The current heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) are getting…well, old. And also one sandwich away from being fat. It’s time for some young, svelte heroes to come in.
You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Geez, Nerds on Earth, why are acting like 50-year-old Paul Rudd is shambling around like a zombie? You know he looks just as phresh as he did 20 yeras ago!”
You say that, then at the release of Ant-Man 7 you are laughing and clapping and shouting, “Dance, zombie, dance!”
Also, “phresh?” We talked about this, Karen.
Listen, we knew current actors wouldn’t be in their roles forever even if our hearts withheld that truth from us, so we likewise knew that the Phase 4 announcements of the MCU would begin to showcase younger heroes who would eventually become the marquee characters.
That said, let’s walk through a plausible youth movement for the Avengers.
The Young Avengers was a comic series released in 2004 following the “Avengers Disassembled” storyline. We have a full writeup here, so read that if you want broader details. The short version is the team was comprised of teenagers superheroes who typically had at least a tangential connection to an established Avenger.
That established, let’s go through each member of the Young Avengers. I’ll first give a brief comic book explanation, which will then be followed by a comment on how they plausibly appear in the MCU.
Marvel Comics: Cassie Lang is the daughter of Scott Lang aka Ant-Man. She has the power to change size at will. Along with Kate Bishop, she was a later member of the Young Avengers. We wrote more about her.
MCU: Cassie Lang has obviously already appeared in the MCU, first as a kid. But the events of Avengers: Endgame aged her, making it now plausible that she could take on the mantle of Stature.
Marvel Comics: Kate Bishop has no superhuman abilities, but is proficient with a bow and arrow. She adopted the codename Hawkeye when Captain America bestowed it to her after the (temporary) death of Clint Barton aka Hawkeye. She has since gone off to become a fan-favorite comic book character.
MCU: A Hawkeye series is on the slate for Disney+ and, while the full plot summary hasn’t been released, it is confirmed that it involves the rise of a young Hawkeye.
Marvel Comics: Billy Kaplan aka Wiccan is the reincarnated son of the Scarlet Witch and the original Vision, and an original Young Avenger. Let that previous sentence sink in.
Billy uses magic for various effects, such as casting spells for flight or for lightning blasts.
MCU: See below.
Marvel Comics: Thomas Shepherd aka Speed is the twin brother of Wiccan. A speedster who can also accelerate atomic matter, Speed was rescued from imprisonment by Vision in order to rescue Hulkling. Hold on, we’ll get to him.
MCU: WandaVision is a scheduled series on Disney+. While we don’t know the plot details for the show, it is certainly possible that it could set up Wiccan and Speed.
Marvel Comics: An original member, Teddy Altman aka Hulkling is a shape-shifter who also possesses enhanced strength and healing, while being patterned on Hulk. Why shape-shifting? He is the son of Kree hero Mar-Vell and a Skrull princess.
MCU: Played by Anette Benning, Kree Mar-Vell was featured in the Captain Marvel movie, where it mentioned she spent time in space. Could she have had a child with a Skrull?
Marvel Comics: The founder of the Young Avengers, Nathaniel Richards is the young man who will one day become Kang the Conqueror. He wears a neuro-kinetic suit given to him by the Kang the Conqueror of the future. I know, right?
MCU: There aren’t any current hints that would suggest an Iron Lad appearance in the MCU. Yet.
I mean, it should be said that the kid from Iron Man 3 wants to play him, but there is no evidence to tie that character to Kang.
Marvel Comics: An original member, Eli Bradley aka Patriot was the grandson of long-forgotten super soldier Isaiah Bradley. His original costume resembled that of Bucky Barnes.
MCU: Although neither Isaiah Bradley or Eli Bradley have been teased in the MCU, the presence of the super soldier serum is well established.
Marvel Comics: Appearing in volume 2 of Young Avengers, Loki Laufeyson is the adoptive brother of Thor, who is trapped in the body of a young boy following his death and reincarnation. The Young Avengers accept him, but do not fully trust him.
MCU: Adult Loki is a fan-favorite fixture of the MCU who is getting a Disney+ series. It’s certainly plausible that the events of that show could set up a younger version of the character. You know, like Young Sheldon, but not.
Marvel Comics: The surly America Chavez aka Miss America didn’t join the Young Avengers until volume 2 of the comic. She is super strong, can fly, and has the power to create portals between universes…via kicking.
MCU: No clues.
Marvel Comics: Kamala Kahn aka Ms Marvel is a fan-favorite comic book book, yet she doesn’t have a direct connection with the Young Avengers. She is a teenaged superhero who grew up idolizing Captain Marvel and can stretch and embiggen herself.
MCU: Although associated with the Champions when she isn’t solo, Ms Marvel has been confirmed to make an appearance in the MCU. If it would be in association with any of the other characters on the list is anyone’s guess, but she was included because it would fit tonally.
Marvel Comics: Noh-Varr aka Marvel Boy didn’t join until Young Avengers volume 2. He is a Kree superhero with a wide selection of advanced alien weaponry.
MCU: Nothing specific but the Kree are a well-worn entity of the MCU.
So, what did we learn here? Will the Young Avengers show up in the MCU? Well, anything is possible! In fact, based upon the clues we’ve seen, it’s actually quite plausible.