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What Will The Next Avengers Team Look Like?

Now that the Herculean cinematic achievement that is Marvel's Infinity Saga is in the history books, there are about a million open questions concerning the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 4. Oh, sure, we know quite a few things: that many of our favorite characters will be back for new solo adventures, that new heroes (and new teams of heroes) are waiting for their introductions, and that Marvel Studios' takeover of the television branch means that we'll soon be seeing a stronger connection between the small-screen MCU properties and the feature films than ever before. One thing we don't know, though: When we will next see a movie with the word Avengers in the title.

Of course, we do know that this will happen, eventually. The members of the original squad might mostly be dead (like Iron Man and Black Widow), elderly (like Captain America), or off on their own galaxy-spanning adventures (like Thor), but Marvel will eventually field a new Avengers team, if for no other reason than that no Avengers movie has failed to break a billion dollars at the global box office (and 2019's Avengers: Endgame became the highest-grossing film in history).

For that matter, we're pretty sure that Marvel Studios head honcho, and King of All Geeks, Kevin Feige knows a lot more about the next iteration of the team than he has publicly said. In a chat with MTV News last year, Feige was asked point-blank if he knew what the next Avengers team would look like, and he didn't beat around the bush. "Yes," he said, "and it will be a very different team than 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."

Well, that's the kind of statement that invites speculation, and we're all about it.

What legacy MCU characters could be part of the next Avengers team?

We know a little bit more about the future of the MCU now than we did when Feige made that statement, including details of the Disney+ miniseries and solo features that are on tap for the franchise. He's also made it clear that the MCU will be leaning hard into diversity going forward, and with those two things in mind, a new Avengers team will have some glaring needs that it should be relatively easy for a few legacy characters to fill.

First of all: Whether he likes it or not, Sam Wilson — the hero currently known as the Falcon — is going to become the new Captain America, a development that was loudly announced at the conclusion of Endgame, and which appears to be the focus of Sam's journey in the upcoming Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Any new Avengers team is going to need a leader, and Steve Rogers passed his shield to Sam for a reason.

With Iron Man deceased, the Hulk pretty much out of commission, and Thor absent, a new team is also going to need some serious muscle. We nominate Captain Marvel, an insanely powerful hero with a strong working knowledge of alien races and societies. There's also Valkyrie, a badass Asgardian, although she currently has a lot of responsibility as the ruler of New Asgard. Finally, the new Avengers will need a big, huge scientific brain and, in that capacity, we give you T'Challa, the Black Panther, who comes with a kid sister who is even smarter than he is.

Also in the mix: Doctor Strange and Wanda Maximoff, although they'll be dealing with some serious problems of their own in the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Finally, sign up Ant-Man, who has proven himself to be resourceful and valuable in many different ways. Any Big Bad who underestimates Scott Lang does so at their peril.

What new characters could be joining the team?

You'll notice that that's a pretty diverse group we just mentioned, and among the new characters we know will be making their entrances into the MCU soon is the franchise's first Asian hero, Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu. In the comics, he's near the top of the list of the finest unarmed combatants in existence, with the supernatural ability to channel his life force (his "chi"), which enables him to go toe-to-toe with opponents much more powerful than he. If you're not familiar with the character, don't worry, because you will be soon. Shang-Chi will be the first new solo character to be introduced in Phase 4, and we doubt it'll take too long for Wilson or Danvers (one of those Captains) to knock on his door.

As far as the rest of those characters we "haven't met yet," we're left with a mixture of tantalizing possibility and pure speculation. As to the former: Could Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova, who will be introduced in the Black Widow stand-alone, become the new Widow? Could Mahershala Ali's Blade, whose solo flick won't drop until Phase 5, be part of the team? What about Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who will pick up Mjölnir to become the Mighty Thor in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder?

As to the latter, will we ever see Richard Rider, the "man called Nova," who has been teased since all the way back in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie? Will Cassie Lang, the now-teenage daughter of Scott, follow her comics trajectory to become the hero Stature? Oh, and the freaking X-Men are on their way after Disney's acquisition of Fox, right? We're sure Feige knows the answers to all of those questions, and we're equally sure he won't be sharing them any time soon.

What about the Disney+ characters?

Now, we also know that three key new characters will be introduced on Disney+ limited series of their own, and that these characters (from the mouth of the King Geek) will then cross over to appear on the big screen. Of these, one is almost certain to feature in some future iteration of the Avengers: Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk. Like we mentioned before, it's not like there are no substitutes for the team to turn to when something is in need of a good smashing, but She-Hulk is simply an awesome character in her own right. She retains her smarts after Hulking out, she's a skilled attorney,, and in the comics, she's known for breaking the fourth wall. We can virtually guarantee that her MCU incarnation will swiftly become a fan favorite, so they might as well just save her a spot on the team right now.

As for the other two, we don't find their inclusion to be as likely — at least, not yet. Marc Spector, aka Moon Knight, is a formidable hero, to be sure, but he's also a bit of a loose cannon, and his general mental state ranges (depending on who is writing him) from slightly unbalanced to full-on nuts. Then, there's Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel. Sure, she's one of the coolest new heroes to come out of the House of Ideas in ages, and she's Muslim, which would check that diversity box. She's also a kid, though, so throwing her onto a team regularly tasked with countering the most severe threats to the existence of humanity might not be the best idea.

Speaking of youngsters, we know what you're going to ask — and boy, do we ever wish we had the answer.

What about Spider-Man?

From a narrative standpoint, the inclusion of Peter Parker on the next Avengers team should be a no-brainer. He was basically hand-picked by Tony Stark to be his successor, and, so far, his entire arc in his solo films has been about learning to accept the responsibility that comes with being a powerful hero in a world seemingly continually in need of saving. If story were the only consideration, then there would be no question that Spider-Man would be a key member of the Avengers going forward, probably for the next decade or more.

As we're sure you know, however, it's quite likely that Sony Pictures will interfere with this plan. The studio still owns Spidey's film rights, and its shared custody agreement with Marvel nearly came to an abrupt end as recently as last year. We'd like to think that, no matter what, all involved parties will always do everything they can to keep the wall-crawler in the MCU, which has completely revitalized the character's cinematic fortunes. With Sony moving ahead with its own shared universe of films based on Spidey characters (one which may or may not be tangentially connected to the MCU) and star Tom Holland only set to reprise the role for two more MCU-set films, however, anything could happen.

There could also be unknown wildcards on the next Avengers team

Obviously, Feige is holding the details of what he knows about the next iteration of the Avengers close to the vest, but it's not as if that's the only inside info to which he's privy. His comments about characters we "haven't met yet" could just as easily pertain to characters whose introductions haven't been made public, yet, as they could to She-Hulk or Shang-Chi. Since Mighty Marvel plans the overall trajectory of the MCU years in advance, the next team of Avengers could easily include characters nobody is even speculating about yet. 

Fans have been clamoring to see Adam Warlock and the Sentry for years, just to name a couple of examples. Somehow, we get the idea that Feige is pretty savvy about what fans want from the MCU, and that he may at this moment be making big plans that won't be made public for years.

As we mentioned, however, we like to take our informed stabs at what the future might hold, so we're going to go ahead and shoot our shot. We predict that, when The New Avengers drops in the summer of 2024, the six core members of the team will be: Sam "Captain America" Wilson, Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, Shang-Chi, Yelena "Black Widow" Belova, and ... Spider-Man. Call us optimistic.