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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Wow. So now that we’re all living in a post-Avengers: Infinity War world, it’s time to deal with the fallout of what was undoubtedly a world shaking entry in the MCU. Beware because from here on out there are going to be a lot of spoilers and some serious speculation about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Half of the universe is dead, let’s start off with that. It’s quite likely that Marvel won’t keep all of their biggest heroes dead, but even if they bring back the core characters and introduce new heroes like Captain Marvel, it’s likely that by the time we hit Phase Five, the MCU will really need some new blood.

So let’s think about who Marvel has left to bring in as the new generation of heroes after the seeming inevitability of a Secret Invasion plot in Phase Four, not to mention the strong possibility of the retirement of Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. as Captain America and Iron Man. It might seem silly to think about this when we don’t know what’s coming for sure in Phase 4, but the answers to this advance question hold the possibility of a very fun, fantastical future for the MCU.

Namor the Sub-Mariner

My first pick has to be Namor the Sub-Mariner. Though his film distribution rights were at one point owned by Universal and the rights situation around him is still murky, he’s one of the most prominent and long-running Avengers in the comics, and also a really great character. He was slated to first appear in a book called Motion Picture Funnies Weekly, but that issue was never released and thus Namor McKenzie first appeared in the legendary Marvel Comics #1 in 1939. He predates DC’s Aquaman by two years and like the orange-scaled Justice Leaguer, Namor is the son of a human man and an Atlantean princess.

Namor would be a great chance for Marvel to cast a South-Asian actor in a lead role, and would make a truly great addition to the MCU. He even has an easy in to the current MCU, as the comics have updated his backstory to make his father an explorer searching for Vibranium. The fiery Sub-Mariner has constantly battled with Black Panther and Wakanda–as well as being a long-time ally of the Fantastic Four and retroactively declared to be a mutant–so his ties to everything Marvel are rich and run deep.

Hercules

Officially an Avenger in the comics for over 50 years, Hercules is the perfect unexpected-but-expected replacement for Thor. First appearing in Avengers #10–though he wasn’t named until Journey Into Mystery Annual #1, considered his first official appearance in the Marvel Universe–Hercules is a reimagining of the classic character from Greek mythology. In the comics, Hercules was originally set up as a rival for Thor, as they were both gods. But in contrast to Thor’s regal and oft stoic demeanor, Hercules has been known for being rowdy, drunk, and gregarious. A leap-before-you-look kind of hero could be a fantastically fun and different addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Infinity War already leaned into the fantasy elements of the MCU with the introduction of the Dwarves of Nidavellir and their intergalactic forge, so it doesn’t seem too far fetched that the future of the MCU might lay in the hands of some of the comics’ more mythical characters like Herc. The Son of Zeus could also be a great introduction to some of the other more cosmic characters in the Marvel pantheon, as he’s not only starred alongside Hulk and Thor but also the gods of the Marvel Comics universe, The Eternals (more about them later). Also Marvel desperately needs some canon queer representation and Hercules is bisexual!

Black Knight

There have been a lot of Black Knights in Marvel’s comics. The one we think they might bring in is Roy Thomas and George Tuska’s superhero Dane Whitman, who was the nephew of one of the original and villainous Black Knights. Dane debuted in 1968 and quickly became a recurring character in the Avengers. The character also has an interesting connection to the current MCU’s flagship character Tony Stark, as his uncle was defeated by Iron Man and led to Dane being given the Black Knight mantle.

Dane could be a radical addition to the later phases of the MCU, especially as his medieval roots could play well with the surviving Asgardians like Thor and Valkyrie. Also for Fantastic Four conspiracy theorists–like me–Dane has a great link to the first family of Marvel, as when he was an Avenger he helped to defeat Kang the Conqueror, a distant relative of Reed Richards and Sue Storm, after he was imbued with the power of Death by the Grandmaster. So if Marvel did decide to introduce the Fantastic Four via their nefarious ancestor, Dane would be a tried and true hero who could defeat him alongside the Avengers.

Sersi

Another Avenger and cosmic crusader is Sersi, and boy would she would be a magical addition to the future of the MCU. She was created by Jack King Kirby in his ’70s standalone series Eternals, which focused on an ancient evolutionary offshoot of humans who lived like gods in ancient times. Sersi was already thousands of years old when she was introduced, though she maintains the appearance of a young woman. The tales of the Eternals weaved in Greek mythology, including the story of Pandora’s box. Sersi’s lived in pretty much every important time in recorded history, and would be easy to introduce due to the fact the Time Stone already exists in the MCU.

Sersi has fought alongside Thor and Cap, and would be a perfect way of introducing the wider world of the Eternals to the MCU. She also has a lot of history with New York, which we know plays a massive part in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sersi was asked to join the Avengers by Captain America, and we could easily see Cap searching for new heroes to join a revamped iteration of the heroic group in the years to come. She also had a romantic relationship with Dane Whitman, so it’s likely that the pair could be introduced together.

Eternals

Now here’s one that we know for sure is being developed by Marvel Studios, as Kevin Feige recently confirmed it. Created by the Celestials, the Eternals are a group of pre-humans who can live for millennia and were originally intended by their creators to be the guardians of Earth. For over thousands of years the team have protected humanity from the Deviants, who were also birthed by the Celestials millions of years ago. The epic sprawling story was created by Jack Kirby when he returned to Marvel Comics in the ’70s, and would be an incredible and expansive source for the new MCU to take from.

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