After eleven year and 21 movies, the MCU closed a big chapter in their ground-breaking storytelling with Avengers: Endgame. The massive follow-up to Avengers: Infinity War was not only a continuation on the heroes' battle against Thanos, but also a culmination of all the films that came before. And while it wraps up many of the storylines in satisfying and heartbreaking ways, the film also helped to set the stage for what comes next.
Marvel has been pretty tight-lipped about what Phase 4 of the MCU might look like, which is understandable given the end of Endgame. But that hasn't stopped fans from speculating. Now that they've seen it, there are plenty of theories about what exciting directions the MCU might head in after Endgame. Here are some of the best theories about what the future of the MCU holds.
10 Cosmic Focus
Even before Endgame’s release, Kevin Feige spoke about the larger role the cosmic side of the MCU would be playing going forward. The universe was first expanded beyond Earth with Thor, then grew even more with Guardian of the Galaxy, and continues to introduce new cosmic characters constantly.
With Captain Marvel looking to play a big role in the future of the MCU and movies like The Eternals on the way, there’s rumors that Phase 4 will be largely set around these kinds of stories. And now that the Fox characters are back under Marvel’s control, there are an endless amount of possibilities to explore.
9 Taking Up The Mantle
As many fans had speculated, Avengers: Endgame meant several characters’ tenure as part of the Avengers would come to an end. The original six heroes seem to largely be moving on — some through retirement and others, sadly, through death. While that has created something of a void, it may not be for long.
Some theories suggest we could see the original Avengers line-up again, albeit with some new replacements. It’s clear that Falcon is in line to be the next Captain America. Clint’s daughter seems to have inherited his archery skills. Valkyrie will lead Asgard. And while Morgan Stark might be too young, some think Iron Man 3’s Harley Keener could be the next Iron Man.
One of the many highlights of Endgame came during the epic final battle when every surviving female hero joins together to take on their enemy. Sure, it is a very fan-service moment, but fan-service is what the MCU does best.
The moment is already creating a stir with fans who are now demanding an all-female team-up movie in the future. Some of the MCU’s female stars have discussed this possibility and there are rumors that the idea is being pursued as part of the next phase of films.
7 New Avengers
While some theories suggest new characters taking up the mantle of past Avengers, other theories suggest that some of the newer established heroes will help to form a new Avengers squad. While the Avengers without Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor is hard to imagine, there is still a solid roster of heroes that could make an exciting team.
Massively popular heroes like Captain Marvel and Black Panther seem primed to lead the new team. Add to that characters like Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Ant-Man, and The Wasp, and this could make for a great new phase of Avengers.
6 Asgardians Of The Galaxy
After going through an existential crisis throughout Endgame, at the end of the film Thor decides to relinquish his role as ruler of Asgard, appointing Valkyrie in his place. While Thor doesn't seem to know what he'll do next, he does hitch a ride with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Chris Hemsworth has publicly stated that he wants to continue playing Thor in the MCU leading many to speculate he will be joining the Guardians in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Other rumors suggest some of the Guardians will join him in the rumored Thor 4 from Taika Waititi.
5 Lots Of Prequels
Though the MCU has always had a specific storyline they followed with their films, they haven’t been afraid to play around with the timeline. Captain America: The First Avenger largely took place during WWII and Captain Marvel was set in the '90s, before the Avengers ever formed. Many fans believe, now that certain heroes are gone, there will be many more prequels in the future.
Given that she dies in Endgame, we can pretty much guarantee Black Widow’s long-awaited solo film will be a prequel. The series WandaVision is also rumored to be set in the 1950s, while other characters including Captain America could reappear in prequel form.
4 Alternate Realities
Time travel can be really confusing and Endgame certainly didn’t do anything to simplify the concept. The sequences of the heroes jumping through time to retrieve the Infinity Stones from the past are such fun and they also introduce the idea of alternate realities existing. Some think there might be stories to explore with this idea.
One of the most popular theories is that Loki, having gotten his hands on the Tesseract after the Avengers blow their heist, is now alive and well in an alternate universe. Captain America presumably put the Stones back in their proper places but Loki would still be unaccounted for somewhere in the multi-verse.
3 New Characters
One of the most amazing things about Avengers: Endgame is how the film balances so many characters giving them each their own moment to shine. The MCU has grown to include so many characters, and as we move into the next chapter, fans are already speculating about which new Marvel characters will get the big screen treatment.
While the characters who came over from Fox will still be years away from joining the MCU, we do know that The Eternals and Shang-Chi are on the way. Some of the rumored additions include Namor, Captain Britain, and Black Knight.
2 Next Big Bad
There was a time when the MCU has a villain problem. As exciting and well-realized as their heroes were, the antagonists were largely forgettable. However, in recent years, they have really corrected course, giving audiences some truly classic comic book villains, especially Thanos.
The Mad Titan responsible for wiping out half the universe is going to be a tough act to follow. But fans have a few ideas about who the Avengers might face next. On the cosmic side, villains like Kang the Conqueror and Galactus are popular guesses, while more Earth-based baddies include Norman Osborne and Doctor Doom.
1 No More Avengers
While some fans are theorizing about what the next Avengers team will look like, others think we’ve seen the last of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes for a while. The MCU will obviously still go on, but the theory suggests Marvel has no plans for any big event movies in the foreseeable future.
It seems risky to put aside the biggest title in the MCU library but it would also make a lot of sense. The Infinity Saga was a massive undertaking and it’s still hard to believe they pulled it off. Kevin Feige and his team might want to scale things back and focus on more solo adventures going forward.