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As a 10 year capstone for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Joe and Anthony Russo’s Avengers: Infinity War was a remarkable treat. Characters from just about every corner of the vast franchise finally had the chance to interact and unite, and while the heroes’ mission and battle against Thanos was ultimately a failure, the film itself was magical of cinematic entertainment.
There are many reasons why the movie was a special success (and we have written about a ton of them here on CinemaBlend), but part of it is just the way in which it utilizes the tools at hand from previous Marvel Cinematic Universe chapters. With the exception of Eitri and the members of the Black Order, every principal character featured is one we previously met from another MCU film – and saving time introducing new heroes and villains allowed more time to dedicate to the epic narrative. Orchestrating this was a brilliant move by the Russo brothers and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and hopefully it continues to be the angle taken by the filmmakers for the upcoming Avengers: Endgame.
In the months since Infinity War’s release we have heard a lot of rumors and chatter about new characters being introduced via the fourth Avengers saga, but thinking about the blockbuster’s potential in this arena is misguided. While it is certainly possible that Endgame will feature one or two fresh faces that will add to the ensemble of heroes and villains that populate the big screen franchise, it should be an arena where audiences temper their expectations. What’s not to be lost sight of is the fact that not only are we still waiting to see many established names join the on-going scuffle, but we’re also still hoping for more significant interactions between important characters that weren’t featured in Avengers 3, despite said characters being featured.
Right off the bat there is the Captain Marvel discussion – with the heroine having been teased in the post-credits scene of Avengers: Infinity War, getting her own solo film in early March. Given the incredible power she possesses, it’s expected that she will have a significant impact on the events of Avengers: Endgame, and her integration into the conflict with the Mad Titan will surely be something to which the blockbuster needs to dedicate significant screen time (especially if the production wants to avoid having her be a deus ex machina introduced late in the game).
But Captain Marvel is far from the only hero in her position going into the 22nd MCU film. Fans weren’t exactly shy expressing their feelings about the absence of Hawkeye in Avengers: Infinity War – but there’s also the entire Ant-Man And The Wasp ensemble to think about, as well as Valkyrie. They’re all expected to have some kind of role to play in the defeat of Thanos, and those are only the characters who have been confirmed to appear. There is also still hope that we can see key supporting players from the various series like Phil Coulson, Sharon and Peggy Carter, Nakia, Erik Selvig, and Happy Hogan (his deleted Infinity War scene shouldn’t count).
Because Avengers: Endgame isn’t going to be six hours long, the filmmakers are going to have to be careful how they balance these additions alongside the 20-plus we saw in Avengers: Infinity War without totally breaking the narrative. If this means not spending valuable time setting up heroes for Phase Four, all the better.
This whole conversation isn’t even just about the cast from Avengers: Endgame being larger than that of Avengers: Infinity War, though. As alluded to, it was tremendously exciting to see members of the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy interact for the first time, but it should be recognized that there are still a lot of key characters who haven’t met each other yet. Ignoring the consequences of The Decimation for a moment, it’s noteworthy that Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord not only never makes it to his home planet of Earth, but also never gets to hang out with the likes of Captain America, Black Panther, Hulk, and Black Widow. Similarly, we still haven’t seen what Doctor Strange can do teamed up with Avengers other than Iron Man and Spider-Man – and those guys also still haven’t had the chance to meet Rocket or Groot.
And while it’s really exactly a new relationship, I can’t be the only one waiting to see things get resolved between Cap and Iron Man following their dispute in Captain America: Civil War. Given that the futures of both Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans in the future of Marvel Cinematic Universe is a big question mark after Avengers: Endgame, the movie definitely needs to provide some kind of conclusion for fans.
In the last nine months we have heard countless sites with unverified sources chime in with thoughts about heroes like Black Knight, Adam Warlock, and Kate Bishop being a part of Avengers: Endgame – but there is honest hope on this end that we see none of them. There is a long future ahead of this franchise and will be plenty of opportunity to introduce audiences to new heroes. None of that time, or at least an extremely limited amount of that time, needs to be spent in the blockbuster that’s arriving this April.