Avengers: Endgame is one of the biggest films of the decade, concluding over ten years worth of storytelling in an explosive finale. However, now that the movie’s time in cinemas seems to be winding down, we are left wondering what’s next – what new Marvel gem should we turn our attention to?
Although nothing has been confirmed yet, we know there will be eight Marvel films released between now and 2022 (not including Spider-Man: Far From Home), two next year, and three per year after that. We know that a Black Widow solo film is finally coming, as well as cosmic-based The Eternals and the Asian-superhero Shang-Chi. Alongside those, we can no doubt expect follow-ups to Doctor Strange, Black Panther and Captain Marvel, as well as a slew of television shows that will debut on Disney+ and Hulu.
After Endgame, there are so many more possibilities for characters and stories moving forward. The developments seen in the fourth Avengers movie, such as the surprising five-year time jump and the introduction of alternate timelines is rife with storytelling possibilities. With that in mind, here are eight Marvel movies we want to see built out of the events of Avengers: Endgame, and how they all fit in the Marvel universe. For the most part, we won’t be counting characters and movies that are already in some form of development (sorry, Squirrel Girl).
Contrary to expectation, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel didn’t have a whole lot of screen time in Endgame, instead only showing up to save Tony Stark at the beginning of the movie, help the Avengers bring down Thanos before the time-jump, and make a last-minute entrance in the final battle where she brings down Thanos’ ship, Sanctuary II. Her absence, both in the movie and in the twenty-years between Endgame and her solo film, was put down to the fact that she’s been protecting other planets.
A galaxy lacking heroes is the perfect place for Nova to show up. Dubbed ‘the human rocket’ (as in the spacecraft, not the raccoon) in the comics, Nova is a member of a superpowered police force known as the Nova Corps. The Nova Corps features fairly prominently in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy but lacks the signature powers of their comic counterparts. With the galaxy in turmoil after the various snaps, a Nova movie could follow the rebuilding of the Nova Corps through the lens of human recruit Richard Rider. In the comics, he is assisted by an A.I. called Worldmind that represents the last of Xandar’s culture (and who could be modelled after the presumably deceased Nova Corps leader played by Glenn Close) as he has to face off against a deadly alien threat before the Corps are back to full power.
His comic book powers are somewhat similar to the MCU’s Captain Marvel, but that could be sidestepped by giving him powered armour, rather than just spandex and energy blasts. Throw in a returning John C. Reilly and you’re good to go.
2. The Thunderbolts
Although there are still a lot of heroes left, Endgame ends with the Avengers more than likely disassembled (for now, anyway). Tony and Natasha are dead, Steve’s elderly, Clint’s probably retired again, Thor’s in space and Hulk’s doing whatever the Hulk does. There are newer members, of course, but they’re probably all too busy dealing with their respective sequels and Disney+ shows. So the Marvel Universe no doubt needs a new superhero team to fill the void, and that team should be the Thunderbolts.
The Thunderbolts are a group of supervillains who banded together after the Avengers disappeared in the comics, trying to capitalise on the fact the world needed heroes, pretending to be their much-needed saviours. This was all a ruse of course, but some of these villains got a kick out of doing good and decided to fight on the side of the angels. The team would later be controlled by the government, becoming, in essence, Marvel’s Suicide Squad. Obviously, you’d have to do something to differentiate this new team from the 2016 Suicide Squad and James Gunn’s upcoming sequel, but with the right formula, anything could work.
You could approach it through the lens of a new character like Thunderbolts’ mainstay Songbird, and watch as she is arrested and subsequently drafted into the Thunderbolts alongside some established characters from previous films like Zemo (Daniel Brühl), Vulture (Michael Keaton), Abomination (Tim Roth) and Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) – whom the audience already has an attachment to. You could even go a bit farther afield, and bring in Marvel’s recently acquired anti-hero Deadpool and make a deal with Sony to have Tom Hardy’s Venom feature. Go crazy with it.
3. Doctor Doom*
The second, much more spoiler-filled Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer toys with the idea that after Tony Stark’s passing, the world still needs an ‘Iron Man’, and so Peter Parker needs to step up. No doubt, the film will end on the heartwarming note that Peter Parker doesn’t need to be the new Iron Man because he’s the first Spider-Man, or something like that, which leaves the position of ‘Iron Man’ still open.
Enter Victor Von Doom, the comic book ruler of the fictional nation of Latveria and the archenemy of the Fantastic Four. All the key elements of Doctor Doom are now established in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, such as power suits and magic, and after the Disney-Fox merger, the rights to the character is now back in Marvel’s hands. So this time they should do things right.
Rather than giving us a half-arsed version of Doctor Doom in a Fantastic Four movie, give him his own origin. It could take inspiration from both the Ultimate Fantastic Four and the Infamous Iron Man comic series’, and see a young Victor fighting against an oppressive government that has risen up in the chaos of the ‘snap’, using a mixture of magic and his own makeshift Iron Man-esque suit to bring them down and take over as ruler. Perfect setup for the inevitable showdown with the Fantastic Four, a first for Marvel Studios (for a movie to be told from the villain’s perspective) and a great place to explore the chaos that occurs after half the population disappeared.
4. The X-Men
The possibility of an X-Men relaunch wasn’t really put forward during the events of Endgame, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work. Although Mysterio is almost certainly talking shit in the Far From Home trailer, the idea that the snaps have consequences outside of their intended purpose is interesting.
What if one of the unforeseen consequences of the snap is mutation?
At some point in the timeline, if Marvel wants to use the X-Men, they have to introduce mutants into the Marvel universe. And unless they go with ‘Oh, they were there the whole time, you just didn’t know’, why not place the origin of mutants during those missing five years? Seeing as the initial comic book X-Men were teenagers, you could dub them as the first wave of mutants, granted powers by the use of the Infinity Gauntlet. We’ve already seen two comic mutants gain their powers from one of the Infinity Stones, namely Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. It would be hard to justify older mutants like Charles Xavier, Magneto or Wolverine, but as seen in Thor, Avengers and Captain Marvel, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been experimenting with an Infinity Stone for a very long time. Maybe they cropped up then, and have just been waiting for others to join their cause?
The longer Marvel Studios waits to introduce mutants, the less believable it will seem. So why not use the tools already laid out in front of you.
5. Silver Surfer
As of Endgame, Thanos has been defeated twice over, which means the Marvel Universe is ready for a new cosmic threat. While rumours indicate that we may see the likes of Annihilus sometime down the line, another obvious candidate would be Galactus, the devourer of worlds. Galactus was previously seen in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, but his weird sentient cloud appearance was a far cry from the crazy sixties design he has in the comics.
And where better to introduce Galactus than in a Silver Surfer movie? Like Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel, a Silver Surfer movie would allow audiences to explore more of the cosmos, seeing new worlds and interacting with strange alien characters. The film could follow the Silver Surfer, newly burdened with the task of finding worlds for his master to consume, and struggling with the morality of destroying entire planets – maybe directing his master to a race he believes deserves to be wiped out? It could get pretty dark, but like a Doctor Doom movie, an anti-hero isn’t something we’ve seen a lot of in the Marvel Universe (outside of the TV shows) and could be an interesting addition to the world.
6. The Fantastic Four
Similar to the X-Men, there’s less set-up in Endgame for this one than other heroes, but in the same way a world without Avengers is the perfect time for the Thunderbolts to crop up, so too is it the time for the return of the Fantastic Four. After four movies, one of which was never officially released, and a fourth that is near universally hated, it’s safe to say that no other studio has managed to get the Fantastic Four just right.
This is not to say that Marvel will necessarily do a better job, but they should definitely still give it a shot, and show cinemagoers why the Fantastic Four has been a mainstay on comic book shelves for over half a decade. With the introduction of alternate timelines, a Fantastic Four movie could take things one step further, such as seeing the team exploring alternate dimensions and running into villains such as Annihilus and the Psycho-Man.
There is no need for all that dark and gritty stuff, just give us a lighthearted Fantastic Four about the team and their explorations. While the Guardians of the Galaxy movies do take us to new and interesting planets, their journeys often revolve around where they need to be, whereas the Fantastic Four’s trips could take them to where they want to be. They could explore the weirder parts of the universe, and in later years, face off with their iconic villains such as Doctor Doom and Galactus once the work developing those characters have already been done in other movies.
One fairly surprising turn in Endgame was the introduction of Professor Hulk, the fusion of the Hulk and Bruce Banner’s dual personalities. Mark Ruffalo got to play a variant of the big green guy who was far more eloquent and thoughtful than his raging counterpart and unknowingly opened things up for a spin-off.
As Mark Ruffalo has previously stated, the owners of the Hulk movie rights, Universal, don’t want to make a Hulk movie. No doubt because as of yet, no one has figured out how to make one that really grabs people’s attention. The last one, The Incredible Hulk, is pretty much the neglected child of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, despite its events being referenced in other films. So why not ditch the traditional Hulk approach, and give him something of a reinvention à la Thor: Ragnarok. And while you’re at it, why not introduce another popular female hero from the comics, She-Hulk?
She-Hulk is the alter-ego of Bruce Banner’s cousin and successful lawyer Jennifer Walters, who gains similar powers following a blood transfusion after a shooting. On screen, with the Hulk now somewhat of a celebrity, the film could see Bruce’s family targeted after he uses his wits and strength to take down some criminals, and in response, Bruce is forced to empower his cousin as the new Hulk to save her life. The film could then see the two smashing bad guys in a buddy-cop style team-up. Unfortunately, the name ‘She-Hulk’ will probably make a lot of non-comic fans roll their eyes, so instead, we could go with ‘The Incredible Hulks’.
8. Captain America and the Mighty Avengers
While he didn’t bite the dust at the end of Endgame, Steve Rogers’ Captain America was written out of the MCU. Departing near the end of the movie to return Mjölnir and the Infinity Stones to their correct time periods, Steve opts to stay in the past and live out his life with Peggy Carter, only appearing later as an elderly man to pass on his restored shield to Sam Wilson, the Falcon.
The transformation of Sam Wilson from the Falcon into the new Captain America will no doubt be explored in the upcoming Falcon & the Winter Soldier TV series, but what comes next? What happens when the heroes of Earth are once again faced with a threat ‘no single superhero could withstand’? Eventually, it will be time to assemble the New Avengers.
We’ve followed the adventures of the ‘old’ Avengers for over ten years now, and so seeing a similar sort of story, but with the newer characters as the focus would be an interesting change of pace. Sure, the likes of Falcon, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange have starred in prior Avengers movies, but what would it be like to see them operate as a contained team in a similar way to how the original Avengers operated in The Avengers and Age of Ultron.
With Falcon as the new Captain America, Spider-Man as the new ‘Iron Man’, Ant-Man and the Wasp featuring in some capacity and older supporting characters like Scarlet Witch, ‘Professor’ Hulk, War Machine and whatever new characters are introduced, you could see an Avengers lineup that’s completely different to what we’re used to. Assuming Captain Marvel and Doctor Strange maintain their solo acts, the team would be a lot more grounded, for one, and allow the team to capture their own unique take on the magic of the first Avengers film, updated to reflect the crazier world that the Marvel heroes now occupy.
*Editor’s note: while a Doctor Doom movie was in development before Disney snapped up Fox, we’re not entirely sure what its status is now.