Big things are coming in the MCU. Thanos, the mad Titan, is determined to claim the Infinity Stones and lay waste to the galaxy. Or conquer it. He hasn’t exactly been clear on that. Either way, the "Big Bad" first teased in the first Avengers movie is finally on his way.
Outside of the MCU, there’s even more on the horizon. Most of the key actors and actresses playing characters such as Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man are nearing the end of their contracts. Despite still being a few years away, there are many questions as to what’s going to happen to one of cinema’s biggest, and most lucrative, franchises. While the movies are making epic amounts of money, there’s no way Disney will call it a day and let the MCU end after Infinity War.
While it’s fairly obvious The Avengers will ultimately defeat Thanos at the end of Infinity War: Part Two, there are numerous questions as to what may happen next. Here are ten possible storylines that could follow from Infinity War, and how they could work while taking into consideration the aging cast, contracts, and the stories themselves.
11 Avengers Disassembled
Back in 2004, the long-running Avengers comic book had been in a creative and commercial slump for a while. Superstar writer Brian Michael Bendis proposed a radical change to the line-up to turn things around. The result was the monster hit Avengers Disassembled. Imagine the Avengers had their worst possible day. Iron Man verbally abuses a Latverian diplomat at the U.N while drunk. Jack of Hearts detonates Ant-Man. She Hulk loses control and destroys The Vision. Ultron attacks. The Kree invade and, in doing so, kill Hawkeye. It all happened in one day.
In the aftermath of it all, it is determined that Scarlet Witch has caused everything via the subconscious use of her reality warping powers. Grief at the realization that she had lost two children and had the memory of them removed causes her to lose her sanity and lash out at those closest to her. In movie form, this could serve as a catalyst for a major shake-up. Killing off some characters, and side-lining others, would allow for a fresh team to take over the role of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Which leads us to…
Following on from Avengers Disassembled, a massive prison break frees 50 of the worst villains in the Marvel Universe from the super-prison on Ryker's Island. Luke Cage, Daredevil, Spider – Man and others arrive on the scene, or were there anyway, and help contain the chaos.
Captain America sees parallels with the day the original Avengers formed to deal with a crisis, and he builds a new team made up of those that were there that night.
In movie form, this could be a perfect solution. Daredevil and Cage have already been introduced on Netflix, and Spider-Man is about to be introduced in Civil War. These characters could easily transition to the big screen without appearing out of the blue. It might also be a perfect time to add Doctor Strange, assuming he doesn’t join formally during the events of Infinity War.
9 Dark Reign
Depending on Marvel chooses to end Civil War, there could be a massive change in how the MCU handles its heroes. If they follow the outcome of the comic book series, there could hypothetically be some oversight on superheroes from the government. In the comics, this superhero "regulation" initially led to Iron Man leading a team of sanctioned Avengers and Luke Cage leading the remnants of Cap’s resistance forces.
After a while though, Iron Man was ousted from his position as the head of both the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. He was replaced with the insane former foe of Spider-Man, Norman Osborn a.k.a The Green Goblin.
This lead to a team of Dark Avengers, The Greek God Ares, Venom, Sentry, Dakken, Bullseye, and Moonstone, posing as heroes. This incredibly powerful and corrupt force was accepted by the media as heroes while serving the interests of Osborn’s Cabal.
As a movie, this would work on every level. The remaining heroes being hunted by a superior force, unable to rely on backup from S.H.I.E.L.D, forced to go underground. It has echoes of Winter Soldier but could potentially be so much more.
The culmination of the above storylines was Siege. Following Ragnarok, Thor settles Asgard on earth, or more accurately, fifty feet above it. The floating city served as the temporary home for Thor and his companions after he rescued them from their apparent deaths.
Tolerated by Stark, the city becomes a target for Osborn as he sees it as a threat to his Dark Reign. Manipulating Ares into leading the charge, his assault is swift and brutal. Ares discovers Osborn’s treachery and switches sides, attacking Osborn. He is quickly, and brutally, killed by the near omnipotent Sentry.
The various scattered heroes come together to aid Thor and the Asgardians, and in doing so, end the Dark Reign.
In movie terms, this is gold. The final climactic battle in a floating city could be a little too close to the finale of Age of Ultron, so it could use some serious revisions, but it all depends on how things are left at the end of the cinematic version of Ragnarok. This story would also depend on Chris Hemsworth's availability as Thor.
7 Under Siege
Should the powers that be determine that the New Avengers themed arc isn’t the direction they wish to go down. There are numerous stand-alone stories that could be adapted.
One of the best stories of all-time is Under Siege. If you’re a Manhattan based superhero living in Avengers Mansion, you’d assume you were safe at home, right? Wrong!! Despite the "Being attacked where they live" thing being a staple of comic books these days, it was innovative when this story was written. The Masters of Evil capture the mansion and take out the most powerful members, leading Ant-Man and The Wasp to lead a counter offensive.
This could work pretty well as an Ant-Man movie idea, but could also be adapted to include the other Avengers. The less powerful Avengers having to take out the bad guys one by one inside a giant building could work as a Die Hard style action movie. Given Marvel’s style of blending genres in recent years, this could work really well.
6 Red Zone
One of the better villains of the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far has to be The Red Skull. Even if Hugo Weaving cannot be convinced to come back, it would be simple to recast him.
Unlike the usual "Hero punches Villain" storyline, this Geoff Johns-penned storyline involved a mystery plague sweeping the U.S, eating flesh and leaving nothing but crimson corpses. If Marvel does choose to go down the less flashy route at some stage, this could be an interesting option for them. It’s highly character driven and would be their first legitimate comic book/horror crossover.
While the comic book story heavily features original Captain America, Steve Rogers, Bucky has enough history with The Red Skull to make the story engaging, assuming he takes on the mantle after Chris Evan’s contract expires.
5 The Masters of Evil
Rather than adapting a story like the previous entries in this list, Marvel could use the various storylines involving their evil counterparts and come up with something a little more original. The two Avengers movies we’ve seen so far have had one thing in common, a main villain and a horde of faceless soldiers to be used as cannon fodder. A Masters of Evil storyline could shake that up.
Each hero could be matched up with a villain of equal power or skill and then the climax could involve a final battle where everybody pretty much takes on everybody else.
Unlike taking on a thousand Chitauri or a thousand clones of Ultron, this would allow for the villains to be fleshed out a little more, making for a more satisfying experience for the audience once they’re defeated.
4 The Search for The Sorcerer Supreme
Another storyline from the New Avengers era, this could see the team take on a supernatural enemy, as opposed to the more "real world" influences seen so far. This hinges on Doctor Strange being well-received, but would allow for the street level Avengers to face something completely different and fight far beyond their comfort zone.
Basically, Doctor Strange loses his role as the Sorcerer Supreme for playing with darker forces than he could control, and the Eye of Agamotto seeks a replacement. Along the way, the demon-possessed Hood tries to obtain the power for himself and rid himself of one of the few people standing in his way. Teaming up with Madam Masque, there’s also plenty of room for conventional combat, so guys like Spider – Man and Hawkeye aren’t left on the side-lines while the magic guys have all the fun.
Again, this could work well as a Doctor Strange sequel, but given that many Avengers are about to be in a Captain America movie, stranger things have happened. Pun not intended, honest.
3 Kree – Skrull War
This story could be problematic, as Fox currently holds the rights to the Skrulls by way of their ownership of The Fantastic Four. However, this could be reworked by using the Chitauri in their place.
The original story involved two powerful alien races going to war with each other, and earth’s heroes getting caught in the middle. Far more than just a massive battle, there’s ethical dilemmas, conflict between the heroes as to what to do, and plenty of twists and turns. It’s rightly regarded as a classic storyline, and referenced often to this day.
In movie form, it could follow on quite nicely from Infinity War. The Chitauri, left without a leader after Thanos’ defeat, end up at war with The Kree. While it’s probable at this point that the Guardians of the Galaxy are going to be in Infinity War, they could make an appearance here too. They could even spice things up by placing the two teams on opposite sides of each other: Avengers vs. Guardians. Now THAT would be a movie!
2 The Kang Dynasty
Again, rights issues with Fox may make this one difficult as Kang is as associated with The Fantastic Four as much as The Avengers. Assuming Marvel does manage to make Kang a central character, this would be the Kang story to use.
Coming from the far future, Kang sees humanity as heading towards certain destruction, and sees himself as the only person to save it. His solution: to conquer humanity to save it from itself and use The Avengers to do it.
Now, if Marvel cannot reacquire the rights to Kang, it may be possible to create a character to take his place. An elder of the universe, or even a rogue Watcher, could potentially work. Ideally, somebody from the future assembles a team from throughout the timeline to fight a battle no team from any time could win. Should the MCU ever come to a close, this could be the ideal way to bring everyone (even killed-off characters) together for one last hurrah.
So there we have it, ten storylines that could, potentially, follow on from Infinity War. Most would need to be retooled slightly, but whatever happens once the dust settles, there’s potential for greatness.
Please add to the comments section any thoughts you may have regards these storylines and any others that would make great additions to the MCU!