When the dust settles after Avengers: Endgame, the superhero team will need to get even stronger. After Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet-powered snap killed half of all life in the universe, the Avengers were similarly affected and they lost many of their most powerful heroes – including Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man, and Black Panther.
The current group looking to bring the fight to Thanos and possibly reverse the genocide the Mad Titan committed in Avengers: Infinity War is comprised of the original six heroes who assembled in 2012 – Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the Hulk – and they’re joined by other survivors of The Decimation: Rocket, Nebula, Ant-Man, War Machine, and Captain Marvel. On paper, that’s already an immensely powerful lineup, but whether their might (and whatever plan they have) will be enough against Thanos is unknown.
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It’s safe to say that even if the Avengers ultimately prevail, Thanos won’t be the end of their problems. There will always be another great threat and, while it’s hard to imagine a menace greater than a lunatic armed with the power of the Infinity Stones murdering trillions of people, escalation is something worth fearing – and preparing for. After all, the Avengers’ three biggest fights escalated from an invasion of New York by the Chitauri, to Ultron and dozens of drones trying to destroy Earth with an extinction-level event, to Thanos wiping out half of the universe. The next enemy still could up the stakes even further, and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes will need a stronger team to face whatever evil comes next. Here’s how the original idea behind the Avengers failed and how a new and stronger team of heroes can emerge after Avengers: Endgame.
- This Page: The Avengers’ Original Idea No Longer Works
- Page 2: Building a Stronger Avengers Team – With Shang-Chi
The Avengers Worked For A Time
Nick Fury’s idea to “bring together a group of extraordinary people to fight the battles that [we] never could” certainly worked – for a time. The Avengers’ glory years were from 2012, when they first assembled to beat back Loki and the Chitauri, to 2016, when their disagreement over signing the Sokovoa Accords broke them apart and led to a Civil War. In those four years, the Avengers took down Hydra and defeated Ultron. But they also made mistakes, including a fatal one in Laos that led to the deaths of many Wakandans, setting the stage for the United Nations to draft the Sokovia Accords and force the superheroes to be held accountable.
Like their Marvel Comics counterparts, the Avengers’ roster was always in flux. The original six held together for three years until Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, and Hawkeye left the group after the Battle of Sokovia in 2015. Captain America and Black Widow remained to lead a new team comprised of War Machine, Falcon, Vision and Scarlet Witch. It could be argued that the beginning of the end of the Avengers was the moment Tony Stark, Thor, Bruce Banner, and Clint Barton departed; despite Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff’s leadership, the second version of the Avengers was considerably weaker in power levels and lacked the battle experience of the original group. It was this team’s errors that resulted in the Sokovia Accords and the Avengers’ Civil War.
After the Civil War, Rogers, Romanoff, and Wanda Maximoff became wanted fugitives, which prompted Tony Stark to take the reins of the weakest lineup of Avengers yet. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, the team seemed to be comprised of only Iron Man, War Machine, and Vision. Spider-Man, Stark’s newest recruit, even turned down membership. In Infinity War, the two different teams of Avengers, combined with the Guardians of the Galaxy, that faced Thanos on Titan and in Wakanda failed despite their best efforts, but they were always at a disadvantage as Thanos collected the Infinity Stones to become omnipotent.
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The Main Avengers Will Be Replaced After Endgame
The next Avengers team will again be very different: Avengers: Endgame is expected to be the last hurrah for the original six that Nick Fury assembled for his Avenger Initiative, since several of the actors are expected to leave the MCU. The multi-picture Marvel contracts of the MCU’s centerpiece stars since the beginning like Robert Downey Jr. have expired, and Chris Evans has indicated that he is done playing Captain America (at least for the time being). The actors have certainly been loyal to Marvel Studios, and Downey, for instance, has re-upped his extremely lucrative deal 3 times to make more appearances as Tony Stark after his initial deal ended in 2012. Meanwhile, Scarlett Johansson will star in a Black Widow film (expected to be a prequel), and the advent of MCU TV series for the Disney+ streaming service means the other actors could be tempted to return as well for short-term deals.
While Downey, Hemsworth, Evans, Johansson, Renner, and Ruffalo may still pop in after Avengers: Endgame, their time at the top of the MCU is likely at an end. However, the Avengers will have to continue in some fashion and, with Captain Marvel, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, etc., Marvel certainly has enough superheroes to form a new team – one that can potentially be even better than the first Avengers that assembled.
Page 2 of 2: Building A Stronger Avengers Team – With Shang-Chi
The MCU Needs A Stronger Avengers Team After Endgame
If the heroes prevail and set the universe right in Avengers: Endgame, the heroes will need to build a new team to protect the future of the MCU. The first reality that needs to be confronted is that Thanos beat the heroes because they were divided, thanks to Tony Stark and Steve Rogers forcing everyone else to choose sides. While it’s not clear who will survive Avengers: Endgame (the strong possibility exists that Iron Man and/or Captain America could die), the logistics of the next Avengers team will also need to be settled: if Stark dies, who will fund the team? Will they still operate out of Avengers Compound in Upstate New York, or will the team relocate, perhaps to New York City again?
The next step would be to build a new team that is designed to meet the kinds of cosmic threats that Thanos represents, and sheer raw power won’t be enough. The original team was certainly powerful but they were also essentially comprised of ‘whoever was around that Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. could recruit’. Now, the MCU has a much larger and more diverse pool of superheroes, many of whom are specialists who can handle specific threats, like Doctor Strange, who is the Master of the Mystic Arts, Ant-Man, who can access the Quantum Realm, and of course, Captain Marvel, who is powered by the Space Stone and is the most powerful MCU superhero with two decades of experience in dealing with intergalactic enemies. Meanwhile, Black Panther leads a nation which has the most brilliant mind (Shuri) and the most advanced technology on Earth, Spider-Man brings youth, optimism, and heart, and Valkyrie could replace Thor. It’s also possible some of the Guardians of the Galaxy might be tempted to make Earth their home for a while and join the Avengers before Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 happens in a few years.
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How Shang-Chi Can Help Lead The New Avengers
It’s also possible the MCU could be taking cues from the comics once more; after the Avengers Vs. X-Men event in 2012, Tony Stark and Steve Rogers spearheaded a new plan dubbed ‘Avengers World’ – they decided to “go large” and massively expanded the Avengers’ roster to nearly two dozen active members who could be combined into specialized teams to defeat any kind of threat. One of the first new recruits was Shang-Chi, who will soon star in an MCU movie directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. This could be the direction the Avengers will take in Phase 4.
In the comics, Shang-Chi, known as the Master of Kung-Fu, is one of the greatest hand-to-hand combatants in the Marvel Universe and he can harness his Chi to break through brick, concrete, and iron. Shangi-Chi has even defeated many superhuman opponents. Between Captain America, Black Widow, Winter Soldier, and Black Panther, the MCU has seen its share of great fighters, but Shang-Chi is expected to be at a different level entirely. While little is known of how the MCU will integrate Shangi-Chi, he’s a perfect example of further creating a diverse roster of Avengers – a team strong enough to meet the enemies of MCU Phase 4 and beyond.
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