The Avengers film franchise has been one of the most successful in movie history, raking in over $22 billion at the global box office across its 23 films over 14 years. With the Infinity Saga wrapped up in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, many fans are wondering if there will be a 6th Avengers ensemble film in the future. While nothing has been officially confirmed yet by Marvel Studios, there are some signs pointing to the possibility of Avengers 6 down the road.
The State of the MCU After Endgame
Avengers: Endgame served as the culmination of over 20 films across the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), bringing storylines and character arcs to a close. However, Endgame was not the end of the MCU, which continues to expand on both the big and small screens. While some key Avengers like Iron Man and Captain America saw their stories conclude, others like Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye, and Black Widow have continued on or been replaced by successors.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has said that Endgame is “not the end of Phase 3” but “the end of this incarnation of the MCU.” This suggests the MCU will be rebooted to some extent moving forward, with new character rosters and story arcs, while still keeping continuity with the first three phases. So the slate is not totally clean, but there is room for something fresh while maintaining links to the Infinity Saga.
Upcoming MCU Films and Series
While the MCU’s Phase 4 plans remain largely under wraps, we do know about several upcoming films and Disney+ streaming series featuring new and existing characters:
|Black Widow, Eternals
|The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision
|Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Spider-Man 3, Thor: Love and Thunder
|Loki, What If…?
|Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Black Panther 2, Captain Marvel 2
|She-Hulk, Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel
These titles suggest a mix of the old and new – sequels for existing characters like Spider-Man, Thor, and Doctor Strange, plus introductions of new players like Shang-Chi, the Eternals, and various Disney+ heroes. While full details aren’t known yet, the foundations are being laid here for the next generation of Avengers.
The Potential Case for Avengers 6
While there are currently no explicit plans for an Avengers 6 film, looking at the MCU’s future slate and history provides some clues on why it’s likely to happen eventually:
Marvel Likes to Make Avengers Ensemble Films
Prior to the Infinity Saga, there were complaints of too many solo superhero franchises and team-ups were rare. The Avengers changed that in 2012 by bringing together stars like Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor in one epic blockbuster. This was replicated with Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015 and the two-part Infinity War/Endgame in 2018 and 2019.
Marvel found this to be a successful formula – proven by nearly $5 billion just for the ensemble Avengers films. While solo films, new teams like the Guardians of the Galaxy, and streaming series are also part of the picture, the Avengers ensemble clearly remains Marvel’s crown jewel. With the brand power of “Avengers” and the star power assembled, it’s likely only a matter of time until the next one.
Unresolved Storylines and Loose Ends
Avengers: Endgame did not wrap up every single thread across the entire MCU. Like any cinematic universe, there are bound to be lingering plot points and characters that could be picked back up again in future films.
For example, Ty Simpkins’ Harley Keener from Iron Man 3 was glimpsed as a teenager in Endgame and rumored to become the next Iron Man. Thor left with the Guardians of the Galaxy at the end of Endgame, opening story possibilities there. Other Phase 1-3 characters like War Machine, Ant-Man, and Captain Marvel weren’t given definitive closure. Plus, Avengers mainstays like Hulk and Hawkeye are continuing on into Phase 4.
Until all original Avengers characters are completely phased out, there’s always the possibility to reunite some combination of them again for nostalgic purposes. And as long as loose story threads remain, there are natural reasons to bring the band back together.
The Introduction of the Young Avengers
Many of the MCU’s Phase 4 films and shows appear to be introducing the next generation of Avengers aka the Young Avengers. These include characters like Kate Bishop (taking over the mantle of Hawkeye), Cassie Lang (daughter of Ant-Man), and Kamala Khan (the new Ms. Marvel).
Once enough of these young heroes are established, it would make perfect sense to bring them all together in a movie down the road, mirroring how the original Avengers assembled. It allows Marvel to pass the torch while capitalizing on the popularity of the Avengers name.
The Multiverse Angle
The concept of the multiverse has been slowly introduced into the MCU, first with hints in the last two Avengers films, and now overtly with 2022’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Opening the multiverse provides limitless storytelling possibilities, including theoretically reconvening the Avengers in different incarnations across parallel realities.
While it may seem like a convoluted direction, the multiverse gives Marvel an easy way to reunite its mega-stars while keeping continuity intact in the core universe. Given how crucial the multiverse is becoming in Marvel’s next chapter, an ‘Avengers of the Multiverse’ type event seems like an obvious play.
When Could Avengers 6 Happen?
Of course, just because Avengers 6 seems likely doesn’t mean it would happen anytime soon. Here’s an evaluation of when a sixth Avengers ensemble flick could materialize:
Not Before Phase 6 (2024-2026)
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has mentioned they map out plans in phases spanning 3-5 years. With Phase 4 already mapped out through 2023, it’s unlikely Avengers 6 could happen before 2024 at the very earliest.
Realistically, 2024-2026 would be Phase 5 or 6 – which aligns well with about 5 years after Endgame to let anticipation build while establishing new characters and storylines. This was roughly the spacing between the first 3 Avengers films (2012, 2015, 2019) and that gap proved successful.
After More Young Avengers Introduced
Assuming the Young Avengers route is pursued, Marvel would be smart to introduce as many of those new characters as possible before the team-up film. We’ll likely get Kate Bishop in the Hawkeye Disney+ series in late 2021, then Cassie Lang in Ant-Man 3 in 2023, and Kamala Khan in Ms. Marvel in late 2022.
But to flesh out a full Young Avengers roster, we’d also need introductory stories for characters like Kid Loki, America Chavez, Hulkling, Wiccan, Ironheart, and Patriot. It may take at least 2 more years after Ms. Marvel hits to lay the groundwork for that ensemble’s launch.
After X-Men Join MCU
Now that Disney owns 20th Century Fox and the rights to the X-Men, fans are eager to see mutants introduced into the MCU. This is major uncharted territory and likely needs its own phase(s) to reboot the X-Men properly. But once established, merging mutants into Avengers would make sense. So an Avengers film after X-Men enter the MCU in say Phase 5 or 6 would be strategically smart.
Before Avengers Actors Age Out of Roles
While the introduction of the Young Avengers can help pass the torch, Marvel still benefits from the original generation sticking around – as long as the actors are willing and able. Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. have already retired as Captain America and Iron Man. But stars like Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, and Brie Larson haven’t necessarily aged out yet.
However, Hemsworth and Ruffalo will be entering their 40s soon. So if Avengers 6 didn’t happen within the next 5 years or so, it’s feasible some of those Phase 1-3 stars may no longer want to keep returning. The window for reuniting the full original team is closing, adding incentive for Marvel to make it happen sooner than later.
What Might the Story Be?
While pure speculation at this point, here are some possible plots if Avengers 6 ended up moving forward:
Vs. Kang the Conqueror
Kang the Conqueror is essentially confirmed as the next big overarching villain for the MCU, with his introduction set up in Ant-Man 3. He has strong ties to the Young Avengers in the comics, so he’d be a natural adversary for them to face in their first big team-up movie. Kang leading an army from the future would pose a formidable threat requiring the Avengers to assemble once again.
In the comics, Secret Wars was one of the biggest crossover events ever featuring seemingly every Marvel character. It served as an inspiration for the MCU’s Infinity War/Endgame two-parter. A Secret Wars movie could bring the Avengers together with the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and others in a massive multiverse battle against a cosmic threat like the Beyonder.
With the rise of anti-heroes like U.S. Agent, Yelena Belova, and Ghost, Marvel could assemble a team of darker, morally ambiguous characters masquerading as the Avengers. This would force the real Avengers to reunite to take down their imposters and clear their name.
Avengers vs. X-Men
Once mutants enter the MCU, people will be hungry for an Avengers/X-Men crossover. While they will likely start out as allies, famous comic storylines like AvX could be adapted that pit the teams against each other. Avengers vs. X-Men would be a legendary cinematic event.
Though Thanos was defeated, the Infinity Stones still exist in the MCU and could be reassembled. The Infinity Crusade storyline saw heroes turned against each other, with the possibility toadapt this to have the Avengers split into different factions. It would bring high stakes while revisiting concepts from the Infinity Saga.
While the book is closed for now on the Infinity Saga Avengers, the incredibly successful franchise isn’t going away. Given Marvel’s pattern of ensemble films, the multiverse angle, need for passing the torch, and wealth of story potential, it seems inevitable that Avengers 6 will assemble down the road.
It likely wouldn’t happen until at least Phase 5 in the late 2020s to lay the proper groundwork. But within the next decade, expect to see Earth’s Mightiest Heroes together again for another legendary big screen event. Whether facing Kang, warring with the X-Men, or journeying through the multiverse, enjoy the adventures to come on the road to Avengers 6 and beyond!