As Marvel Studios slowly but surely gets the ball rolling on Phase 4 of their Cinematic Universe, fans should be realizing that for all the content there is planned – and there is a great deal of it – the majority of it really only covers 2021-2022. That means that audiences could have a new Avengers movie as early as 2023!
The classic team have apparently hung up the spurs. Black Widow and Iron Man are dead (for now), Captain America is old and retired (again – for now), Hawkeye is retired to his family farm life (yes that’s right – for now) and Thor is off exploring space with the ‘Asgardians of the Galaxy’. Bruce Banner is the only guy still apparently operating out of the Avengers facility in upstate New York, if only to send Captain America on his trip through time to return the Infinity Stones.
The world will soon once again need the Avengers; new characters will be needed to fill the Phase 4 team! Which new characters are likely to make the cut? Have we seen them already, or are they waiting to be introduced! Here’s your list of New Avengers; new characters that could round out the Phase 4 team.
Yelena Belova/Black Widow
When the Black Widow prequel (hopefully) finally bows in July 2021 – in both theaters and on Disney+ – they’ll be introducing a new Black Widow to take the reins going forward in the present. After all, Natasha Romanoff is sadly very dead in the present-day of the MCU.
In Black Widow, they’ll be introducing her surrogate sister Yelena Belova, who comic fans will know took the Black Widow name – although was known as a more violent, callous assassin/spy than Natasha ever was. It’s unlikely that Florence Pugh’s rendition of the character will follow the same violent path, but considering how swiftly her star is rising, it’s safe to expect to see Yelena Belova/Florence Pugh on an Avengers team sooner or later.
Set to debut in September in his solo movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Simu Liu’s master of martial arts is primed to be one of Marvel’s coolest, most badass heroes. What’s obvious is how proud Liu is of the material and how excited he is for us to see his MCU debut. Any actor would be proud of such a big, bombastic debut, but Liu is heading up the first Asian-led MCU project and the responsibilities that come with that are huge. If he says he’s proud of it, I believe him.
Somewhat cynically (but also progressively), Marvel will likely be thinking about representation in their next Avengers line-up. As we’ve learnt over the last few years, representation matters. Having a character of AAPI descent front and center in the next Avengers movie will be a massive win for people who so far have been massively underrepresented on-screen, and all signs point to Shang-Chi being that character. Of course, being Asian shouldn’t be the only reason that Shang-Chi is drafted to assemble; and to that, we say the character is skilled enough to stand toe-to-toe with the Avengers on their best day. It’s for that reason he’ll get the invite.
Sersi and The Black Knight
Marvel are apparently in disbelief with what they have on their hands with The Eternals, their fantastical tale of age-old immortals who have been secretly been shepherding MCU history, directed by Academy Award nominee Chloe Zhao with an all-star cast. Although The Eternals has been repeatedly delayed, it is currently scheduled for release on November 5, 2021.
Could any of the The Eternals become a part of the New Avengers? New characters like Sersi and the Black Knight have actually served as Avengers in the source material, and in The Eternals those two lovestruck characters – a sorceress and her favorite immortal knight – are due to be played by returning MCU star Gemma Chan and Kit Harington, respectively. While its unlikely these two will make it onto the Avengers team, new characters like this have just as good of a chance as any as getting rostered. It would certainly be a cool nod to the comic books.
The Daywalker is coming to the MCU in the form of two-time Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali! Don’t be distracted by the fact he already played Cottonmouth on the Netflix Luke Cage show; as we already know, Marvel double-dips its casting as it pleases (see also: Alfre Woodard, Gemma Chan). While this new Blade movie doesn’t yet have a release date, it does have a writer attached, and while we don’t know anything about the plot, it’s safe to say Marrvel won’t let a heavy hitter like Ali go to waste.
In the current Marvel comics, Blade is a huge marquee character and a member of the Avengers. He’s arguably one of the most recognizable Marvel characters, and its easy enough to guess why Marvel Comics want him front and center; because eventually, he’ll be front and center on the big screen, too. Marvel’s all about corporate synergy between comics and movies, so I’d bet dollars to donuts they’ll be planning inserting Blade into the New Avengers team whenever they debut.
Sam Wilson/Captain America
No, Sam Wilson (AKA The Falcon) is not a new character, but if he steps into the spangly Captain America outfit, he’ll become a new version of that character… so I say, it counts! This team of New Avengers will nead a leader, and every Avengers team should be led by a Captain America. With Sam Wilson currently on his way to taking on the shield in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+ (once that pesky John Walker f*cks it up, that is), he should be in the Red, White & Blue undies just in time for a new Avengers team to need his assistance.
Again, not a new character, but a new iteration of a classic character. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is set to return in Thor: Love and Thunder, where just like the recent Jason Aaron run of the comic book series, she’ll actually be taking up both the hammer Mjolnir and the good name of Thor. Jane Foster-Thor eventually became a member of the Avengers in the comics too, so it stands to reason that the Avengers’ new characters in the MCU could use Jane Foster as their Thor rather than the OG Odinson we all know and love played by Chris Hemsworth. Hemsworth is a busy guy, and while he seems to relish playing Thor (especially under Taika Waititi’s hilarious, creative direction) he could use a break, too. Enter: Jane Foster. After all, every Avengers team needs a Thor…
…just like every Avengers team needs an ‘Iron Man’. For this new iteration of the Avengers, new characters could include other legacy characters like the incoming Ironheart. In the comics, RiRi Williams is a teen genius who creates her own suit of armor (obviously inspired by Iron Man) after losing her stepfather and best friend to a drive-by shooting. Iron Man himself recruits her to fight alongside him in the second superhero Civil War, and when Tony Stark ends up in a coma at the end of said war, RiRi goes on a full-time crusade, filling his absence as Ironheart.
Ironheart is due to get her own self-titled Disney+ show where she’ll be played by Dominique Thorne – which will pave the way for her to make an appearance on the big screen. Will it eventually be as an Avenger? I’d say that was more likely than expecting a Robert Downey Jr. comeback (although you never know when Disney will reverse a dumptruck full of enough money up to RDJ’s front lawn to entice him into returning). That said, even Robert Downey Jr. himself said he wanted to see Ironheart in the MCU. If the New Avengers have a new Cap and a new Thor, why not a new Iron Man too?