So Avengers: Endgame is finally here and despite bringing its fair share of endings--some good, some not great--and more Easter Eggs and references than you could shake a Groot at, it also dropped a pretty major hint as to the future of superhero teams in the MCU.
Alright, take a deep breath, we're going to take a close look at that final fight--you know, the one with about four thousand characters all running around playing keep-away with the new Infinity Gauntlet? During the chaos, the Gauntlet changes hands a few times. It goes from Clint, who pulls it from the wreckage of the compound, to T'challa, who makes a run for it but is stopped by Ebony Maw. From the Maw, Peter Parker picks it up and finally, it lands in Carol Danvers' hands. With Carol finally ready to make the run to the quantum tunnel van (though we're not entirely sure what she was planning to do once she got there), she's suddenly surrounded by an all-star lineup of most of the MCU's major female heroes.
Minus Black Widow, of course, who didn't get to be present for the final fight.
It's a goosebumps-inducing scene: A shaken Spider-Man asks Carol how she plans to get the Gauntlet through the mass of ravenous Outriders just in time for Wanda and Okoye to assure him, "Don't worry, she's got help," as Valkyrie, Pepper Potts, Mantis, and Shuri set up to form a little impromptu squad.
From there, we get a few moments of Valkyrie swooping around on her pegasus, Pepper blasting things with her repulsors, and Carol rocketing through aliens like they're paper dolls. All told, it's a pretty epic moment in a fight that is packed to the gills with epic moments--but what it implies is a lot bigger than the battle itself.
The (potential) pay off
It's no secret that the core six Avengers have finished their time in the spotlight. Can some of them pop up in the future to help out? Sure, but the original team itself is never going to reform to take down another major threat. It's time for the MCU to get a new central team. And the ladies of Marvel are a pretty likely contender, thanks in part to their comic book history.
Sort of, at least. This particular moment and line up isn't directly pulled from any one particular all-female team in Marvel's history, but it does invoke the spirit of one. The A-Force, a relatively recent addition to the Marvel Comics universe, is a team made up of heroes like She-Hulk, Captain Marvel, Dazzler, and Jane Foster as Thor among others. They formed in the wake of a major crisis and were immediately tossed into the deep end, dealing with cosmic forces and potentially universe-ending stakes as they attempted to figure out the ins and outs of their new team dynamic.
Of course the A-Force isn't Marvel's only all-female hero squad, but they're definitely the most modern, which may actually be an asset more than a detriment. Because they're so new, the MCU would essentially have carte blanche in terms of lineups and motivations--no pesky history to duck and weave around and no source material to feel beholden to. The MCU's version of the team could really wind up including anyone--even the women who weren't present for the big moment during the fight, like Gamora and Nebula--with Carol as their figurehead and leader calling the shots.
Intentionally or otherwise, the bulk of Marvel's surviving female heroes all have cosmic origins of some kind--even Wanda, a human, was empowered by the Reality Stone. Pepper Potts likely won't have a major role in the upcoming phase--not only has Gwyneth Paltrow been open about splitting from Marvel, Pepper is a single mom now with more important things to worry about than galavanting around, risking her life. She certainly has the option to go to space in her Rescue suit, though, so never say never. The A-Force could be not only Earth's next line of defense, but the team who patrols the galaxy as a whole.
Because, really, let's face it: The Guardians probably aren't going to stop screwing that up any time soon.
Our image of just what Phase 4 will look like is still mysterious--there has been no announcement of an all-female team on the horizon, sure, but there also has been no announcement of any new team based movies so far. It's definitely possible that we simply won't get any more major group efforts for the foreseeable future, but with Black Widow allegedly still in development alongside more mysterious efforts like Shang-Chi and The Eternals, it's safe to say anything is possible. And with the core six Avengers out of action, someone has got to step up to fill the void--why not the characters who have already proven they work so well together under pressure?