Since the very beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there have been two names synonymous with the Avengers: Captain America and Iron Man. But all of that is different now. So, taking into account the stories of Steve and Tony — not to mention that huge Disney/Fox merger — what could the next set of cinematic action figures look like? If you’ve got a toddler, by the time they’re in grade school, their notion of who comprises the Avengers could be totally different than it is now. Here’s how it all (probably) shakes out.
Spoilers ahead for Avengers: Endgame
But by the closing credits of Endgame, Iron Man, Black Widow, and Captain America appear to no longer be Avengers, with Tony Stark sacrificing himself to defeat Thanos and Steve Rogers using time-travel to live the normal, happy life he never could before. So with these major players stepping down, what does the Avengers roster look like moving forward? We offer up our best analysis.
These are the people who immediately come to mind when you hear the Avengers. But with Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Widow gone, who is left of the OG squad? Thor is alive but now appears to have traded his Avenger membership in for a Guardian of the Galaxy badge, so we’d say he’s probably not first-team. That really just leaves Hulkified Bruce Banner, who we are rooting for to finally get his own movie.
Perhaps the biggest change in the Avengers roster is the fact that there may be a new Captain America, as geriatric Steve gave up his shield to Sam Wilson aka the hero formerly known as the Falcon. So as the new Captain America, is Sam also the new leader of the Avengers? Seems likely and now that he and Bucky aren’t low-key fighting to be besties with Steve, perhaps they can team up. Along with Sam and Bucky, Black Panther, Spider-Man, Ant-Man (& the Wasp?), and Captain Marvel are all prime to become the next generation of Avengers.
These are the guys who are still technically a part of the team but will probably only show up if things get really dicey. The most obvious example of this is the Guardians of the Galaxy, who are mostly off having their own adventures. The big twist is that this now includes Thor, who seems to have joined Star-Lord and company for some wacky space adventures. Now that Valkyrie has been named the ruler of New Asgard, could she become the go-to Asgardian Avenger? Only time will tell but we certainly hope so.
Spider-Man was previously second-team as well but, as we stated before, he’s likely made the jump to first-team. Dr. Strange feels like a safe bet to remain on the second-team, as his weird cosmic-level adventures will likely keep him mostly on his own. War Machine was once the epitome of the second-tier Avengers but with the death of Tony, he may be able to finally make the jump to first-team. Also, Scarlett Witch has never quite found her place in the Avengers, so we’ll assume she stays here.
These are the heroes that we all kind of forget about until they pop-up in some big fight where basically everybody shows up. Before Endgame, it seemed like retired Hawkeye was the face of the freelance Avengers and while he briefly went full-vigilante, the return of his family likely means he is once again semi-retired (or handing his title over to someone new?).
This freelance set also includes T’Challa/Black Panther’s entire Wakanda crew and anyone besides War Machine who puts on an Iron Man suit.
Though the various rights to different Marvel comic book heroes were divied-up by a variety of studios, in the comic books, all of these characters existed together. (For example, the 2008 comic book version of Civil War affected Wolverine and Professor X, too. And in the comic series Old Man Logan, which loosely inspired the film, Logan, Wolverine took his road trip with Hawkeye, not Professor X.) But, now that the rights to the X-Men and the rights to the Avengers are all in the same place, the idea that the mutants from the X-Men could become part of the Avengers isn’t just likely, it’s almost certainly going to happen. If we were putting money on it, we’d say, at least by 2023.
Avengers: Endgame is out now in wide release.