This Marvel Phase Four Fan Theory Says the Dark Avengers Are Coming to the MCU
This weekend at San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel outlined its big plans for Phase Four of the MCU, sharing details about what's next for Black Widow, Thor, Shang-Chi, Doctor Strange, and The Eternals. And one Reddit user caught a trend in all of these announcements that could point to the Dark Avengers joining the MCU in Phase Four.
In the comics, which were first published in 2009, the Dark Avengers are a group formed by Norman Osborn in the aftermath of the Skrull invasion. Osborn is put in charge when SHIELD reforms into HAMMER and recruits a group of his allies to reform as the new Avengers. This group, which resembled the original Avengers, included Osborn himself as Iron Patriot, and others imitating Spider-Man, Hawkeye, and Captain Marvel, among others.
Now, given the details outlined at Comic-Con last weekend, the new theory points to early makings of what very well could be the Dark Avengers:
This weekend, Marvel revealed that David Harbour will play Alexi Shostakov (Red Guardian) and Florance Pugh will play Yelena Belova in the first Phase Four movie starring Scarlett Johansson. With early footage showing Yelena and Natasha having a contentious relationship, the fan points out that she could be an excellent candidate for the Dark Black Widow.
The Redditor notes that Harbour's Red Guardian would make for an interesting Dark Avenger version of Captain America—setting up a pretty compelling setting where the adversarial group is mostly Russian.
Though the comics have Bullseye take the name of Hawkeye in the Dark Avengers, this Reddit user believes that this role could go to Taskmaster, who is also being introduced in the Black Widow movie. "The Hawkeye and Black Widow evil equivalents could even have a preexisting relationship like Hawkeye and Black Widow did in the first Avengers," the Redditor writes.
Though no character worthy of imitating Hulk has been announced in Phase Four yet, this Redditor has some good suggestions:
I think the biggest two options for the Hulk is to either reintroduce Abomination to fill that role. While Abomination did help destroy Harlem, he could be portrayed to the public as a victim turned hero like the Hulk was. My preferred option is that it turns out Banner suppressed Hulk’s personality completely and something reactivates it and he is angry at Banner for suppressing him and we get an evil Hulk personality such as a Savage Hulk or Joe Fixit
Though the Dark Avengers version of Iron Man was Osborn's Iron Patriot in the comics, it's possible that they could go a different direction in the MCU. As the fan notes:
One obvious candidate for an evil Iron Man is Justin Hammer. He creates robot suits, and has worked with the Russians before with Whiplash. He also had the public eye already, and could have a similar celebrity status as Iron Man. Another candidate is a character being introduced in the Black Widow movie with the name of Melina. Melina was not given a last name yet, which leads me to believe her last name would be a spoiler. That spoiler would be the fact that she may be Melina Vostokoff also known as the Iron Maiden. While Iron Maiden doesn’t classically have a suit with flight and energy projection, but the MCU could easily add that to make her resemble Iron Man.
And finally we get to Thor, who doesn't have a perfect MCU counterpart, but with The Eternals coming up there is a ton of potential to find him an adversary:
An evil Thor is the toughest to predict, but any of the upcoming movies outside of the Black Widow movie could plausible introduce an evil Thor. Eternals is introducing a pantheon of gods who could have one take the role, and fill the ethereal, mysterious, and powerful role that Thor does. Shang Chi will introduce some high level magic, and could have a magical character mimic Thor. Dr Strange 2 will deal with the multiverse and more high magic level characters. And Thor 4 could easily have an evil alternate Thor, especially if they dip into the multiverse to justify Jane Thor. Or they could even make Jane Thor evil as a twist, no idea how that would work but it’d be cool imo
It certainly looks like Marvel has all the makings of the Dark Avengers before it reaches Phase Five in 2022, which includes the new Black Panther and Captain Marvel sequels plus the new Blade movie starring Mahershala Ali.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.