After relative radio silence (okay, nothing at all) from Marvel Studios at last year’s San Diego Comic Con to protect the secrecy of Avengers: Endgame, they came back with a vengeance this weekend, announcing the entire slate of titles for Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The things they have in store for us are exciting and different than what we’ve grown used to, from an Asian hero (and the real Mandarin) in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings to Thor: Love and Thunder, which will have Jane Foster wielding the hammer. The Eternals are also making their cinematic debut, Mahershala Ali’s taking up the mantle of Blade, we get to have Natasha Romanoff back in Black Widow, and we get to explore cool alternate realities — like Peggy Carter being given Erskine’s serum instead of Steve Rogers — in the animated series What If…?
As a fan of both the movies and the comics, though, I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of the new titles seem to be setting up more than just the foundation of the MCU post-Endgame. Take the Disney+ series Hawkeye, for example, where Clint Barton meets his match in cool-headed archer Kate Bishop, who, by the way, happens to be the leader of the Young Avengers.
The Young Avengers also had Eli Bradley, grandson of the black Captain America. You know who else is a black Captain America? Exactly. Sam Wilson, who returns in another new series, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. (Side note: Daniel Brühl is finally getting to do more as Baron Zemo, and I’ve been screaming for days.) With an entire story focusing on two people who inherited the shield, it’s not so unlikely to imagine that Eli — who goes by Patriot — will somehow make an appearance, is it?
The Doctor Strange sequel is called Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and it will feature Wanda Maximoff, tying in with the series WandaVision. With that title, it’s easy to get hyped over a few things. First, it could be horror-infused, or dark, at the very least, which many fans have been hoping for. Second, it could introduce the Scarlet Witch’s reality-warping powers, which could lead to the existence of a pair of twins (but sort of not-twins, it’s complicated): magic-wielder Billy Kaplan, a.k.a. Wiccan, and superfast Tommy Shepherd, a.k.a. Speed. Also, you guessed it, founding members of the Young Avengers.
Also, “multiverse”? You can practically see stars — the America-Chavez-punching-through-walls-and-dimensions kind.
And then there’s Loki, the final Disney+ series, which was teased in Endgame when the God of Mischief escaped with the Tesseract in the new timeline. If the cards all fall into place, we might just get to have Kid Loki, the beloved maknae of the Young Avengers in volume two. (Just kidding. But I’m really not.)
Of course, we already have Cassie Lang, a.k.a. Stature/Stinger, who’s been conveniently aged up following the Blip. And with the Kree and Skrull lore explained in Captain Marvel, it’s entirely possible to introduce Teddy Altman, a.k.a. Hulkling, and maybe even Noh-Varr.
All of these titles, by the way, are scheduled to come out in just the next two years. Who knows where they could go beyond that? So, basically: All the doors are open for the Young Avengers to make their MCU debut, and we’ll be here waiting. Plotting. Theorizing. Your move, Marvel.