A recent article on Yahoo posited that Marvel was slowly replacing the original Avengers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a new team, which really has been something they’ve slowly been doing since the first Avengers film debuted back in 2012.
Despite that, though, the original Avengers are still kicking around and going strong—at least until the end of 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War and it’s 2019 follow-up, tentatively titled Avengers 4—mostly because the actors who portray them still have a couple films left on their contract.
So, let’s take a look at what the Avengers team may look like in the fifth Avengers film by breaking down the roles that exist on the current team and finding who best fits in that role—either a character that currently exists in the MCU or that will exist by the time Avengers 5 is released sometime in the 2020’s.
10. Agent Coulson as Nick Fury
Since Coulson “died” in 2012’s The Avengers, he hasn’t been seen in an actual MCU film. However, he’s still going strong in ABC’s Agents of SHIELD which was about to be canceled by ABC Television earlier this year after its fourth season but was protected by Disney higher-ups.
Now, one could argue that Disney decided to protect the show because they wanted something Marvel related on broadcast television—this was before they knew what a catastrophe Inhumans would turn out to be. But there may be other reasons why they wanted to keep Coulson and company alive.
Does Marvel Studios have future plans with Coulson beyond Agents of SHIELD? The end of season four saw Coulson peering into space from what appeared to be a space station. This led many people to believe that SHIELD was becoming SWORD, the intergalactic arm of SHIELD from the comic books.
Regardless of the acronym, it appears that Agents of SHIELD, like the rest of the MCU, is getting more and more involved with the cosmic. That could mean Coulson is finally going to be reunited with the Avengers he helped assemble over the course of Phase One in the MCU.
Considering that 2018 will bring Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet, you’d think that the Avengers would need all the help that they can get and Coulson’s team should be a part of that. That would make the very loyal and vocal fans of the show extremely excited as well. After that, it’s not much of a stretch to think that Coulson could take over as the Nick Fury of the team.
He’s already been in charge of SHIELD multiple times during those four seasons anyway.
9. Ant-Man as Hawkeye
In the comics Hawkeye is a non-superpowered hero who relies on his training and amazing tech to get things done. Sound familiar? Sure, Ant-Man relies on a suit a lot like Iron Man but his role on the team would be a lot more similar to that of Hawkeye.
His suit allows him to spy on baddies while gaining access to places most other heroes can’t. Considering that both Black Widow and Hawkeye are the spies of the team, it only makes sense that Ant-Man would fill that role.
Avengers: Age of Ultron had a ton of Hawkeye in it and while he had some great one-liners he still wasn’t the snarky jokester that many fans grew to love in the comic books. As strange as it sounds, Ant-Man would be more Hawkeye than Hawkeye in that regard should he join the team full-time in a few years.
8. The Wasp as Black Widow
As previously mentioned, both Hawkeye and Black Widow are the spies of the Avengers. While Hope Van Dyne is an executive in the first Ant-Man film, her ability to shrink and shoot energy from her wrists would provide her with the same access and spying ability that Ant-Man has shown. She would fit the role of Black Widow quite nicely.
On top of that, outside of perhaps the “Science Bros” Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, there is no bigger “team” within the team than Hawkeye and Black Widow. They have a gigantic backstory that has been alluded to in the films but never explicitly shown. Hawkeye was actually sent to kill Black Widow when she was working for the other side but ended up making “another call.”
Since they’ve been joined at the hip—Ant-Man and the Wasp are a team in both the books and the upcoming film with that name—it makes sense for them to fill that role as well.
Also, while initially Black Widow relied solely on her amazing fighting ability to contribute to the team, she has also incorporated electricity to her weapons cache in the form of what she calls “stingers.” Those stingers are energy projectiles that shoot from her hands—which again is super similar to what The Wasp does.
It’s just that Black Widow doesn’t fly, because she’s a spider. The only question is what would win in a fight, a Black Widow or a Wasp! Guess we’ll have to wait until our next wet dream to figure that out.
7. Adam Warlock as Vision
In the films, Vision was created by a mixture of the super intelligence Ultron, Vibranium Dr. Ulssyses Klaue stole from Wikanda, and the Mind Stone. He’s basically an indestructible android. That sounds a lot like the description for Adam Warlock, who has been mentioned but not seen in the films as of yet.
He was being created in one of the after credit scenes of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 by Ayesha, who in the comics is the female version of Adam Warlock. In the comics, he is described as an “artificially created human.”
In the movies, Vision is the wielder of the Mind Stone, which rests atop of his forehead and is the source of his power. In the comics, Warlock is the wielder of the Soul Stone, which also sits atop his forehead. Both have superhuman strength, stamina, agility and endurance. Both can fly. Both manipulate and absorb energy.
The main difference, at least from the comics, is that Warlock has an expert working knowledge of magic. Considering that the MCU is starting to incorporate magic into its reality, Warlock could tie into that realm more than the Vision ever could.
6. Doctor Strange as Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch, like the Vision, was created by the Mind Stone after the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and before the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Along with her brother Pietro, aka Quicksilver, she was able to survive the experiments performed on her by Hydra.
Before Doctor Strange, she was the sole representation of magic in the MCU. And while she was more just a telekinetic telepath, the fact that she has witch in her name was enough for most. Her powers have never really been explored much and you’d have to think that as she’s gotten more accustomed to them she’s become more powerful.
The same could be said of Doctor Strange, whose only been in one film (thus far) and was new to magic as a forty-year-old man, but was able to both use his photographic memory and incredible work ethic to catch up quickly. So, should Scarlet Witch die in the near future, you’d have to think that Doctor Strange would take her place.
5. Thor as Thor
Before much was known about Thor: Ragnarok—considering that Ragnarok is the Norse Apocalypse—it seemed like the MCU was getting rid of one of its heaviest hitters perhaps before they needed him the most in Infinity War. However, it now sounds like Thor may be one of the most important characters in the MCU as a whole.
Earlier this year, it was mentioned that James Gunn, the writer and director of the Guardians of the Galaxy films, was going to oversee the expansion of the MCU into the cosmic realm. Since Thor is still the only one who bridges the Earth-based MCU with the cosmic side, he has a very important role to play.
And that seems to be the angle Marvel Studios is playing up. Early descriptions for the teaser-trailer for Infinity War have the Guardians becoming aware of the Avengers by running into Thor in deep space. So, it doesn’t sound like he’s going anywhere anytime soon and considering that he’s an immortal god that does make a lot of sense.
4. Captain Marvel as The Hulk
Speaking of immortal god-like characters in the MCU, it’s hard to think that the Hulk would end up going anywhere anytime soon. While he will probably never get another standalone film—because of business-related nonsense between Marvel Studios and Universal Pictures— Mark Ruffalo said that Thor: Ragnarok is the first film in a Hulk trilogy.
So, who could best replace the heaviest hitter on the Avengers roster? Someone who makes Thor look like Hawkeye? Well, look no further than Brie Larson! Larson was announced to play Carol Danvers, the most recent person to embody the powers of Captain Marvel after the character was created in 1967 by Stan Lee and Gene Colan.
The character has a ton of connections to the cosmic side of Marvel Comics, namely with the alien species the Kree. Outside of perhaps the Chitauri—the alien race from The Avengers—there have been no more important alien race in the MCU than the Kree.
Ronan from the Guardians of the Galaxy was a Kree, as were the race of aliens that created the initial Inhumans and the dead alien that brought Coulson and Skye back to life. So, it sounds like Captain Marvel may be a flashback film, going back about 10-20 years to the time when Nick Fury lost his eye —perhaps to a Skrull, as Skrulls change shape.
That would make Captain Marvel a much more important and ingrained character than most new ones. Either way, she’s essentially got the same powers as Superman, with the ability to shoot energy out of her hands.
She actually could give the Hulk a run for his money, although the Hulk would probably end up winning as there is no upper limit to his strength. That’s something the Avengers will need should the Hulk ever disappear—and is why the little blonde twenty-something would represent the gigantic green nearly 50-year old man in Avengers 5 and beyond.
3. Spider-Man as Captain America
Captain America has superhuman strength, sure, but his biggest power is his ability to lead the team tactically and emotionally.
He’s the leader of the team and while Peter Parker is young, especially in the MCU, he can provide that for the team above as he’s an objectively good (and pretty much incorruptible) force that may not be the strongest person in the room but is always the one who makes the right decisions and whose compass always points north.
While it’s arguable that the MCU’s Avengers’ leader is Tony Stark, the emotional leader and the person they look to during times of duress is Steve Rogers and it sounds a lot like that’s the role that Spider-Man is going to take in the next few Avengers films.
While he was mentored by Tony Stark in his first MCU film, Homecoming, the word on the street is that his next film will be about him and Captain America, which would give him the perfect mentorship that he needs especially after being mostly neglected by Stark in Homecoming.
After that he should have the maturity to take over as the leader of the Avengers and while it’d be amazing to have Steve Rogers around forever he’s only under contract for two more films and someone has to die after meeting the Infinity Gauntlet wielding Thanos.
2. The Kid from Iron Man 3 as Iron Man
There is no more important character in the MCU than Tony Stark/Iron Man and because of that he gets the top two spots on this list. He’s not only one of the most important characters in terms of what he does as a fighter, but also in terms of what he provides to the team and SHIELD as a whole from a tech perspective.
So, first we will cover him from just a fighter perspective and while it’s hard to see anyone but Robert Downey Jr. rocking the Iron Man armor, they may have been grooming someone under our noses the entire time to eventually replace Stark in the armor.
Now I know what you’re thinking… War Machine! But, that’s not the answer, actually, especially considering that James “Rhodey” Rhodes was paralyzed during the events of Civil War. No, it’s actually the character of … Harvey Keener? Who? Well, if you remember all the way back to 2013 the first film released by Marvel Studios after 2012’s The Avengers was Iron Man 3.
In that, Tony Stark befriended a small boy played by Ty Simpkins and ended up giving the boy a bunch of tech at the end as a thanks for all of his help (both in terms of his suit and also his emotional issues) and it’s been recently announced that Simpkins will be back to reprise that role in 2019’s Avengers 4.
While some have speculated that he will appear in a funeral scene for Stark, it could mean that he is actually going to step in for Iron Man at some point in that film.
While he did show some aptitude in terms of building things, it’s hard to find someone with Stark’s genius with the resources to boot. Luckily for the Avengers, there is someone just like that that already exists in their universe and that person is…
1. Black Panther as Tony Stark
Black Panther debuted in 2015’s Captain America: Civil War. He was set to have his debut this year but that was pushed back after Marvel finally got the rights to include Spider-Man in the MCU so his debut film will come next February.
The trailer(s) for that film have shown a Wakanda that is a lot like the Wakanda in the comics, one that is almost like another planet with the sheer amount of technology that exists in the African nation.
From ships flying in and out of the city to suits and weapons that look a lot like Iron Man’s, it’s clear that Black Panther has tech that could make Tony Stark’s suits look like medieval suits of armor.
While Civil War didn’t show a lot of how T’Challa’s suits work, if he has a heads-up display like Tony Stark does, if he has an internal AI in his suit like JARVIS or his replacement FRIDAY, but it was clear from the trailer that he has multiple suits that he uses for different types of missions.
If Stark ends up getting sacrificing himself in Avengers 4, don’t be surprised if the Avengers start assembling in Wakanda.