Warning: Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame ahead! After the smashing success that was Marvel’s Endgame, fans were left with an equal mix of feelings and questions. While serving as a conclusion to the MCU as audiences currently know it, the movie also blows the door wide open for future outings to have a bit more flexibility with continuity. Furthermore, with the Fantastic Four and X-Men now being a part of the MCU going forward, Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios have a plethora of new villains and story arcs to choose from.
One point of clarification that is still needed, though, is how the Avengers will proceed going forward. At the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America was the definitive leader of the team (as he always should be). Even when the team was divided during Captain America: Civil War, Steve Rogers led his branch of Avengers against Tony Stark’s. With both of them now out of the MCU and the Avengers reunited under one banner again, someone will have to step up and continue to lead. Here are our picks for some Avengers who can replace Captain America as leader of the team.
10 Bucky Barnes
In the comics, Bucky would eventually come to wield the shield as Captain America after Steve Rogers was shot following the original Civil War. This exploration into Bucky’s character made for a great story of redemption as he struggled to live up to Steve’s legacy. While the movies could easily adapt this story for the silver screen, the MCU’s Bucky is still in a pretty dark place.
He was barely freed from his soviet programming before Thanos snapped him away, so he hasn’t had the chance to really grow into himself by the time he returns. While the potential for Bucky to step up and be a leader is certainly there, he’s not quite ready as far as the movie’s version of the character is concerned. However, Bucky will likely have a chance to stand on his own on the Disney+ Falcon and Winter Soldier show that is coming soon.
At the end of Avengers: Endgame, it is evident that Thor is off to join the Guardians of the Galaxy. Even so, it doesn’t mean he’s not qualified to lead the Avengers. Not only is Thor one of the team’s heaviest hitters, but he is still worthy of Mjolnir, meaning that magic has proven him capable in more ways than one.
Thor also has leadership experience following the events of Thor: Ragnarok. While some may look at him as a poor leader, Thor made the best of his very bad situation, making it very believable that the pressures of leading combined with Thanos’ snap would take their toll on him. However, Thor never stopped trying or caring for his people, and leading a smaller team would likely be much more manageable for him.
8 Pepper Potts
While not as charismatic as her husband, Tony, Pepper Potts could easily rise to lead the Avengers. Not only is she familiar with a lot of Tony’s tech, she now has her own suit that could be used to defend herself in a fight. She is also no stranger to management and organization, as she essentially ran Stark Industries while Tony was Iron Man. She is also acquainted with most other Avengers and would have no problems adjusting to any newcomers.
On the downside, she has any number of reasons to turn down the responsibility. Being a single mom especially, it would make sense for Pepper to want to distance herself from the team. Though it is unlikely that Gwyneth Paltrow will even return to the role, Pepper Potts would still make a valuable member to the team.
7 Nick Fury
Nick Fury, the original leader to the original Avengers, could easily resume his role. Fury has consistently proven his brilliance throughout the duration of the MCU thus far, and it is likely that he will continue to do so from previews of Spider-Man: Far From Home. Therefore, if Fury is going to continue to play the leadership role anyway, it would make sense for him to resume leading the main team of Avengers.
However, without backing from S.H.I.E.L.D., Fury would likely have a difficult time funding the team. Furthermore, his mysterious past and knack for acquiring knowledge might also make him more valuable from the shadows, rather than the spotlight. Judging strictly from the Spider-Man: Far From Home trailers, it seems as though Fury will do just that. He’ll likely continue to provide guidance, just on a smaller scale.
6 Doctor Strange
Though he is a relative newcomer, Doctor Strange is still very capable of leading the Avengers going forward. First and foremost, he acts as a bridge between the supernatural world and the real one, making him a very valuable addition to the team in general. Strange also developed a sense of humility throughout the arc of his solo film, making him much more willing to work with others.
Though he isn’t quite acquainted with too many other team members, Strange could easily adapt. Furthermore, his “Stark-like” mannerisms would be nothing new to other members of the team. Though Strange still has a bit of a ways to go, he is still capable of leading the Avengers.
5 Black Panther
Now that he is back, T’challa would make a great successor to Steve Rogers. He has the tech and know-how that the Avengers would need to operate. He also has a great amount of leadership experience as he is currently still king of Wakanda.
Even since his introduction, he has held true to his moral compass and been able to admit when he makes mistakes. Throughout his journey, Black Panther has learned a lot from others and become one of the strongest symbols of leadership in the MCU. Really, the only drawback to his role as an Avenger is that as king, T’challa has to put the people of Wakanda first. The evolution of his character in so few films though, has made him a great candidate to lead the Avengers going forward.
Though he went down a significantly darker road as Ronin in Avengers: Endgame, Hawkeye still has many qualities that would make him a valuable leader. For starters, he is incredibly loyal and always putting others before himself. He is also an original Avenger, so he knows how the team operates. His combat and tactical experience also makes him a valuable member, despite having no enhanced abilities of any kind.
As of current, it seems as though Clint’s journey will continue on Disney+ as it seems he will be training a young Kate Bishop, who, in the comics, takes up the mantle of Hawkeye. Even though his darker side came out during the events of Endgame, making Clint the leader of the team would serve as a great story of redemption. Despite his dark turn, Clint Barton is still a very loyal, valuable, and qualified member of the Avengers.
In an unlikely turn of events, Bruce Banner and the Hulk have now set aside their differences and now share the best of both personalities. While this decision was met with mixed response from fans, it now means that the Hulk is the best version of himself that he can be. Now, he’s not only just a heavy-hitter, but also a genius. So long as Banner can retain control, there really is no reason he can’t lead the team.
He is an original Avenger, now a very public figure, hard to knock down, and easy for others to get along with. The only thing that really holds him back is his typically timid nature, but that didn’t seem to be a problem anymore in Endgame. Even though it is unlikely that Hulk will ascend to a leadership position, it would be an interesting twist to the evolution of his character.
2 Captain Marvel
Though she had a relatively small role in Avengers: Endgame, Carol Danvers would still make a great leader for the Avengers going forward. Not only are her roots on earth, but she could serve as a bridge between the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Furthermore, her background in the army gives her a very similar sense of morality to Captain America.
She's also one of the strongest Avengers, and boasts a headstrong attitude that would be valuable in any leadership position. Marvel has already said the Captain Marvel is going to play a very big role in the movies going forward, so it would be nice to see her not only have a bigger presence, but also realize her full potential as a character.
Steve Rogers gave Sam Wilson the shield for a reason. Captain America himself believed that Falcon embodied a lot of the same ideals and morals. Therefore, it would make perfect sense for Falcon to lead the Avengers. Sam also comes from a military background, yet also recognizes his limits. He is also familiar with most other members and is incredibly easy to like.
Though he may not be the fastest, strongest, or smartest, Sam Wilson has the right attitude, which made him the successor to Captain America in the first place. If Cap himself believed that Sam could handle not just the name but the responsibilities as well, then there really is no doubt that Sam is more than capable for the position.