As nerdy fans wait for Captain Marvel to come out in March, their heads are starting to swim with all the possibilities, mysteries, and theories swirling around the MCU. After all, Captain Marvel leads into Avengers 4, the film that hopes to save half the universe. Will everyone come back? Will they not?
Moreover, Captain America himself is confirmed to be leaving the role soon. For the conspiracy theorists, all of this just begs contemplation. Where will the MCU go after Avengers 4?
Well, this writer has an idea and even a thesis. You see, there have been small developments in the films pointing to a very popular comic becoming the new face of the MCU. It has been slowly building and, with Avengers 4, might actually come to fruition. What might be this comic? Well, Young Avengers, of course.
The evidence dates back to a toss-up of a Marvel film, Iron Man 3. During it, Tony Stark is saved by a young boy interested in mechanics and science. This part of the film seems to last way too long and feel ultimately inconsequential to the plot. The film even ends with Tony Stark tricking out Harley’s garage with high-grade tech to learn from. However, for any curious folk, the film did release 2013. That means that young Harley, canonically, would be about 15-18 by the time of Avengers 4. Perfect teen age, huh?
Then Ant-Man gave fans the first more deliberate hint of the Young Avengers possibilities when, instead of Hank Pym, they used Scott Lang as their main hero and included his adorable daughter, Cassie Lang. Cassie is one of the most classic and iconic members of the Young Avengers. In Ant-Man and The Wasp, the chances of her becoming a hero skyrockets when she expresses how proud she is of her father’s heroism and how she believes in it. Though Cassie will only be about 13 at best by Avengers 4, she’s a very likely candidate to become a future member.
Of course, Peter Parker swinging in only makes the situation more interesting. Though Spiderman becomes an honorary Avenger in Civil War, he’s still only 16 and very much treated like a kid. Making him so young not only creates a link to a new generation of heroes, but also an easy leader for a new team. Peter would be the most experienced, of course, by the time this team might form. He’ll likely be the spearhead of the Young Avengers that might evolve out of Avengers 4.
Black Panther only adds to this, creating another teen wonder in Shuri. They made her smart, a capable fighter, and fun as hell. If they wanted to make her a hero, they set her up perfectly. In the comics, Shuri is known to sometimes don the Black Panther suit herself, so its unsurprising if she becomes a member of this Young Avengers team.
In all the Avengers movies, there’s also a case for why they bothered to set up Vision and Scarlet Witch as a couple. While they are canon, they didn’t have much time to do the pairing justice and put little emphasis on them until Avengers: Infinity War. However, two of the main heroes in Young Avengers are their magically created twin sons, Billy (Wiccan) and Tommy (Speed). The twins mirror the powers of their mother and her own twin brother. As Vision isn’t exactly capable of human reproduction, in the comics Wanda basically wishes/magics them into existence. It would be unsurprising if a similar thing happens in the films. And as they are magical, who knows how fast they’ll grow. But putting Wanda and Vision together sets up this iconic pair, and that leans even further into the Young Avengers theory. Wiccan and Speed to the rescue, anyone?
What will likely tie all these Young Avengers together, though, will be Captain Marvel. It’s already been revealed in her trailer that her story involves the Skrull, a species vital to the story of one Young Avenger: Hulkling. Hulkling is a shapeshifter who eventually learns he isn’t just a mutant or someone with powers. He’s an alien. Skrull, to be specific. His mother was a princess who fell in love with someone she shouldn’t and got pregnant. Then, she ran away to earth to hide from her people and protect her baby. It could be a fair chance that the plot of Captain Marvel will revolve around this event. If it does, Teddy’s birth (around late nineties) will line up with him being a teenager or a tad older by Avengers 4. And, with Captain Marvel, the core of the Young Avengers would be assembled.
Personally, hopes had been high for a while that this would be the case. The second Cassie Lang was mentioned I jumped on the bandwagon. However, the more evidence collects, the more likely it seems this will happen. Between several original Avengers members leaving and young heroes multiplying in full force, it’s only time before the Young Avengers are the superheroes gracing our screens.
This shift would be monumental not only because it marks a huge shift in the MCU, but also because its opening up the largest stage for far less well-known heroes. It’ll be a fascinating process to watch, experience, and thoroughly enjoy.
Spiderman, Black Panther (Shuri), Iron Lad (Harley), Wiccan, Speed, Hulkling, and Stature (Cassie) just better be ready to save the world. We certainly are ready for them.