Avengers: Infinity War is now in theaters... but it’s still pretty fresh, so we’re going to give everyone fair warning to avoid spoilers on the plot and potential future spoilers for Avengers 4.
Spoilers ahead for Avengers: Infinity War.
OK, Everyone still here should know what they’re getting into, so it’s time to talk about the ending of Avengers: Infinity War - you know, where half the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including numerous Avengers and almost all of the Guardians, turns to ash?
As it turns out, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes might need a little help filling in the ranks once the still-untitled Avengers 4 comes around. But there’s good news: there are still a lot of capable heroes in the MCU – the cavalry, if you will.
(We get the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. hint there... we'll get to that in a second.)
We’re not gonna go in depth about the survivors of Infinity War - we have to assume they’re all still on tap for the sequel. What we’re focusing on are the heroes that are still presumably out there (some of who were expected to appear in Infinity War themselves), ready to assemble the minute the call goes out.
So who’s left? Read on to find out.
And we're assuming of course, some of them also turned to ash, but they have the potential to be out there.
The Rest of the Avengers
Hawkeye remains the biggest cipher coming out of Avengers: Infinity War. The only clue to his ultimate whereabout was a line saying he and Ant-Man had “taken a deal” to protect their families after Captain America: Civil War.
But, seeing as how all the other original Avengers survived Infinity War, there’s a solid chance Hawkeye could be the closest thing to true cavalry Avengers 4 will have – a front-liner coming in to help fill out the ranks when the team needs him most.
After all – he’s done it before. (Spoilers for the years-old Captain America: Civil War.)
And speaking of Scott Lang, he was widely assumed to appear in Avengers: Infinity War before its release, but if you didn’t see him in the film, it’s not cause he was too small – he actually wasn’t there. And for that matter, neither was Hope Van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp, who appeared in the same marketing materials as Scott Lang.
So where were they? Well, that question may be answered in Ant-Man and the Wasp when it arrives July 7. But for now, we have to assume they’re still out there somewhere (maybe in the Quantum Realm?) and may just have the key to saving the universe from Thanos’ destruction.
After all, Ant-Man was seen on set for Avengers 4 in the company of some founding Avengers.
And not for nothing, Janet Van Dyne is looking pretty fierce in the new Ant-Man and the Wasp poster and the best available information suggests she survived decades alone in the Quantum Realm. She might come back with some heroic chops to lend a hand. Which reminds us, Hank Pym was once a superhero in his own right too.
The Power of Asgard
Tessa Thompson was spotted on set as Valkyrie during the filming of Avengers: Infinity War, but the Asgardian warrior didn’t even appear onscreen to share her countrymen Heimdall and Loki’s dire fates, let alone fight alongside Thor.
But Valkyrie was sorta the breakout character of Thor: Ragnarok, and Tessa Thompson’s star is only getting brighter. Marvel’s not gonna kill that potential offscreen. Which means that she could be just the hero the MCU needs to come flying in on a winged horse and save the day.
Then there’s Korg and Miek.
Korg and Miek are probably small potatoes compared to characters like Hawkeye, Ant-Man, or Valkyrie - but let’s face it, when literally half the universe is gone, you need all the help you can get.
Plus, it’s not like Korg and Miek are pushovers. Miek’s cheated death once, and they both held their own against Hela’s forces.
You know, that’s assuming they didn’t get sucked out into space when the Black Order overtook the Asgardian ship…
And of course, we can’t discount Sif, who hasn’t been seen since Thor: The Dark World. Even the Warriors Three died onscreen in Ragnarok - so could Sif come storming back in alongside Valkyrie to save everyone’s skins? Is isn't like Marvel Studios to just leave a once prominent character in limbo like that.
World of Wakanda
Black Panther may have disintegrated in Avengers: Infinity War, but Okoye, Shuri, and M'Baku definitely survived, and that means they’ll undoubtedly call in some help. Why not Nakia and W’Kabi, who both proved themselves on the field of battle in Black Panther?
W’Kabi might be in some trouble considering he initially sided with Killmonger in his revolution, but when all is lost, we’re betting that might not be the biggest concern for the heroes at large.
And then there’s also the matter of Wakanda’s allies…
Aren’t the Sokovia Accords meant to give the world governments a way to respond to major threats? We know a lot of folks are now off the table, but the government should have a plan in place (and some backup to call on).
As for who they could call on with top agents like Nick Fury and Maria Hill out of commission, Black Panther went out of its way to establish Martin K. Freeman’s Everett K. Ross as a bit of a reluctant badass, a former fighter pilot with a few tricks left up his sleeve. The Wakandans have relied on Ross’ help in the past, so now, when things are just about as universally dire as they could possibly be, wouldn’t it make some sense for him to at least make it into the situation room once the call goes out?
And then there’s Sharon Carter. Sharon last showed up helping Steve Rogers out (and sharing a romantic connection with him) in Captain America: Civil War. So where is she now? Did she go off the grid with Steve, or maybe remain his contact in the U.S. government? Again, she’s got skills that could help pay Thanos’ bills when the time comes.
And of course, there’s the biggest of the big guns – Captain Marvel. Considering her solo film will be released between now and Avengers 4 (and Nick Fury’s S.O.S. call) there’s little doubt she’ll be a big part of the ominous sequel.
And oh yeah, speaking of those Sokovia Accords, we’re still waiting for “Thunderbolt” Ross to form his own personal superteam, maybe composed of ex-villains…
The Final Frontier
Most of the Guardians turned to ash in Infinity War, but there are still a few of them kicking around out there. After all, director James Gunn said the team of Ravagers comprised of some of the members of the original comic book Guardians would play a role in the franchise’s future.
Those characters, introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, may be exactly who come calling if the signal goes out for some more cosmic aid, especially if Captain Marvel is on the case too. In fact, there’s another Ravager/Guardian still out there too – Kraglin, who snagged Yondu’s cybernetic arrow after the latter’s death.
We also feel it incumbent upon us to point out Howard the Duck was seen to have escaped Collector’s chambers, so we’re still holding out hope we’ll get that big Howard/Thanos showdown.
Who better to pitch in when Earth’s Mightiest Heroes can’t answer the call than Earth’s second mightiest heroes, the Defenders? Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, even Iron Fist – bring ‘em all (maybe Frank Castle can stay home).
And why not some of the more competent Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Coulson is set to 'return' in Captain Marvel, and Quake has more than enough firepower to step up to the plate. Hell, bring Ghost Rider, he’s in the MCU too. Deathlok and Slingshot could also be useful.
That’s saying nothing of the Runaways, Cloak and Dagger, and even the Inhumans. Of course, all of their participation would require Marvel to close the apparent gap between their TV and movie offerings.
Show Some Support
There’s also the important supporting cast members that haven’t popped up yet. Happy Hogan, Queen Ramonda of Wakanda, and Betty Ross were all at one time believed to appear in Infinity War, but that didn’t wind up being the case.
And there’s also the matter of Jane Foster and her research team. Erik Selvig at least was an important part of the first Avengers film, and has direct experience with the Infinity Stones. He just might come in handy for Thanos round 2. And Dr. Helen Cho - who played a big role in creating the Vision - was last seen as an apparent staffer at Avengers HQ. Maybe her son will visit on the next 'Take Your Kids To Work Week' and run into Bruce Banner?
We'll see next spring in Avengers 4, due out May 3, 2019.