Here we are. “Avengers: Endgame” is out and it’s truly the end of an era. It’s the same in real life, with many actor contracts reaching their end. As a result, new characters have been introduced recently, as the Marvel universe is scheduled to continue.
With that in mind, here’s my guess on who will make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward. Also, this is only covering film. While the MCU films and TV shows have had connections, they usually seem pretty loose.
Again, SPOILER WARNING.
So, Earth has lost some of its best defenders. Iron Man, Black Widow and Vision are dead, while Captain America is retired. With the MCU continuing, though, I’m going to break where our characters stand and what’s next. This won’t count the Guardians of the Galaxy, though, as they seem to be going on their own path.
Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.).
Tony managed to get all of the stones and successfully killed Thanos, while also eliminating all of the mad Titan’s followers. However, this resulted in Iron Man’s death because of how much power it took. The hero who started it all back in 2008 went out fighting and in the end saved the universe, but paid the ultimate price.
Natasha Romanoff, AKA Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson).
There is a Black Widow movie planned by Marvel now. However, with her sacrificial death in “Endgame” to get the Soul Stone, there’s a chance the film will be a prequel. Another movie certainly leaves a door cracked open for her to come back, but if I had to guess it will be set in the past and likely close out her story.
Vision (Paul Bettany).
Vision was killed at the end of “Infinity War” by Thanos and there probably won’t be any return for the android. As he’s part machine, Vision could potentially be rebuilt, but without the Mind Stone, he may never return.
Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America (Chris Evans)
Evans’ contract with Marvel is over it appears and Captain America seems to have retired. At the end of “Endgame,” he used time travel to live the full life he’s always wanted and passes the mantle of Cap to Sam. Now, it’s possible the movies could do what the recent “Star Trek” franchise did and have an older Cap give advice the same way the older Spock did, but I doubt it.
Clint Barton, AKA Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)
I think Clint is finished. I’m not sure where Renner’s contract is at, but considering his character was already trying to walk away from the hero life and also the turmoil he’s gone through, I think retirement is likely. Never say never, but I think Hawkeye is going to put away the bow and spend time with his family.
Wanda Maximoff, AKA Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).
I’m pretty sure Wanda is done. She grew up in a poor country, was used by an angry robot in an attempt to destroy civilization, lost her brother in battle, was partially blamed for not doing enough to stop a terrorist attack, put in prison and watched the person she loved get killed by Thanos. That’s a lot to put on a person who was already living a difficult life. Wanda is an incredibly powerful character, but I could see her leaving the hero life behind, considering what she’s gone through.
James Rhodes, AKA War Machine (Don Cheadle).
Rhodes is a tough one. I’m not sure how many more of these movies Cheadle will want to do, so that’s a factor already. As for the character, Rhodes is a military man and he always seems ready for the next mission. However, his legs are already paralyzed and now that there’s not an immediate threat, he might retire from the hero gig. I could see him returning in an advisory role, but War Machine days might be over.
King T’Challa, AKA Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman).
T’Challa is obviously coming back because from what I know, there’s going to be another “Black Panther” movie. However, if I had to guess he’ll remain independent from the Avengers, while still being a close ally who will assist if needed.
Valkyrie, Queen of New Asgard (Tessa Thompson).
I see sort of the same path for Valkyrie as Black Panther, but for different reasons. Because Asgard now resides on Earth, I’m sure Valkyrie will be ready to defend the planet. But outside of Bruce Banner, she doesn’t have much of a connection to the Avengers. In that case, I’m guessing she won’t officially join.
Mystic Arts Master Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch).
Strange is already part of a different faction and has to defend the New York City Sanctum Sanctorum. While he will be returning in future movies, his area of expertise is a bit different than that of the Avengers, and he will likely be taking on different kinds of threats.
The (Likely) New Avengers
Sam Wilson, formerly Falcon, now Captain America (Anthony Mackie).
At the end of “Endgame” Steve passed on the shield to Sam, basically making him the new Captain America. If there is an Avengers group moving forward, considering the events of “Captain America” 3, I have to imagine Sam will be a member and potential leader. The big question, is as the new Cap, will Sam receive some form of super soldier serum?
Bucky Barnes, AKA the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).
Steve didn’t pass the mantle of Captain America to Barnes and it seemed like the Winter Soldier agreed by how he nodded his head. Barnes has had a very complicated life, especially as he spent decades as a brainwashed assassin, so carrying the Captain America identity would be a tough fit. His mind was cured, though and in the time since he’s fought on the side of good, and he will likely continue to do so. While he won’t be holding the red, white and blue shield, I see him continuing to fight for justice, likely as an Avenger.
Carol Danvers, AKA Captain Marvel (Brie Larson).
Captain Marvel is a bit tricky because while she fought in the Battle of Earth alongside the other heroes, her own movie ended with her going on a more intergalactic patrol. However, in the first act of “Endgame,” Carol seemed to have officially joined the “Avengers” and while she was working across the galaxy, she continued to remain in contact with the heroes of Earth. My expectation is she will continue to do so, remaining as an official member and keeping in contact while still maintaining her patrol in space.
Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man (Tom Holland).
We’ll get a better understanding of Spider-Man’s future in the upcoming film “Far From Home,” but I have to imagine Peter will continue his hero duties in Marvel’s next phase as an Avenger. Tony made the web-slinger an official member in “Infinity War” and my guess is he will remain one, even if it’s in a limited capacity since he’s still a high-schooler.
Scott Lang, AKA Ant-Man (Paul Rudd).
Despite not being an official Avenger in previous movies and only working with the team, I could see Ant-Man joining up now that so many of the other heroes have either retired or died. The technology Lang uses belongs to Hank Pym, who’s never trusted the Avengers much. However, considering Scott has made the Ant-Man persona his own now and the Earth is in need of defending, I’m guessing he will join the club.
Hope van Dyne, AKA Wasp (Evangeline Lilly).
Fighting alongside Ant-Man as a new Avenger will be Wasp. The two work great alongside each other and I’m guessing they will join Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as a team to have each other’s backs.
Thor Odinson, former King of Asgard (Chris Hemsworth).
So with “Endgame,” it’s implied Thor will join the Guardians of the Galaxy. However, I’m not sure this is going to last. I certainly think Thor could fit in some capacity in the third “Guardians,” but I have a feeling he will go off on his own adventure again. Considering his character has a connection to mythology, he might run into Dr. Strange again, too.
Bruce Banner, AKA Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).
I’m not really sure where the MCU is going to take Banner. I believe Mark Ruffalo still has films left in his contract so that ground is covered. However, I’m not sure what his involvement will be. After the five year time gap, it seemed like Hulk had retired from battle and was going back into research. Does he go back in for more time with the Avengers, or does he say goodbye with the intention to only come back for emergencies?
Pepper Potts AKA Rescue (Gwyneth Paltrow).
As awesome as it would be to see Pepper Potts become the new armored hero of the MCU as Rescue, it’s been confirmed that “Endgame” was the last movie for Paltrow. At least she had some fantastic moments in the armor in the latest movie.
Photos courtesy Marvel Studios.