Move over Avengers, it’s time for the next generation of heroes to take center stage! Many still wonder exactly what the deal is with the Avengers and their status as a team post-Endgame – do they exist in any form these days? – but in the meantime, a younger group of heroes is being developed that just might have a team of their own in the future.
In the comics, Marvel has often had a team of teen heroes, going way back to when the company was known as Timely and had a book called Young Allies featuring Bucky Barnes. Since then, there’s been books like New Mutants, New Warriors, Champions and, of course, Young Avengers. The first comic with that title debuted in 2005 and introduced the world to Kate Bishop, Hulkling, Wiccan (originally known as Asgardian), Patriot, Iron Lad and Stature.
The Avengers had been nearly destroyed at that time and a time-traveling character named Iron Lad came to the present to ensure the group’s legacy carried on. He utilized the Avengers Failsafe Program to bring together a group of teen heroes with ties to the previous squad. Since then, the team has grown and changed over the years to include other familiar names, many of which have shown up on the big and small screen of late.
So far, Marvel Studios hasn’t said anything about a Young Avengers project, but it’s not hard to look at all the young heroes being introduced so close to one another and feel the stage is being set, much as it made sense to recently hear that a Thunderbolts movie was in development when looking at other characters we had been meeting.
So who have we already met in the MCU who could already serve as Young Avengers onscreen? Let’s take a look, along with some speculation on a few we haven’t met yet but seem ripe for an introduction. (Spoilers from the Young Avengers comic books follow)
Okay, so technically we are beginning this list with a character who has not been a Young Avenger in the comics, but Ms. Marvel has been an Avenger proper and a founder of the Champions, a different team of younger heroes that included Miles Morales’ Spider-Man (more on him below). We’re still learning about Ms. Marvel’s MCU counterpart played by Iman Vellani in the Ms. Marvel Disney+ series, but who better to start or join a new team of young heroes than one of the Avengers’ biggest fans, not to mention a character who has been notably well received so far? Plus, we already know that Kamala will appear alongside her hero, Captain Marvel, in the upcoming The Marvels film, which will likely introduce her to a whole different level of superheroing.
Hawkeye (Kate Bishop)
One of many new characters to debut on a Disney+ series, Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) has become a fan favorite on screen just as she did in the comics. The character gained a loyal fandom thanks in large part to her appearance in the Hawkeye comic that influenced the show of the same name, but she first debuted in Young Avengers. In that series, the skilled archer held her own amongst her powered pals, much like she did onscreen while fighting alongside Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton against the likes of Yelena Belova, Kingpin and an army of Tracksuit Mafia members. This new Hawkeye has proven herself more than capable of playing in the big leagues and even has an Avenger in her corner already, so the leap up to Avenger status might not be as far as the one Barton took into the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree!
As The Falcon and the Winter Soldier viewers came to learn, the U.S. government tried to create a new Captain America after Steve Rogers disappeared in the 1940s. Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly) was the only one who survived the new version of the Super Soldier Serum, but he was eventually thrown in jail because the powers that be did not want to deal with a Black superhero. He eventually got out and had a family, resulting in a grandson by the name of Eli Bradley (Elijah Richardson) who would eventually meet Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes when they visited Isaiah.
In the comics, Eli was a founding member of the Young Avengers as Patriot, though it was revealed that he received his powers not from his bloodline, but from Mutant Growth Hormone. He eventually kicked the habit and received a blood transfusion from Isaiah that did pass those powers along. The character’s MCU destiny might be altered from that, but it is notable that he was introduced in that Baltimore home in the MCU, ready and waiting for something greater.
Comic fans definitely smiled when they first saw Abby Ryder Fortson as Cassie Lang in Ant-Man. Not only had the character been kicking around the comics for decades, but in Young Avengers it was revealed that she had been sneaking Pym Particles for years, resulting in her own size-changing abilities. She then donned one of her dad’s old suits, adopted the name Stature and joined the squad. Of course, as likable as she was, the character in the Ant-Man films was way too young to get into any superhero hijinks. That is until the five-year time jump in Avengers: Endgame.
It’s very telling that the big brains behind the MCU decided to make Cassie one of the characters who lived through Thanos’ snap because, as of Endgame, she’s a teenager (played by Emma Fuhrmann in that film). Moving forward, the character will be portrayed by Kathryn Newton (Supernatural, Freaky) in the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania!. And, while there hasn’t been any indication that she has size-altering abilities, there weren’t any in the comics either until she spontaneously grew, so it seems very likely Cassie will have a larger role in that film – in more ways than one.
Billy & Tommy Maximoff
As WandaVision fans know, part of Scarlet Witch’s time creating her own world included having a pair of twin boys with Vision named Billy (Julian Hilliard) and Tommy (Jett Klyne). The former displays magical powers not unlike Wanda’s, while the latter moves very fast, just like Uncle Quicksilver. These boys turned out to be manifestations of Wanda’s powers who vanished from existence when she ended her spell over Westview.
In the comics, Wanda had a somewhat similar experience with children who turned out to not truly exist. However, much later, during Young Avengers, it was revealed that the kids’ spirits had somehow transmogrified into real boys – the now teenaged Billy “Wiccan” Kaplan and Tommy “Speed” Shepherd, who both eventually joined the team. Given the nature of magic and the changing structure of reality, plus Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness firmly establishing that alternate versions of Tommy and Billy are still out there in the multiverse, there’s definitely a possibility that these two will see the light of day once more in some form or another. Of course, another magical jump in age may be needed for them to begin fighting alongside the Young Avengers.
Here’s the spoilery reveal from the first Young Avengers arc: Iron Lad turns out to not be connected to Tony Stark, despite his name and look, but rather is revealed to be a younger, heroic version of Kang, the time-traveling despot. As we now know from Loki – and will see more of in Quantumania! – the MCU’s version of Kang (played by Jonathan Majors) is equally evil, but focused on conquering not just time, but the multiverse. And we already know more than one version of him exists, having met He Who Remains in Loki as the big set up to Kang. With that in mind, it doesn’t seem all that far-fetched to think that an idealistic teen Variant of Kang — either played by a de-aged Majors or a younger actor — could make his way to the MCU’s present in a cool suit of armor and try to rebel against all the nastier versions of himself.
At the time that Young Avengers launched, the classic Vision had been destroyed and laid dormant for a while. He was rebooted and used as a kind of AI by Iron Lad, who wasn’t long for this time period. However, when Iron Lad exited, he left his armor behind, which Vision used to craft a new body for himself. This might seem like an unlikely move to mirror in the MCU given the new version of Vision (Paul Bettany) seen at the end of WandaVision, but it could happen. However, Kevin Feige and his collaborators might also take a page out of another comic playbook and utilize a daughter that the synthezoid created known as Viv Vision, who went on to be a member of the aforementioned Champions team with Ms. Marvel.
In 2012, a new Young Avengers series launched that brought in a number of additional team members, several of which have recently upped their profile with film and TV debuts. The most recent of these is America Chavez, who was introduced in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Played by Xochitl Gomez, the character had an ability to hop from one reality to another which pitted her against all sorts of wild threats. She proved herself quite the hero in that film and ended up studying with the Masters of the Mystic Arts at Kamar-Taj, which means she’s available for further adventures, perhaps with people closer to her own age. Another fan favorite character, America (known as “Ms. America” at times in the comics) would be a clutch addition to any team, especially if she can truly master her powers.
Another later addition to the Young Avengers team in the comics was Kid Loki. At the time, the older version of the character had died and been reborn in a younger form – though without all of his powers and memories. The version of Kid Loki played by Jack Veal in the Disney+ Loki series looked very similar to his comic book incarnation, but came from a reality where he managed to kill Thor as a child and was sent to the Void after being pruned by the Time Variance Authority. He encountered the Loki Variant we all know and love and even helped him fight the Alioth, but decided to stay in that realm. With everything that’s happened to the multiverse, it seems fairly reasonable to guess that we might see that version of Kid Loki again, or maybe even another from a different timeline. The real question, as with all Lokis, will be how much they can be trusted.
There are some lingering options involving characters we either haven’t quite met in the MCU but who certainly seem to be ready for a full introduction, along with others who don’t have strong Young Avengers connections in the comics but wouldn’t be out of the question for an MCU version of the team.
At this point, Teddy Altman is the only original Young Avenger from the comics to not yet appear in any MCU material, but the groundwork has been laid. Though he went by Hulkling and mimicked the Hulk’s appearance, the young man was actually utilizing his natural shape-shifting abilities thanks to his Skrull heritage. We met the Skrulls onscreen in Captain Marvel and know that Nick Fury has since been traveling through space with them, as seen in Spider-Man: Far From Home. This seems to be building towards Fury’s starring role in the Disney+ Secret Invasion series, based on a comic story in which Skrulls had been infiltrating various Earth organizations for years. That seems like the perfect way to get Teddy into the MCU mix while also setting up even more intergalactic conflicts.
Meanwhile, there are a number of existing young Iron Man-related characters that are either already in play or about to be in the movies and shows. First off, don’t forget about Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins), the genius kid from Iron Man 3. While not from the comics, Harley’s presence during Tony Stark’s funeral in Avengers: Endgame certainly got people thinking about him potentially following in Iron Man’s footsteps. Along those same lines, some wonder if Tony’s daughter Morgan Stark will go that route, but she’s still pretty young, barring her own rapid aging explanation. Of course, the announcement of the Disney+ Ironheart series — and that we’ll first meet the lead character, Riri Williams (played by Dominique Thorne), in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — adds yet another avenue to explore. In the comics, Riri built her own armor in a garage which garnered attention and mentorship from Tony Stark. She also became a Champion and an Avenger.
Suffice to say, there are plenty of armored options for a potential Young Avengers project.
And then there’s potential for Miles Morales to make his grand debut in the MCU. Plenty know the character outside of the comics from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and his PlayStation video game, but are still waiting to see him in live action. While Peter Parker is still swinging around as Spider-Man, there’s plenty of space for another arachnid hero. Plus, there has even been some set up for Miles in the MCU back in Spider-Man: Homecoming. In that film, Spidey encounters thief Aaron Davis (Donald Glover), who becomes concerned about the high-tech weapons being sold by Adrian Toomes. Given the unseen nephew Aaron mentions in Homecoming is in fact Miles, there is definite potential for him to get in on the hero action in the MCU.
Or maybe a Miles from another reality could just swing on in…