The next phase of the MCU is nearly here and there’s still one question everybody is dying for the answer to, “Where are the Avengers?“
There was no announcement about Avengers 5 for Phase 4 of the MCU for good reason. It looks like Marvel is planning to take their time rebuilding the Marvel Universe in the wake of Endgame as they introduce a number of new heroes and pass the torch of several others. This is the right call and gives time to build up to the next big event movie. They’ve also stated that the next Avengers team will look very different and the next Avengers movie will be a much smaller spectacle than Infinity War or Endgame and be closer in scope to the first two Avengers movies.
It’s possible that the smaller spectacle could refer to the age of the Avengers team. Here are a few reasons why the Young Avengers (or the Champions) could be the next MCU team-up film.
Introducing the Younger Generation
In addition to launching new franchises like The Eternals and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Marvel is also launching many younger heroes.
Ms. Marvel is confirmed to get her own Disney+ series and the Hawkeye series will see the role being handed off to Kate Bishop. WandaVision has also cast Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau (although she may be a bit old for the Young Avengers in this timeline) and Cassie Lang was aged up during Endgame and is positioned well to possibly assume the role of Stature.
There are a few potential members that are less than confirmed. Footage of WandaVision shows two babies who could grow up to be Vision and Wanda’s children, Wiccan and Speed. Rumors from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier suggest the series could be setting up the introduction of Elijah Bradley, aka Patriot.
That’s a lot of young talent entering the MCU in the next few years. They’ll join existing teenage heroes like Shuri and Spider-man. Speaking of which…
The Spider-Man Deal Could Change Everything
Obviously, Marvel is building towards a Young Avengers team-up at some point down the line. But why will it be the next Avengers movie released? Spider-Man.
For a heart-wrenching week, Spider-Man was wrenched from the MCU. Then, a new deal was struck between Sony and Disney that includes Disney co-producing one more Spider-Man movie and Spider-Man joining one more MCU movie. The deal could obviously extend further once this extension has run its course but based on the difficulty they apparently faced it seems less and less likely every time. I’m sure both studios will be moving forward hopeful but planning for this to be it.
Spider-Man 3 will be released on July 16, 2021, two years after Spider-Man: Far From Home. But what additional movie will Spider-Man appear in?
Based on Marvel’s interest in extending the deal for a single movie, we can assume he’ll have a major part in whatever that movie is. It wouldn’t make sense for them to strike a deal that only leads to him having a small supporting role or to have him get lost in a major ensemble like Avengers: Endgame. Marvel will want to maximize the value they get from this single appearance.
Having Spider-Man anchor a Young Avengers movie would be the perfect way for them to bring major star power and recognition to give it the best chance at success. MCU fans will have the chance to see most of the Young Avengers before the movie but Spider-Man will be by far the most recognizable name.
Young Avengers – May 5, 2023
Assuming that is Marvel’s plan, the best time to execute that plan would be to shoot for a May 2023 release date. Based on Sony’s past strategy, it seems likely they’ll aim to release Spider-Man 4 in 2023 – with or without Marvel’s involvement. Marvel will then want to get their Spider-Man appearance in before that movie comes out and potentially changes the continuity they’ve built up.
This release date would probably be earlier than Marvel would like, but it would still give them time to debut all of the relevant characters with Hawkeye, WandaVision and Spider-Man 3 in 2021 and Black Panther 2 and Ms. Marvel in early 2022.
There are two other Untitled Marvel movie release dates before this time that could help lead into the Young Avengers.
July 29, 2022, could see the release of Ant-Man and the Wasp 3. The July window is traditionally where the Ant-Man movies have fallen and it would be three years after Ant-Man and the Wasp. This would allow them to introduce Cassie as Stature and potentially even start sowing the seeds of a potential team-up. Maybe Kate Bishop or Shuri could make a cameo here.
Captain Marvel 2 could fall on either February 18, 2022, or February 17, 2023. While it is four years after the first Captain Marvel, 2023 seems like the more likely choice. Odds are this film will focus more on the cosmic side and set up the Kree-Skrull war, but if they decide to keep it more earth focused, it could serve as a direct lead-in to Young Avengers. The obvious opportunity here is to have Ms. Marvel appear and finally meet her hero. This could inspire her to join or form a superhero team of her own.
Of course, this is all speculation. It could make just as much sense for Marvel to instead focus a Disney+ series on the young team of heroes. Many of the potential members – Ms. Marvel, Kate Bishop, Speed, and Wiccan – are already being introduced in various series. While this move would most likely exclude Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, it wouldn’t be a stretch to get Letitia Wright’s Shuri and Emma Fuhrmann’s Cassie to come over from the film side.
Whatever Marvel decides to do with the Avengers franchise moving forward, it is definitely safe to say we’ll be seeing some younger iteration of the team suit up at some point down the line. Let’s hope they are able to make it happen before too many of these young heroes EMBIGGEN!