WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Avengers: Endgame, in theaters now.
Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe showed up at theaters in droves to see Avengers: Endgame, which shattered opening weekend records, earning over $1 billion at the worldwide box office. The film serves as the finale to the "Infinity Saga" and brought an end to a number of storylines, some of which began at the dawn of the MCU with 2008's Iron Man.
So with the Infinity Saga now complete, where does that leave the MCU? All we know about the future of the MCU comes from the film's currently in production like Spider-Man: Far From Home and Black Widow, and what Avengers: Endgame revealed about the next steps for the MCU, which we'll take a look at today.
10 2023 IS DEVASTATED
While the ending of Avengers: Endgame strongly gives the impression that everything is back to normal now that those dusted by Thanos have returned to life, the reality of their unique situation is quite different. The MCU now exists after that five-year gap in the year 2023, which was left in bad shape after the Decimation.
Endgame showed a New York that looked abandoned and a population reeling from their loss, as seen during Steve Rogers support group that featured the powerful cameo from director Joe Russo. And while not explored fully in the film, we know from scenes in Infinity War that the "Snap" resulted in more deaths beyond the balancing of lives, as incidental deaths would have followed the dustings of pilots and doctors.
9 THOR HAS JOINED THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
While Steve Rogers and Tony Stark each received a fitting send-off from the MCU, Thor seems hard-pressed to leave the MCU behind, and fans couldn't be happier. Following the character's turn towards a lighter comedic tone in Thor: Ragnarok, Thor has attained a new level of popularity in the MCU that deserves to be further explored.
Endgame revealed that Thor/Lebowski is the newest member of the (As)Guardians of the Galaxy, where his newfound humor is sure to match up well with the other members of the Guardians again. It's likely Thor will assist the Guardians as they search for the 2014 version of Gamora who may or may not have survived Tony Stark's "snap."
8 THERE WILL BE A NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA... EVENTUALLY
Endgame revealed an ending for Steve Rogers that surprised quite a few fans but also paved the way for new Captain America stories to be told in the MCU. Following Rogers trip back through time to return the Infinity Stones (and Mjolnir) from their respective places in time, his true plan to return to his original time and live his life alongside Peggy Carter was revealed.
This was news to Sam Wilson/Falcon (though it looked like Bucky knew all about it), and wasn't the only revelation made by the now very old Steve Rogers. As the iconic shield changes hands, it's revealed that Sam Wilson is going to be the new Captain America, though as the title of the upcoming Falcon & Winter Soldier Disney+ series reveals, he might not take the name for a while.
7 PETER PARKER IS BACK IN HIGH SCHOOL... SOMEHOW
One of the most devastating losses of Infinity War was the dusting of the newest and youngest Avenger, Peter Parker/Spider-Man. His return during the climactic final battle of Endgame led to the reversal of that emotional moment, as Tony is the one who is dying in Peter's arms before Pepper Potts (in full Rescue armor) arrives to say goodbye.
The finale of the film reveals that Peter Parker is set to return to High School, where he sees and hugs his best friend Ned. As this scene takes place in 2023, it seems like both Peter and Ned were luckily(?) casualties of the Decimation. However, in the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home, almost everyone from Peter's class is on the school trip, meaning Thanos' snap killed half of all life and every single one of Peter Parker's friends.
6 VALKYRIE IS QUEEN OF NEW ASGARD
One of the biggest secrets of Endgame that managed to not be spoiled though trailers or TV spots was the condition of Thor in 2023. When the Avengers first go to recruit the God of Thunder, he is drunk, out of shape, and haunted by his failure to stop Thanos. Basically in no condition for the ruler of New Asgard, which has settled in the Norwegian town of Tønsberg.
When Thor decides to leave not only Earth but his duties as king of New Asgard behind to explore a new life with the Guardians of the Galaxy, he names Valkyrie as the new ruler of New Asgard. This could lead to another outing for Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie in the MCU, as the Queen of Asgard "makes some changes around" there.
5 BLACK WIDOW'S MOVIE WILL BE A PREQUEL
Fans were overjoyed when the long-awaited solo Black Widow film was announced and began casting, though excitement quickly turned to confusion following Natasha's sacrifice on Vormir to retrieve the Soul Stone. Natasha's sacrifice helped the Avengers save the day and gave Hawkeye another chance with his family, but where did it leave Black Widow?
There were rumors that the Black Widow film would be a prequel before Endgame revealed the death of Natasha, and now those rumors are more likely than ever. We don't have a release date for the film, which is currently in production, but with the death of Black Widow in the 2023 timeline, we can expect Black Widow to explore Nat's life years before her death.
4 ANT-MAN AND THE WASP MIGHT HAVE A NEW PARTNER
it's hard to believe that Ant-Man's Scott Lang would be the person responsible for the plan to fix the world, but it makes the most sense given his situation in Endgame. While the rest of the world moved on after the Decimation and spent five years dealing with those consequences, Scott Lang was only gone for hours due to the varied time of the Quantum Realm.
This meant that Scott was the same age his dusted partner Hope van Dyne/Wasp, but his daughter Cassie had aged five years post-snap in a world without her father. At the close of Endgame, we see Scott and Hope with the teenaged Cassie, which could tease a new team for the third Ant-Man film, as in the comics Cassie becomes the size-changing hero known as Stature.
3 STEVE ROGERS MIGHT HAVE CHILDREN NOW
Bear with us now, this one could get a little confusing. As we discussed earlier, Steve chose to return to the past and life his life with Peggy Carter. Now this potentially creates an alternate timeline given the rules of time travel Endgame attempts to follow. Since Steve is back in the past then he must have changed the timeline, as fans knew that Peggy was married and had children while Steve was frozen.
Except, when looking back at Peggy's life after Steve was frozen, her husband was never actually revealed. While Steve and Tony were in the past getting the Space and Mind Stones, Steve sees a picture of himself on her desk, approximately 30 years after he died. This has led many fans to assume that Steve was always meant to go back in time, and was actually the husband of Peggy all along, thus not creating an alternate reality so much as fulfilling his own destiny. This also potentially means that the kids raised by Peggy would also be Steve Rogers' children.
2 THE MARVEL MULTIVERSE EXISTS
Whether the Marvel Multiverse existed before the Avengers time heist began creating alternate realities or if it existed before those events, the idea of alternate realities is now a part of the MCU's continuity. And due to some of the changes made to the timestream that can't really be fixed by Steve's return of the Infinity Stones, we already have an idea of some of these new timelines.
While there are a few time travel inconsistencies that can be looked past, one that goes against the very rules put forth by the Ancient One is the fact that the 2104 versions of Thanos and Nebula were killed in 2023, and therefore have created an alternate reality where events like the destruction of Xandar or the Decimation never happened. This could potentially be tied to the upcoming What If... animated series streaming on Disney+ that will explore possible alternate realities.
1 LOKI IS OUT THERE SOMEWHERE
Of course, that wasn't the only new timeline created by the Avenger's time heist failures. Fans were surprised and disappointed by the death of Loki in Infinity War, but it's very possible Endgame undid the death of Loki. During the heist of the Tesseract in 2012 that goes awry, the Loki of that timeline manages to steal the Tesseract and disappear, never to be touched on again.
This means that a new alternate reality was created by this event, as there is no way Steve Rogers would be able to return the Space Stone that Loki stole to that time period. This means that a version of Loki still exists in the Marvel Multiverse, and he once again is in control of the Tesseract. It's likely this seemingly important moment will be explored further when the Loki series streams on Disney+.