Three of Earth's Mightiest Heroes were dead or retired at the end of Avengers: Endgame, but that doesn't mean that the Avengers will be any less important to the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, it's possible that Marvel may have four teams of Avengers by Phase 5.
The fourth installment in the Avengers series marked the end of an era with the deaths of Black Widow and Iron Man, and the retirement of Captain America, who passed the shield to Falcon. Of the original three MCU trilogies, only Thor is set to continue in the near future. At San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Marvel announced its Phase 4 slate and confirmed the development of more movies, including Fantastic Four, Captain Marvel 2, and Blade. However, a fifth Avengers film still hasn't been confirmed, leaving Marvel's plans for the series open to speculation.
Marvel's schedule for 2020-2021 may be full, but there's still plenty of room for more Avengers projects. Marvel has three films coming in 2022, and only one of them, Black Panther 2, has been officially revealed. What Marvel has up its sleeve for 2023 and beyond is a mystery. Marvel is also now looking to Disney's upcoming streaming service, Disney+, to continue building the MCU. Unlike other Marvel shows, what Marvel has planned for Disney+ is expected to directly connect to the MCU's future, providing more options for world-building. Here's how Marvel may end up with four Avengers teams by Phase 5.
Do The Avengers Exist After Endgame?
What's the current status of the Avengers? This is a question that Endgame doesn't clearly address. Unlike Avengers: Age of Ultron, which ended with Captain America and Black Widow training a new team, Endgame doesn't end with a clear roster of heroes or even a confirmation that the team will continue to exist. Whether or not the Sokovia Accords are still in effect isn't discussed either.
Black Widow, Iron Man, and Captain America are gone for good, and Thor is out of the picture as well, since he decided to leave with the Guardians of the Galaxy at the end of the movie. That being said, there's still no reason why the Avengers would disband. Thanos has been defeated, but other threats could emerge in his place, which gives the only active founding member, the Hulk, a reason to keep at least some of the superheroes together.
Falcon, Scarlet Witch, and War Machine could be members of the current team, and other existing heroes who aren't officially affiliated with the team, such as Ant-Man, Wasp, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Doctor Strange may have joined off-screen. Of course, new heroes could be in the mix as well, like Shang-Chi or Black Knight. Since the Avengers may be lacking in the leadership department due to their recent losses, Black Knight may step up to plate in The Avengers 5.
MCU Phase 5 Is Setting Up A Lot of Different Teams
Based on the new characters Marvel is introducing in Phase 4, it appears that Marvel Studios is laying the foundations for multiple new teams, and each one of them could serve as a branch of the Avengers. Iron Man 3's young genius Harley Keener returned for Tony Stark's funeral in Endgame, leading to speculation that Keener could become the MCU's Iron Lad, a superhero from the comics who wears a suit similar to Iron Man's. Iron Lad forms a team of teenage heroes called the Young Avengers. Two more teenage heroes (and potential Young Avengers recruits) are set to join the MCU in Phase 4: Ms. Marvel and Kate Bishop's Hawkeye. While Ms. Marvel is starring her own Disney+ show, it's been confirmed that she will play a role in the movies as well. Her future in the film side of the MCU could relate directly to a Young Avengers film.
A second team, the Dark Avengers, could help redefine the MCU by adapting a much more sinister version of Earth's Mightiest Heroes. In the comics, the Dark Avengers were a team of supervillains assembled by Norman Osborn who temporarily took the place of the real heroes. Eventually, their facade broke down and their true natures were exposed. This would be an interesting direction for the MCU to take with its darker characters, and something that may actually be in the works, since there have been rumors of a Dark Avengers script. If the movie does see the light of day, it could reintroduce forgotten MCU characters like the Abomination, and make use of newer ones like Black Widow's Yelena Bolova.
Marvel's plans for large scale superhero team-ups may not be limited to the movies. Marvel may be building up to a West Coast Avengers TV series on Disney+. In Marvel Comics, the West Coast Avengers were formed when the main team's current leader, Vision, decided to launch a second branch on the West Coast in order to expand their reach. In what may or may not be a huge coincidence, many of the team's core members factor heavily into Marvel's Disney+ shows, including Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Moon Knight, and U.S. Agent. This could mean that Marvel wants to do with Disney+ the same thing it did with Netflix and The Defenders, but hopefully with better results. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, Moon Knight, and possibly more could provide the setup for West Coast Avengers.
What Multiple Avengers Teams Means For Marvel's Future
Having multiple Avengers teams could reshape the MCU. It would certainly expand the Avengers brand, and give fans more frequent opportunities to see the Avengers in action. But, having so many would mean that Marvel would run the risk of audiences developing Avengers fatigue, unless Marvel succeeds in making sure each group is inherently different from the other superhero teams. Since all four teams in the comics are unique in their own way, it does seem likely that Marvel can make sure that each one brings something new and exciting to the table. This would allow for Marvel to provide audiences with several more years of fresh, new Marvel ensembles.
- Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
- Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022