End of the Line
May 25, 2019
This article contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame. Proceed at your own risk.
Seriously, scroll up now if you haven’t seen the film!
Eleven years ago, Robert Downey Jr. gave his first performance as Iron Man. Iron Man started the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and undoubtedly played a massive role, both on and off the screen, in its success. Now, he is gone, and one cannot help but wonder how the MCU will continue without its prima donna. However, there are some possibilities and clues as to who will be the new face of the MCU.
Recently, the Far From Home trailer was released, and in it, Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland, remarks, “The world needs a new Iron Man.” Will the MCU take a bold new approach and make Spider-Man their Iron Man replacement? Well, it would not be the first time. In recent comic book history. Peter Parker founded his own startup company, Parker Industries, rivaling its predecessor Stark Industries. Thrust into the public eye at the head of a promising, young tech company, Peter began to develop more and more Starkian tendencies, symbolized by a stark shift from the old spandex suit to an all-new advanced suit (AI included). The Far From Home trailer already showed us that Peter keeps his advanced suit, which was given to him by Iron Man, and we know his habit of tinkering with it in Homecoming, so perhaps he may step into this new role. It would make logical sense to have Spider-Man be the new face of the MCU, since Spider-Man merchandise already outsells every other Marvel character, combined. But can Tom Holland carry the same level of charisma, personality, and presence that Robert Downey Jr. had? That remains to be seen, and will perhaps be more clear after his next movie.
Another choice would be Captain Marvel, played by Fr. Philip’s favorite actress Brie Larson. Making her debut only a couple months ago, she already played a large role with the Avengers, working with Black Widow and helping defeat Thanos in the final battle. With the popularity and success of Wonder Woman, by far the best part of the DCEU, making Captain Marvel the de facto leader would seriously compete with the other female lead. This move would also capitalize on the large desire to see more strong female representation, a desire Marvel is already attempting to cater to with the upcoming Black Widow prequel movie. However, Larson is still relatively new to the MCU, with Avengers: Endgame being only her second, compared to Holland’s almost five appearances. Captain Marvel has never been as overwhelmingly popular as Spider-Man has been either. However, Captain Marvel has been the leader of the Avengers multiple times throughout Marvel’s comic book history, so a bigger role would not be too much of a stretch for her character.
Now only two more characters remain as likely candidates: Black Panther and Thor, played by Chadwick Boseman and Chris Hemsworth respectively. Black Panther’s success and the character’s four appearances make him a popular enough character to potentially bear the burden, and it would be a tactical decision for Marvel to appeal to the large African American audience that turned out in droves to watch the character’s first solo movie. However, Chadwick Boseman doesn’t seem like the right fit, especially since he was so overshadowed in his own titular movie by his costars. Thor Odinson seems even less likely. Thor has always been more of a background character, a strong support both for the team and for the MCU. And recently, especially in both Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame, the character has devolved into little more than a punchline, not nearly ready for the weight (get it?) of the chief protagonist.
And so the question remains unanswered, for the moment. With both Captain America and Iron Man out of the picture, the stage is cleared and set for the next leader of the MCU. Will it be someone the audience is familiar with? Will it be someone new from one of Disney’s newly acquired licenses from Fox? Or is the Marvel Cinematic Universe in its own Endgame? Only time and box office sales will tell.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Cistercian Informer.