5. New Avengers
Avengers: Infinity War is primed to reshape the Marvel universe into something new with the retirement of several characters and the elevation of older ones. Fans can probably expect Peter Parker (Tom Holland) to survive but the rest of the Avengers are in danger of facing off against Thanos (Josh Brolin) and becoming casualties of the Infinity Gauntlet. Chris Hemsworth’s contract is up, as is Chris Evans’ and Robert Downey Jr’s. Bucky (Sebastian Stan) might be a worthy heir to the shield (or at least they’re setting him up for that) and Mark Ruffalo still has 3 more films left on his contract with Jeremy Renner clocking in at 2, that leaves Thor and Iron-Man with roles to fill.
Comic fans know that Jane Foster eventually takes on the mantle of Thor with the original Thor bumming around the 616 universe. If Thor were to fall in battle (let’s be objective and realistic) it’s important to consider just how the universe will deal with the God of Thunder. If Thor were to pass on Mjolnir (we know it’s coming back guys come on) or even his newer weapon, to a new Thor it’d be a great way to introduce the concept of inheriting characters and powers into the MCU. While Natalie Portman is open to returning to the MCU, Marvel should consider offering Tessa Thompson the role of “The Mighty Thor” to have her team up with a collection of new heroes.
Hear us out. Thompson’s already contracted for new movies which means no new contract process. After Brunehilde’s turn as Scrapper 142, a deep and thought-provoking look at a Valkyrie-turned-Thor film would be a great fit for the MCU. Thompson would bring gravitas to the role, from Thor passing her the hammer (perhaps while passing on or moving to a part of the MCU setting him up for a dramatic return) before she accepts the role and finds herself the heir to Asgard’s majesty. Can she handle wielding such power? It would be a powerful redemptive moment for the former soldier turned heir to Thor’s legacy. Giving it to Lena Waithe to write would also provide some much-needed LGBTQ representation.
The second character who could pick up the Tony Stark mantle and follow along with the comics is Riri Williams, also known as Ironheart. A 15-year-old tech genius from Chicago, Riri reverse engineers herself an Iron Man suit and ends up going on an adventure before she’s mentored by the digital consciousness of Tony Stark. If Robert Downey Jr was willing to return for vocal cameos, much like Jarvis, having Riri could be a great way to introduce her to other characters and have her pick up the threads of Tony’s work. Riri is of an age with Peter Parker, so there’d be drama there, and thanks to Wakandan outreach efforts in Oakland and presumably other parts of the country (like Chicago) Riri would have a basis to create some really bad-ass technology and possibly involve Shuri in its creation/monitoring.
Imagine if you will, Riri reverse engineering the suit, Shuri picking it up on her scanners, and then taking on a mentor-role in addition to Tony Stark (or even being the one to refine and help preserve Tony’s consciousness). There are few villains that could stand against them (although it’d be really fascinating if they went up against The Vulture with his “take down the one percent” attitude).
Finally, the last Avenger to inherit abilities would be Kate Bishop, setting the stage for the Young Avengers. The overwhelming response to “Where’s Hawkeye” has been that he’s “retired”. It’d be very easy for someone to pick up his mantle and begin fighting crime like a young Kate Bishop. While the decision to have Hawkeye’s backstory line up with more of Marvel’s Ultimates strategy is disappointing because it almost completely deprives him of a Rogue’s Gallery (No Barney Barton? C’mon). There could very easily be some work done with either Natasha or something from his SHIELD past that comes back to bite him in a dangerous place that either causes him to go out for revenge or creates some more rogues for he and Kate to fight together. While no one wants Hawkeye to hang up his arrows, if he does then it’s time to announce a worthy successor.
While Marvel might be moving less in the “It’s all Connected” direction, it’s essential to plan and prepare for that eventuality. James Gunn has stated he’d like to see a new Guardians of the Galaxy team eventually, could a new Avengers team be far behind?