serum that Bob consumed in his efforts to get high.
In the New Avengers comics from Brian Michael Bendis, The Sentry was one of the founding members of the team, being found rotting in a prison cell on prison island The Raft, under the delusion that he had murdered his own wife. He saved the life of Foggy Nelson during the ensuing breakout (unrelated to the appearance of Matt Murdock, Luke Cage and Nelson, who are there to interview Reynolds), and assisted in taking care of crazed symbiote Carnage - by flying him into space and ripping him in two, in one of the series' cooler moments.
It was a great reintroduction to the (previously-forgotten) character and one that can easily be translated to film for Avengers 5. The saga of The Sentry and his personal quest to regain his sanity is a compelling plotline that is perhaps better saved for a New Avengers movie somewhere down the line.
That said, he was never the most popular Avenger thanks to a combination of his vague powers, the Void's confusing ancient history (never adequately explained by Bendis) and Bob's continuously fluctuating mental state. It's hard for readers to cheer on a hero who either doesn't remember he is one, and/or is actually his own arch-nemesis. Marvel Studios would have to make a concentrated effort to streamline the character and his confusing biography; the upshot is that in doing so they may well finally redeem him in the eyes of fans.
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022