‘The Avengers’ Lineup Is Going to Change, And That’s a Good Thing

By  · Published on October 28th, 2014

The Avengers


Question: do you like the current lineup of The Avengers? The actual Avengers that make up said cinematic Avengers films? The superheroic team that avenges? Considering the massive box office success of the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the answer is probably “yes.” Well, that’s going to change and ‐ wait! It’s a good thing. It’s going to be okay. More than okay, actually.

When the first Avengers film concluded way back in 2012, it signaled two things: the end of the first phase of the MCU and the beginning of the Avengers as a crime-fighting entity. Although it ended on an up note ‐ well, as “up” as things can possibly be after the destruction of a major American city ‐ subsequent films have started steadily dismantling the group in ways both large and small. Individually-focused films, like Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, expanded out the stories of single superheroes, while features like Guardians of the Galaxy reminded us that there is a big, wide world outside the reach of the Avengers. Then there are specially built outliers, like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and television’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., that fold into bigger stories that have direct consequences on the rest of the MCU.

Considering how things ended in the last MCU film that will directly impact the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron (that would be The Winter Soldier, which arrived back in April, and doesn’t that seem so long ago?), we already know that stuff in Avengers world is going to be tough (something the trailers haven’t hid so far), but just how tough is it going to be? Tough enough to split the team.

While speaking with Buzzfeed as part of a set visit, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige told the outlet what to expect at the end of Age of Ultron: “It’s like as it was in publishing, when each of the characters would go on their own adventures and then occasionally team up for a big, 12-issue mega-event. Then they would go back into their own comics, and be changed from whatever that event was. I envision the same thing occurring after this movie, because the [Avengers] roster is altered by the finale of this film.”

This news is not shocking, but it’s sure as hell stirring. What will The Avengers look like by the time the second Avengers-centric feature ends?

As ComingSoon reminds us, the cinematic Avengers team is already different from the one first presented in the comics:

In the original comics, the founding members of The Avengers included Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man, Wasp and Hulk. Hulk quit during the second issue and Captain America joined in issue four, but the significant shakeup that happened in issue 16 saw Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man (Giant-Man by then) and Wasp leave the team, making room for Hawkeye, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch to continue alongside Captain America.

In some ways, The Avengers jumped the gun and added in the kind of heroes we might have expected to see later ‐ a great idea, and one that got things moving in a satisfying way that also makes sense in the grand scheme of the MCU ‐ but that makes it hard to determine who will be coming in and out of the team in upcoming features.

From the latest trailers for Age of Ultron, it sure looks as if Iron Man is going to be on the outs with one or more other members. Hulk looks haunted. Thor looks pissed. This is not a happy team. This is also a team that’s about to meet Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Vision, all characters that have been a part of the comic book Avengers at various points in time. Before we get our third Avengers film, we are going to get an Ant-Man feature (an Avengers member) which might feature The Wasp (also an Avengers member) and a Doctor Strange film (hey, also an Avengers member). There will also be a third Captain America film, one that will likely solidify both Cap and Falcon’s ties to the group.

Basically, there are a number of possibilities for new members to join the team before we get to a post-Ultron feature that’s about the Avengers as a whole, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Vision join up by the time Ultron ends. But people also have to leave, and it seems as if some good bets for that include Iron Man and Hulk, both original members on film and the comic book series.

Admittedly, we haven’t had enough time to really bask in the glow of a happy, healthy Avengers team. Given this logic, the group has only shared one successful offensive attack, and though we’re likely to get a handful more during Ultron, it seems wise to assume that things are going to end with lots of Avengers being way on the outs.

So why is that good?

Because the MCU is ramping up to something big ‐ probably Thanos finally getting some goddamn Infinity Stones and going HAM with them ‐ and something that world-busting needs an emotional backbone. What is more emotional and rich than a reunion tale? We may have loved watching the band get together in The Avengers, but few things are more inherently crowd-pleasing than a getting the band back together storyline. If things need to be splintered for that to happen ‐ and, yeah, the MCU sure loves its drama ‐ that can only make the Avengers better, stronger and faster. You know, like true superheroes.

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