How Marvel Phase 4 Is Setting Up The Avengers 5


Marvel has yet to officially confirm that The Avengers 5 is happening, but Phase 4 of the MCU is already setting it up. Although Spider-Man: Far From Home was technically the endpoint for both Phase 3 and the Infinity Saga, it was Avengers: Endgame that was truly the culmination of the first decade of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and of its biggest franchise and team.

Having brought the Avengers together back in 2012 in what was then an unprecedented superhero team-up movie, the group has grown in size, lost members, and can never quite be the same again. With the deaths of Iron Man and Black Widow in Endgame, alongside the decision of Captain America to stay in the past (or at least, a past) with Peggy Carter, the Avengers has been irrevocably changed.

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Related: Every Upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie

And yet, it’s all but certain that The Avengers 5 will be made at some point, and a new version of the team will be brought together. It’s too lucrative a brand, and there’ll always be bigger threats to face. There isn’t an Avengers 5 on the MCU Phase 4 slate, but the movies and shows are clearly being made with at least one eye on the future of the franchise, including various characters and plot points that could feed into the next team-up film.

Love & Thunder Can Setup Thor’s Avengers 5 Return (& Leadership)

Fat Thor avengers endgame concept art BW


Thor was the only member of Marvel’s big three left with a true MCU future after Avengers: Endgame. Whereas Iron Man is dead and Cap is in the past, Thor is setup for further adventures, be they with the Guardians of the Galaxy (as the ending teased), back in New Asgard, or elsewhere in the universe. While part of that story will be told in Thor: Love & Thunder, that won’t be the end of his journey, with it confirmed Chris Hemsworth will return after that movie. And it makes sense: while Thor has been around the MCU since 2011, and will become the first character to have four solo movies, it seems in many ways that his current story and characterization didn’t truly begin until Thor: Ragnarok.

Thor 4, then, can setup the titular character’s return to the Avengers fold. Thor is on a journey of self-discovery right now, and that includes learning from his past mistakes. His arrogance was his downfall previously, with the God of Thunder believing himself to be infallible, and that he could accomplish on his own what he really needed a team for (seen in both his quest for the Infinity Stones and failure to kill Thanos). Thor working with the Guardians – and trying to be their leader – is essentially a short-term replacement until he can get back where he will realize he truly belongs: with the Avengers. Thor’s enlightenment should entail that he needs teamwork and others around him, but also that he can finally be the leader he’s been incapable of previously. Since Iron Man and Captain America have both led the Avengers in the past, then it’s only right Thor eventually gets the opportunity once he’s grown into the role, which should happen in Phase 4.

Phase 4 Is Replacing The Original Avengers

Mark Ruffalo and She-Hulk

While Thor is very much sticking around the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Phase 4 and seemingly beyond, there are also characters who can replace him too. Thor 4 will introduce Jane Foster as the new, Mighty Thor (played by Natalie Portman), meaning she’ll be the powerful, Mjolnir-wielding superhero in that movie. There are also teases of Beta Ray Bill, another character who could fill Thor’s boots and pick up Stormbreaker if needed. It’s unclear what their MCU futures will be, but looking long-term then there’ll be more options available than just Thor himself, which could end up factoring in to The Avengers 5 in some way, especially if that marks the true conclusion of Thor’s story.

Related: Every Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie, Ranked Worst To Best

Thor aside, then there are numerous other replacements for the original Avengers. Black Widow looks likely to setup Yelena Belova as the new take on the title hero moving forward, which could help Avengers 5 honor Natasha Romanoff’s legacy. Falcon & the Winter Soldier seemingly has several Steve Rogers replacements, including U.S. Agent, but it should firmly establish Sam Wilson as the real new Captain America, which can then springboard into a bigger movie role in Avengers 5. The Disney+ She-Hulk show should see Jennifer Walters taking over from Bruce Banner as the main green goliath in the MCU, while Hawkeye can pass the baton – or the bow and arrows – to Kate Bishop. Not all of these characters will necessarily end up part of the new team in Avengers 5, but they’re all viable options for Marvel to use, and in a broader sense clearly display long-term thinking beyond the initial movies and shows they’ll appear in.

Phase 4 Is Introducing Several New Possible Avengers

Game of Thrones Kit Harington Marvel Black Knight

As well as the more direct replacements for the original Avengers in Marvel’s Phase 4, there are several new characters who could end up being part of the next line-up, or at least have experience with them in the comics. Many of these look set to be introduced in Eternals: newcomers like Black Knight, Sersi, and Gilgamesh have all been a part of the Avengers team at various points in Marvel Comics. The former in particular has had some notable stories, and with a prominent actor like Kit Harington in the role, then it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Black Knight in The Avengers 5. Similarly, Eternals is set to include Sersi and Black Knight’s romance – something that comes from the pages of the Avengers – and so that could continue into the team-up movie.

Of the other new heroes in the MCU Phase 4, there are a few other stand–outs as potential Avengers. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is among the upcoming Marvel movies that could setup a new character for the team – he doesn’t have a long history with them in the comics, but as a new solo franchise and a great character in his own right, then Shang-Chi would be worthy of a spot. Disney+’s Moon Knight feels a bit more of an outlier in terms of his character, but he has previous with the team and can’t completely be ruled out given Oscar Isaac – no stranger to blockbuster movies – has been cast in the title role. And finally, alongside the returning Captain Marvel, there could be spaces being staked out for at least one of Monica Rambeau (who is becoming a superhero in her own right) or Ms. Marvel aka Kamala Khan, though the latter feels more likely for the Young Avengers.

Phase 4 Can Allow The Avengers To Become An Official Team Again

Avengers Endgame Team Hands Together

The beginning of Marvel Phase 3 sought to change the status quo of the MCU, bringing in the Sokovia Accords as a form of superhero registration, designed to give the government greater control over the actions of the team. That, of course, led to a civil war, with the heroes splitting between Team Iron Man and Team Captain America. The Sokovia Accords helped define the subsequent movies, not least because the discord sown by them and the fact the Avengers were divided played a clear part in their failure to stop Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. The Sokovia Accords were briefly referenced in that movie, as General Ross returned, though the Avengers thankfully decided to work together anyway, going against his orders.

Related: Every New Avenger Character Confirmed For Marvel’s Phase 4 (So Far)

The Sokovia Accords haven’t been mentioned since, and in the wake of Thanos’ snap, it could be assumed that world leaders have recognized the need for superheroes. It remains to be seen whether the Sokovia Accords themselves are explicitly dealt with, but it is a possibility. Ross will return in the past in Black Widow, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he appeared in the present day timeline elsewhere, such as Falcon & The Winter Soldier. Even if that doesn’t deal with the Accords, it will still tackle the notion of government endorsed superheroes, with the U.S. putting forth its own choice for Captain America, rather than the person Steve Rogers – someone who actively went against the Accords – chose as his successor. Since Falcon & The Winter Soldier will likely end with Falcon firmly taking on the mantle of Cap, then it can put the issue to rest once and fall, and the Avengers can be free to become an official, independent team once again for The Avengers 5.

Phase 4 Could Setup A New Threat For The Avengers to Face

Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man in Avengers Endgame and Kang the Conqueror in Marvel Comics

Thanos was the biggest threat the Avengers have had to face yet, and the overarching villain of the Infinity Saga. In his wake there’s a power vacuum, and Marvel will need someone big to fill it when it comes to The Avengers 5. Finding an enemy who is worthy of both taking over from Thanos and warranting the Avengers to band together is no mean feat, but there are a couple of compelling options on the table for Marvel. The Disney-Fox deal being complete means that new characters are in-play, and in terms of villains, both Doctor Doom and Galactus could be compelling choices for The Avengers 5. Phase 4 could feasibly setup either of these: the upcoming movies and shows are likely to build to the X-Men and Fantastic Four, while one Doctor Strange 2 theory is that Doom will appear there. Though not technically part of Phase 4, Captain Marvel 2 could also setup Avengers 5‘s villain, by including the Heralds of Galactus before the real deal arrives.

More likely than either of those, though, is that The Avengers 5‘s villain will be Kang the Conqueror. Jonathan Majors has reportedly been cast in the role for Ant-Man 3, and that’s likely with an eye on bigger things to come. The time-travelling supervillain is the perfect choice for Avengers 5 after the events of Endgame, and with the multiverse featuring so heavily in Marvel Phase 4, then the movies and shows can begin to tease him coming in the likes of Loki, before Ant-Man 3 (which may yet end up as part of Phase 4, depending on when it releases) fully sets Kang up for The Avengers 5.

Next: Avengers 5 Theory: Endgame Set Up Kang The Conqueror As Phase 4’s Villain

Key Release Dates

  • Black Widow (2021)Release date: May 07, 2021
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Jul 09, 2021
  • Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Feb 11, 2022
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
  • Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
  • Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022

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Updated: November 8, 2020 — 6:30 pm

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