After the events of Avenges: Endgame, the organized superhero foundation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is distorted. Avengers such as Iron Man, Captain America, Vision, and Black Widow are no longer active while founding members like The Hulk, Thor, and Hawkeye are presumably retired. This leaves an unofficial group of Sam Wilson, Spider-Man, Rocket, Nebula, Okoye, Ant-Man, War Machine, and Scarlet Witch. While it’s possible future event movies would continue the Avengers name for brand value and recognition, it’s also possible Marvel is ready to retire the Avengers with the Infinity Saga. In that case, the most likely team based on the current MCU atmosphere is The Ultimates, but not the version from the Ultimate Universe.
The Ultimates Overview
The Ultimates team most audience members are familiar with comes from Earth-1610 aka the Ultimate Universe. In the Ultimate Universe, the United States government tasked S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury with assembling a team to combat growing superhuman threats. This group, led by Nick Fury and based at the Triskelion, included Giant-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and Wasp. Bruce Banner was a part of the team for scientific research on the super soldier serum although he soon became the Hulk and the Ultimates’ first team threat. The team soon grew to include Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Black Widow before fighting the Chitauri aliens which turned the team into international heroes. They later became an independent team with a revolving roster of heroes.
Within the 616-Universe aka mainstream universe, The Ultimates are a team led by Captain Marvel with a goal of proactively finding and solving threats before they reach Earth, with a focus on extraterrestrial threats. Members of the team include Black Panther, Blue Marvel, Spectrum, and Ms. Marvel. Their first major mission was solving Galactus’ hunger which turned him from a world destroyer into a world life bringer. Their following missions kept a cosmic theme dealing with cosmic entities and aspects of the multiverse.
Why Not A New Avengers Team?
While another Avengers team would work in terms of another franchise installment (an Avengers 5, 6, 7, etc.), the purpose of the team and core founding members are no longer present. In many ways, it feels appropriate for the Avengers to become a legendary retired team as their leaders are gone and their bases are destroyed. Another reason it works well is because it symbolizes a new era for the MCU to no longer have the Avengers.
With the Ultimates, Marvel Studios can follow the mission set forth by the 616-Universe incarnation, along with that core roster. Since the Fantastic Four and alien races owned by FOX are joining the MCU, it would make sense that future “event-level” threats are cosmic. It would also fit the narrative to proactively seek out threats since Earth’s governments and defenders were always reactive in The Avengers, Age of Ultron, and Infinity War, which resulted in countless death and destruction. Likely, a team such as the Ultimates would be a new group created by the United Nations under the Sokovian Accords in cooperation with S.H.I.E.L.D. or S.W.O.R.D.
The Ultimates: Roster Prediction
Based on the characters already in the MCU, I’d hope the following roster includes:
A: Established Characters
B: Established + Teased Characters
|Captain Marvel||Captain Marvel|
|Captain America (Sam Wilson)||Captain America (Sam Wilson)|
|Thor (Odinson)||Thor (Odinson or Jane Foster)|
|The Hulk (Merged)||Black Panther|
|Black Panther||Miss America|
|War Machine||Monica Rambeau|
With Roster A, this would be characters already introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Captain Marvel has already been said to be a pivotal character in future MCU story-lines and she’s a founding member of the mainstream Ultimates, thus she’s a lock-in. She also would likely be the S.W.O.R.D. or S.H.I.E.L.D. liaison for the Ultimates, due to her history with Nick Fury similar to the role Steve Rogers had with S.H.I.E.L.D in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Sam Wilson’s Captain America also appears to be a “gimme” based on the fact he’s Captain America…too iconic to realistically not include. Otherwise, you’d expect the MCU to have retired the mantle completely. Thor’s inclusion is based entirely on the understanding Chris Hemsworth still enjoys the character. Speaking on the character, Thor is too powerful and cosmic to not be involved with a team like the Ultimates. He lost Asgard already so it’s unlikely he’d be passive in protected Earth and New Asgard.
The Merged Hulk originally wasn’t included but the recent comments by Mark Ruffalo sounds like he’s still game to play the character for Disney+ She-Hulk and future projects. His scientific mind and gamma-powered abilities would be an asset to the Ultimates. Black Panther, just like Captain Marvel, was both a founding member of the 616-incarnation and will be a leading franchise for Marvel Studios, he can also bankroll the team like Tony Stark did for the Avengers. War Machine, if Don Cheadle has interest, could carry the mantle of Iron Man donning various armors as required per film or mission. Similar to his role with the Avengers, he would likely be the United Nations and United States liaison to ensure they follow the Sokovian Accords. it would also be nice to follow Rhodey/War Machine taking advantage of the opportunity to not be second fiddle to Tony Stark.
Roster B includes Miss America (America Chavez) and Monica Rambeau instead of War Machine and The Hulk. Both members of the 616-incarnation of the Ultimates, they’re also expected to appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Wandavision respectively. Rambeau will also appear in Captain Marvel 2. Chavez can travel across the multiverse, so her inclusion would add a power-level unseen by current heroes besides Doctor Strange. Rambeau, if she receives powers akin to her comic book counterpart, would also be a powerhouse character like Captain Marvel. Her connections to the government could also fill a liaison role similar to War Machine’s role with the Avengers.
I left out Spider-Man and Ant-Man because I think they’d be grouped with the upcoming Young Avengers team, with Peter’s age and Ant-Man’s direct connection to Cassie. Spider-Man, if not on any team, would also likely remain solo. He’ll likely have more than enough crossover appearances with Sony’s plans for Venom and Morbius franchises. I think Scarlet Witch, after WandaVision, stays focused on magical threats and trains under Doctor Strange. While cameos are possible I don’t expect either her or Doctor Strange to occupy another full-time roster spot.