Avengers: Endgame brought an end to an iconic cinematic universe as we knew it, one that had been gripping fans for a decade.
A conclusion years in the making, it gave us a chance to say goodbye to legendary characters, not without shedding a tear or two of course.
With the end of this era, fans are now looking to the future, and the boundless questions that Marvel has left us with.
What’s next for the Avengers that survived the Thanos? Will anyone else pass on their legacy, just like Steve Rogers passed on his to partner and fellow Avenger, Sam Wilson (a.k.a. Falcon)? Or will these heroes continue to fight until they can’t anymore?
With the arrival of Marvel’s Phase Four on the horizon, these questions seem to be louder than ever in the minds of fans, who are desperate to know just what Marvel will do after the Endgame reduced us all to tears.
For the keen comic fans out there, the original source material might just provide the answer for what – or rather, who – is coming next; and they might be just a little younger than we’re expecting.
Enter, the Young Avengers, the next generation of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
After being rescued by a future version of himself known as Kang the Conqueror, sixteen-year-old Nathanial Richards travels back in time in order to seek the help of the Avengers, hoping that they would save him, and the rest of the universe.
However, to Richards’ dismay, a glitch in his armour meant that he was unable to travel back far enough, and that the Avengers as we know it had disbanded.
But after sneaking into Stark Industries, Richards found a fail-safe programme in Vision’s CPU that could pinpoint the location of the next Avengers in case anything happened to the originals.
Through this, Richards recruited Patriot (Eli Bradley), Wiccan (Billy Kaplan) and Hulkling (Teddy Altman), later followed by Hawkeye (Kate Bishop) and Stature (Cassie Lang). Thus, the Young Avengers was born.
Who are the Young Avengers?
The Young Avengers has expanded far beyond its origins, including and removing members from its name as the years have passed, showing varying line-ups. However, below are the most prevalent members that have appeared throughout their comicbook history.
Nathaniel Richards is the catalyst for the team known as the Young Avengers. Armed with technical abilities that could potentially rival that of Tony Stark, his alias is deserved.
His abilities are relatively similar to that of his namesake, with the exception of his suit’s capability to travel through and manipulate time, which ultimately leads him to the Young Avengers.
He is also a distant relative to the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards, otherwise known as Mister Fantastic.
Elijah ‘Eli’ Bradley is the descendant of Isaiah Bradley, the only survivor of the rigorous experiments and assignments that aimed to replicate Dr. Erskine’s super serum, in order to create more Captain America-like super soldiers.
Eli followed in his grandfather’s heroic footsteps, using a mutant growth hormone to fabricate the superhero powers he claimed to have, and taking the name of Patriot – a homage to his grandfather.
William ‘Billy’ Kaplan is the reincarnated son of Vision and Scarlet Witch, and twin brother of Speed.
Taking after his mother’s mystic powers, Billy’s powers are seemingly both mage and mutant-like.
Although it is unlikely that his true potential has been explored yet, Billy has displayed a vast variety of abilities from reality warping, to flight, to clairvoyance, and is potentially just as powerful – if not more so – than his mother.
Theodore ‘Teddy’ Altman’s looks are deceiving.
A Kree-Skrull hybrid, Teddy’s appearance resembles largely that of Bruce Banner’s Hulk, yet without the uncontrollable rage.
His powers range from the hulk-like super-strength that you would expect from a ‘Hulking’, yet with the innate shape-shifting abilities that rival that of the mythical ‘changelings’.
Katherine ‘Kate’ Bishop is the youngest daughter of tech mogul, Derek Bishop, and protegee of none other than Hawkeye himself, Clint Barton.
Just as skilled a sharp shooter as her predecessor, Bishop certainly lives up to her famous alias and like Barton, Bishop has no powers, and is the only one of the team who relies solely on skill.
Daughter of Avenger Scott Lang (Ant-Man), Cassandra ‘Cassie’ Lang takes on her father’s super-sized legacy as the superhero, Stature.
Although born with no powers, her constant exposure to the illusive Pym particles allowed her to develop the same-size changing powers that her father had become famous for.
From outside of the known multiverse comes America Chavez, the dimension hopping Fuertona Starling that comes from a Utopian parallel universe.
Described by Loki as ‘a nearly indestructible superwoman (who can throw tanks to the moon)’, America’s superhuman powers range from super-strength and invulnerability, to time travel and hyper cosmic awareness.
Noh-Varr is a member of the Kree race located in the alternate reality known as Earth-200080.
His DNA was enhanced with cockroach DNA along with nanotechnology, which has allowed him to demonstrate powers far beyond the capabilities of both human and Kree.
Along with superhuman abilities, Noh-Varr can crawl walls like an insect, can induce hallucinations through his saliva, and create bombs with his nails.
Kid Loki is the exact same Loki that we have come to know and love, yet trapped inside the body of a child after reincarnating.
Mischievous as always, Loki takes on the same powers as his previous incarnation, yet is weaker as he is yet to fully develop in his new incarnation.
However, as the trickster he is, he often visits past versions of himself to warn him of future dangers.
Thomas ‘Tommy’ Shepherd is the reincarnated son of Scarlet Witch and Vision, and the twin brother of Wiccan.
Unlike his brother, Tommy’s powers take after that of his uncle – Quicksilver – and is able to travel and withstand superhuman speeds with limited effects to his stamina.
Will the Young Avengers be in the MCU?
Officially there has been no news to say that we will be graced with the presence of the next generation of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Unofficially however, there is a lot to unpack in terms of Easter eggs, links and potential teases.
Marvel seems to have wasted no time in planting the seeds for its future, having already introduced one of the key players within the Young Avengers into the established Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Cassie Lang first appears in Ant-man alongside her father, Scott. Although not instrumental to the film’s plot, the younger Cassie makes a bigger splash in the film’s sequel, Ant-man And The Wasp, where she expresses an interest in following in her father’s footsteps.
She tells her father during a pep talk, ‘I’d be a great partner’. Now with the five-year time jump in the MCU thanks to Avengers: Endgame, Cassie is a teen and far closer to possibly making her superhero debut as Stature sometime soon.
Along with Cassie Lang, other children featured in the MCU have been eyed up as potential future heroes. Lila Barton, daughter of famed sharpshooter Clint Barton, has fans wondering whether she will be the one to carry on the Hawkeye name after her father hangs up his bow for good.
In Avengers: Endgame, we see the young Lila being coached by her father in the skill that gave him his name, and hit a bullseye with her very first shot.
Now, this is to be expected from the child of the best archer in the world, yet Barton is no less proud of his daughter, even going as far to call her ‘Hawkeye’. But with the five-year time jump not impacting the young Barton (being one of the many affected by the Snap), Lila and Cassie are now a similar age.
Could this possibly mean that Lila Barton will take the reigns as the next Hawkeye? Or is Barton simply testing the waters with his mentorship to give fan favourite, Kate Bishop, her big screen debut?
Iron Man 3’s Harley Keener is another child that fans have their eyes on.
As the unnamed teen at Tony Stark’s funeral, it seems that Marvel want him fresh in our minds ready for a potential future appearance.
First appearing in Iron Man 3 with a homemade potato gun ready to be fired at the ravenous Tony Stark, the young Keener played a key part in helping Stark take down the Mandarin and his army of Extremis warriors, and kept in good stead with Stark ever since.
Marvel is not one for coincidences, so surely this will mean that we will be seeing much more of him and his technical prowess in the future.
Captain Marvel’s Monica Rambeau is also leaving fans with more questions than answers due to her appearance alongside Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers.
Daughter of Danvers’ best friend Maria, Monica’s time on screen is few and far between. Yet, compared to her comicbook counterpart, Monica and Carol’s ages appeared to have been reversed in the MCU – with the comicbook Rambeau taking the title of Captain Marvel before Danvers was on the scene.
This connection was even being hinted at in Captain Marvel, where the young Monica tells Danvers that she would love to wear her suit one day.
Could this mean that Monica Rambeau will be the next to be Captain Marvel in Marvel’s next phase?