Recently, Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige revealed that a fifth Avengers movie will happen “at some point.” But whenever it does come to pass, it will almost certainly feature an entirely new Avengers team. For those of us hoping to see Cap, Iron Man, Thor, and the rest together again, it seems that ship has sailed. At least in live-action.
As footage from the upcoming Disney+ series What If…? shows, animation is a perfectly viable way to tell MCU stories. It’s also a plausible way to rally the original actors to reprise their roles. Kevin Feige has had great success in getting most of the MCU actors to lend their voices to their animated counterparts for What If…?; we think he could pull off the same trick twice.
An animated Avengers series on Disney+ could be the perfect way to not only keep the brand alive in between films, but to tell the greatest lost story of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: how the Avengers really became a team in between The Avengers and Age of Ultron.
The Formation of the Avengers
At the end of the original Avengers, the team members all go their separate ways after saving the Earth from Loki. Iron Man goes back to Malibu, which we see in Iron Man 3. Cap joins S.H.I.E.L.D. formally, as the events of The Winter Soldier show us. And Thor returns to the duty of cleaning up the Nine Realms, as seen in The Dark World. So how and when does Tony Stark regroup these heroes into the functioning fighting unit we see in Age of Ultron? Marvel Studios never bothered to cover this story. But thanks to animation, now they can.
A series like this could explain how Tony Stark, still recovering from the events of Iron Man 3 (and blowing up all of his armors), decides to rescind his vow to end his superhero career. And how he decides to start up the Avengers out of Stark Tower. How does he convince Steve Rogers to lead, fresh off S.H.I.E.L.D.’s betrayal? Or Thor to saddle up, for that matter? This would be the story of how the Avengers went from a one-time emergency response team to a formal group dedicated to protecting the planet.
It would be a great way to see the original Avengers together again, a prospect that is extremely unlikely in live-action. Who doesn’t want to see Iron Man and Bruce Banner as “science bros” again, or Clint and Natasha kicking ass and taking names together? Sure, it might be “just” animation” to some. But for Disney and Marvel Studios, it would be a true event series.
A Showcase for Unused Marvel Comics Heroes and Villains
An animated series would also be the perfect way to see official versions of certain villains that the movies never got to cover. It would be a blast to see the MCU Avengers fight off their corresponding villain team, the Masters of Evil, at last. Or get into a brawl with the Super Adaptoid, and android that can mimic all of their abilities. Or even the omnipotent Michael Korvac, one of their biggest threats ever in the comics.
Could all of those things have happened in just the year between Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron? Well, look how much happened in just one year in the real world! So why not?
Marvel Studios could also use this Avengers series to explore why the “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” didn’t expand their ranks until after Age of Ultron. We may find out that they did, adding members from the comics that fans have long wanted to see. Comic book Avengers stalwarts like Wonder Man and Tigra. Perhaps those new members didn’t work out, forcing the team to take an “original members only” stance for a time. It would sure be a great way to see some of these characters as Avengers in the MCU canonically.
A Celebration of the Comic Book Avengers
Although we’ve had four Avengers films, only one featured the team as we’ve known them in the comics for the past 58 years. And that is Avengers: Age of Ultron. In that movie, we see the team going out on missions, residing in a cool headquarters, partying and bickering together, and ultimately coming together to defeat a big bad. Just like the majority of Avengers comics for the past five decades.
The other three films in the series follow different templates. The first Avengers movie details how these characters meet and fight together for the first time. Infinity War and Endgame follow how they come back together. Ultimately, we only got to see the fully functional comic book-esque version of the team once in their entire film series. This seems like a waste.
Sadly, we’ll likely never get to remedy that fact in live-action. But an animated series showcasing the Avengers as the comics do would be an absolute delight for longtime fans. So what do you call this series? Avengers: Assemble and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are taken. May we suggest The Mighty Avengers? Hopefully, this is something that Marvel Studios considers as they double down on their Disney+ offering in the years ahead.