Let’s set the stage of where we are after ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron.’ Hulk is in self-imposed exile. Thor is with the gods. Iron Man is out of the Avenging business. Hawkeye is hanging up his bow. We move forward with the B-team led by Captain America and Black Widow which consists of newbs and former sidekicks. Their next adventure in ‘Captain America: Civil War‘ is what appears to be an internal battle of ideals and, let’s face it, a battle of superpowers. This all leads to Thanos inspiring the old Avengers and the new team to set aside their differences, come out of retirement, and become the biggest collection of superheroes to ever share the silver screen. It’ll be glorious. Yet, already, some are asking about what comes next.
Marvel Studios exec Jeremy Latcham told Collider that what’s next may look very different from the Avengers we are used to:
Old Falcon = New Cap
“I think it definitely is an end to some version of the team that we’ve come to know as The Avengers. Who knows exactly what is going to happen yet in that film, but I think this version of that team—and I think we start to hint at it at the end of Age of Ultron — will be evolving.”
The contracts of the actors playing the current heroes will be up for renegotiation post-Infinity War. I take from quotes like this that Marvel wants to show that they are willing to move on without the likes of Robert Downy, Jr. and Chris Evans if they expect outrageous pay increases. I suspect it is a negotiation tool, but I don’t think it is a bluff. Marvel is a brand now known for theatrical quality and, as long as that quality holds, people will line up to watch Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Doctor Strange fight the next big bad just as they would Avengers 1.0. More than that, comic readers know that the headliners need not maintain the same identities. If today’s movies mirrored today’s comics the Falcon (played by Anthony Mackie) would be Captain America and Jane Foster (played by Natalie Portman) would be Thor!
All’s fair in comics and, now, film.