Avengers: Endgame functioned as not only the culmination of 10 years of storytelling, but also a way for Marvel Studios to wipe its slate clean ahead of an exciting new era.
Several major characters were retired (seemingly) for good, while the Infinity Gauntlet storyline alluded to since 2012’s Avengers Assemble was entirely wrapped up.
There are endless possibilities for which mega storyline it could take on next, but one prominent theory involves the arrival of the Young Avengers…
Who are the Young Avengers?
The Young Avengers made their comic book debut in 2005 at a time when the core Avengers team had disbanded, quickly establishing a passionate fanbase.
While the idea of introducing “junior” versions of the Marvel Universe’s most powerful players may at first seem unpalatable, the execution of this initial series was widely acclaimed and the characters became firm favourites.
The original line-up included archer Kate Bishop (Hawkeye), Ant-Man’s daughter Cassie Lang (Stature), teenage Skrull Teddy Altman (Hulkling), sorcerer Billy Kaplan (Wiccan) and Eli Bradley (Patriot), the grandson of the first African American Captain America.
Which Young Avengers are already in the MCU?
Abby Ryder Fortson as Cassie Lang in Ant-Man and the Wasp
Cassie Lang first appeared in 2015’s Ant-Man, played by seven-year-old Abby Ryder Fortson who returned for the 2018 sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp.
As a survivor of the snap, which saw half of all life in the universe (temporarily) wiped out, she has recently jumped forward five years putting her at a more appropriate age (and now played by Emma Fuhrmann) to start a crimefighting career.
Given that she is the daughter of Ant-Man, it should be no surprise that Cassie experiments with similar size-altering powers thanks to those pesky Pym particles.
Morgan Stark may share the name of Tony Stark’s cousin from the comic books, but her MCU incarnation is essentially an entirely new character.
Portrayed by young newcomer Alexandra Rabe in Avengers: Endgame, Morgan is the daughter of Tony Stark in the MCU and as a result it isn’t hard to imagine her developing similar tech skills later in life.
One development that suggests Marvel Studios may have future plans for the character is that 13 Reasons Why star Katherine Langford appeared as an older version of her in one of Endgame’s deleted scenes.
For the time being, Morgan remains far too young to be getting involved in superheroics, so if the MCU was looking for a slightly older Iron Man stand-in, look no further than Iron Man 3’s Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins).
Shown to be a technical whizz during his first appearance in the 2013 hit, Simpkins returned to the role for a brief cameo at Iron Man’s funeral in Endgame.
Standing on his own amongst an assortment of powerful heroes, his surprise return prompted confusion from some fans – could Marvel be preparing him for a larger role moving forward?
Are there more Young Avengers characters on the way?
There certainly are! When Marvel dropped the first teaser for their Disney+ series WandaVision, it showed a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to Wanda Maximoff’s twin sons: Billy and Tommy.
Billy (also known as Wiccan) has magical abilities which puts him in a similar power bracket to both his mother and fellow sorcerer Doctor Strange.
Meanwhile, Tommy goes by the codename Speed, owing to his ability to move incredibly fast in a manner reminiscent of his late uncle Quicksilver (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Avengers: Age of Ultron).
In the clip, the two boys are seemingly only babies, but speculation is already rampant that the MCU will find a shortcut to ageing them up to their hero personas.
Kate Bishop is another young hero confirmed to be on the way, with Hailee Steinfeld (Bumblebee) have been linked to the role in the upcoming Hawkeye series on Disney+.
Initially appearing in the Young Avengers series, Bishop is an accomplished archer who goes on to have a close platonic relationship with Clint Barton, even sharing the same superhero name with him (which occasionally gets confusing).
While an older man being friends with a teenage girl is already slightly eyebrow raising, the MCU’s incarnation of Hawkeye actually has children of his own, so it remains to be seen why he chooses to mentor someone completely unrelated – and if that will cause any problems…
Ms Marvel as featured in MARVEL RISING: SECRET WARRIORS
While she has never officially been on the roster of the Young Avengers, Ms Marvel is another teen hero set to make her debut soon and would certainly be a natural fit for the team.
Kamala Khan is a Pakistani American girl growing up in New Jersey, who gains shapeshifting powers after being exposed to a chemical released by the Inhumans.
Despite only debuting in 2013, Khan has quickly established herself as one of the most popular and influential characters in Marvel’s library.
She will be the star of her own Disney+ series which doesn’t have a release date just yet, but is expected to arrive no later than 2022.
As is often the case with Marvel, there are plenty of rumours circulating the internet that more new heroes could appear soon.
No-nonsense dimension-hopper America Chavez is currently linked to Doctor Strange 2, the young trickster commonly known as Kid Loki is rumoured for Tom Hiddleston’s upcoming series, while early reports suggest that troubled skrull Hulkling could make his debut in Captain Marvel 2.
The last of these rumours seems the most credible, as Hulkling’s relationship with Wiccan is one of the most beloved LGBT+ romances in comic book history, meaning Marvel Studios will likely want both characters on the board as soon as possible.
Will there be a Young Avengers movie?
With Marvel’s recent strides into the world of prestige television, it’s unclear whether they would opt to give the Young Avengers a movie of their own or keep them on the small screen in a similar way to The Defenders.
Currently, Marvel have no Avengers instalments slated for release, likely intending to give the franchise a short break after the climactic events of Endgame.