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Marvel Knows What The Next Avengers Team Will Be Like

The Marvel Cinematic Universe isn't done with the Avengers — but that doesn't mean that fans should expect more of the same.

Speaking with MTV News at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, studio boss Kevin Feige revealed that Mighty Marvel indeed has plans for its flagship superhero team moving forward — but that said team will look quite a bit different from what we're used to.

This shouldn't come as too big of a shock, because in terms of brand recognition, the Avengers name is without equal in the world of mainstream film. Each of the four films that have been released so far with that word in the title have grossed over a billion dollars at the worldwide box office, and the latest — the Infinity Saga-culminating Avengers: Endgame — recently became the all-time box office champion, surpassing the decade-old record previously held by James Cameron's Avatar.

According to Feige, a new iteration of the Avengers is on the horizon — but it's not likely to feature many, if any, revamped versions of heroes we're familiar with. The King Geek was asked point-blank by MTV News if he and the rest of the Marvel Studios brain trust knows what the next Avengers team will look like, and he replied, "Yes." (That's not all he said, but for a moment there, we were pretty sure it would be given his penchant for tight-lipped secrecy.)

After a lengthy pause, Feige continued, "It will be a very different team that what we've seen before, that's what Endgame was all about. It will be a very different incarnation of the team, with some people you've already met, and some people you haven't met yet."

Whatever form this team eventually takes, it seems safe to say that we won't see another proper Avengers film for quite some time, considering that the entirety of Marvel's Phase 4 slate was announced during the studio's rapturously received Comic-Con panel — and there was nary a giant team-up flick to be found. There may be a few clues, however, hidden in the details we know so far about Phase 4 and beyond.

First, it's been revealed that two prominent characters will be getting their introductions by way of standalone solo flicks in the coming years — one during Phase 4, and one during Phase 5. February 12, 2021, will see the release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which will introduces audiences worldwide to the legendary Master of Kung Fu (not to mention the real Mandarin, as opposed to the impostor portrayed by Ben Kingsley in Iron Man 3). Marvel hopes for the flick — with its mostly Asian cast and behind-the-camera talent — to be the kind of paradigm-shifting event that 2018's Black Panther proved to be, and if this works out like we all know it probably will, the character would be a fine inclusion in team-up films in the future. In the comics, Shang-Chi — although he has no superpowers — is among the finest unarmed combatants in existence, more than capable of going toe-to-toe with powered opponents. He also has a strong moral center and sense of honor, making him a viable candidate to fill the leadership void created by the departure of Steve Rogers.

Phase 5 will bring us the solo vehicle for that deadly, smack-talking half human-half vampire Blade, who was portrayed by Wesley Snipes in the successful film trilogy of the late '90s and early '00s. In the MCU, the "daywalker" will be played by two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali, and it seems unlikely that Marvel would cast an actor of that caliber without having some pretty big plans for the future.

Of course, when it comes to those people we've already met that Feige alluded to, there are plenty of strong candidates to help fill out a new Avengers squad — like, for instance, Spider-Man, who was actually made an Avenger (albeit under some duress) by Tony Stark himself. There are also those who have worked alongside the Avengers while never actually serving on the team; heroes like Doctor Strange (who will get a solo sequel in Phase 4), Captain Marvel and Black Panther (whose second solo outings have been confirmed and are thought to be in the works for Phase 5), and Bucky Barnes, who will continue to be featured in the MCU by way of his Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. 

It's also worth noting that, if the new Avengers squad is crying out for a Captain America, there's one waiting in the wings in the form of Sam Wilson/Falcon, who was gifted with the title and the iconic shield by Rogers himself at the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame. And if they happen to be in dire need of a Thor, well, not only is the Thunder God himself still kicking around, but Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is set to pick up Mjolnir to become Lady Thor in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder.

It's telling that Phase 4 will feature no megalithic team-ups, as it indicates that the rumor mill had it right when it was recently leaked that in the future, the MCU will rely on smaller "mini-arcs" which may take 4-6 films to complete, as opposed to the immense, 23-movie Infinity Saga. This certainly doesn't mean, however, that such team-ups — which have been ridiculously profitable, pop culture-dominating events — won't be a part of Marvel's future, or that we won't at some point see the return of longer arcs which spread across multiple phases. 

Asked by MTV News if there were seeds being planted for the next big "event" storyline, Feige conceded that — as one might have expected — Marvel Studios' creative team held back just a bit at the SDCC panel. "We debated what we should announce today," he said. "Should we announce [phases] 4 and 5? We've got five years down the road [already planned out]. And I was like, '[the announcement of] eleven projects in two years is plenty."

Feige then went on to suggest that, though there may never be another culmination of a decade-long arc like Endgame, that doesn't mean that there will be no more peaks, so to speak, in the MCU's ongoing narrative. "That's what I love about the Marvel comic method of storytelling," he said. "I love things that build up, they build to a crescendo, they all get together, they separate, they change. And now that we get to do that, not just in movies but on these mega-event series on Disney+, it's just invigorated all of us at Marvel Studios to keep going."

Feige and company certainly haven't steered us wrong so far, and like you, we can't wait to see what they have in store for us in the years ahead. It'll be interesting to see whether Marvel can make household names out some relatively lesser-known characters yet again — which is almost certainly the plan, and we wouldn't bet against them.