Few franchises lend themselves to speculation as well as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Each time they release a film, it's sure to come packed with Easter Eggs, subtle nods to the comic books, and, perhaps most importantly, hints of what is to come in later installments. With this in mind, and the colossal event that is Avengers: Infinity War rapidly approaching, it seem only natural that fans speculate about what could happen after the team faces off against Thanos.
Some, like the notion of a Black Widow standalone movie, sound promising. Others, however, like the ones listed below, just sound terrible. Not every rumor is a winner, and we’ve assembled the very worst that the internet and Marvel Studios themselves have hinted at with regards to the foreseeable future.
Here are 17 Terrible Marvel Phase 4 Rumors We Hope Aren’t Real.
17 Hela Returns In Avengers: Infinity War
Hela, the Goddess of Death, posed a genuine threat in Thor: Ragnarok. She was a commanding presence, aided by the casting of Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, who pushed the titular hero into unchartered territory, both emotionally and in terms of power. She also died in what looked to be spectacular fashion at the end of the film.
There have been rumors that Hela could make a return in Infinity War, perhaps as the MCU’s answer to Death, a being that Thanos is forever trying to win over in the comics.
There have been some rumors to support this theory. Mark Ruffalo mentioned that he had recently worked with Blanchett on Michael Rapaport's I am Rapaport podcast, and when asked about Hela, Ragnarok producer Brad Winderbaum cagily responded “We always think about the movies as standalones, even if they do set up a movie down the road or pay off something from a previous film.”
The problem with bringing Hela back is that it would undermine Ragnarok as a film, as well as the journey that Thor’s character takes. We doubt Marvel would retroactively hinder one of their films on such a massive level.
16 Hawkeye Standalone Movie
Hawkeye has gone from punchline to beloved Avenger since debuting in 2011's Thor. Much of that has to do with Jeremy Renner’s charming performance, but also, the effort that the filmmakers have taken to present Hawkeye as a family man, someone who actually has a life outside of the battle. Ironically, its this idyllic family existence that makes the notion of a standalone Hawkeye movie feel so unnecessary.
He’s a character who works best as an ensemble player, a hero who bounces off of others rather than anchor a film in the vein of Iron Man or Captain America.
Besides, if the rumors of Hawkeye adapting elements of Ronin (the rogue alias he assumes in the comics) in Infinity War and the still-untitled Avengers 4 are true, than his character arc will provide more than enough drama to satisfy the fans. Renner, 47, has also stated that he doesn’t want to be in his 50s “wearing tights,” so unless Marvel fast-tracks the film into production, this looks like one bullet (or arrow) that we’ve all dodged.
15 Howard The Duck Reboot
Anyone remember 1986’s Howard The Duck? It was bad. Like, historically bad. So the fact that director James Gunn included the anthropomorphic character in not one, but two of his Guardians of the Galaxy films was surprising, to say the least. His cameos were strange, but they had a self-effacing quality to them that seemed in line with the rest of Gunn’s zany adventures.
Unfortunately, producer Kevin Feige has teased the possibility of there being more Howard The Duck in the future.
Feige said “You know, the fun thing about Howard is he shows up where you least expect him, so like who knows where he’s going to appear next?” We think that everyone would be in agreement if we said “not in a reboot.” The character is fun in small doses, but to reward him with his MCU film is a gamble that we just can’t see paying off.
14 Jane Foster Becomes New Thor
Natalie Portman is a great actress. That said, she didn’t seem all that invested in the first two Thor films, where she played scientist and love interest Jane Foster. Her exclusion from the third film, Ragnarok, was met with similar indifference, as we had never really built up a personal connection with Foster in the first place.
Recently, however, there has been rumors of the character making a return in a big way.
Portman said that she was open to returning and, given that Chris Hemsworth’s contract is up after Avengers 4, some have speculated that Foster could assume the mantle of Thor like she does in the comics. Our problem here is two-fold. One, Hemsworth has also expressed interest in reprising his role in the future, and Marvel would be unwise to turn that offer down. Two, with the success of Black Panther and the assumed success of the upcoming Captain Marvel, reviving an older hero with a lukewarm character seems like an unnecessary risk. One that doesn’t have a high reward.
13 MCU Keeps Fox’s X-Men Cast
It’s no secret that Disney bought 20th Century Fox, making it possible for The Avengers to crossover with the likes of Deadpool, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men. The latter is perhaps the most exciting, but given the lack of information thus far, the one that could prove most problematic.
Marvel has been unclear whether they plan to recast the X-Men, which would be the best option, or simply move forward with the cast established in X-Men: Apocalypse, which is absolutely the worst option.
The newcomers in Apocalypse; Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, seemed to fundamentally misunderstand the characters they played and the result was an unrelenting bore of a film. Plus, we have to see them potentially ruin the Phoenix Saga a second time with the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Dropping them into the excellently casted MCU, with Oscar winners and nominees abound, will only make them look worse. Here’s hoping Marvel makes the fix.
12 Quicksilver Is Resurrected
Quicksilver was played briefly and decently by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Avengers: Age of Ultron. His death was perhaps his most notable contribution to the franchise, as it saved Hawkeye and added depth to his sister Scarlet Witch, who continues to be a key member of the team. However, because this is comic books and everyone is supposed to come back to life, fans have refused to let Quicksilver die. Rumors have persisted that the speedster could return, either in a flashback or as a resurrected minion of Thanos in Infinity War. Granted, it’s not a bad idea, and could make for some emotional scenes between him and his sister, but it would also reek of gimmickry in a film that doesn’t really need it.
There’s going to be so many characters and storylines in Infinity War that even if Quicksilver were to return, he would not be allotted the necessary screen time to make it work.
We think it best to leave him in the past with Agent Coulson and Yondu as one of the few casualties that actually stuck, and left an impact on viewers.
11 A Ravagers Spinoff Movie
James Gunn has been incredibly forthright with where he thinks the Guardians of the Galaxy and the cosmic realm of the MCU are headed. Along with a spinoff that focuses on the original Guardians lineup, Gunn has teased the possibility of there being a movie about The Ravagers, the group that made a cameo at the end of the second Guardians film. “There’s always discussion with Ravagers,” he told Collider, “It would be [called] The Ravagers. It’s always a possibility. I would be excited.”
Additionally, Gunn told The Hollywood Reporter: “I'm definitely interested in the direction that these characters are headed and their roles in the Marvel Universe." While it was fun to see actors like Sylvester Stallone, Michelle Yeoh, Michael Rosenbaum, Ving Rhames and Miley Cyrus suit up, we’re having a hard time believing this bizarre group could carry a cohesive film on their own. Especially compared to the thousand-watt chemistry of the current Guardians team.
10 Betty Ross Returns To The MCU
2008’s The Incredible Hulk is the unmistakable low point of the MCU, a film that couldn’t decide whether it wanted to be a goofy blockbuster or a stoic character study. It was so derided that the lead actor (Edward Norton) was recast and virtually none of the subplots that were introduced were ever picked up. Despite all this, rumors heading into Phase 4 have persisted.
The latest, and seemingly most legitimate, is the return of Bruce Banner’s love interest Betty Ross.
In January, Daily Record UK penned an article about Infinity War’s production and among the cast members they listed was Liv Tyler, who originally played Ross. Little has been made of her involvement since, but it doesn’t take much to determine that her return would be an odd, if unnecessary addition to the film. Not only has a decade passed since her and Banner were an item, but Banner is now involved in a kinda/sorta relationship with Black Widow, further invalidating Ross’ inclusion.
9 Wesley Snipes Returns As Blade
Before Iron Man or Black Panther, there was Blade, the vampire hunter who sported leather like other heroes do spandex. The character was Marvel’s first to get a franchise and his impact on the genre has led to a rekindled interest as of late, with many claiming that he should be introduced in the next phase of the MCU. Now we love Blade as much as the next site, and Wesley Snipes was supremely cool in the title role, but having him return feels like it would be more fan service than genuinely beneficial to the franchise.
We can’t imagine that Blade’s carnage would mesh well with the PG-13 polish of the current films.
There's also the fact that Snipes is currently 55, a little past the age limit for playing an eternally youthful vampire hunter. In the event that Marvel does choose to bring Blade back, we suggest recasting the role and maybe throwing Snipes a cameo role out of respect.
8 Thanos Becomes A Recurring Villain
Thanos (played by Josh Brolin) is far and away the biggest threat The Avengers have ever faced. His powers are unfathomable when compared to past human, or even alien threats, that have tried to defeat them, and Infinity War looks as though it intends on exploring that. “In a movie that has a lot of characters, you could almost go so far as to say [Thanos] is the main character,” says Infinity War producer Kevin Feige, “That’s a bit of a departure from what we’ve done before.
The fear that some fans have had going into Phase 4 is that Thanos, for all the buildup, will become a recurring villain.
This would be a big mistake. If his tenure were to extend past Avengers 4, than the franchise runs the risk of nullifying him as a threat and ruining all the clout that came with his arrival. Besides, in a world where Marvel now owns Doctor Doom and Galactus, there’s no need to squeeze Thanos dry.
7 Scarlet Witch Turns Evil
This one has taken lots of different shapes and forms online. One theory, courtesy of Reddit user Jason Todd, is that Scarlet Witch (played by Elizabeth Olson) has actually been evil since she was introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron and has been patiently biding her time so that she can destroy the team from the inside. Another is that the death of Vision (presumably at the hands of Thanos) breaks her spirit, and leads to her spiraling out of control in the vein of Dark Phoenix.
To support this, the writers and producers have repeatedly told us that Scarlet Witch’s full powers surpass anyone and anything in the MCU.
We’d like to nix this one just because her arc over the last few films would be undermined. It would make her transition from wild child in Ultron to mature young woman in Captain America: Civil War utterly pointless. Seeing her succumb to evil would definitely provide a thrill, but we fear it’d be a cheap one.
6 Moon Knight Joins The Avengers
With the exception of maybe Doctor Strange, Marvel has yet to unveil a character as mystical as Moon Knight. Debuting as villain in the comics, Moon Knight eventually made the shift towards good guy, where he led a series of dark, otherworldly adventures. Marvel has been attempting to bring him to life for quite some time now, with plans for a Netflix series falling through, but it sounds as though he may finally make the leap to the big screen in the upcoming Phase 4. Now, Moon Knight is an amazing character with lots of rich threads to explore. But our concern is that his aesthetic, and his storylines, may be a bit of a stretch within the greater MCU, especially given how neatly guys like Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Ant-Man fit together.
If done correctly, it could work, but there are lots of variables, the least of which being the similarities to Strange, that could pose a problem.
We’d rather see the introduction of someone dissimilar to heroes we’ve already seen, like Sub-Mariner or Silver Surfer.
5 Nick Fury Standalone Movie
Like Hawkeye, Nick Fury is a great supporting character. Also like Hawkeye, Nick Fury doesn’t seem compelling enough to sell a standalone movie. He is the organizer, the coach of The Avengers, so stripping him of that mantle and making him just another secret agent seems a bit reductive. Samuel L. Jackson has entertained the idea of going solo in the past, telling Hot 97 that “You didn’t see me in [Captain America:] Civil War. I’m still out there trying to figure out what The Skull is doing…” teasing both his story and the return of Cap’s arch-nemesis Red Skull.
Still, it sounds like an idea that’s better on paper than it is on the screen.
More recently, Jackson spoke more frankly on the chances of going solo, telling ScreenCrush that he would “love” to do a Nick Fury movie, but the priority is the Infinity War saga and the upcoming Captain Marvel, in which Fury is reported to play a big part.
4 Crossover With The Netflix Universe
The notion of The Avengers crossing over with their Netflix counterparts, The Defenders, has been entertained since the first season of Daredevil. Last year, Kevin Feige told io9 that “At some point, there’s going to be a crossover. Crossover, repetition, or something.”
The way we see it, however, is that the two worlds are better left separated, at least in the meantime.
Not only is Infinity War stuffed to the gills with superheroes already, but the moody, violent aesthetic of the Netflix MCU has always been in opposition, and in many ways, a counterpoint to the films. Melding the two would be difficult. Furthermore, the last few seasons of the Netflix MCU, namely, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punisher, were muddled at best. It would be unwise for The Avengers to join forces with critically-derided brand, especially as some of their recent films have been their most acclaimed to date. The negatives far outweigh the positives here, so we’re hoping this rumor stays a rumor.
3 Harley Keener Becomes New Iron Man
This one is concerning. According to CinemaBlend, actor Ty Simpkins is set to reprise his role from Iron Man 3 in the upcoming Avengers 4. Now for those who don’t remember, Simpkins played Harley Keener, the little kid who Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) bumps into and who helps Stark when he’s stranded in a small town. Their scenes were charming and Kenner showed a knack for tinkering with technology, but the rumor that he will replace Stark as the new Iron Man is just too random to get behind.
If that wasn’t enough, some sites have reported that Kenner will also don the suit for Iron Man 4, a film that has been teased since the series “concluded” in 2013.
We’re pretty certain that Marvel wouldn’t dare replace such a beloved character with such an irrelevant one, but part of us is still concerned, given the persistent mention of Simpkins’ name. Fingers crossed that the suit gets retired when Stark does.
2 Killmonger Returns In Black Panther 2
It’s no secret that Erik “Killmonger” Stephens stole the show in Black Panther. Michael B. Jordan gave a career-best performance, teasing out the humanity and the pain that drove Killmonger’s plans for world domination. His final scenes were some of the most touching in the entire MCU, a meditation of like-minded brothers and the African nation they hold so dear.
We get why people would want to see more of Killmonger in Black Panther 2, but seeing him return would ruin all of the emotional weight that he brought to the table in the first place.
If the miracle of Wakandan medicine brings him back to life, it would not only go against his explicit wishes at the end of the film, but would turn him into Panther’s answer to Loki-- a fan favorite who alternates between enemy and conflicted family member. We’d much rather Jordan ride off into the sunset with his killer performance intact. Besides, it looks as though Kendrick Lamar is interested in being the Panther’s next foe.
1 Avengers 4 Resets MCU Timeline
The most egregious rumor that we’ve heard thus far is that due to most of the actors’ contracts being up after Avengers 4 and Doctor Strange’s Eye of Agamotto allowing for time travel, we may see the MCU timeline get reset before our very eyes. This would be a narratively logical fix, but resetting the entire timeline would also mean that the heroes we’ve come to know and love over the years-- Iron Man, Captain America, Thor-- would cease to exist as we know them.
In a cinematic universe that’s taken a decade and nearly twenty films to build, we can’t see it all being undone just for the sake of fixing a few casting departures.
Fox did something similar with X-Men: Days of Future Past and DC is planning a “reset” with the Flashpoint movie, but given all the trouble these studios have run into, it makes sense. Marvel is doing just fine, and they don’t need time travel gimmickry to hold our attention. Stay the course.
Which of these do you want to see least? Let us know!