One of the biggest surprises of SDCC was not that Marvel had a bunch of projects dated and announced, but that two of those were another pair of Avengers movies releasing in 2025 within just five months of each other, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty on May 2, 2025 and Avengers: Secret Wars on November 7, 2025.
We know little about them other than the source material they’ll pull from, and that Kevin Feige has said that no, the Russos are not directing them, despite their past work on Infinity War/Endgame, and their professed love for Secret Wars specifically.
My biggest question is not really about the storylines of those, as the comics give us at least some rough framework there, but what state the MCU’s Avengers will be in by then, given all the changes.
We know we started with the core six, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye. By the final films, the definition of “Avenger” was getting stretched a bit as every hero ever poured through the portals to help Cap, but some “official” additions by then included the likes of Scarlet Witch, Vision, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel and Ant-Man.
Things have changed now, of course. A few deaths, some weird time-travel shenanigans, and some old fashioned retirement. So, what Avengers will we end up with by 2025?
I suppose we can start with The First Avenger, Captain America, who traveled back in time to live into old age with Peggy Carter. It’s explicitly clear that Sam Wilson, after the events of both Endgame and his Disney Plus show, is the new Captain America, and he’s getting his own solo movie in phase 5 to prove it. His good friend Bucky Barnes seems destined for the Thunderbolts instead, however.
Tony Stark is very much dead and no amount of comic book magic will revive him. You could argue that Peter Parker was meant to step up and take on his leadership role, given that he was directly mentored by him, but while Spidey will no doubt be in the mix for these movies, I’m not sure I see him as team leader. Another factor here is Riri Williams’ Ironheart, coming soon to Disney Plus and being debuted in Wakanda Forever, who will be a more direct Tony analog. Wakanda Forever also seems likely to give us a new Black Panther, which everyone assumes will be Shuri in the suit after the death of her brother.
Hulk will next be seen training his cousin Jennifer how to be She-Hulk, and my guess is that while they may not be major players in the future Avengers films, they will at least show up for the big battles together. Ruffalo’s Hulk has no reason to leave, but he’s not getting any solo features either, it seems.
Thor is a mystery at the moment. Before Love and Thunder, it seemed like he could be retired and replaced by Jane Foster’s Mighty Thor on the team. If you’ve seen the movie, you know that’s not happening, and he’s still trucking around the galaxy helping people with his adopted daughter. But again, we have no fixed Thor plans from now until these movies arrive, so it’s unclear if he’d still be an official part of the team by then.
At this point, I’m willing to bet that Hawkeye is retired and is meant to be replaced by Kate Bishop on the Avengers. Previously I might have said Kate was gearing up to lead the Young Avengers, but in the MCU, I’m not sure that there’s going to be any meaningful difference between them and the main team. Another Hawkeye show co-star, Yelena Belova, is not replacing her dead sister Natasha on the Avengers as the new Black Widow as previously thought, but is instead heading to the Thunderbolts as well.
I have to imagine Doctor Strange will still be on the team, and while I don’t think Wanda’s dead, I don’t think she’ll return to Avenging any time soon, given the events of Multiverse of Madness. America Chavez seems like she’s another Young Avenger-turned-real-Avenger type, and should show up on the overall master list.
Given that Kang is the main villain in Ant-Man Quantumania and one half of the two Avengers movies, I expect Ant-Man, Wasp and now Cassie Lang will indeed have major roles to play in the Avengers.
The Guardians of the Galaxy appear to be dismantling to some degree after Vol. 3, and may be less essential to the new Avengers movies given that they no longer have such a direct connection to the villain (Thanos being Gamora and Nebula’s father). I also almost forgot about The Marvels, where Kamala Khan seems like she should be given a major Avenger role given her incredible debut and upcoming guest spot with Carol and Monica. I expect all three would be involved in the Avengers films.
Update: The MCU is so big I forgot a few folks, including Shang-Chi, who after two movies, is certainly going to be considered a core Avenger. Daredevil seems like he should finally be added to the squad after being re-embraced by Disney Marvel. I do not know what’s going to happen with the Eternals, though I wonder if Black Knight and Blade could join the team.
Of course, it’s also about who we haven’t seen yet. Secret Wars in particular makes use of a whole bunch of Fantastic Four and X-Men heroes and villains. The Avengers are really only one piece of the puzzle in that story while FF and the mutants are two more. But we won’t hear from them until Phase 6 begins in 2024.
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