WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame.
So, you’ve seen Avengers: Endgame, which means that you sat through around 15 minutes’ worth of credits to discover that no after credits scenes were there to clue you into what’s next for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel has already made it clear that its next film, Spider-Man: Far From Home, will be the final entry in “Phase Three,” but what about the rest? What about the Black Widow prequel, Shang-Chi and The Eternals? What about the third Guardians of the Galaxy? You know, “Phase Four”?
Aside from a few confirmed castings and production rumors, very little is known about Marvel’s next big thing. This includes the next Avengers movie, which will presumably gather most of Endgame‘s survivors and Phase Four’s newcomers for an entirely different adventure across the MCU. After all, Kevin Feige’s so-called “Infinity Saga” is officially over. The six stones from the franchise’s primary timeline have all been destroyed. The ones the team borrowed from alternative realities have all been returned.
Meanwhile, the original team is no more. Tony Stark and Natasha Romanoff are dead. Steve Rogers went back in time to “get a life.” Thor is presumably joining the Guardians. Bruce Banner seems to be shunning his rasher ways. And Clint Barton? He got his family back. So who does the “Avengers” mantle belong to now? Endgame, Marvel’s upcoming schedule and a few of Feige’s comments offer a few suggestions.
First things first, let’s start with what we know. Peter Parker has another movie coming out this summer. Obviously, this has ties to Marvel and Sony’s agreement regarding the popular character’s shared licensing, so it’s financial in nature. But it also makes a lot of pop cultural and narrative sense, as Spider-Man has long been one of Marvel’s most prominent characters. Parker has popped up in most of the major crossover events in the comics. What’s more, the MCU has set him up as a younger (and far more innocent) version of the tech-savvy Stark.
Meanwhile, Feige explicitly remarked that Carol Danvers was “about to take the lead and be at the forefront of the entire Cinematic Universe” in March. Like Captain America before her, Danvers hails from an origin story that set her up to become a successful leader. She’s also the most powerful character in the MCU, so Avengers 5 would be lost without her. Besides Endgame when out of its way to make sure that she and Parker shared a scene together. It’s almost as if the two are destined to work together again.
Let’s not forget one of the biggest character moments in Endgame: an older Steve Rogers officially passed his shield, and the Captain America mantle, onto Sam Wilson. Like many other heroes, the Falcon returned from Infinity War‘s snap to do battle at the end of Endgame. He also offered to help Rogers get the stolen infinity stones back to their rightful timelines. Instead, Wilson was given a much greater task. He did it in the comics. Now, it looks like he’ll be doing it in the MCU.
Doctor Strange practically engineered the events of Endgame back in Infinity War, when he used the time stone on Titan to figure out exactly how they could possibly beat Thanos. What’s more, as evidenced by his brief exchange with Wong before Endgame‘s final battle, and Peter’s comments to Tony during said battle, Strange helped to amass an army of allies to defeat the invaders. Director Scott Derrickson is reportedly working on Doctor Strange 2, so we know that the character will be around for some time.
We also know that Black Panther helmer Ryan Coogler is busy writing the sequel to that particular blockbuster, the popularity of which all but ensured that the character will be around for a long time. Like Rogers, T’Challa has proven himself to be as skilled a fighter as he is a leader. Whenever the Avengers decide to get back together, there’s no telling if the Black Panther, Captain Marvel or both will lead the team. Considering his wealth, however, he’ll most definitely be funding it.
Guardians of the Galaxy (and Thor?)
With the Guardians back in action and, perhaps it’s safe to say that the cosmic team will be joining back up with the earthbound heroes whenever the time comes? After all, rumors of a fourth Thor film, complete with director Taika Waititi’s involvement, have persisted for some time, and now that the former Asgardian ruler is apparently joining the interstellar crew, their attachment to the Avengers is all the more concrete. All that’s needed now is a narrative excuse to reconnect them with Peter Quill’s home planet.
After two solo films and a major role in saving the universe in Endgame, Scott Lang isn’t going anywhere. He’s practically taken over the role from the retired Hank Pym, whose primary connection to the moniker is the technology itself. Seeing as how Lang is entirely reliant on Pym’s willingness to share his technology with the ex-con, however, the position’s permanence is flaky at best. But maybe, just maybe, Pym will finally decide to share his work with Lang, whose own technical knowledge isn’t too far behind.
As big as Lang’s role was in Endgame, however, Hope van Dyne’s role as the Wasp has only popped up in Ant-Man and the Wasp and in the latest film’s climactic battle. With her delivery of the line “it’s about damned time” in one of the first Ant-Man movie’s post-credits scenes, as well as her role in the brief “A-Force” moment in Endgame‘s battle, Marvel Studios would be foolish not to include the character in the next Avengers crossover.