After half a year without a new entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the campaign for Black Widow. Natasha Romanoff’s prequel movie, is revving up. The stand-alone movie kicks off Marvel’s Phase 4 plan for the MCU, which will include returning characters, Disney Plus shows, and sequels for some of our favorite MCU characters. But the one thing that Phase 4 doesn’t include, at least right now, is a new Avengers movie.
Despite official announcements, president of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige hasn’t been completely silent on what’s next for the world’s most famous superhero team. During an interview at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, just a few weeks after Avengers: Endgame hit theaters, MTV News asked Feige if Phase 4 would begin to plan the seeds for the next Avengers movies and their villain.
“Yes. We debated what we should announce today,” said Feige. “‘Should we announce four and five, we’ve got five years down the road.’ And I was like, ‘I think 11 projects in two years is plenty.”
While nothing’s official yet, Feige has implied that there are more Avengers movies on the horizon. And, since Endgame became the highest-grossing movie of all time last year, that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. What we don’t know is who exactly might be on the team that Feige envisions assembling this time around.
Feige told MTV News that “it will be a very different team than we’ve seen before [...] with some people you’ve already met and some people you haven’t met yet.”
Who might that include? With Kate Bishop’s Hawkeye on the way, it’s been widely speculated that she’d jump to the movies to join the team. But Kate Bishop’s Avengers history is complicated. She was a member of the Young Avengers, which could certainly be an influence on the next MCU team, but she also led the West Coast Avengers in some recent comics.
If Kevin Feige and the Marvel Cinematic Universe team decide to keep their teams to comic books only, we’re still looking at a nearly infinite list of combinations. As it turns out, with four or five different Avengers teams, and the group’s 50-plus-year history, a lot of people have had a crack at saving the universe.
While the various iterations of the Avengers are way too numerous to list, it is worth exploring which characters connect to Marvel’s upcoming movies. Shang Chi, who will be introduced in 2021 with Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, has been part of the main Avengers team in the past. Shang-Chi’s most recent stint on the Avengers’ roster was in 2013 with Avengers Vol. 5, but he was also on the Secret Avengers before that. Blade, the vampire hunter who is also getting his own movie sometime in the future, has also a member of various Avengers teams. Blade recently joined the Avengers’ main team in last January’s Avengers Vol. 8 and he continues to be on the team in that series.
Perhaps the most interesting and complicated addition will arrive in Marvel’s The Eternals, which is set to come out on Nov. 6. While the Eternals aren’t generally part of the Avengers, they do sometimes help them when threats to the universe get particularly dire. While we don’t know anything just yet, it isn’t hard to imagine Feige and the Marvel team setting up the Eternals in much the same way they used the Guardians of the Galaxy in the lead up to the battle against Thanos. Perhaps the Eternals will remain their own separate group for a couple of movies, before they eventually join the more Earth-focused Avengers.
One thing we can say with near certainty is that the characters that died in Avengers: Endgame, and permanently died in Avengers: Infinity War won’t be joining up with the new iteration of the Avengers. Kevin Feige has said multiple times that he feels Endgame really was the end of something, and that ending is an important idea.
“We had a movie this year called Avengers: Endgame and it is very much an ending,” Feige told IGN during an interview at Comic-Con. “Phase 4 is about beginnings, and Phase 4 is about learning new things about characters you already think you know like Black Widow.”
So whatever happens next, expect Avengers 5 to feel more like a new creation than reviving the energy of Joss Whedon’s opening salvo. That doesn’t mean that old favorites won’t be part of the team at all; since Feige mentioned people we’ve seen before, it seems likely that we could get heroes like Doctor Strange or even Thor stepping into a more mentor-like role for a younger team of Avengers that might feature the likes of Kate Bishop and a returning Peter Parker.
For now though, our wild speculation about the next Avengers movie will have to do. In just a few months, Disney will release the first Marvel movie of 2020 with Black Widow — which comes out on May 1. Later this year, we’ll return to the MCU with The Eternals, which should shed a little more light on the fantastical cosmetic elements of the Marvel universe.
Beyond that, we know Marvel’s schedule for the next several years including movies like Thor: Love and Thunder, Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness, and even Blade. So with the next monumental team up at least three years away, it seems that Marvel will have plenty of time to build up a new group of heroes and we’ll have plenty of time to guess which ones will be next to take on the mantle of earth’s mightiest protectors.