Will There Be An 'Avengers 5'? An Analysis
Avengers: Endgame is mere months away, bringing to a close the story started in Infinity War, the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 3 and the series' first 22-movie, 10-year super-arc.
And while we want to find out how the surviving superheroes will undo Thanos' devastating Snap, there is another question the film has to answer—will the team survive beyond the end of their fourth film? Will there be an Avengers 5?
Phase 4 and Marvel's future
A sequel to Endgame is yet to be announced, and Marvel definitely has a lot on its plate already. Phase 4 opener Spider-Man: Far from Home has already been filmed and will arrive in July, and for 2020 and beyond Marvel is working on Black Panther 2, Doctor Strange 2, Shang-Chi, Black Widow and The Eternals—although many of these have yet to receive an official announcement.
That might sound like a lot, but Disney has earmarked eight dates between 2020 and 2022 for untitled Marvel films, which leaves three slots unaccounted for – assuming that all those aforementioned films come out in that period. As most if not all of the projects still seem to be in the early stages, there is plenty of leeway to fit another Avengers movie into their schedule.
It's been a long time since Marvel Studios outlined its overarching vision for the MCU (the previous one only extended as far as 'Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2', as Endgame was then titled). 2019 seems like the prime time to update us on the movies we will be obsessing over for the next few years.
Too big to fail
But is another Avengers film definitely on the horizon? Could Endgame conclude the story of Earth's flawed super team, which has—let's face it—caused as much trouble as they've prevented (see Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War if you don't believe us)?
Well, while there's a chance that the current incarnation of the team will not continue beyond the 2019 movie, we suspect the bottom line is that the Avengers brand is just too valuable to shelve for long.
The three Avengers films are all comfortably in the top eight highest-grossing movies (making them the MCU's biggest successes, with a combined box office of $4.97 billion) and Endgame will doubtlessly join them at the top of the list.
Marvel Studios has created a hugely successful model of building up through a series of films towards a climax, and the natural fit for that storytelling is a big movie featuring its biggest heroes—an Avengers movie, in other words. That hype machine has created the biggest movie franchise in history, so why mess with that formula?
It's true that the studio has made a habit of turning lesser-known and B-list superheroes—which, let's face it, was at one point most of its line-up – into massive hits. Guardians of the Galaxy is a prime example, of course, and the Eternals and Shang-Chi await a similar treatment. But only Black Panther has come close to the unstoppable success of the Avengers, and in an era when reboots and sequels of established properties are the top of the Hollywood pile, Earth's Mightiest Superheroes just can't be benched for too long.
How will the Avengers continue?
So, the Avengers will continue. But how? While Captain America and Iron Man are expected to bow out—and indeed all the current teammates could be scattered by Endgame's conclusion—it's well established in movies and comics that the Avengers line-up is fluid. Practically any MCU hero could be drafted at any point.
Indeed, if Brie Larson's Captain Marvel is going to take the lead of the MCU as suggested, she's going to need a team to take the lead in. If not the Avengers, who? (Don't say the Defenders, please.)
And even if Disney does decide to brutally disassemble the Avengers team, there are many variant teams from the comics who could continue the valuable name. Civil War basically established the MCU's version of the undercover Secret Avengers when Cap, Black Widow, Falcon and co continued to operate under the radar after splitting with Tony Stark. There's the New Avengers, Young Avengers, West Coast Avengers, and even the satirical Great Lakes Avengers. A film starring the evil version of the team, the Dark Avengers, has also been rumoured to be in early development. Any of these would offer an opportunity to continue and refresh the Avengers legacy.
Disney has countless options of how to continue the Avengers' stellar legacy on the big screen. The only option they would really struggle to justify is not continuing it at all.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.