We’re all counting down the months until Avengers: Infinity War arrives next year, offering up the first half of the two-part MCU-shattering event that will pit the galaxy’s mightiest heroes against Thanos. But what about what happens after that? With many of the OG Avengers likely bowing out with Avengers 4, where is the MCU to go next?
The best way forward for the franchise is to bring on the next generation of heroes. Newer characters like Doctor Strange, Black Panther and Captain Marvel (when she finally arrives) will be the new headline names, of course, but the younger characters will ensure that the universe can carry on indefinitely.
Right now that burden falls on Peter Parker’s shoulders but, if the success of Spider-Man: Homecoming should teach Marvel anything, it’s that people are in the mood for more younger, relatable heroes. Luckily for Marvel, recent years have seen their comics universe flooded with these type of characters.
It has been a controversial move, as some fans rallied against the older guard being replaced, but it might have paved the wave for the next phase of the movie universe. After all, unlike in a comic book, the original Avengers in the movies can’t go on forever. And these characters are the ones who should continue their legacy.
8. Hulk – Amadeus Cho
The Hulk is traditionally one of Marvel’s most well-known and beloved heroes, and for the most part the MCU has treated him pretty well. After the initial stumbling block that was 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, Edward Norton was replaced with Mark Ruffalo for The Avengers, with the actor killing it in the role ever since (not least in Thor: Ragnarok). But the big problem is that Marvel can’t give him another solo movie due to rights issues with Universal.
One way around that in Phase Four is to introduce a different version of the Jade Giant. Obviously, She-Hulk is a necessity, too, but on the legacy side of things why not have Amadeus Cho take over from Bruce Banner, à la the comics? Cho has been around for just over a decade, but since 2015 he has operated as the self-titled “Totally Awesome Hulk.”
What would make Cho a breath of fresh air in the MCU is that he is a completely different take on the Jekyll/Hyde dynamic of the Hulk. Instead of fearing “the other guy”, Cho embraces the change and loves being a giant green superhero. He’s also one of the first Asian-American characters to land his own comic book. Could he be the first Asian lead in a Marvel movie, too? Let’s hope so.