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Marvel’s superhero storylines in Phase Four have only just begun with two Disney+ shows WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The latter series of the pair introduced a new Captain America in Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson. The passing of the shield is a historic moment in the MCU, because it introduces the universe’s first official successor. Shortly after the introduction, the story will continue with Captain America 4. And looking ahead, Falcon’s journey to Cap won’t be the last hero to rise in the ranks and assume an Avengers title from another.
While we certainly hope the MCU won’t tire out the ‘continuing a legacy’ narrative in these coming years as new heroes enter the fold, there’s a lot of fresh faces following in the footsteps of the original Avengers. Let’s talk about what new generation of characters may rise to the occasion next after Anthony Mackie’s Captain America:
Yelena Belova In Black Widow
From the outside, it seems an odd decision from Marvel to go back and make a prequel for Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow following her death in Avengers: Endgame. But, there must be a major connection or two to the future of the MCU in this summer’s big Marvel release. Black Widow will introduce Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova, who assumes the Black Widow title in the comics, so naturally a lot of folks think the same thing will occur in the MCU. Yelena is a spiritual sister to Natasha who we’ll learn all about this July, and Pugh is already confirmed to reprise the role in Disney+’s Hawkeye series.
Kate Bishop In Hawkeye
Later this year, Jeremy Renner is reprising his role as Hawkeye alongside Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop, who famously takes up the archer’s mantle in the Young Avengers and in the hero’s honor. This television series certainly seems to be a full-on changing of the guards considering Renner is not expected to return to the role following the Disney+ Hawkeye series. Clint Barton has a family of his own whom he almost lost altogether in the Snap, so he may be ready to retire the title altogether. But first, we imagine he’ll be training his successor first.
The Mighty Thor In Thor: Love and Thunder
After Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster was completely absent in Thor: Ragnarok, Thor’s ex-girlfriend is returning to the MCU for Thor: Love and Thunder in 2022. As we’ve learned, she will be suiting up to be The Mighty Thor in the star-studded Taika Waititi movie. As the recent installments developed Thor, the God of Thunder found out he does not need the Mjolnir to wield powers, though it does give him the ability to fly and knock around an awesome, ancient hammer. It sounds like Jane will get the chance to wield it, and while it’s possible he retires it to her, we’d imagine this could become more of a newly-formed hero partnership.
Ms. Marvel And Monica Rambeau in The Marvels
WandaVision set up Carol Danvers and Monica Rambeau reuniting in the future after she gained powers in the TV show, but now we know she will have a major role in the Captain Marvel film series considering the sequel is officially called The Marvels. Monica Rambeau will join Brie Larson’s character alongside Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan, who will also get an origin story in her Disney+ series Ms. Marvel. These characters also feel more like partners to Captain Marvel than successors, but later down the line, one or both of them could also replace her.
Jennifer Walters In She-Hulk
Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk has been a huge part of the Marvel universe since The Avengers, but his version of the character has yet to have a solo project (Edward Norton starred in The Incredible Hulk). But coming down the pipeline, She-Hulk will have her own TV show starring Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany. Jennifer Walters is the cousin of Bruce Banner who goes green while also being a lawyer. At the moment, we don’t have a ton of details on what the Disney+ series will be about specifically, but Mark Ruffalo will be involved. When last we heard of Bruce, he had found a balance between his Hulk self and human self known as Smart Hulk. He may not gravitate toward avenging, but could be a worthy consultant to She-Hulk as she deals with her new powers.
Cassie Lang in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania
Next up for Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang is a third movie called Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania, which comes out in 2023. In the movie, his daughter Cassie Lang will be all grown-up and replaced with Freaky’s Kathryn Newton. In the comics, Cassie becomes a hero in her own right, and we’d imagine this movie will have her and Scott exploring this. Cassie is also famously part of the Young Avengers, so her presence, along with other potential successors, seems to wink to the formation of this hero group.
Riri Williams In Ironheart
The last confirmed hero to be entering the MCU (for now) who could be a successor to another hero is Dominique Thorne’s Riri Williams, or Ironheart. Riri is a young genius and inventor who reverse engineers one of Iron Man’s suits and takes over his mantle at 15 years old. For this storyline, we know that Tony Stark cannot mentor her because the character died in Avengers: Endgame saving the world, but maybe he or F.R.I.D.A.Y. leave some wise words in a suit? We’ll have to see when Ironheart's Disney+ series comes out down the line.
It definitely feels like a new generation of the Avengers is on the horizon with these projects that could see new heroes taking on the positions of the original members. And as the MCU continues to progress, perhaps Tom Holland’s Spider-Man will meet Miles Morales, a new Black Panther follows Chadwick Boseman’s passing or a new Wolverine arrives in the form of Laura Kinney. There is an expectation that these projects will form another major team up event someday in the future, and there’s a lot being setup here in the next few years with these hero introductions.
Which Marvel successor would you be most excited to rise into herodom? Vote for your favorite in the poll below and mark your calendars for the next Marvel projects, including Loki coming to Disney+ on June 9 (which you can sign up to using this link) and Black Widow hitting theaters and Disney+ Premier Access on July 9.
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